Force India F1 team to work with FIA on car numbers after fine
|By Adam Cooper and Jonathan Noble||Sunday, May 14th 2017, 18:21 GMT|
Force India will work with the FIA on an acceptable solution for its Formula 1 car numbers after receiving a suspended €25,000 fine at the Spanish Grand Prix.
The FIA stewards ruled the team had not complied with instructions to make the numbers and drivers' names easily visible on the bodywork from the Barcelona race.
In a technical directive, the FIA had requested the car number should be clearly visible from the front of the car, no less than 180mm in height, and have a minimum stroke thickness of 30mm.
Although Force India increased the size of the numbers, the FIA judged that the positioning high on the nose were in contravention of the directive.
The fine is suspended for 12 months, "pending no further infringements of this nature", because the stewards noted that Force India had not been challenged before the race, the numbers had not changed since scrutineering and it had offered to work with the FIA to rectify the situation.
Force India chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer was adamant the team complied with the regulations and was unhappy over the matter's handling.
"According to the sporting regulations we comply," he said.
"We went through scrutineering, so they should have pointed it out on Thursday if they wanted something different. Not after the race.
"If we are asked to do something different and it is a 'please can you?', some people can, some people can't.
"If it is a regulation, we will comply with it, and we have complied with the regulations."
Sporting director Andy Stevenson added that Force India had checked its number plans with the FIA beforehand, but said the team would co-operate on meeting the governing body's request.
"We clearly we thought we were in compliance because we showed the FIA our intentions at the race in Sochi, and they weren't questioned," Stevenson told Autosport.
"The sporting regulations say the number has to be clearly visible from the front of the car.
"If you were to stand in front of the car and were just about to be run over, you would see the number!
"With that said, we can agree in the interests of the sport that the number isn't visible from all angles at the front of the car, and that's what we're going to resolve."
He added that Force India's number display options had been limited because "we have sponsorship contracts in place" that required certain decal positioning.
"We're actually doing a filming day this week, which gives us the added advantage that we can go back and look at the footage and try to ensure it's visible from as many angles as possible," Stevenson said.
"One thing to note is that needs to be a sign-off process with the FIA.
"Our feeling was that we passed scrutineering, nobody had spoken to us before Sunday, and everybody was happy."