KUALA LUMPUR: A photograph that has gone viral, of an invoice supposedly issued by an F1 Team for faulty track conditions at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) is fake, its chief executive officer Razlan Razali said today.
He said SIC had not been approached by either the team or by FIA, the world governing body for motorsports, to look into such a matter.
“It is purely a malicious attempt by certain parties to somehow disrupt the finale of the Malaysian Grand Prix this year,” he said today.
Razlan was also quoted by Bernama as saying that FIA did not plan to lodge a police report on the false photo as they wanted to focus on tomorrow’s Malaysian Grand Prix, the last to be held there after a 19-year run.
The photograph appeared to allude to a tyre explosion on a Haas car after a drain grille popped up at a kerb during a race practice on Thursday.
In the incident, Romain Grosjean’s Haas was flung into the barriers at high speed after the grille, which should have been welded down securely, stuck out at a kerb on turn nine after Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari drove over it.
Razlan was quoted by AFP today as saying that all drain covers were inspected last night.
“If FIA does not say anything, then the race is good to go. We only listen to the FIA,” he said.
Following the Frenchman’s crash, safety officials checked every drain cover at the 5.543-kilometre circuit.
FIA had also performed a track inspection earlier and the SIC said it had a “clean go” to continue with the race.
The FIA stewards at Sepang gave Haas special permission to repair Grosjean’s car due to the unusual nature of the incident, AFP reported.
Under F1 rules, teams must normally observe a strict overnight curfew, during which they are not permitted to work on their cars.
Officials said in a statement that it was because they “consider that the circumstances causing the crash of Car 8 were entirely and clearly beyond the control of the driver and the competitor.”
It came after an angry Haas team principal Guenther Steiner slammed the state of the track.
“Thank God he didn’t get hurt or anything,” Steiner said. “The car is damaged, in my opinion, things like this in 2017 shouldn’t happen on a permanent circuit, they shouldn’t happen on any circuit.
“This is, in my opinion, not acceptable. This is not up to the standards.”