Hitech GP’s Luke Browning remarkable drive from 27th to fifth in FIA Formula 3’s sprint race at Monza will now go unrewarded, as he has been disqualified.
It is the second time this weekend that a team error has proven costly, as Browning was removed from the results of qualifying (as were his team-mates) for an illegal tyre change after the session while under parc ferme conditions.
His disqualification from the race happened as the “lowest point of the side floor fin on the right side of the car was
found to exceed the limits as proscribed in the 2023 F3 technical regulations”.
F3’s technical delegate noted “that the stay wire that serves to hold the side floor fin in place was not connected but was fully intact”, which had been the case from the start of the race.
Trident’s Leonardo Fornaroli should have inherited fifth from Browning, but got a five-second post-race penalty for exceeding track limits four times and he was dropped to eighth in the final classification behind team-mate Oliver Goethe, who had climbed from 22nd on the grid, Hitech’s Gabriele Mini and Campos Racing’s Christian Mansell.
Zak O’Sullivan got two penalty points for his clash with Gregoire Saucy, in addition to the 10-second penalty issued during the race. Similarly, ART Grand Prix’s Kaylen Frederick had two penalty points put on his license after also landing a 10s penalty during the race for contact with Tommy Smith, and Van Amersfoort Racing’s Caio Collet got the same punishment for colliding with Paul Aron on lap one.
PHM Racing by Charouz’s Michael Shin retired in the pits after two laps with a hydraulic issue, and he has been given a five-place grid penalty after exceeding the 60kph pitlane speed limit by 19.4kph.
“[Shin said] the car was in fifth gear and there was no way to shift gear nor was the clutch operational. This explanation was consistent with a report the stewards had received from the race director that fluid was seen to be leaking from car #31 shortly before it entered the pitlane,” read the penalty decision.
“The driver explained that he attempted to enter the pitlane at the lowest speed he believed was possible without risking the car stalling in the fast lane. The team representative explained that the speed limiter will not activate when the car is in fifth gear and there is no speedometer on the driver’s dash screen.”
“The Stewards accept the explanation from the driver and the team as to the circumstances of the infringement and understand the difficulties which the driver was attempting to deal with, but it does not excuse the breach. The pitlane speed limit is imposed for the safety of persons in the pitlane. Had car #31 not retired from the race, the stewards would have imposed a 10s stop-and-go penalty.”