FERNANDO Alonso’s Formula 1 woes have now followed him to the World Endurance Championship, winning the Silverstone 6 Hour for Toyota, only to be stripped of the victory.
Both the winning No. 8 Toyota that Alonso shared with Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima, and the second-placed No. 7 Toyota of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez, were disqualified after failing post-race scrutineering checks.
The cars underwent a deflection test on the skid block that sits under the car in order to mandate a minimum ride height. A 2500 Newton load (around 255 kilograms) pushes the front of the skid block upwards to see if it bends. The front of the skid block is allowed to bend five millimetres on both sides; any more than that is a breach of the technical rules.
The No. 8 Toyota’s skid block deflected 9mm on both sides, while the No. 7 Toyota’s deflected 6mm on the right and 8mm on the left.
“Although there are no reports of the car being involved in any specific incident, the competitor stated that his only explanation for the nonconformity must have been the result of the car running off-track and sustaining some sort of damage to the internal stays that fix that portion of the car,” the stewards’ statement read.
“The stewards considered this possibility but determined that the design of the car must be able to withstand the normal rigours of a 6 hours endurance race.”
Toyota has yet to formally appeal the decision, saying in a statement that it is “evaluating its next course of action.”
The Toyotas’ disqualification elevates means the No. 3 Rebellion of Gustavo Menezes, Thomas Laurent and Mathias Beche inherits the win, having originally finished four laps behind in third place.
Fresh from winning the GTE-Am class at the Le Mans 24 Hours, Australia’s Matt Campbell claimed second-straight class win aboard the No. 77 Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche he shared with Christian Ried and Julien Andlauer.
Even with the disqualifications, Alonso, Buemi and Nakajima still lead the 2018-19 WEC Drivers’ Championship by two points from Menezes, Laurent and Beche.
The next race of the World Endurance Championship is the 6 Hours of Fuji on October 18.
FULL STATEMENT FROM THE FIA STEWARDS
The Stewards, having received report Nr. 7 from the Technical Delegates, having heard from the Competitors’ representative John Steeghs and their Technical representative John Litjens have considered the following matter, determine a breach of the regulations has been committed by the Competitior named below and impose the penalty referred to.
No, Driver: No. 8
Competitor: Toyota Gazoo Racing
Facts: See Technical Delegates report Nr. 7 — the front part of the skid block deflected 9mm under the specified 2500 N load on both sides of the skid block.
Offence: Breach of Art. 3.4.5.d of the LMP1H Technical Regulations (2018)
1) The Competitor is Disqualified
2) The Stewards order that the Classification be amended so that the other competitors be moved up in the classification in accordance with Art. 12.18 of the ISC
3) Any Awards or prizes should be returned to the organiser and issued to the competitors moved up in the classification.
4) The Stewards order that the Technical Delegates shall seal and retain the parts until the time for lodging of appeals, or the completion of any appeal.
Reason: The Technical Delegates measured the vertical deflection of the front part of the skid block under a 2500 N load. The deflection was found to be 9mm on both sides of the front part of the skid block. The measurement was witnessed by the competitors’ technical representative John Litjens and he confirmed to the stewards that the measurement was done correctly.
Although there are no reports of the car being involved in any specific incident, the competitor stated that his only explanation for the nonconformity must have been the result of the car running off-track and sustaining some sort of damage to the internal stays that fix that portion of the car. The stewards considered this possibility but determined that the design of the car must be able to withstand the normal rigours of a 6 hours endurance race.
The Competitor is reminded of his right of Appeal in accordance with Article 15 of the FIA International Sporting Code and Article 19.1.1 of the FIA Judicial and Disciplinary Rules.
FULL STATEMENT FROM TOYOTA GAZOO RACING
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing has lost its one-two victory in the 6 Hours of Silverstone following a post-race technical inspection.
The #8 TS050 HYBRID of Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso crossed the line to win the third round of the FIA World Endurance Championship from Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López in the second-placed #7 TS050 HYBRID.
Both cars suffered damage to their respective front floor areas during the race due to impacts against the new kerbs at Silverstone. Regrettably, this also caused both cars to fail deflection tests in post-race scrutineering. As a result, race stewards disqualified both cars.
The design and construction of the part concerned has not changed since its introduction at the beginning of the 2017 season. Since then it has successfully passed similar tests, most recently at Spa this season.
The team is now evaluating its next course of action.