Williams breaches regs: Sargeant handed pitlane start and 10s penalty

© XPB 

Logan Sargeant's Japanese Grand Prix weekend has just gone from bad to worse, with the Williams charger hit with a pitlane start and a 10-second time penalty following a rules breach by the British outfit.

Sargeant crashed heavily at the start of qualifying on Saturday, with damage to the American's FW45 forcing Williams to build up a spare chassis.

However, the FIA technical delegate observed that the relevant chassis was assembled to "more than an assembly comprising a survival cell as defined in Article 27.2 of the Formula One Sporting Regulations and therefore has to be considered as a third car available to the competitor."

On Sunday morning, Williams was summoned to the stewards and clarified that the issue arose when their mechanics initiated the process of preparing their spare chassis as soon as the necessity became apparent.

But the procedure was started before teams are theoretically allowed to commence such tasks.

While the FIA acknowledged the Williams team's explanations, the stewards deemed that a penalty was still justified.

Due to the mandatory pitlane start already enforced as a result of the chassis change, an additional 10-second penalty was imposed upon Sargeant.

The FIA issued a statement acknowledging a rule-related concern whereby a team might face the risk of missing the race's start if mechanics didn't commence work until after the conclusion of Parc Ferme.

"It should be noted that the available working time during Parc Fermé for assembly of a complete car is limited, and hence in case of severe accident like this, the Stewards may jeopardise the participation of a car in the race," read the statement.

According to Motorsport.com, the rule governing when mechanics should be allowed to begin work on the car has been put on the agenda of F1’s Sporting Advisory Committee.

"Obviously, we're not allowed to do very much overnight," explained Williams head of vehicle performance. "So it's been sat there with the covers on.

"We got the spare chassis out and did as much as we could for that. The team is just getting on with a build now. It'll be tight, but it'll be fine. No problem."

Robson said the team's work involved not only a chassis change but almost everything else.

"It will have spare chassis, spare power unit. A previously used one, so no additional penalty. Spare gearbox. Same thing, a previously used one. Floor, rear wing, front wing."

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter