Hamilton joins Senna, Prost, Schumacher and others who had F1 wins confiscated

Hamilton joins the likes of Senna and Schumacher - by losing a win after the race

Hamilton joins the likes of Senna and Schumacher - by losing a win after the race

Lewis Hamilton will have to hand over his Belgian Grand Prix winner’s trophy to Felipe Massa (appeal pending).

It will be small comfort to him that plenty of other drivers have had wins taken off them in the past. Alain Prost, Michael Schumacher and others have lost race wins after the chequered flag. More encouragingly for Hamilton, a small number of them got their wins back

However by my reckoning only one driver has lost a win because of a racing incident, rather than a technical infringement or stewards’ mistake: Ayrton Senna. Here’s a look at some of these controversial races:

1976: James Hunt, McLaren, Spanish Grand Prix, Jarama

In 1976 F1’s governing body began setting limits on the dimensions of the cars. They used the McLaren M23 as the reference for the maximum width, because it was the widest car in F1 at the time. But when the team used a new construction of tyre at Jarama it failed to notice it made the car 1.8cm wider than the regulations allowed, and Hunt was disqualified after winning.

However his win was reinstated on appeal.

1976: James Hunt, McLaren, British Grand Prix, Brands Hatch

Later that same year Hunt was caught up in a crash on the first lap of the British Grand Prix. Ironically, it was triggered by the two Ferraris. Hunt was originally going to be barred from taking part in the re-start in his spare car, but after noisy objections from the crowd the race organisers relented and let him start.

He won the race, but was disqualified afterwards for using his spare car, handing the win to Ferrari’s Niki Lauda.

1980: Didier Pironi, Ligier, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal

Didier Pironi crossed the finishing line at Montreal in 1980 about 40 seconds before Alan Jones’s Williams. But Pironi had been given a 60 second penalty for jumping the start which dropped him to third behind Jones and Carlos Reutemann in the other Williams.

1982: Nelson Piquet, Brabham, and Keke Rosberg, Williams, Brazilian Grand Prix, Jacarepagua

FIA rule enforcement at its most bonkers. After an especially hot and gruelling Brazilian Grand Prix (Piquet collapsed on the podium) Piquet and Rosberg were disqualified because their teams had been using ‘water-cooled brakes’ as a means of getting around the minimum weight regulations.

Their disqualification promoted Alain Prost’s Renault into first place. Behind him were John Watson (McLaren) and Nigel Mansell (Lotus), both of whom were also using ‘water cooled brakes’ but were not disqualified. Given how close Watson came to beating Rosberg to the championship, a major embarrassment was only narrowly avoided.

1985: Alain Prost, McLaren, San Marino Grand Prix, Imola

In 1985 refuelling was not allowed, turbo engines were thirsty, fuel tank size was restricted, and the technology used to monitor fuel levels was crude. At races where the rate of fuel consumption was high cars would often run out of petrol in the final laps.

Prost’s McLaren just made it across the line on dregs of fuel at Imola in 1985. But he had so little fuel left in the car it fell underweight, he was disqualified, and victory went to Elio de Angelis in the Lotus. The disqualification rankled with Prost, and he has said he feels he has won 52 races instead of 51. Including, of course, that controversial Brazil ’82 win.

1989: Ayrton Senna, McLaren, Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka

One of F1’s great controversies. Senna was trying to pass team mate Alain Prost on lap 47 when Prost turned in on him. The pair interlocked wheels and slithered off the road (perhaps this is what would have happened if Hamilton had not driven off the track at Spa last weekend?)

Prost got out of his car and retired – he knew that with Senna out of the race he would be champion. Undeterred, Senna re-gained the circuit via an escape road, pitted for a new front wing, caught new leader Allessandro Nannini, and won the race.

Or so we thought. But the stewards chose to disqualify Senna for missing out part of the track. McLaren appealed the decision but found themselves asked to answer a series of additional charges when they confronted the FIA. Senna’s disqualification stood, and Prost became champion.

1990: Gerhard Berger, McLaren, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal

In a bizarre repeat of circumstances at the same track a decade earlier, Berger was the winner ‘on the road’ but a 60s penalty for jumping the start left him fourth. Team mate Senna collected the win.

1994: Michael Schumacher, Benetton, Belgian Grand Prix, Spa-Francorchamps

Having led all but one lap of the 1994 Belgian Grand Prix it was particularly galling for Schumacher to be disqualified for excessive wear on the plank on the underside of his car. The planks had been introduced by the FIA earlier in the year to force the teams to run higher ride heights for safety reasons.

