Williams almost had to fork over a €10,000 fine for being three seconds late turning in a tire used in Free Practice 1 on Friday. Three seconds. Holy crap, man. I thought my friends laid on the guilt trip when I show up late to things, but this is a whole ‘nother level.
Formula One teams have to carefully plan out the use of their tires, as the series uses a spec tire that is carefully regulated to prevent any unapproved modifications or sweet cheats. Teams are supposed to turn back in one set of tires from their allocations after the first 40 minutes of Free Practice 1, Motorsport.com notes.
Williams had taken a set of dry-weather tires for the first 40 minutes of Free Practice 1 to use on Felipe Massa’s car, making them due back at 10:40 a.m. local time.
They turned them in at 10:40:03 instead, and apparently that three extra seconds—not enough to even round up to the next minute—was enough to put them “not in compliance with Article 24.4 g) ii) of the 2017 Formula One Sporting Regulations,” per a Technical Delegate’s Report on the most inoffensive offense ever.
The stewards realized that fining someone for being only three seconds late is a bit overkill and asinine, as it was clear that no harm was intended when a team is only three seconds late. The €10,000 fine (roughly $11,785 in ‘Murica Bucks) was suspended for 12 months, provided that the team doesn’t do it again.
“Although this is a breach of the regulations (the second of this type by the team this year), the offence occurred only 3 seconds after the cut off time, hence the suspension of the fine,” the stewards’ decision wrote.
Of course, if Williams breaks this rule again, the “suspended” part of the fine goes away and they’ll have to fork over the cash. They previously broke the rule at the Belgian Grand Prix this year, where they did have to pay the €10,000 fine, and before that at the 2015 Malaysian Grand Prix, per Motorsport.com.
Either way, the thought of getting in trouble for being only three seconds late is terrifying, and makes me never want to be late for anything again just hearing about it.