Lewis Hamilton stripped of Belgian GP win – another asinine FIA decision


Felipe Massa has been given the Belgian Grand Prix win by the stewards

Felipe Massa has been given the Belgian Grand Prix win by the stewards

Lewis Hamilton has had his victory in the Belgian Grand Prix taken away from him by the Belgian Grand Prix stewards.

The stewards added 25 seconds to his race time for cutting the chicane while battling with Kimi Raikkonen, leaving him third behind Nick Heidfeld.

This is an absolute travesty of a decision which mocks the notion that the FIA stewards are fair arbiters of the sport.

Hamilton cut the chicane on lap 42 of the race while alongside Raikkonen. Raikkonen forced Hamilton off the track by swerving across the front of the McLaren. Hamilton had been entirely alongside the Ferrari going into the corner.

Hamilton then let Raikkonen past him and re-took the Ferrari driver at the following corner. Despite taking the standard course of action to let Raikkonen regain his position, the stewards have stripped Hamilton of his win.

After letting Raikkonen re-pass him, Hamilton was no closer to the Ferrari driver than he had been before they went into the chicane. I do not agree any advantage was gained by Hamilton.

I also think it is disgraceful the stewards feel Raikkonen was not at fault in forcing another driver off the track. A similar piece of driving at Eau Rouge or Blanchimont could have lethal consequences.

Whether the stewards have done this to keep the championship close or keep their friends at Ferrari happy, this is an utterly lamentable decision.

It comes only two weeks after the stewards avoided stripping Felipe Massa of a win at Valencia for a clear infringement of the rules. This very weekend we saw further evidence that decision was bogus.

It is quite clear Ferrari can rely on the FIA to give them a favourable hearing at appeals.


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430 comments on Lewis Hamilton stripped of Belgian GP win – another asinine FIA decision

  1. LongTimeF1Fan said on 9th September 2008, 12:18

    Shahriar asked: ““Advantage gained should be given back FOR ONE LAP” <
    Is it true?”

    No. The rule says nothing about distance or time.

  2. Alianora La Canta said on 9th September 2008, 12:37

    In fact, the rule says nothing about mitigation action of any kind. In theory, Hamilton could have stopped, eaten a picnic and discovered his engine wouldn’t start afterwards and still been penalised.

  3. Alianora La Canta said on 9th September 2008, 12:39

    The trouble with writing the rule that way is about 15 other drivers technically broke the same rule without penalty (there’s nothing in Article 30.3 that says that leaving the track without gaining a sporting advantage is permitted either).

  4. Steven Roy said on 9th September 2008, 13:18

    Had Lewis braked at the chicane he would have spun and probably taken Kimi out. In the wet on a bend in an F1 car near a kerb applying the brakes would be stupid. Lewis took the sensible approach to avoid a collision.

    Going over the finish line Lewis was travelling 6km/h slower than Kimi and went completely behind him. Going slower and being behind a driver seems to me like giving up any advantage. At this point when he was behind Kimi he was not slipstreaming him. There is no slipstream effect until two or more car lengths behind a car in front. Picture cars running in the wet and think of where the rooster tails are. Lewis was in the area where the air is travelling upwards and backwards and is incredibly turbulent. This would have caused instability in his aerodynamics and would have done nothing for his grip.

    The only reason he attacked Kimi into La Source was because Kimi took a slow wide entry into the corner as if he was the only car on the road. Had Kimi taken a more sensible line there would not have been a gap to attack.

    Live on Italian TV Cesare Fiorio who used to run Ferrari was incensed by the penalty. He said it ruined the best race of the decade. If someone who used to run Ferrari can not only disagree with it but get genuinely angry I find it hard to understand how anyone else can make any kind of case for it.

  5. Steven Roy said on 9th September 2008, 13:21

    Kimi it should be pointed out went way into a run off area at one of the fast left handers and found a lot of grip presumably due to no rubber being there which is a bonus in the wet. He came out of it right on Lewis tail despite being at leat 10 metres off the track. No punishment or comment from the stewards was made on that incident.

  6. @ @ mail123456;

    Why should any other driver opinions matter…ie Michael Schumacher?

    It wasnt him or any other team or driver who made the decision

  7. LongTimeF1Fan said on 9th September 2008, 14:24

    Steven Roy said: “he was behind Kimi he was not slipstreaming him. There is no slipstream effect until two or more car lengths behind a car in front”.

    This is not the case.

