Hamilton penalty: The trial (Poll)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton will be in Paris tomorrow to appeal against his Belgian GP penalty
Lewis Hamilton will be in Paris tomorrow to appeal against his Belgian GP penalty

Lewis Hamilton’s penalty in the Belgian Grand Prix has provoked unprecedented levels of debate and discussion on F1 Fanatic – nearly 900 comments spread across four articles.

Tomorrow the World Motor Sports Council meets to pass judgement on McLaren’s appeal against the penalty. Will they change the stewards’ verdict? Will the penalty be decided on a technicality? Here’s a look at what to expect from the trial – plus a vote on what the outcome should be.

An unusual appeal

It’s very rare to see an appeal about a stewards’ verdict on a racing matter to be the subject of an appeal. The majority of recent hearings have concerned technical infringements and other matters, such as ‘spygate’.

McLaren’s track record

However appeals brought by or concerning McLaren are much more common. And their track record is… not good:

May 30th, 2007: FIA investigate McLaren for allegedly using team orders to keep Lewis Hamilton behind Fernando Alonso in the Monaco Grand Prix. McLaren found not guilty.

July 26th, 2007: FIA investigate McLaren after Ferrari accuses them of illegally using their intellectual property. FIA does not punish McLaren, but…

September 13th, 2007: Ferrari appeal against McLaren’s spygate case victory. McLaren fined $100m and have their constructors’ championship points confiscated, for bringing the sport into disrepute.

November 16th, 2007: McLaren appeal against Williams and BMW for using fuel of an illegal temperature during the Brazilian Grand Prix. FIA decides the appeal is inadmissible.

December 12th, 2007: McLaren appeal against Renault for using confidential McLaren information. Renault found guilty but no penalty imposed.

The rules

There were similar recriminations after Klien was passed by Alonso at Suzuka in 2005
There were similar recriminations after Klien was passed by Alonso at Suzuka in 2005

As has been discussed at length elsewhere, there is no written rule that states ‘a driver who overtakes a rival by cutting a corner must let their rival past and not overtake them at the following corner.” If there was, this matter would be a lot simpler!

Hamilton was originally punished under Appendix L to the International Sporting Code (Chapter IV, Article 2.g) which reads:

The race track alone shall be used by the drivers during the race.

See the Sporting Regulations and International Sporting Code for more.

But of course, not every driver who goes off the track gets a 25-second penalty. Therefore, we have to look at past precedent to understand what a driver is expected to do if they go off the track.


I don’t know of any past instances where a driver has passed another by cutting a chicane, given the place back, re-taken the place at the next corner, and subsequently been given a 25 second penalty.

The closest example to this I can think of was when Fernando Alonso passed Christian Klien by cutting the chicane at Suzuka in 2005. Alonso gave the place back, but then passed Klien at the next corner. He was initially instructed to give the place back, but the stewards then changed their minds and decided he didn’t have to (although by the time they got around to telling Renault, Alonso had already conded the place back to Klien).

This example is discussed in detail here and based on that it seems McLaren were expecting race control to tell them if they needed to give the place back to Raikkonen.

Since the Spa incident the FIA has issued a ‘clarification’ stating:

Drivers [have been] informed that in the event of a driver cutting a chicane and gaining a position, he not only [has] to give that place back but should also wait for another corner before he [can] attempt to retake it.

A crucial point of the hearing will be whether this instruction has been communicated to the drivers before. There does not appear to be any precedent which indicates it has (though as ever if you know of one please post details in the comments). Mosley seems to think there is (emphasis added):

The primary mistake in my view was the team’s. The team should have decided on precedent, and from everything they know, what advice to give [Hamilton]. I’m not going to express an opinion but the correct procedure was for the team to decide what to tell their driver.

Will the appeal be decided on a ‘technicality’?

Jarno Trulli got off on a technicality in 2001
Jarno Trulli got off on a technicality in 2001

Many appeals to the FIA end up being dismissed on technicalities. Most recently, the FIA threw out McLaren’s appeal against BMW and Williams on a technicality after waiting 25 days to hear the case despite the drivers’ title depending on the result of it.

In 2001 Jordan won its appeal against Jarno Trulli’s disqualification from the United States Grand Prix by showing that one of the stewards’ signatures was missing from the official text of the original decision.

A frivolous appeal?

The FIA can throw out appeals it considers “frivolous”. Max Mosley’s reaction to the appeal suggests this outcome is not out of the question:

My immediate reaction was this is going to waste a great deal of everybody’s time. Which is true, it’s what always happens. A tiny incident and it takes up hours of your time.

Writing in the Autosport Journal (sub. req.), Tony Dodgins argued why the FIA might throw the appeal out as ‘frivolous’:

An appeal court might conclude that in light of the Alonso precedent, McLaren’s appeal is actually frivolous.

However, Dodgins’ description of the ‘Alonso precedent’ appears to overlook the fact the stewards eventually told Alonso he didn’t need to give the place back. (Details here).

On one of the last occasions I can recall a penalty like this being a subject of an appeal, the FIA increased the penalty to the driver concerned. Eddie Irvine was originally given a one-race ban for his part in a crash in the 1994 Brazilian Grand Prix, but after his appeal the ban was extended to three races, because the FIA deemed the appeal ‘frivolous’.


Just as with the Williams/BMW fuel protest last year, there are questions over whether McLaren can appeal against the penalty. Hamilton’s 25-second penalty was served instead of a drive-through penalty because the infringement occurred so late in the race. Drive-though penalties during races cannot be appealed.

I’ve had a look at the regulations and I can’t find a part that says why McLaren’s appeal would be inadmissible. (See the links to the regulations above if you want to have a look).

The role of Charlie Whiting

McLaren has pointed out that it twice asked race director Charlie Whiting whether Hamilton had done enough to cede the place back to Raikkonen, and Whiting twice affirmed they had. Mosley had the following to say about that:

I think there were two mistakes made there. One is that McLaren should not have asked Charlie. The second is that he should not have answered. […] Charlie is in one of the most high-pressured situations and in that situation the teams should not answer him and he should not answer them because he is not in a position to give even the beginnings of a considered opinion. So there were two mistakes made. […] What I think Charlie said was: ‘I think it was OK’. At least that’s what I’ve been told. I’m not there and that will be for the court to decide. It’s all going to the court of appeal and it’s all open to the press.

The role of Whiting in the matter is a debatable point. Clearly in 2005 race control were involved in instructing Alonso whether to give the position back to Klien or not, which is presumably why McLaren wanted to clear the move with Whiting.

The Mosley factor

Mosley has been scathing of the coverage the incident has received in Britain. His relationship with his home nation’s press has already been tarnished this year after revelations about his participation in sadomasochistic sex orgies. Will this colour his view on whether Hamilton should get a penalty?

There is debate over what role Mosley plays in taking decisions to begin with. At Spa the stewards that decided to penalise Hamilton were Nicholas Deschaux, Surinder Thatthi and Yves Bacquelaine. Their positions are filled by different people at each race weekend.

However the only steward that asked Hamilton any questions during the deliberations was Alan Donnelly, the FIA’s representative who attends every race meeting. Questions are being asked about how close the communication was between Donnelly and Mosley, and Donnelly’s suitability for such a role given his past work for another team.

If noting else, the appeal might at least serve as a starting point for a debate on whether F1’s racing rules should be written down properly, instead of leaving them to unclear and often contradictory ‘precedents’ and poorly-communicated ‘clarifications’. Drivers and fans alike deserve better.

The poll

What SHOULD be the outcome of Hamilton's appeal

  • Hamilton should receive a lighter penalty (14%)
  • Hamilton should receive a harsher penalty (7%)
  • Hamilton should receive no penalty (56%)
  • The FIA should throw out the appeal (24%)

Total Voters: 693

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The hearing starts at 10am tomorrow (Monday).

100 comments on “Hamilton penalty: The trial (Poll)”

  1. First! The comments on this thread will make for some VERY interesting reading, tomorrow.

    I think Hamilton SHOULD get a lighter penalty (which would allow him to get his win back), but his appeal WILL probably get thrown out. That’s my guess.

  2. Alianora La Canta
    21st September 2008, 11:54

    I believe Hamilton should get no penalty at all, given that:

    a) the whole thing started when he was brake-tested by Raikkonen, or at least when Raikkonen braked extremely early for no good reason I could see (I didn’t realise this until ITV showed a complete view of the incident in the Monza build-up). In other words, Hamilton was reacting to Raikkonen breaking the regulations. Due to the delay in spotting this, Kimi cannot be punished for his actions, but if he’d taken the corner in a standard defensive manner, Hamilton would have had the option of not breaking the regulation.

    b) The alternative to cutting the chicane was to crash into Raikkonen, which is itself against the regulations and also more harmful to Raikkonen’s performance.

    c) There is nothing in the regulations about gaining an advantage or returning it; all it says is that drivers must stay on the track. Therefore that cannot be used in the FIA’s defence. Especially since it is clear from the fall-out that there never was a consensus about what “getting an advantage” or “returning the advantage” meant.

    d) Most of the grid left the track at least once during the race without the slightest attempt to return the advantage. Some of these did not even occur during the wet final few laps (when the stewards could legitimately say they were too busy discussing the Raikkonen/Hamilton incident). None of them were investigated, let alone punished. None of them could be punished now, but consistency of regulatory application means that neither can Hamilton.

    As a result, the FIA haven’t got a leg to stand on when it comes to punishing Hamilton. Nonetheless, I expect that the penalty will either remain the same or be increased. It does not behoove the FIA to look as if its stewards can ever make a mistake these days because one admission of fault would open the floodgates to the many other questionable decisions they’ve made. In fact, it could irreparably damage the authority of the FIA. If it cannot get a simple thing like the winner right, what is the point of having it?

  3. If Mosley wanted McLaren to use a precedent, then the one you quoted, Alonso and Klien, would be the perfect one, which shows that Lewis did everything he needed to give back the advantage. It seems there was NO clear cut rule as to how long a driver had to wait before overtaking after giving back the advantage, and this “rule” was “clarified” at the race after Spa, indicating that it wasn’t common knowledge and that the FIA appear to make the rules up as they go along. Coupled with the fact that race control gave Dennis clear advice, the only just thing to do would be to restore Lewis’ win that he had ON THE TRACK fair and square in what was one of the most exciting races in F1 history. It isn’t just British newspapers who are behind Lewis; I’ve read articles in American, Australian, and South African newspapers who are equally perplexed by this penalty and think it is madness. I have read comments from Ferrari fans AND Alonso fans (believe it or not) who think the penalty is wrong. The only people who could possibly support the penalty are a. diehard Hamilton-haters (and as we know there are plenty of those around); b. people who know nothing about F1; or c. Max Mosley and the FIA who are notoriously anti-McLaren and I suspect racist too.

    As for whether the penalty will be reversed, I think there is more chance of the moon being made of cheese, because despite F1, being a marvellous sport in many ways, it is blatantly corrupt and unfair and dodgy.

  4. Alianora La Canta
    21st September 2008, 12:05

    As for the rules, they should have been written down clearly to start with. Every other sport I know manages it (and modifies them every so often at need, communicating rule changes to competitors equally clearly). The FIA’s inability to do that for motorsport as a whole is a serious indictment on the legitimacy of its governance.

  5. As far as I’m concerned, Hamilton’s case should be strongly considered since the clarification of the rule (ie, don’t repass at the next corner) was only made after the incident (and is an unwritten rule at that). It seems unfair to punish somebody for a rule that was made after the event. Hamilton’s actions might have pushed the limits of the regulations, but since those regulations did not clearly define what is and isn’t acceptable, you couldn’t argue that he broke a rule.

    Furthermore, whether or not Charlie Whiting made a mistake in giving his opinion to the McLaren team that the move was acceptable, he did communicate that opinion. As the race director, of course McLaren will respect his views and take them as guidance. If Charlie is not entitled to be part of the stewarding process, that should have been made explicitly clear. Before the Belgian Grand Prix, I don’t believe it was.

    And lets not forget that Raikkonen basically forced him off-track.

    I don’t see McLaren winning the appeal though. My hope now is that if Massa wins the championship, he wins it by more than six points so that this whole debacle turns out not to be the deciding factor in this year’s title race.

  6. @Alianora La Canta go back on your meds eh?

    kimi didn’t brake test him, kimi had no temp in his tyres or brakes, every corner he was braking early – he had no choice and that’s a reason why hamilton was able to catch up to him.

