Tom Coronel: Touring car driver fined for using phone at wheel of car

Tom Coronel
Tom Coronel in action at Vila Real in Portugal in 2015

World Touring Car driver Tom Coronel was fined £3,800 for using a mobile phone while driving at the Nurburgring on Friday - then asked his fans to help him pay off the sanction.

The Dutchman, 44, used his phone for a live social media broadcast on his in-lap after qualifying in third place.

Race stewards said his actions ran "contrary to the image of the FIA".

Coronel later set up a crowdfunding page and claimed the fine was "too much for me as privateer".

He added that any money raised above the amount of the fine would go to the circuit marshals at the Nurburgring.

Driving while using a hand-held phone is banned in most countries in Europe - including Coronel's home country of the Netherlands - and promoting road safety is one of the primary objectives of the FIA Foundation.external-link

Coronel's actions on the track and his decision to ask his fans for money met with a mixed response on social media.

One user, Andy DelGiudice, wrote: "He's asking fans to crowdfund his payment? Yikes."

‏Andreas, wrote: "I may be wrong but a professional driver should be a good example for people on public roads, thats a nogo what you did, sorry."

Tom Coronel
Tom Coronel posted a picture of the FIA's notification of his punishment on Twitter

Twitter user @gknic suggested: "Using a phone whilst driving, whether on a track or on the road is stupidity at its best! So no sympathy from me."

And Mark Palmer on Facebook wrote: "Hang on, FIA is always promoting safety comes from racing, rightly so. So they're supposed to let it go? It's using a phone while driving exactly what's the current hot potato."

But there were plenty of messages in support of Coronel, with one by @JoeMafia86 stating his actions were "a great way to interact with the fans... FIA are clearly not with the times".

Facebook user Mark Arlidge added: "Oh Tom... that's really stupid of them... private road surely they cant make that stick.".

Pascal de Jong wrote: "They should pay you for promoting the FIA WTCC... They could learn a lot from you."