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Renault team banned from next Grand Prix

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-07-27

Accused of not respecting safety rules, Renault have been banned from taking part in the next Grand Prix, in Valencia. This comes after a wheel flew off the car of Fernando Alonso during Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix.

AFP - Renault have been banned from the European Grand Prix in Valencia on August 23 by the International Motorsports Federation (FIA).

The FIA took the drastic action after a wheel flew off the car of former world champion Fernando Alonso during Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix with the team accused of not respecting security rules.

"Renault are suspended from the next event of the 2009 world championship," said a FIA statement.

The French outfit announced they would appeal the ban.

"Renault F1, by this document, formally registers its intention to appeal against the decision by the officials," Renault wrote in a letter to the FIA.

Stewards summoned Renault officials to explain why pole-sitter Alonso's right front right wheel was incorrectly fitted and was allowed to leave the pits.

Video and radio transmissions were studied, and found that Renault "knowingly" allowed the Spanish driver to rejoin the race with a loose wheel nut.

The stewards' statement said Renault "knowingly released car no. 7 from the pit-stop position without one of the retaining devices for the wheel-nuts being securely in position, this being an indication that the wheel itself may not have been properly secured."

It added that Renault, "being aware of this, failed to take any action to prevent the car from leaving the pit lane.... (and) failed to inform the driver of this problem or to advise him to take appropriate action given the circumstances, even though the driver contacted the team by radio believing he had a puncture."

The stewards said that the French team's actions had compromised safety in breach of Article 3.2 of the Sporting Regulations and in breach of Article 23.1.i had released the car from the pits before it was safe to do so.

The decision means that, if their appeal fails Alonso will miss one of his two home races this year.

Alonso was leading the race before his pit-stop when the right front wheel was not fitted properly. It became loose and flew off, luckily not striking anybody or anything before ending up resting against crash barriers.

Sunday's incident came just a week after 18-year-old driver Henry Surtees - the son of former F1 champion John Surtees - was killed when he was struck by a loose wheel during a Formula Two race in England.

Date created : 2009-07-27

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