    @S Hughes not everyone is against the penalty, i’ve read many articles that support it. just because your a diehard hamilton fan doesnt mean your know everything about f1, or that the decision was right.

    end of the day, hamilton cut the corner and didnt wait 1 corner before attacking again, when he clearly had more speed and could have waited 1 corner to do it.

    too hot headed and too immature to wait.

    on the other hand, massa drove a clean error free race and was gifted a win because hamilton was too hot headed and kimi binned it.

    i hope the penalty sticks and the appeal is thrown out.

    the stewards made the decision with full knowledge they would cop heaps of flack in the media, but they believed it was the right decision, so it was made.

    they know more about the rules, what teams and drivers know, and have more footage to make an educated decision what to do then both of you do.

    lets not debate all of this again, just wait until it’s over and move on.the next race is on in singapore and that’s what’s going to be interesting.

  7. Where ever no written rules exists then appeal exist

  8. @Pete Walker did you see hamilton force someone he wasn’t racing – timo glock off the track in monza for no real reason? he was clearly faster than glock but he pushed him off the track – onto the grass and could have cost glock his race if he binned it.

    kimi and hamilton were fighting for a win, hamilton was just being a prick (unsportsman like driver)

    hamilton is no saint.

    “”I do not know what he was thinking. I was right next to him but he left me no room. Sometimes he drives as though he is completely alone on the track,””


    if you watch that video – and if you remember the race weekend, that long corner was the point of lots of good fair overtaking, some drivers found extra pace on the outside, some on the inside, both respecting and racing to the next corner and fighting under braking, hamilton was the only one being abusive on track.

  9. @abbood – well there’s a rule that says driver through (25 second) penalties cannot be appealed.

  10. another incident which hasnt come up as yet =
    on lap 2 at spa, when hamo spun at la source, kimi went wide in order to avoid an accident – sound familiar – he then drafted hamo through eau rouge and overtook at les combes!
    isnt that a similar offence, in that eau rouge these days is more or less a str8 as there’s no ‘braking’ or ‘lifting’ before it…….
    another point that came to my mind, after hamo passed at la source, half way around the track kimi DID get back in front, even tho he wasnt ‘let’ past, he ‘STILL GOT AHEAD’. kimi then spun, undoing this action but thats not hamo’s fault!
    if the FIA want the sport to seen as fair y not judge the fact of the incident on ‘HOW THE RULE WAS WRITTEN AT THE TIME OF THE FACT!

  11. and thne change it afterwards, that way, they cant be accused of making it all up to suit their preferances!

  12. Guys please remember insulting comments are not allowed and will be deleted, which has happened with this post. Please stick to the topic without insulting each other:

    F1Fanatic Comment Policy
    Rules on commenting (forum post)

  13. Todd: Apart from the fact that your point has nothing to do with the appeal, you are also getting the facts wrong. Hamilton was fighting Glock for position – the video is taken from lap 15 when Hamilton was fighting his way up through the field. It shows that Hamilton was clearly ahead before the first chicane, but Glock sticks his nose inside the Mclaren for the corner, thereby forcing Hamilton to take the outside line. As the driver in the lead, Hamilton would have been within his rights to move to the inside and cause a collision but he allows Glock room.

    In the straight following the chicane, Hamilton is once more ahead but Glock starts to move up alongside; starts, please notice – at no time was he alongside. And this is where you need to read Keith’s post on the unwritten rules of F1. Unwritten rule 3 states: A defending driver can push his rival off the track. Hamilton did not even go that far; he merely closed the door, presenting Glock with the option of backing off or going off the track. It was tough but fair – and no more than Raikkonen had done to him in the second section of the Bus Stop chicane at Spa.

  14. I’ve had a thought about the Glock incident at Monza in relation to Spa.

    A LOT of people suggested that the “Advantage” gained by Hamilton, was that by cutting the Chicane, he was a lot closer to Kimi than he would have been if he had taken the Chicane correctly.

    Well, Glock took the Chicane at Monza correctly and was right up Hamiltons backside 100m later. Which says to me that Hamilton COULD have been that close to Kimi if he had taken the Chicane correctly. Which makes their “what if” argument theory if nothing else.

  15. Don’t forget that Hamilton was ahead of kimi going into the corner(s), and kimi pushed him off… can’t be punished imo. But I’m affraid things won’t change.

  16. michael counsell
    21st September 2008, 15:11

    Depends what the argument is.

    He did commit the offence no doubt about it. If they challenge this they should lose the appeal.

    If they say that Hamilton did lose the advantage later in the lap when Raikkonen passed him after Hamilton was held up by Nakajima maybe the case should be considered.

    The fact he didn’t really intentionally give the position back in the accepted way means he did gain an advantage. This was so close to the end of the race and potentially so crucial means the penalty should probably be maintained, regardless of Kimi’s later mistake which made any pass on him irrelevant.

  17. Guys please remember insulting comments are not allowed and will be deleted, which has happened with this post.

    Nice new commenting tools, keith! Just trying it out there. :)

    Wow, 18 hours before the trial even starts, and everyone’s nuts already! Should be quite the result when it comes out tomorrow night (it will probably take them that long; it usually does).

  18. Alianora La Canta
    21st September 2008, 15:23

    Todd – there’s no rule preventing appeal of drive-throughs, even in-race drive-throughs. It is only the fact that all drive-through penalties have to be taken within three laps that precludes appeals against them. A punishment of that kind cannot be reversed short of turning back time, which nobody’s figured out how to do yet. Since there clearly is time to consider this appeal without irreversible consequences, the penalty can be appealed.

    Also, at the time Hamilton made that move, he was fighting Glock. He might not be fighting him for the championship, but he was fighting him in that part of the race. He was over-aggressive with the move, but that shouldn’t impact on the Spa incident, for they concern two different rules (unless you’re considering Raikkonen pushing Hamilton off, in which case consistency suggests that Hamilton shouldn’t be penalised for something Raikkonen wasn’t penalised for in the previous race).

    Michael, if there was an “accepted way” to give back advantage, it would help. However, the differences between what the drivers thought was acceptable even after the Monza “clarification” indicates that no such way exists. Therefore it cannot be taken into consideration. This is a flaw in the regulations that the FIA needs to fix.

  19. people defending Hamilton remember that the current drivers state he did gain an advantage, you know, people who drive these machines.

    as for the penatly/appeal, Keith had an article stating that one of the stewards were French. Hence not netrual.

  20. Todd – there’s no rule preventing appeal of drive-throughs, even in-race drive-throughs. It is only the fact that all drive-through penalties have to be taken within three laps that precludes appeals against them.

