Hamilton may be penalised over tyre blunder

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes, Interlagos, 2007, 3 | DaimlerLewis Hamilton and two other drivers may face penalties after breaking the rules governing tyre use at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Hamilton along with Jenson Button and Takuma Sato used more than the regulation number of wet weather tyres practice on Friday morning at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace.

The McLaren team admitted a mistake had been made. FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer noticed the error and reported it to the race stewards.

The three are believed to have broken article 25.3 of the Sporting Regulations which states:

During the Event no driver may use more than fourteen sets of dry-weather tyres, four sets of wet-weather tyres and three sets of extreme-weather tyres.

No driver may use more than two sets of each specification of dry-weather tyre during P1 and P2.

No driver may use more than one set of wet and one set of extreme-weather tyres during P1 and P2.

A set of tyres will be deemed to comprise two front and two rear tyres all of which must be of the same specification.

Potential punishments are covered by article 31.6:

In the event of a driving infringement during any practice session the Stewards may drop the driver such number of grid positions as they consider appropriate. Unless it is completely clear that a driver committed a driving infringement any such incident will normally be investigated after the relevant session, any penalty imposed shall not be subject to appeal.

It is not clear what punishment, if any, the three may face. Ferrari started both its drivers on wet weather tyres against the instructions of the race stewards at the Japanese Grand Prix and were unpunished after the drivers were ordered to change tyres.

But they broke a stewards’ ruling rather than a specific regulation, and the team claimed not to haver received the e-mail informing them of the decision.

It is also worth noting that in 2002 the stewards at the same race granted a special dispensation to Ferrari allowing Michael Schumacher to have access to a larger number of tyres than usual, as he and team mate Rubens Barrichello were using different models of Ferraris with different wheel mounts.

But’s it’s unlikely the stewards will give much leniency to what appears to be a straight breach of the rules, regardless of whether any advantage was gained by the drivers.

Photo: Daimler

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22 comments on Hamilton may be penalised over tyre blunder

  1. Magnus said on 19th October 2007, 18:01

    Probably not gonna happen much but you have to agree: Hamilton losing the title because of an out of proportion punishment from this would in a sense be a fitting end to this season. ;)

  2. Dan M said on 19th October 2007, 18:23

    Alonso’s smile has actually wrapped around his entire head.

  3. This is bad… I dont think any F1 fan would want the championship decided on friday!

  4. Dan M said on 19th October 2007, 18:31

    What if he take a 5 place penalty and still manages to win, that would be pretty magnificent.

  5. another lewis fan said on 19th October 2007, 18:46

    Hamilton fastest in p2 session just watched live timing!lets just hope he can do it when it matters!this tyre situation is just another way to try and make him crack under the pressure it’s 1 thing after another it’s ridiculous.

  6. Rohan said on 19th October 2007, 18:56

    This, along with the news that Prodrive and Dave Richards won’t be in F1 next year, has really made my evening. \o/

  7. If he broke the rules he should be punished. Along with Jenson Button and Takuma Sato. Rules are rules.

    And it would make this weekend just a bit more excitable. (Well, as an Alonso fan it will.)

    I take it with a pinch of salt but think that if all 3 drivers really have broken the rule then all 3 should be punished.

    This isn’t ALL about Hamilton. They aren’t targeting him specifically. There are another 2 drivers under investigation too – don’t forget that.

  8. Paul Sainsbury said on 19th October 2007, 19:37

    If he gets a grid penalty it would be like McLaren parking their motorhome in the wrong space and Lewis getting demoted on the grid.

    They should fine the team, this is nothing to do with the driver. I think all fans just want to see a fair fight for the title.

  9. hobbitland said on 19th October 2007, 19:47

    I think McLaren is trying to manufacture a Alonsa Championship win. I wonder what Dennis has agreed with Alonso.

    First not chnaging types in China and now putting the wrongs types on Lewis’s car. I cannot believe McLaren can allow such a mistake to happen.

