Robert Kubica has scored the first point of 2019 for Williams after the two Alfa Romeo cars were penalized after the German Grand Prix.
Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi originally finished in seventh and eighth respectively but were then investigated by the stewards for an issue related to “clutch torque application during race starts.” It transpired that the time for the actual torque in the clutch to match with the torque demand as the driver releases the clutch was outside of the required limits.
Following a hearing with the team, the stewards found that the time for the torque to match with the driver’s demands took close to 200 milliseconds on one car and 300 milliseconds on the other — above the 70 milliseconds permitted and potentially providing an advantage from smoother torque application in wet conditions.
Alfa Romeo argued that this occurred due to the team setting the wrong parameters for the conditions given the fact that no practice starts in the wet had been possible. While the stewards accepted that, they stated no other team suffered the same issue and that the obligation to meet the requirements is irrespective of the climactic conditions.
As a result, both drivers were handed retrospective 10-second stop-and-go penalties — converted to 30 seconds of race time — as that is the punishment that a False Start would have received.
The penalties demote Raikkonen to 12th and Giovinazzi to 13th, promoting Lewis Hamilton — who avoided an additional penalty of his own for going slowly compared to those cars trying to catch the Safety Car, as it was determined he was actually following the delta time as he should have been and following regulations — to ninth place and Kubica to 10th. It is the first point of the season for Williams and Kubica’s first point since the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where he finished fifth.
Haas also benefits, with Romain Grosjean moving up to seventh place and Kevin Magnussen eighth, giving the team a total of 10 points from the weekend.