(Reuters) - Red Bull’s Mark Webber faces a 10-place grid penalty at the Korean Grand Prix after being reprimanded for hitching a lift on Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari at the end of Sunday’s race in Singapore.
The reprimand was the Australian’s third of the season, which means that under Formula One regulations he will collect the automatic grid sanction. He had previously been reprimanded in Bahrain and Canada.
Alonso was also reprimanded for driving the car “in a manner which could be deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers or any other person”.
Stewards noted in a statement, after meeting the drivers and team representatives and examined video evidence, that two cars had to take avoiding action as a result.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, whose world champion Sebastian Vettel won the race to go 60 points clear of Alonso with six rounds remaining, felt the stewards could have dealt with the incident more leniently.
“It was good for the show, it was good TV and it should have been dealt with by a fine or a slap on the wrist,” he told reporters.
“What’s a shame is that it’s ended up in a reprimand and because it’s the third it means a 10-place penalty...perhaps in this instance talking to the drivers would have sufficed.”
Webber had pulled over on the last lap after his car’s engine ran dry of water and caught fire.
After parking, he ran back to the side of the track and hitched a lift with Alonso, who had finished second and stopped on his slowing down lap to pick up the Australian.
The incident was reminiscent of Briton Nigel Mansell collecting Brazilian Ayrton Senna at the end of the 1991 British Grand Prix but it was also a risky gesture with other cars passing by.
“I was doing my in-lap, came around the corner and Fernando was there and I was really shocked,” Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton told reporters.
“If Mark had been walking across where I went then I would have run him over.”
The Briton approved of such fan-pleasing incidents, however.
“There have been times where I’ve driven past someone else who has stopped and I’d wished I’d stopped,” he said. “It’s good for the fans to see and as long as it’s done in a safe manner, you don’t stop on the racing line, then maybe it should be allowed for the future.”
Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London; Editing by John Mehaffey