  10. Scott Joslin said on 19th October 2007, 19:54

    II agree with Hobbitland, I can’t help but think Mclaren have made another glaring error of judgement, they did it in China and now here. If Lewis loses this title I can’t help but think it might be down to poor management from the Mclaren team. I wonder if the FIA steward saw Alonso’s mechanics swapping the tires??

  11. GIVE HIM A PENALTY, A RULE BREAK IS A RULE BREAK! GO KIMI!

  12. oliver said on 19th October 2007, 21:04

    First of all, its not the drivers who broke the rules, it was the team. It should actually be a fine for the team, since there was no advantage gained, but in light of cries from some parts of the world, the FIA may find it hard coming up with the right decision.

    In some way, I almost get the feeling that Mclared did it on purpose.

    …..Ron Dennis: “I just hope the stewards don’t take the constructors’ championship points away – oh, wait, they’ve already done that!”….

    Their purpose being, as Hobbitland said, probably to give Alonso the championship, leaving Hamilton with the moral victory and fired up for the new season. Also, Ecclestone says he wants Hamilton to win, because its good for marketing, well Ecclestone and the FIA can sort it out.

  13. Steve said on 19th October 2007, 21:12

    Championships are decided over the course of a season and the teams and drivers all play to the same rules.
    Of course, depending on who you support there appears to be favouritism for one party or another and sometimes teams will get away with pushing the rules until they are found out.
    Once an event is over, the result stands so I would expect some kind of penalty. All events have some impact on the Championship no matter which part of the season they happen. It would be unfortunate to happen at the end of the season, but the team AND driver should know the rules and not drop the ball as it were.

  14. All the drivers throughout the season have been rightfully punished for breaking rules where that has happened – eg Massa getting blackflagged in one race for emerging from the pit lane when there was a red light, in safety car conditions. Officials shouldn’t be swayed by the fact that this is the last race of the season – the opposite, in fact. They must ensure things run exactly as per usual; anything else would be clear bias towards the rule-breaking drivers. If it was Alonso who had broken the tyre rules, or Raikkonen, we would expect exactly the same to happen; for the drivers to be considered for a penalty. It would seem that a penalty OUGHT to be the outcome; what are rules for if breaking them goes without punishment? Clearly, this is the opposite of being discriminatory to Hamilton; it is a question of ensuring equable treatment for all drivers over the entire course of the season. The performance advantage gained from using an extra set of the wrong tyres – and Hamilton would be aware of them being on the car and has a duty to know the rules or take the punishment for not doing so – may be hard for us to judge on the outside but you can’t have one rule for many people’s favoured candidate in the last race of the season, and another for all the drivers. But perhaps the FIA will be cowardly and bow to the public pressure around Hamilton, and let him go free; Schumacher sometimes got away with murder because of his perceived status in the sport. it would be a pity if it were so. Some of us are Raikkonen fans, eg – or Alonso fans! – and it’s unfair on everyone else to give preferential treatment to Hamilton.

  15. Incidentally, far from being something that detracts from the race being decided properly and ‘in the race’, it would be the opposite, if a punishment is given out as you’d think has got to be the result: F1 is always about the stuff that goes on on the track in the run-up to race day. Drivers getting dropped ten places for an infringement in qualifying, like making an engine change, staying out the wrong number of laps, blocking their team-mate, blocking someone else…or getting a penalty for not doing the right thing in free practice (as in this case), this is all standard stuff that happens virtually race by race. It is absolutely par for the course that the race outcome should be affected by what’s going on in the run-up; normal. It’s actually a sign of Hamilton and his colleagues’ lack of care that they let it happen in the last race; just one of a few little errors that have crept in on Hamilton’s side over the last handful of races, bringing out that despite his continual level of extremely high achievement this season, he is a rookie, and the little mistakes could, as you’d expect, add up to lose him victory…

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