    When two cars are travelling together in close proximity the lead car is pushing through the air and at the rear of that car the air pressure is lower. The air may be turbulent but it is being sucked along by the first car. The second car is therefore driving into air that is already moving in the direction of travel and thus the ‘wind resistance’ is reduced. This allows the car behind to travel with less resistance. The further apart the two cars are the less the advantage in terms of straight line speed gained by the rear car. Look at nascar for an example. The issue of down-force is different. In a straight line the cars want as little down-force as possible as down-force caused more ‘rolling resistance’ due to the extra ‘weight’ put through the tyres and the more ‘wing’ (angle away form horizontal to the ground) the more drag is created and therefore the greater the aerodynamic drag. When cornering the car needs more down-force to increase the grip of the tyres.

    However, in this case LH was on the left side of KR out of ‘The BusStop’ and only very briefly was in the slipstream as he passed behind KR to move to the right of him. The amount of ‘tow’ was insignificant and would not have made up for the 6km/h speed difference

  8. mail123456 said on 9th September 2008, 14:45

    @KB – actually there is no reason to listen or believe any of them, since FIA have stewards that make the decision (right on not), BUT they like everyone of us are spectators and again BUT they have actual experience driving Formula 1 car …
    If Michael Schumacher like to speak about this we will knew what he thinks also. Actually I think that some (or most) of current drivers will be with stewards (Massa, Kimi and Trully make some point on results) – FIA effect – If you talk to much this is bad. You have to say every time the same boring phrases and from couple of years we actually never hear anything interesting on these conferences. There is nothing wrong to say something. But to say nothing like stewards did is wrong. To give 2 paragraphs where “gaining advantage” missing, and to make people waiting hours before make decision is also bad. How we know what they thought when make a decision since we have one sheet of paper with 3 signatures and 2 paragraphs about leaving a track …

  9. theRoswellite said on 9th September 2008, 14:47

    (…sorry, have not read all 394 entries…however)

    I’m disappointed that, among other things, chicanes of this type are constructed in such a manner that it is possible to obtain an advantage on the road after having cut across them. Is it impossible to design a barrier that would physically slow the cars, without launching them in the air? I’m not a civil or mechanical engineer, but I can think of a few possibilities, so there must be some functional way to achieve such a goal. Many of our “human problems” could be avoided by a more functional design in our interactive world. Sorry if this post doesn’t display the requisite level of emotional outrage. (I’m still numb after last years McLaren/Ferrari imbroglio.)

  10. Steven Roy said on 9th September 2008, 14:50

    My understanding has always been that the first 10 metres(ish) behind a car is effectively a high pressure area due to the flow from the diffuser, beam wing and rear wing converging and rising. In something like NASCAR where there are no sophisticated aero devices I know there is bump drafting where cars which are in contact can slipsteam but that is not my understanding of what happens in modern F1 cars.

    I would have thought the only possible advantage being in that area would have may be a slight intake ram effect from the rooster tail hitting the airbox above the driver’s head.

    Either way as you said he was not in that position for anything like long enough to make up the 6km/h.

  11. LongTimeF1Fan said on 9th September 2008, 15:24

    Steven Roy said “the first 10 metres(ish) behind a car is effectively a high pressure area due to the flow from the diffuser, beam wing and rear wing converging and rising.”

    If this is the case, why is it that newer articulated lorries have extensions on the front of the trailers to minimise the gap between the tractor unit and the trailer? the reason is to maximise the slipstreaming effect on the trailer. Modern tractor units also have a “spoiler”/”rear wing” mounted on the top of the cab to diffuse the air-flow over the tractor unit to disrupt the air so as to cause less drag from the trailer. this causes a low pressure area. This is also the reason that lorry drivers travel in convoy in close proximity to each other. The closer they are the less air the second, third, etc. vehicle has to push out of the way and the lower the fuel bill for the trip!

    With an F1 car (or any moving object for that matter) the air is pushed out of the way by the car. This increases the pressure of the air above, below and beside the car. As soon as the car is out of the way the air behind rushes in to fill the void (low pressure area) left by the car moving out of the way. The air rushes in to fill the low pressure area with air from the high pressure areas above, below and beside the path of the car.

  12. LongTimeF1Fan said on 9th September 2008, 15:32

    Just to add to my last comment, here’s a web site that explains it: http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Slipstreaming#Drafting_in_motorsport

  13. William Wilgus said on 9th September 2008, 15:50

    Read my post # 185 in the Seven Reasons Why So Many F1 Fans . . .

  14. LongTimeF1Fan said on 9th September 2008, 16:12

    For those people who think that KR gave LH room in the left hand part of the chicane: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3s2mgukB9Y

  15. Ferrari Inside Association (FIA)

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