Pastor Maldonado has been handed two five-place grid penalties for next weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.
The Venezuelan was again punished by the stewards after it was ruled he had jumped the start at Spa-Francorchamps, venue for the twelfth round in the 2012 F1 World Championship. He was also punished for colliding with Timo Glock at the re-start, an incident that damaged his front-wing and put him out of the race just 5 laps in. Each incident earned him a five-place drop.
It was a disappointing end to the weekend for the Williams driver, especially as he had qualified sixth.
DRS usage for the Belgian Grand Prix will come on the Kemmel Straight, as it did last year.
However, this will only be if Sunday’s race happens in the dry. By placing DRS at Kemmel, drivers will be able to use the device along what is Spa’s longest straight section, preceding Les Combes which is a popular location for overtaking.
The detection point comes on the run downhill towards Eau Rouge. As practice started on Friday, rain lashed the Ardennes venue. Should such conditions remain on Sunday, which is possible, DRS usage would not be permitted.
Second practice for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa was a near-total washout, with not a single competitive laptime set.
With track conditions even worse than the morning session but a more promising forecast for the rest of the weekend, few saw any point in risking damage by running on the saturated track on Friday afternoon.
It was 48 minutes into the session before a car took to the track at all, with Nico Rosberg first to brave the puddles.
His Mercedes team-mate Michael Schumacher would also venture out, as did Heikki Kovalainen, the McLaren, Saubers, Williams, Marussias, Ferraris, Toro Rossos and Force Indias. Many only came out at the very end so they could do a practice start, logging some nominal times – including stopping on the grid – as a result.
Nico Hulkenberg had the most running, but still completed a mere five laps.
Ferrari did attempt to get some work done, with Massa setting off with flo-vis paint on his rear wing – although it soon appeared to wash off. The Brazilian had an engine change between sessions following his morning failure.
No one was willing to push hard, but even so Kovalainen had a spin on the way out of Les Combes and Hamilton slid over the run-off at the same point, demonstrating how slippery conditions were.
Source: Autosport F1
Questions over the US Grand Prix’s eligibility to receive state funding from the Texas’ Major Events Trust Fund (METF) continue to overshadow the build-up to the first race in Austin later this year.
Should the grand prix qualify for the funding, the state will pay up to $250 million in race hosting fees over the duration of the contract if enough money is recouped from sales tax income.
However, in March the commissioner of the General Land Office of Texas, Jerry Patterson, requested the opinion of the state’s attorney general, Greg Abbott, as to whether the grand prix’s application met the correct criteria. Patterson specifically asked whether the circuit had submitted an application to Formula One Management to host the race – as required by the statute that created the METF – before state comptroller Susan Combs agreed to the funding.
The attorney general’s response was published on Friday and said the state comptroller had argued “that the Austin area had been selected as the location for the 2012 United States Grand Prix based on an application submitted to Formula One Management Limited.”
But in his summary the attorney general said: “Unless an application for an event as defined in the statute is submitted to a site selection organization, that event is ineligible for METF funding. Whether such an application was actually submitted in this case is a matter of factual dispute that cannot be resolved through the opinion process.” Soon after the attorney general’s opinion was published, the Circuit of the America’s issued a statement saying it is confident the grand prix had followed the correct process in applying for funding.
“We have worked with the local organizing committee in following the process to secure and host this international event,” circuit president Steve Sexton said. “This event will pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the Texas economy while creating thousands of new full- and part-time jobs and will have a positive impact on our community. We look forward to the first FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX™ in Austin this November and to working with state, county and city officials to create another key economic driver for Central Texas.”
The race is set to take place on November 18.
Source: ESPN F1