Williams has been fined €60,000 (approximately $81,300) by the FIA Stewards for failing to properly secure the left rear wheel that became detached from Pastor Maldonado’s car during first practice in Japan.
The stewards noted that “this is regarded as a serious safety issue” and have paid extra attention to the securing of wheels since Mark Webber’s incident in Germany.
The wheel fell off at Turn 13 on the Venezuelan’s third consecutive fast lap, and bounced harmlessly into a gravel trap as the car spun around.
The Stewards explained that “examination of the parts revealed that the wheel fastener had not been completely fastened, thus not engaging the first retaining plunger. This is a breach of Article 23.12 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations. The secondary retaining plunger failed to keep the wheel in place. This is a breach of Article 14.7 of the FIA Formula One Technical Regulations.”
They also noted that “the team has assured the stewards that the appropriate measures will be immediately implemented to ensure compliance.”