Stewards ban Renault from Valencia GP

UPDATE (GMM) The promoter of the European grand prix at Valencia, Valmor Sport, has urged F1's governing body to reconsider the ban that will prevent Spanish hero Fernando Alonso from contesting the street race next month.

Renault has asked the International Court of Appeal to set a date for an appeal, after stewards in Hungary ruled the team knowingly released the Spaniard from a pitstop with a loose wheel nut.

The local news agency EFE said Valmor is strongly supportive of safety measures, but said not allowing Alonso to race in Valencia is also penalizing his Spanish supporters.

"As well as safety we must also think about the fans, many of them having bought tickets only to see Fernando Alonso," said Valmor's Jorge Martinez Aspar.

"We should see to it that they are not harmed by this decision," he added.

Aspar added that Valmor Sport has already been in contact with the Spanish motor racing federation about the issue.

Adrian Campos, boss of the new Campos F1 team for 2010, said Alonso's absence on the Valencia grid would be a "disaster" for the Spanish race, whose ticket sales had already been slow.

07/26/09 (GMM) Renault has been banned from the forthcoming European grand prix.

Stewards summoned officials for the French team to race control following the Hungarian grand prix in Budapest because Fernando Alonso's right front wheel had fallen off in the wake of a pitstop.

They said 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 FIA officials also charged Renault with failing to inform Alonso of the problem "even though the driver contacted the team by radio believing he had a puncture".

"This resulted in a heavy car part (the aerodynamic wheel cover) detaching … and the wheel itself detaching at turn 9," the stewards' report added.

Renault has been suspended from the next grand prix at Valencia and "reminded of (its) right of appeal".

Stewards, meanwhile, took no action against Kimi Raikkonen for colliding with both Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel at the start, but reprimanded Mark Webber's Red Bull team for unsafely releasing the Australian driver after a pitstop.

Stewards' statement in full
The Stewards, having received a report from the Race Director, have considered the following matter, determine a breach of the regulations has been committed by the competitor named below and impose the penalty referred to.

Having carefully reviewed the available film recordings and radio recordings and having met the Team Manager twice to discuss the matter the Stewards believe
1. that the Competitor 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,

2. being aware of this failed to take any action to prevent the car from leaving the pit-lane,

3. 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,

4. this resulted in a heavy car part detaching at Turn 5 and the wheel itself detaching at turn 9

Offence: Breach of Article 23.1.5 and Article 3.2 of the 2009 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations

Penalty: The Competitor ING Renault F1 Team is suspended from the next event in the 2009 Formula 1 World Championship.

The Competitor is reminded of his right of appeal.

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