• Bahrain Grand Prix

Brawn keen for gearbox penalty rethink

ESPN Staff
April 21, 2013 « 'We just don't have the speed' - Raikkonen | 'Pace was phenomenal' - Vettel »
Lewis Hamilton's car needed a new gearbox after the tyre failure © Sutton Images

Ross Brawn believes the gearbox penalty regulations should be revisited after Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton received a five-place penalty in Bahrain following damage from a tyre failure.

Pirelli suspects debris caused the tread to come away from the canvas of his left-rear, and the force of the tyre disintegrating resulted in suspension failure and damage to the car's gearbox. Mercedes had to rebuild the rear of his car ahead of qualifying and in the process of changing the gearbox incurred a five-place grid penalty.

Brawn said Hamilton had been unhappy about the penalty, which was essentially out of the team's control, but admitted it was difficult to rewrite the regulations to cover all eventualities.

"I think Lewis would agree with you because an external influence has resulted in a penalty," Brawn said when asked if the penalty seemed unfair. "I think the difficulty we have in the future is when you have marginal cases - in this case it wasn't - and you don't know whether it was something aggravated by the driver. Perhaps if it isn't a gearbox failure as such, but the problem occurs and maybe it was partially caused by the driver. Then we get into these long debates about the percentage.

"But it's certainly worthy of looking at. It is frustrating to get a penalty when there has been an outside influence. Luckily it doesn't happen too often but if it happens at a critical time in the championship it will be doubly frustrating. It's probably worth looking at again."