Franco Colapinto has been disqualified from FIA Formula 3 sprint race victory in Melbourne as a result of a technical infringement, handing a maiden series win to Prema’s Zak O’Sullivan.
During post-race scrutineering the geometry of the keel of the bodywork of Colapinto’s MP Motorsport-entered Dallara F3 2019 car, and his two team-mates Mari Boya and Jonny Edgar, was found to differ from that prescribed by the manufacturer.
F3’s technical tegulations specify the keel as one of the parts that “may only be modified or repaired in the range described in the relevant spare parts catalogue,” and any such modification may not “modify the geometry”.
In Colapinto’s case, the scrutineers found that “the entire length of the edges on each side of the keel spanning more than 150mm had been repaired or modified and the geometry was not consistent, both as to the width and the keel edge and its shape”.
While MP agreed with the specific findings, it was unable to explain how the difference had arisen, arguing that the part was as supplied by Dallara and that any repairs had not impacted its geometry.
However, the stewards felt that the deviation from the approved geometry was so significant that, even if this was the case, the team should have spotted that the bodywork was not in compliance.
Consequently, O’Sulllivan inherits the race victory and moves up to ninth in the championship standings, one place ahead of Colapinto. Hitech GP’s Sebastian Montoya moves into second with Prema’s Paul Aron taking the final podium position.
With all three MP cars excluded, Campos Racing’s Christian Mansell and ART Grand Prix’s Kaylen Frederick take the final two points-scoring positions in ninth and 10th.
Mansell was one of several other drivers to get into trouble, being fined €500 for leaving parc ferme post-race without putting the steering wheel back in his car. Boya was reprimanded for passing all the cars ahead of him (and specifically the podium trio) on the way back to the support paddock, while Hitech’s Luke Browning and Rodin Carlin’s Ido Cohen have each recieved 10-second penalties and two penalty points on their licence for causing collisions in the sprint race.
While Browning had that 10s added on at the end of the race, Cohen retired early and so the 10s has been converted into a five-place grid penalty for the feature which he will now start from 28th place.
Stewards also fined Van Amersfoort Racing €500 for giving Caio Collet one of the tyres of his team-mate Rafael Villagomez after he had to pit following a puncture.