BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Ferrari were fined 15,000 euros ($19,900) on Sunday for a Hungarian Grand Prix technical gaffe that could have cost Fernando Alonso vital championship points.
The Spaniard was fifth in the race won by Lewis Hamilton for Mercedes but was summoned to stewards hours after the finish when the FIA technical delegate found the driver had committed a breach of the regulations.
The driver-operated DRS (drag reduction system), which can be used to give a boost in overtaking when a car is less than a second behind another, was used by Alonso on three occasions when he was not entitled to do so.
After hearing from the team, stewards imposed the fine rather a sanction on the driver because Ferrari explained that they had not changed the DRS system from pre-race to race settings.
"As soon as the team became aware of the problem, they informed the driver to use only DRS when told to do so by the team," they said in a statement.
"Whilst a small sporting advantage (less than a second over the entire race) was gained, the team argued car three (Alonso) also suffered a disadvantage by being unable to use DRS on every legitimate occasion."
Alonso slipped in the overall standings from second to third and is now 39 points adrift of Red Bull's championship leader Sebastian Vettel.
($1 = 0.7539 euros)
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by John Mehaffey)