    That’s what I thought.

    Sush – I don’t think anyone’s denying he gained an advantage when he cut the chicane. The question is whether he did enough to give the position back, which is where precedent is vague and rules are non-existent.

  21. @2 It doesn’t matter if Hamilton was going to crash into Kimi, he cut the chicane which is ok to do in that circumstance but didn’t give back the advantage, which is why he was given the penalty.

  22. Sush, the motivation behind the drivers’ willingness to support the appeal should be considered. All those F1 experts and ex-drivers who are not out to gain anything, have all slated the penalty. I don’t think I’ve heard anyone who is not a current driver and yet is an ex-driver or expert or commentator, actually support the appeal. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    Here is a link to an American publication and it just says it all:


  23. To my mind, the very fact that the FIA at Monza clarified exactly what a driver has to do when they have cut a chicane and overtaken another car (ie. give the place back, wait a corner and then try again) suggests that this information was not freely available at the time of Hamilton’s indiscretion at Spa.

    As no-one had this information before the event, either formally or verbally (including, it would seem, Charlie Whiting), Hamilton’s penalty should therefore be reduced – if not quashed altogether.

  24. Jonathan Weighell
    21st September 2008, 16:10

    What the FIA *should* do and what the FIA *will* do are quite different things!

    I personally think he should get at least a lighter penalty, but I very much doubt the FIA will change anything and the penalty will stand as it is.

  25. sush

    The question is not whether he gained an advantage but whether he gave back the advantage he himself (and McLaren) accepted that he’d gained, fairly self-evidently, by cutting the chicane. Since opinion of whether he returned the gain ‘enough’ is very divided, and any decision to penalize therefore marginal at best, I think the stewards should have taken into account factors beyond the narrow window of the incident. As I’ve argued elsewhere, by ignoring Raikkonen’s off-track gaining of advantage and passing under yellow flags, they effectively did take into account a wider factor: namely that Kimi didn’t finish the race anyway.

    The stewards should have considered:
    (a) Hamilton was right behind KR by Blanchmont and level into the chicane.
    (b) Kimi cut him off: a legitimate move but so too was Hamilton’s attempt to overtake.
    (c) LH returned the position as ‘precedent’ demanded (as far as McLaren and Whiting were apparently concerned)
    (d) Whiting confirmed it looked ‘okay’ twice
    (e) The gain was fractions of a second and had no bearing on the eventual result.

    Probably more. For Hamilton’s sake, I’d rather the appeal failed and he goes on to win the WDC anyhow. But seriously, for F1’s sake, I think this decision should be over-ruled to avoid discouraging drivers to overtake even further.

    And telling me that ‘other drivers’ said the penalty was fair just makes me laugh. Massa at Monza was a great example of someone congenitally unable or unwilling to try to overtake even when his rival was passing one after the other. Mediocre drivers will favour this kind of ruling.

  26. Bacardi Breezer
    21st September 2008, 18:33

    Senna was disqualified from the 89 Japanese GP because he rejoined the circuit 10 metres after the chicane where he spun after contact with Prost. That ruling cost Senna the world championship!!! There is no case to answer here……..the current F1 drivers have all clearly stated they felt Hamilton gained an advantage by straightlining the chicane at Spa!! As Massa said, “If Hamilton had followed Raikkonen all the way through the chicane, he would not have been in a position to challenge into the next corner”………..

  27. Angry (albeit, a bit less now)
    21st September 2008, 18:37

    Anonymouse – I agree, it’s all about “what if’s”…

    One factor a lot of people aren’t considering, is the difference in speed and grip between Kimi’s Ferrari and Ham’s McLaren at that point in the race… there’s every chance Ham would have been close enough, simply by virtue of the fact he would’ve had more grip coming out of the corner.

    Maybe Ham would have passed Kimi before the next corner if he’d followed him round?! ;)

    Sounds silly and Hami-Wonder-Boy worshipping, but it could have happened that way.

    Like another poster wrote, it’s all just theory…

  28. McLaren were given the “OK” at the time of the incident. Case closed. The fact that I watched and thoroughly enjoyed the race in the F1 cinema only to arrive home in the evening and see a different result made me angry with the FIA and with F1 as a sport.

    The stewards should not be able to make a judgement so long after the end of the race and the podium photos having already been taken.

    I remember seeing the “incident….will be investigated after the race” after the finishing classifications had been displayed. The result should have stood and left to Ferrari to appeal if they felt Lewis had not followed the rules. Ferrari wouldn’t have appealed and everyone would be happy except Raikkonen who again proved he can’t keep it driving forward it the rain. Even Stefan…. the ferrari chief said he didn’t agree with the penalty.

  29. Another interesting precedent is Fuji 2007: Massa and Kubica fought an entertaining battle, with both drivers ignoring the finer points of the rules about sticking to the circuit. I’ve heard it reported (but haven’t an official source) that the stewards then allowed the matter to pass as both were offending. The same might be said of Spa 2008.

    Also, Alonso (on the final lap) made up two places between the exit of the chicane and the finish line (having stayed on the track the whole time), which would apparently suggest that its not impossible for a car with greater traction to overtake before la Source.

  30. Do the FIA rules state “must give back the position”, or do they state “must give up the advantage”?

  31. Its simple logic I think:

    If the rules were clear enough, they didn’t need to be revised or clarified.
    If the rules were clarified, the FIA has admitted that they were not clear.
    That means the FIA penalized Lewis on the basis of a rule that wasn’t clear.

    If a rule for the relevant incident *existed*, a new rule didn’t need to be created.
    If a new rule was created, the FIA has admitted that the a rule for the relevant incident didn’t exist.
    That means the FIA penalized Lewis on the basis of a rule that didn’t exist.

    In other words, the FIA has penalized Lewis on the basis of rules that *it has admitted* were either not clear or didn’t exist.

    I don’t see why the appeal would be unsuccessful (other than conspiracy theory nonsense).

  32. What I think will happen is that the FIA will throw out the appeal. What grounds? Well deciding championships in a courtroom is bad for the sport. You’d think they’d learnt that from last season. :)

    BTW – I don’t agree with the penalty, but I even more strongly disagree to changing things in courtrooms weeks after a race. Bad \ ambigious decisions happen in all sports and we just have to accept it.

    Right or Wrong, that’s my hunch.
    Next season a better steward system may come from all of this. One perhaps that works so that the fans see the result on the track.

