Williams provided evidence to stewards which led to Force India’s Sergio Perez being penalised after a violent last lap crash with Felipe Massa in what had moments before been a duel for third and fourth place in the Canadian Grand Prix.
Rob Smedley, Williams head of vehicle performance, told the media after the race, “We were lucky not to have had someone seriously hurt and lucky not to collect Sebastian in a side-on impact. We showed the stewards evidence that Felipe brakes about five metres earlier than the lap before.”
“There is evidence from the side shot – if you take Felipe and Sebastian [Vettel] through the braking phase, the distance between them is the same and you see Perez is backing towards Felipe. We showed them the overhead shot. Perez brakes very early, and the car jinks to the left, either because he does it or because of brake problems, I don’t know.”
“And we showed them evidence from the radio transcript [with Perez] talking about ‘I have no rear brakes.’ And they [Force India] said: ‘If you can carry on, carry on, and if you can’t, pit.’ That sounds like a terminal problem and why you leave a car out in that condition is beyond me. I’m a bit peeved, to say the least, that this has happened,” added Smedley.
Force India deputy Team Principal Bob Fernley confirmed that Perez had an electrical fault on the braking system, and said, “We’re all just really relieved that they’re both all right because it doesn’t bear thinking about what can happen in silly accidents like that. We need to look at the data and see what actually happened.”
Both Massa and Perez were taken to hospital for precautionary brain scans after incurring impacts of 27 G, but were discharged shortly thereafter. Both the Williams and Force India narrowly missed crashing into Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull as they slammed out of control into the barriers in Turn 1. (GP247)