Williams has been fined 60,000 euros after Pastor Maldonado’s left-rear wheel worked loose in opening free practice for the Japanese Grand Prix.
Maldonado was forced to stop his car when the wheel came off at Spoon Curve on his third flying lap. After the team was summoned to the stewards to explain what happened, the FIA deemed that Williams had been guilty of a “serious safety issue” in the wheel not staying fixed to the car.
A statement issued by the stewards following the hearing said: “Examination of the parts concerned 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 1 sporting regulations.
“The second retaining plunger failed to keep the wheel in place. This is a breach of article 14.7 of the FIA Formula 1 technical regulations.”
The stewards added that Williams had promised to take action to ensure there would be no repeat incident in the future.
As part of a clampdown on loose wheels following Red Bull’s incident with Mark Webber at the German Grand Prix, teams were asked to fit double wheel retention systems from the Singapore GP.