  33. Shashi, I wish Lewis and McLaren had you on their legal team.

  34. Micheal Counsell #15
    Nakajima was nowhere near Kimi and Lewis, it was Rosberg. Secondly, there was no accepted way of handing back the lead established prior to that incident.

  35. Boui – neither, hence the confusion. There’s nothing written down beyond ‘don’t go off the track’ and the precedent isn’t clear.

  36. Chalky, but we DID see the result on the track. I actually strongly disagree with deciding championships in a backroom by anonymous, vaguely qualified officials. I would rather they were decided on the track as in Spa 2008. Lewis won, fair and square.

  37. Clearly the appeal should be upheld and the penalty rescinded. Other drivers left the track, gained an advantage and did not give it back but were not punished. Kimi went off three times and gained distance/time if not a position each time. Twice at La Source and once at Blanchimont.

    Current drivers say the penalty should stand. Jackie Stewart, Niki Lauda, Charlie Whiting (at the time) and Cesare Fiorio said it was wrong. Cesare Fiorio who was sporting director of Ferrari (and therefore cannot be regarded as pro-Hamilton) was live on Italian TV at the time and was absolutely incensed by the penalty.

    The problem is I can’t see Max and the acolytes doing anything but upholding the penalty and possibly adding to it. You also have to question(again) why the best time for this to happen is when everyone involved from McLaren should be many thousand miles away. I remember Jacques Villeneuve in a similar situation having to fly twice across the Atlantic for a similar hearing.

    I haven’t posted this here before although I have put it on other sites. Anyone wo thinks the clarification is a good idea does not understand the implications of it. Imagine Monza had dried up enough so that towards the end of the race the usual suspects were in the podium positions. For the sake of argument Heikki is leading with the wrong tyres and is 10 seconds off the pace. Felipe is second and closing fast and Lewis is running at the same pace as Massa but 2 seconds behind. We are on the last lap approaching Ascari Massa decides he wants to pass Kovalainen before it to prevent Hamilton getting too close. He tries to make the move but to avoid a collision he has to take to the escape road. Under the rules that applied until that incident at Spa all he would have to do is drop behind Kovi. Only an inch or two would be enough and then attack again. Now he has to sit behind him all the way down the back straight and all the way round Parabolica. Hamilton is simply going to arrive and fly past with Massa unable to do anything about it. Imagine a late safety car. THe guy in second could end up last for having the nerve to try an overtaking move.

    Still think the clarified rule is a good idea?

  38. The question for me is whether the appeal is ruled admissable. If it is, I think the ruling will be overturned.
    Kimi was just timid on the breaks and tried to block Lewis who dived inside. I expect they will gleefully throw it out on a technicality though.

    There is a thing called Jante Law: “Don’t think you’re anyone special or that you’re better than us.” that can explain lots of peoples attitudes towards Lewis imo.

  39. I’m of the opinion that the penalty should be rescinded, but there is absolutely no way it will.

    Max will have it thrown out and give Mclaren a steeper punishment, for daring to question his absolute rule.

    Could that man be anymore condescending?

  40. @Jonesracing82

    on lap 2 at spa, when hamo spun at la source, kimi went wide in order to avoid an accident – sound familiar – he then drafted hamo through eau rouge and overtook at les combes!
    isnt that a similar offence, in that eau rouge these days is more or less a str8 as there’s no ‘braking’ or ‘lifting’ before it…….

    I have been to Spa more than ten times, which obviously must be more than ten times more than you; La Source is turn#1 – Les Combes is turn#7!

    And if you don’t believe me… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circuit_de_Spa-Francorchamps

  41. To be quite honest, I am fed up with lawyers and courts deciding Formula One world championships, so by nature I am very sceptical of tomorrow’s outcome.
    The whole appeal process, for me atleast, pours salt on an already open wound for the sport. If the FIA are to be believed, Lewis Hamilton broke the rules at Spa and was duly punished, end of conversation.
    If their judgement, and rulings, are so sacred and beyond reproach, why bother with an appeal at all? Is it going to reinstate Hamilton as the winner of the Belgium Grands Prix, I doubt it? Is it going to save the sport face? I doubt that also.
    Just another excuse for certain people who will remain nameless to get their faces in the papers, this time with their clothes on I hope!

  42. Hi Alianora. Was the alternative really to crash into Raikkonen? I’m not convinced of that. I think if there was a wall there, Hamilton would merely have braked and flat spotted his tyres. But that’s not the point. I still believe that he gained an advantage as he wouldn’t have been that close had he not cut the chicane. In saying that, I believe the penalty was harsh and should only be 10 seconds or a grid drop, which means he gets his win back. But, my gut feeling is that the apeal will be thrown out.

  43. @ oddball!
    i do know the circuit very well, but thx for checking!
    i call eau rouge the turn after la source, that lil’ right kink down the hill to eau rouge is hardly a corner!
    also, that right kink, just after eau rouge isnt a ‘corner’ either!
    having said that, i really cbf arguing about ‘what constitutes a corner’

  44. OK, so what is Old Charlies role at a GP then? I thought as ‘Race Director’ he was there to make the whole thing run smoothly, and maybe ensure all the Marshalls are awake? (no offence meant to the Marshalls)
    But going by this year, all he appears to be there for is to a) allow some dubious C-list celebs into the Pit Lane, press the little ‘Go’ button, and make sure there aren’t any stray dogs on the track….
    Or is his role more of a Film Director? Make sure theres no overtaking during the adverts, keep the Pit Lane clear of other cars when Ferrari are in, top up the C-listers martinis, talk to the Safety Car…..

  45. good point there DG!
    i always thought hos role was to do with this kind of thing, almost like “clerk of the course” as we have here in oz!

  46. DG, according to Wikipedia (I know not always reliable but I’m sure this is correct), Charlie Whiting is Race Director, Safety Delegate, Permanent Starter and head of the F1 Technical Department, in which capacities he generally manages the logistics of each F1 Grand Prix, inspects cars in Parc fermé before a race, enforces FIA rules, and controls the lights which start each race.

    He has also in the past advised regarding rules during a race, so for Mad Max to say he shouldn’t have been consulted is, well, madness. Didn’t Ferrari contact him at Monza for advice on giving back a position? I mean **** is he for if not to give advice on rules as he, of all people, should know them inside out? And if he can’t give advice during a race, who **** can?

    As Stirling Moss said today, if they don’t give Lewis back his win, F1 is the loser as well as Lewis.

