Stoffel Vandoorne will start the 2016 Bahrain GP from pit lane after failing to grow enough facial hair to adequately replace Fernando Alonso.
The incident, in breach of the FIA replacement driver regulations, was pointed out to McLaren when the announcement was made that the Belgian driver would replace the injured Spaniard. Alonso had attempted to trim his beard back to a 5 O Clock shadow in an attempt to circumnavigate the rule, but the FIA were unconvinced by the late change.
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“The replacement driver clearly failed to meet the required facial hair requirements despite instruction to do so upon his arrival this weekend. Facial hair should be a match for driver profiles taken from the start of the season and not later appearances that were clearly adjusted in efforts that are deemed to be outside of the spirit of the regulations.” a statement read.
“In accordance with the Sporting Regulations the driver is required to start from pit lane”
Ron Dennis was said to be furious with this decision as the statement means that Fernando Alonso will be required to see out the remainder of the season with a full beard:
“The ratio of facial hair within the team was already at a level that I deemed unsatisfactory. We had hoped that this change in line up would instigate a shift to a cleaner, more streamlined, line up in keeping with the Size Zero ethos at McLaren. We are disappointed with this finding but unfortunately efforts to increase the follicle growth rate on Stoffel has proven to be unsuccessful”