Investigation could jeopardise Raikkonen’s title (update 3)

Nico Rosberg, Robert Kubica, Interlagos, 2007 | Andrew Ferraro / LAT PhotographicThree cars are under investigation having failed post-race checks in the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Nico Rosberg’s Williams and the BMWs of Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld failed post-race inspections of their fuel temperatures.

Were at least two the the three disqualified, and the drivers behind them promoted in the points standings, Lewis Hamilton would be world champion instead of Kimi Raikkonen.

The BMW and Williams cars were found to have fuel ten degrees cooler than the regulations allow. Fuel temperature can affect how much fuel can be fit into the cars’ tanks.

Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard were disqualified from first and second in the 1995 Brazilian Grand Prix when it was found their fuel did not match the sample given to the FIA.

The appeal court ruled that Schumacher and Coulthard would keep their drivers’ points, as they had gained no advantage from the fuel, but the constructors lost their points. Were that precedent used in the handling of this case, Raikkonen would keep the championship.

Whatever happens, were the championship to change hands hours after the chequered flag had fallen, it would not improve F1′s reputation after another controversial season.

Update: Further details. Article 6.5.5 of the Formula 1 Technical Regulations states “no fuel on board the car may be more than 10C below ambient temperature”.

The air temperature at the track was 37C and Nick Heidfeld’s fuel temperature at his two pits stops was measured at 24C and 25C. The other three cars (including Kazuki Nakajima’s Williams, which did not finish in the points) were also found to have fuel that was cooler than is allowed at other points during the race.

At 11.30pm British time (8.30pm at the circuit) the stewards are still deliberating.

Update 2: It has been confirmed that the fuel tested was illegal throughout the race, but no penalty has yet been announced.

Nick Heidfeld’s fuel was 13C lower than ambient temperatures at his first stop and 12C lower at his second stop. Robert Kubica’s fuel was 14C, 13C and 13C below at his three stops. Nico Rosberg’s 13C and 12C at his two stops. Kazuki Nakajima’s was 12C below at his first stop but at his second stop it was inside the 10-degree limit.

Update 3: Certain sites are running unconfirmed reports that the original results will stand. Still awaiting official confirmation.

Photo: Andrew Ferraro / LAT Photographic

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27 comments on Investigation could jeopardise Raikkonen’s title (update 3)

  1. Scott Joslin said on 22nd October 2007, 0:29

    Eric it is a performance issue not safety, if the fuel is cooler, then they can get more in during the pit stops, hence gain an advantage on other teams. I am expecting the FIA to keep the same result, however I wonder would they have had to take so much time had this race been earlier in the year – I think not, they would have disqualified all 3 in an instant!

  2. Andy J said on 22nd October 2007, 0:36

    doesnt it strike you all as odd that two very separate teams are involved in this??? I hope, for the sports sake, that it turns out to be an error in the test equipment/procedure.. I wanted Hamilton to win, but not this way.

  3. “Certain sites…”

    any more details? Eurosport seem pretty confident in declaring no penalties. are they usually a reliable source? i’ve no idea.

  4. Scott Joslin said on 22nd October 2007, 0:45

    Grand Prix.com

  5. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 22nd October 2007, 0:46

    At the moment I can see four sites reporting that, including one in Spanish and one in Finnish, but they don’t give any details to give me any confidence that they actually know what’s happened and they aren’t just guessing.

    No hard details, no link love from me :-)

  6. cheers. tis’ tough work being a formula 1 fan in ’07 isn’t it?

  7. from the renault blog:

    “It’s 9.50 on Sunday evening, I’ve just been texted to tell me that no penalty has been incurred by BMW and Williams.”

    http://en.blog.ing-renaultf1.com/en/index.php?post/2007/10/21/2007-Brazilian-GP%3A-Waaaahhhhoooouuuu#c95142

  8. Daniel said on 22nd October 2007, 0:55

    Well, i believe that they will not be punished. There is no clear advantage of performance (cars get heavier and tyres grain more so they get slower) and there were previous cases were the drivers weren’t punished. Even so, i should remember that in the last investigation before this one, the drivers weren’t punished!

    Congratulations for the title Kimi (even if it’s only in the track)

  9. What if they had the custom air-con units set to full chill in the boxes, then the fuel while fuelling could easoly be 20C :)

  10. Good grief – can this season get any madder?

    Just when I was thinking how well the stewards had done: not punishing Massa for his extra lap, not bringing out the safety car unnecessarily, nothing that could be interpreted as favouring any driver!

    I really hope that nothing comes of this. Really.

  11. openwheelfan said on 22nd October 2007, 2:35

    It can never be easy can it. But if they did have fuel temps 10 degrees or more lower it does add to the horsepower of the car. I hate to say this but if it is true than they should be disqualified. I think the steward do not want to change the outcome they are going to let McLaren appeal (which they did) and let someone else decide. It is my opinion that if this race was in the middle or the beginning of the season or for that matter if the outcome of their decision would not be earth moving the Sauber BMWs and the Williams would (and should) be disqualified. Now this is a real sh***y way for Hamilton to win, but cheating is cheating

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