  47. Alianora La Canta
    22nd September 2008, 9:51

    Mick, the problem Lewis had was one of position rather than of speed. If Kimi had taken a normal defensive line, then Lewis would have been able to choose the “slow down a bit and go round behind Kimi” option. As it was, he could:

    a) stop (merely slowing down would have caused a collision on entry) or
    b) maintain a decent amount of momentum and go round the wider line (which he did)

    He nearly took the corner despite using the wider line, and it was only when Raikkonen’s line (taken after knowing that Lewis would be off-line) obliged him to use the same space as Hamilton would have taken that the off-track excursion occurred. Had there been a wall there, there’d have been a collision – unless the walls were so close that Kimi felt that no brake-test was needed to keep Lewis back in the first place.

    The whole “advantage” thing is technically irrelevant, since no reference was made to it in the regulations. Only precedent says there is a significance in “advantage” and even there, no agreement exists as to what constitutes it. Even after the “clarification”, Lewis’ behaviour may or may not have been permissible depending on which version of the clarification was used (the written version says Lewis’ move was OK, the verbal version says it wasn’t). Therefore it cannot be used in this appeal.

  48. Whatever happens today I believe the decision that will be made will be due to reasons outside of the actual incident. FIA appear to me to be very difficult to deal with. Moseley and his crew hate anyone rocking the boat and are quite capable of punishing teams even further for making ‘frivolous’ appeals. However, FIA don’t want to appear to be undermining their own rules at a time when F1 is becoming increasingly popular. But, they also can’t be seen to back down which would give the impression that they’re not fully in command of their own rules and regs. There’s Lewis’s current ascendancy as the hottest driver and how many new people he’s brought into the sport.
    If I was MacLaren and FIA tried to smack our nose I’d then bring some of our weight to bear. How would it look if MacLaren threatened to pull out of the season or some other major show of lack of confidence in FIA. It seems to me that FIA use the divide and conquer strategy when dealing with the constructors. Most would quite happily watch another team bite the bullet as long as it wasn’t them.
    I think the sport really needs to address it’s ridiculous upper class old boy network appearance urgently if it wants to be taken seriously by it’s fans. Having said all of that the 2009 season will be very interesting one to get an idea of whether FIA actually know what they’re doing.
    My last word? Reduce the penalty on Hamilton that way nobody loses face and everyone is happy.

  49. we have to wait until tomorrow to find what is decision

    Despite the hearing in Paris today, McLaren and Hamilton will have to wait until tomorrow to find out the judges’ decision.

  50. You know I have to stick my nose in here!!! Ok brace yourselves, this should get ugly.

    I can’t get over the fact that there is an appeal even taking place. It would have to be the only sport where a result can be changed on appeal. Those that are lambasting the FIA for their delayed response to the incident have on a number of occasions raised a very interesting issue in sport, in general, that has been accepted by a large majority of sports. That is the “Referees Decision is Final”. No matter whether you agree or disagree. The penalty was handed down by the Stewards that oversaw the race hence if it was a decision in say Rugby League or Cricket that has been referred to the video review the decision handed done must and is accepted. However for some strangely prehistoric reason F1 and other motor sports for all their technological prowess have ignored this aspect of sport in general.

    I have said on many occasions, when I saw what Hamilton did I knew straight away that their was a problem with the move. I reiterate my point of drivers knowledge of the track and where they can and can’t make certain moves. In order for Hamilton to stick the pass Kimi would have needed to “let him through” but Kimi wouldn’t do that, would Hamilton, I don’t think so and Lewis knows the track just as well as anyone out there. The Hamilton lovers (I can say that Keith, because I’m a Hamilton Haters or even a Racist according to S Hughes) have correctly pointed out the ambiguity of the rule regarding returning the place/advantage and Mr Whiting’s “OK” at the time. However I would have thought that, again, the stewards have the right to investigate and penalise accordingly regardless of Mr Whiting’s interpretation at the time. In regards to the advantage gained, this is open to interpretation also hence the job of the stewards, my understanding is that due to the point in the race at which the incident occured was so late into the race the stewards didn’t have sufficient time to assess and penalise anyone involved straight away. Therefore they had more time afterwards to ensure they all agree on the what the correct decision should be. They decided that even though the place was returned, the racing advantage was not.

    Also, why was Bacardi Breezer’s (@25) comment conveniently glossed over without comment, when there has been all this talk about “precedent”.

    Go the FIA you good thing!!!

  51. How would it look if MacLaren threatened to pull out of the season or some other major show of lack of confidence in FIA

    I suspect this is something certain parties involved in F1 would be all too eager to see happen…

  52. AussieLeb – The result has already been changed after the race once, McLaren’s appeal is to change it back.

    And results have been changed after races several times in F1 (examples here – Hamilton joins Senna, Prost, Schumacher and others who had F1 wins confiscated) and many other FIA-administered championships.

    The Senna/Prost collision (BacardiBreezer’s point) isn’t useful for this discussion because the rules have changed in the 19 years since that collision, as more recent incidents have show. The two incidents were also very different – in fact all they really have in common is that they involved two drivers, a chicane, and a bad penalty decision. The closest thing we’ve seen to an incident like the Hamilton/Raikkonen one recently was Alonso/Klien in 2005.

  53. Slightly off-topic and not sure if this is interesting or how much you’ll already have been able to glean from the international press, but I’ve just been down to the FIA for my lunch break and saw… them break for lunch. Anyway, I managed to garner a few tidbits of information from the journalists swarming outside. This morning saw the legal representatives of the concerned parties (McLaren, Ferrari and the FIA/stewards – they weren’t too clear on this point) and the process reconvenes at 2 o’clock (unfortunately I have since had to come back to work). This afternoon they’ll examine the video evidence and individual testimonies – again hazy details, with a predicted finishing time (but not necessarily verdict announcement) between 4 and 5 o’clock (local time).

  54. Keith, that’s my point exactly. The race result was revised in light of the rules in place and the subsequent review of the incident by the “on field officials” as is the case in many sports. You will find that in any sport that employs a video review system, the play is allowed to continue until a stoppage, allowing for the incident to be reviewed and a decision reached. Obviously motor sport differs in that there is no stoppage which allows for a time period for review. It can only be reviewed during the race, laps permitting, or as was the case herein, afterwards. So my point is that it was not due to an appeal that initial result was revised but due to a decision by the designated officials to review the incident. Their determination should be as concrete as that of any referee, umpire or steward in any sport. I believe that the appeal system in F1 is, as you may agree, unecessary except in regards to financial penalties regarding technical breaches. One point I will make is that if it can be proved that the stewards acted in a fraudulent way then obviously there are clear grounds for appeal because their decisions can be considered as such. But that is a civil matter.

