Thursday April 6th, 2000
Organisers of last month's Brazilian Grand Prix were fined $100,000 by motor racing's governing body, the International Automobile Federation (FIA), on Thursday for a catalogue of safety problems during the event.
But the FIA ruled that the problems during the race weekend were due to exceptional circumstances and said the Sao Paulo circuit would retain its Formula One status.
Qualifying for the grand prix was interrupted three times because of advertising hoardings falling on to the track. One of them hit French driver Jean Alesi.
The FIA said that after hearing from the race organisers: "The world motorsport council was of the opinion that the incidents proved to have been caused by a combination of different, quite exceptional circumstances.
"Taking into account the strong mitigating circumstances, the world motorsport council therefore imposed a fine of $100,000 on the promoters of the Brazilian Grand Prix."
Alesi escaped unhurt after his Prost-Peugout was hit by one of the falling signs during qualifying, forcing him to swerve violently.
"The FIA world motorsport council also asked the safety commission to carry out an urgent study as to whether advertising signage positioned over the circuit is acceptable," the FIA added in a statement.
The Interlagos circuit came under heavy criticism from several teams because of the bumpy track, despite it having being resurfaced last year.
Sauber pulled drivers Mika Salo and Pedro Diniz out of the race because of safety fears and McLaren blamed the track for the irregularity found on their car after the race which led to second-placed David Coulthard being disqualified.