Benetton argued the wear had been caused by Schumacher’s spin across the kerbs on the exit of Fagnes. But their appeal against the exclusion failed and Damon Hill inherited the win. Others suggested that the changing conditions throughout the weekend and lack of data on running with the planks caused Benetton to set Schumacher’s ride height too low.

1995: Michael Schumacher, Benetton, and David Coulthard, Williams, Brazilian Grand Prix, Interlagos

The Renault-powered duo of Schumacher and Coulthard were originally excluded because of fuel irregularities. But on appeal the FIA chose to give the drivers their points back, but not the teams. The rationale was that a technical breach had been committed but no advantage had been gained by the drivers.

This unusual decision was not seen again until last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix, when McLaren were stripped of their constructors’ points following the infamous qualifying incident.

1999: Eddie Irvine and Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, Malaysian Grand Prix, Sepang

Another famous controversy. Ferrari had finished one-two in the inaugural Malaysian Grand Prix but after the race both drivers were disqualified because their barge boards were deemed to be 1cm outside the tolerances allowed by the regulations. This meant Mika Hakkinen was the winner not only of the race but also the world championship.

On appeal Ferrari convinced the FIA that the barge boards had not been accurately measured by the Malaysian Grand Prix stewards and were in fact legal. The FIA accepted this claim, reinstated the Ferraris, leaving the final round to decide the championship.

McLaren’s Ron Dennis felt the stewards had allowed Ferrari to get away with a deliberate misinterpretation of the rules in order to guarantee an exciting championship finale:

I believe, along with probably every technical director in Formula One, that the manufacturing tolerance referred to under article 3.12.6 of the Technical Regulations has no bearing on any other aspect of the car other than the vertical flatness of the horizontal surfaces that form the underside of the vehicle. We think the push for our sport has inevitably become quite commercial. Everybody wants to have an exciting race in Japan, but I think that the price we have paid for that one race is too great.

Read more about the 1999 Malaysian Grand Prix

2003: Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren, Brazilian Grand Prix, Interlagos

The final example concerns a driver and team who hadn’t actually broken any rules at all – instead the FIA stewards were at fault in failing to follow the rules correctly.

The 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix was red-flagged to an early halt following a severe crash for Fernando Alonso. This came shortly after Giancarlo Fisichella had passed Kimi Raikkonen for the lead. However the rules for stopping the race meant that the final positions would be those on the lap before the race was halted. This, they felt, meant Raikkonen was the winner.

However it was only when they studied replays of the race and timing data afterwards that they accepted Fisichella had complete one more lap than they initially realised. Therefore he was in fact the winner, and Raikkonen handed over the winner’s trophy to him at the following round at Imola. It was Fisichella’s first and Jordan’s last Grand Prix win.

Can you remember any other instances where drivers lost F1 wins after the race? Which of these did you think was particularly fair or foul? have your say in the comments.

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54 comments on Hamilton joins Senna, Prost, Schumacher and others who had F1 wins confiscated

  1. Drew i agree with you but even as an attendee of the race and a fan of Hamilton (and top racing drivers in general, though i wear a Mclaren beanie at races) i think Hamilton did stretch the laws somewhat. Its a trait that most of the greats have, i.e. the presence of mind to be imaginative with the rules in the heat of the battle.

    I think Hamilton dipped out and then back in too quickly, it was almost one movement and although im sure i’ll get criticised for it, i think the officials have grounds for making the decision to penalise him. Its not relevant that he wouldve taken Kimi anyway or that the track conditions favoured the Mclaren, he left room for doubt and that doubt was called.

    Its very easy to criticise officials, they are faceless bureaucrats but they are almost certainly fans of the sport and aware of the ramifications a wrong decision will have.

    Was it a great race, yes? does the decision ruin it? for me, no, i went and feel priveliged and lucky to have witnessed it. DOes it mean the climax of the season will be even more exciting, yes.

    So there it is, its an imperfect world, lets get on with it and thank our lucky stars a driver like hamilton is there to fight and inspire, not roll round like a Ralph Schumacher picking up 4 points and settling for it.

  2. Ian Phillips, Director of Business Affairs at Force India, the team that use FERRARI´S ENGINES, has made a great point on a sidepodcast.