    Regarding the Senna-Prost incident there were no doubt cases for and against. I am not very pre 1996 in F1 but if in any case in sport there is a decision made by a designated official which is then over ruled by the same body on appeal what’s the point of having stewards or referees etc? As much as people have a problem with Uncle Max :-) he made an interesting point about Charlie Whiting’s role and the legibility of McLaren’s questioning of him. It seems to me that McLaren need to brush up on the rules or at least make sure they consult the right people for a race related issue.

    You say rules have changed in the 19 years since….were these changes made prior to the incidents or in light of? I would suggest that if they were made in the light of, then the latest incident should (as it already has!) clarify the rules in this area at best. Then disband the damn court of appeal.

    One more thing, if as you say, Ferrari is no longer the most cashed up team why would there be any bias towards them? What makes Ferrari favoured by the FIA except some decisions that have gone against McLaren? Could it be that Ferrari have a better knowledge of the rules and legal prowess than McLaren? I still make the point that Schumi wasn’t favoured in his final year at Ferrari and Alonso won two titles prior to the last in a Renault? Again, I can’t help but think damn……”Whingers”

  55. The further the FIA goes the better!

  56. shame we can’t get a liveblog covering the appeal hearing lulz!

  57. Here’s poor Lewis leaving for lunch. He shouldn’t have to be doing this when the next race is so soon.


  58. Just for fun I had a good look at the video of the incident. Firstly Keith, you said in an earlier thread that Kimi cut across Lewis. Impossible. Kimi had the correct line in and out of that chicane. Lewis ran wide and then cut the chicane. I assume that when they say gained an advantage that they’re talking about overall prior to the incident. If that is the case you will notice that Lewis doesn’t actually give Kimi back a full cars length, hence by the time they come to the next corner Kimi looks to enter the corner, albeit on a defensive line, only to find that Lewis was still slightly next to him, hence the jink by Kimi which throws him off and allows Lewis to pass. I can’t see how the stewards got it wrong because if it had of happended with more laps to go I am confident that they would have issued a drive through. Then if it was raining Kimi would have followed Lewis in with Massa in next and perhaps even more of the field, for inters or full wets and the result could well have been worse for Lewis, than the 3rd place, keeping in mind you can’t do a pit stop under the drive through. Sorry for the speculation at the end.

  59. AussieLeb, I’m writing this with furrowed brow. You say “you will notice that Lewis doesn’t actually give Kimi back a full cars length”. If that were the case, as Lewis passed behind KR after he gave back the full car length, he would have had to be a ghost and floated through the body of KR’s car to swap sides. As Lewis isn’t a ghost, and I believe what I can see with my two eyes, Lewis did give back a full car length.

  60. http://canadianpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5h8A_nUN8d5nQLB1J0nFRxh9IO3fw

    Lawyers for McLaren, Ferrari and the FIA presented their arguments at the morning session before breaking for lunch.

    What exactly Ferrari lawyers do there?
    I remember that they did not protest Hamilton move:
    It must be McLaren against FIA stewards, or I’m wrong? Or now Ferrari are interested?:) joke … no offense …

  61. There you go again splitting hairs Hughesy (If I can call you that) The move behind Kimi wasn’t made until after the evasive jink by Kimi at which point Kimi was already (and I’ll give credit where it’s due) then Lewis made a wonderful move back and in, to get the perfect line into the corner. If Lewis didn’t get over excited at the Bus Stop and held his nerve La Source would have been clean as but as it was that moment in the race was messy to say the least and it was all because of Lewis. I honestly think it was worth a penalty, my only concern is the severity. I also stand by my comments that the appeals system needs to scrapped and the rules need to be clarified when certain issues occur involing vague rules. Drivers and teams should not be allowed to undermine the stewards in any race related case.

  62. James – Cool are you in Paris then? Let us know if you get any more gossip…

    Becken, just to be clear, the McLaren lawyer is arguing that position but I don’t think it’s been confirmed that the FIA has agreed it is admissible.

    However there is a precedent for this. At Fuji last year Vitantonio Liuzzi was given a 25-second time penalty in lieu of a drive-through penalty and his appeal against it was was admitted (although it failed): more here

    mail123456 – It may be that Ferrari are just observing, but as they have a clear vested interest in the case I wouldn’t be surprised if they wanted to present an argument and they certainly should be entitled to. If McLaren were to win the appeal I’d expect them to launch a counter-appeal.

  63. I think you’ll also find that Kimi was part of the initial investigation. I would also suggest that McLaren/Lewis will accuse Kimi of running him wide, that being his defence as to why he cut the chicane.

  64. Drivers and teams should not be allowed to undermine the stewards in any race related case.

    So, “who” could be accessible to clarify actions in track if the rules are written in a confuse and dubious way? The Stewards? Are their “sapience” accessible?

    If the own FIA has clarified this rule after the incident, how Mclaren could understand if Lewis move were right or not on that exactly moment?

    I think that the ONLY person who could evaluate this sort of issue in the heat of the moment is, in fact, Charli Whiting…

    Keith – I think that Lawyer’s line of argumentations is in a good way.

  65. @Keith: they did not have anything to say before stewards decision i.e. they agree with what happened, but they will not agree if McLaren win … that’s interesting.
    Too political for me either. For me they have to protest at Spa. Now it just looks like another FIA-Ferrari move.

  66. I’m sorry Becken, no offence but I had a bit of trouble understanding you. Charlie Whiting is not a steward. I am talking about clarifying the rules due to an incident, after the race, if it is unclear, for future races. If the stewards make an on track, race related ruling albeit after a review (since the race incident occured within the designated time required to serve a drive through – 3 laps remaining – they wouldn’t have been able to serve the drive through before the end of the race) all the teams and drivers should accept the decision as is the case in any sport which has a video review system. Again, the referee’s decision should be final! There is no real precedent except Alonso’s as mentioned by Keith, yet the error made by the FIA and the teams in part was that the obviously the rules weren’t clarified after that incident. I say the teams also because they all have a responsibilty to ensure they know the rules. So if it unclear, clear it up!

