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Trulli, McLaren, Kovalainen penalised for infringements 18 Oct 2009

Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 16, Brazilian Grand Prix, Race Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil,  Sunday, 18 October 2009 Tempers flare between Sutil and Trulli after the resulting accident Kovalainen drives off after a pitstop with the fuel hose still connected

The opening laps of Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix were a busy time for the Interlagos race stewards, with several incidents taking place in close succession. As a result Toyota’s Jarno Trulli, McLaren and their driver Heikki Kovalainen have each been handed penalties.

On the first lap Trulli and Force India’s Adrian Sutil tangled as the Italian attempted a move on the German. After considering video evidence and telemetry data, the stewards decided not to take any further action, labelling the coming together as a racing incident.

But after ‘failing to leave the track as required by the marshals immediately after the incident and aggressively confronting Sutil’, Trulli was found to have breached Article 151 (c) of the 2009 FIA International Sporting Code, which rules against ‘any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport generally.’ Consequently he was reprimanded and fined US$10,000.

With the safety car deployed for the Trulli-Sutil incident, there was drama in the pit-lane soon after, when Kovalainen exited his pit too early, leaving with his fuel hose still attached to the car. Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, who was right behind the emerging McLaren, got a face fuel of fuel, which then ignited.

McLaren were fined $50,000 for the unsafe pit stop release, while their Finnish driver was given a drive-through penalty. As this was handed down after the race had finished, 25 seconds were instead added to his race time, dropping him from ninth to 12th in the final results.

An earlier Lap One incident between Kovalainen and Ferrari’s Giancarlo Fisichella, in which the McLaren driver was sent spinning into the Italian after being tagged by Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, was deemed a racing incident.