    “Lewis — again, this is what we have to state — was mature, because I think it was coming into, was it the last chicane? And he got squeezed by Räikkönen. He was right alongside him — actually… almost in front. Räikkönen squeezed him and made him take the short cut. And you’re not allowed to take that short cut. Well, you can, but you mustn’t gain position.

    And of course he came out alongside Räikkönen. But he had the presence of mind straight away — because I don’t think anybody could have told him — he let Räikkönen come alongside. Then he actually let him go in front and pull in front of him. So they went nose to tail. But by the time they got to La Source, he was having another go at him! And it was extraordinary stuff.

    But that moment was real maturity and professionalism when he was forced by Räikkönen to cut that chicane and I thought that was great presence of mind. Because he could have thought, “I’ve got this in the bag.” Now that would have been a stewards’ inquiry and that would have been a problem for him.
    To my mind he behaved perfectly correctly and did the right thing. I think by then he knew he’d got the upper-hand. I think he’d been frightening Räikkönen. “I’m coming, I’m coming, I’m coming.” And the guy [Kimi Räikkönen] is saying, “Where’s he coming from?!”…

    I think the view of the entire paddock is that Lewis is entirely innocent of anything that’s happened in that motor race. He was an absolute hero. Räikkönen was the man making mistakes and ultimately went and threw it in the wall anyway.

    But, this is Formula 1. In seven days’ time we’ll be talking from Monza, the home of Ferrari, the reigning world champions. So I won’t predict the outcome of the stewards’ inquiry.”

    (Transcribed by DUNCAN STEPHEN in his blog:
    http://vee8.doctorvee.co.uk/2008/09/09/another-opinion-on-the-incident/ )

  3. i dont think that quote shows much becken and he was told by his team to back off though im sure he wouldve done anyway. the point is if he was mature and had realised hed got him, then hed have said to himself, i’ll wait and give the stewards no opportunity to say i gained from cutting the corner. if im that much quicker now its wet then it’ll be easy. he didnt and so he got penalised. having said all that i cant wait to see what happens if a non mclaren team do the same thing.

    on a slightly different theme,answer me this. does furore and controversy generate more headlines and coverage than a great race?

  4. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 10th September 2008, 16:40

    The point is if he was mature and had realised hed got him, then hed have said to himself, i’ll wait and give the stewards no opportunity to say i gained from cutting the corner.

    I think that’s exactly what he did do. He gave Raikkonen the place back. Based on past cases I don’t think he had any grounds to expect a penalty.

    Still, just to be sure, McLaren asked the race director twice and he said it was OK. Twice. And they still got a penalty. It’s beyond daft.

  5. yep but if you watch it, he let Kimi through and then went to re pass in one movement. not wise as it has turned out. it serves no one to just say “it/they are daft” – you have to ask why competent and intelligent people would come to that conclusion. I think they based it on something id probably, on reflection, not support but would equally not think it daft that others disagreed.

    Its a pity because it was a great move on Kimi and equally great was them both managing to miss ROsberg a corner or so later.

  6. The petition now stands at 42983. not bad, but more people think Jeremy Clarkson should be prime minister so the whole thing should be taken with a pinch of salt

  7. Kimi was making his best race oh the year and…

    The first Lewis outbraking, was a humiliating one.
    Lewis was in slightly in front of Kimi at the final braking point. Then Kimi goes for it and squeezed Hamilton that needed to cut the chicane.

    The position devolution and final like the mice and rat and the final outbraking looke highly humiliating again. For things like that, Senna, was once punished in Suzuka when he made that humiliating overtoking over Prost, (he was something like tenth or twenty meters behind)…There is a well known German driver that was also hated by oddest things lie that.

  8. Ronald said:
    “…McLaren are lucky to be in the championship this year. i think the 100 million fine they got last year was the best that could happen to them. my opinion was to get them barred for a year or two and relegate them to GP2 or something…”
    Fine, Ronald. You have a good point here, perhaps the FIA should have banned McLaren for the present season.

    BUT the fact is that they didn’t. Don’t you think that if the FIA allowed them, they humbly paid the fine and apologized, and nobody else protested, the matter should be settled now that THIRTEEN GPs have been raced in the current season?

    Do you think that the way of dealing with the spying scandal is to allow the team to race again and then to strip them of their championship points if they are threatening to win it? Will it perhaps do any good to the racing sport? Don’t fool ourselves, two wrongs don’t make a right…

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