Williams Academy member Colapinto scored his first win of the season in an incident-packed sprint race at Melbourne, taking the lead after the first safety car restart before enduring two more.

He was over three seconds clear of the field when the safety car was called for the fourth and final time, with the first-ever F3 race at Albert Park ending under caution.

But Colapinto, Mari Boya, who finished ninth, and Jonny Edgar, who came 11th, have now been disqualified from the race after parc ferme checks found their cars breached two articles of the series’ technical regulations.

The move hands Prema driver Zak O’Sullivan the win, with Sebastian Montoya (Hitech) promoted to second and Paul Aron (Prema) first series podium.

Stewards said that during parc ferme checks following the sprint race, the keel of the bodywork on all three cars was different in its geometry from the spare parts catalogue and not in conformity with the Dallara user manual.

Race winner Franco Colapinto, MP Motorsport

Photo by: Formula Motorsport Ltd

The FIA technical delegate said the outer edges of the keel had been modified or repaired, and in so doing, widened and cut, despite Type 2 parts not being allowed to be modified.

The spare parts catalogue also says “very minor repairs to bodywork components classified as “Type 2” may be made by teams, provided the damage does not affect an area greater than 150mm at its maximum dimension and does not affect a fixing or fixing area”.

Additionally, “It must be clear that a repair must not modify the geometry”.

But the keels removed from the MP Motorsport cars had been repaired or modified across their entire lengths, more than 150mm, and the geometry was not consistent, both as to the width and the keel edge and its shape. 

The FIA document said: “The team representative agreed that the geometry of the keel removed from Car 10 did not conform with the geometry of the authorised part. He could not explain how the difference arose.

“He indicated that the keel originally supplied had been repaired by the team but suggested that the repairs had not altered the geometry of the keel supplied by the manufacturer.”

It added that: “The Stewards are reminded by judgments of the same court that it is the Competitor’s responsibility to ensure that its car conforms with the relevant technical regulations.

“If, as the team suggests, the non-conforming keel was as supplied by the manufacturer, the differences between the approved part as shown in the manual and the keel removed from Car 10 are apparent to the naked eye and ought to have been recognised by the team.”

The team has the right to appeal the decision, and has been contacted by Autosport for a statement.

2023-04-01T08:01:33Z dg43tfdfdgfd