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Jenson Button handed three place penalty for Austin - The helicopter situation caught out many, but Button gets a penalty

Published by Christine

Jenson Button handed three place penalty for Austin
Credit: Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
Jenson Button handed three place penalty for Austin audio waveform

Jenson Button was given a penalty after free practice on Friday, for overtaking under red flags. The Brit was out on track trying to fit in some laps after the delayed session finally got underway.

A replacement medical helicopter needed to arrive, so the red flags came out to halt the session whilst there was no medical rescue available. Button was caught out and subsequently handed the three place grid penalty for the US Grand Prix on Sunday.

The stop-start nature of the session didn’t help any of the teams with their preparation, with first practice delayed by 40 minutes due to poor visibility with some seriously thick fog.

The session was shortened to an hour and running began, but was red flagged after 15 minutes. The medical helicopter had a problem with a loose antenna, making communication unreliable. The track was closed but the timer continued to count down, so that drivers couldn’t get going again until there was just half an hour on the clock.