  67. Keith – yes I’m in Paris, currently working on the Champs Elysees (3 tube stops from Place de la Concorde where the FIA headquarters are). Something I was quite happy about (as it’s not where I usually work). I will go back after work this evening (unless I read that they’ve all left beforehand – from what they were saying, they expected it to finish about now) to see if any more info is forthcoming. There was definately a Ferrari presence there, although not having been into the proceedings, I cannot explicitly give you their (level of) involvement.

  68. Sorry for my poor English skills, Aussy, but the question is: who or what could help the teams to clarify this sort of actions in track? Felipe only gave the place back to Nico at Monza because he already knew what happened with Lewis at Spa and because the FIA has clarified the ruler after the incident…

    Speculating, as you did at comment #57, has Ferrari consulted Charli Whiting in Massa´s move over Nico at Monza? Massa has said that the team asked him to give the place back…

  69. AussieLeb

    If Lewis didn’t get over excited at the Bus Stop and held his nerve [his overtake at] La Source would have been clean

    I guess that’s what you meant to say: if so, you’re agreeing Hamilton gained no real advantage as he would have passed at La Source anyhow, whether he cut the chicane (and gave back the place) or not! Interesting.

    As for:

    It seems to me that McLaren need to brush up on the rules or at least make sure they consult the right people for a race related issue.

    Charlie Whiting, FIA Race Director, wouldn’t be the right bloke then? So who would? The answer – from FIA/Max M – appears to be ‘nobody.’ But if so, Whiting should have said so. No?

  70. Is anyone of a similar opinion that I am? That the FIA keep the rules hazy on purpose for their own benefit (and also to keep F1 in the headlines – whether for good or bad)?

  71. Man..This world is going crazy.

    Guess who is in the homepage of FIA site…

    Take a look!

  72. Classic, Becken!!

  73. So what’s that mean Becken? Are the FIA = Ferrari theorists wrong? I guess the comeback will be along the lines of “FIA cover up!”

    I was going to go to bed and then found one person needs clarification and the other has picked my comments apart to suit his own ends, without really presenting his own opinion. So here goes!

    Becken and David: I agree with Max in regards to suggestions that with all the other responsibilties he has, Charlie Whiting would not be able to review an incident that has occured with 3 laps to go. He’s not a steward is he? My opinion is that McLaren should have made their own assessment and suffered the consequences. If, as they were, they get penalised they should accept it. Afterwards the can request a clarification/review of the rules and solidify them for next time, they wouldn’t have to consult anyone then.

    As for you David: What I said and meant to imply is that Lewis’ racing was dirty at that point. He made a clear error when he tried to take Kimi on the outside on the entry to Bus Stop (again, he knows the track, ignorance is no defence!) Kimi took the correct line into the exit of the chicane while Lewis cut the chicane (an illegal move). Lewis didn’t pay a price for his blatant mistake but rather came out in front of Kimi (gained an advantage) He didn’t relinquish the advantage fully, reason being that on the approach to La Source, Kimi thought he was clearly in front and made his move to get the correct line into La source, only to find that Lewis was still on his rear wheel (hence the jink by Kimi) Having disrupted Kimi, Lewis managed to back off slightly and came back around the other side of Kimi to find a good entry in La Source. That whole episode was messy to say the least, and all because of Lewis’s dirty driving. If he had of stayed behind Kimi in Bus Stop he may have been able to make a cleaner “attempt” at La Source. I don’t need any more proof of Lewis’s dirty driving tactics since he pushed Webber off in Monza.

    Now David, what you do is copy and paste this post into word or equivalent and print. Then you get a highlighter and make haste to pick it apart. I’m sure you’ll find some spelling mistakes also, not to mention the grammar! :-)

  74. @AussieLeb – why not just start to look at all this just before Kimi break before chicane. He breaks too early and if you watch again then you will see that Hamilton go outside just because other way was to go again in back of Kimi :) And proof for early Kimi break is that Hamilton actually make a first part of chicane :) just my 2 cents here … no intention to argue but every story have two sides :)

  75. If the teams are not meant to contact Charlie Whiting why do they have an intercom system installed (by FOM) which connects them to Charlie Whiting? When was it decided the teams should not contact Charlie Whiting? First I heard of it was when Max said it. Prior to that over a period of many years countless team principals in post race interviews have said ‘We had a quick word with Charlie and he said it was OK’. This has been said as a result of all manner of circumstances. I cannot believe anyone is actually buying the line from Max that it is wrong to speak to Charlie when it has been standard practise for years. This is like the mass damper ban. Race after race they were legal then bang they are an illegal aerodynamic device.

    I love how the Hamilton critics can’t put an argument together without saying he got over-excited. Have you watched the guy drive? He doesn’t look as though he is ever over excited to me. He tried an overtake. It didn’t work. He avoided a collision and then gave the place back. This sequence has happened hundreds if not thousands in the history of racing of times and has always been acceptable. Now it is not. There is no point arguing that Lewis blocked Kimi’s move to take his line for La Source because in the past people have given back positions half a lap later. There has never been a requirement to give it back immediately. However he did drop behind Kimi and Kimi was still able to position himself on the ‘optimum’ line for the corner. I use optimum as it is used in race driver training meaning the ideal line to carry the most speed at the exit to the corner. For the situation it was a stupid line and I can’t understand why a driver of Kimi’s capability would leave the door wide open. The only reason Lewis was able to overtake him was because Kimi took the optimum line. I keep hearing that had he followed Kimi round the Bus Stop there would not have been time to make a move. At the finish line after the Bus Stop he was behind Kimi and travelling at a lower speed. There should have been no way for him to make a pass from there if it is impossible with twice the distance. The only reason he could overtake Kimi was because Kimi uncharacteristically made a mistake. I have watched Kimi since he arrived in F1 and always been impressed by him. I have written on numerous websites that all the people who think his form this year has anything to do with his attude are wrong and it is simply a car handling problem but on that day at that time he drove like a rookie. Had he taken anything close to a conventional line we would not be having this argument because it would have been quite clear that Lewis gave back the advantage.

  76. mail123456: It’s irrelevant when Kimi brakes because he was in front. I know what you’re saying, however the issue for me is after he cuts the chicane you will see Lewis doesn’t allow Kimi to pass completely because as they approach La Source Kimi has to sharply pull away to avoid hitting Lewis who should have been behind him. This is what allowed Lewis to go around the back of Kimi to get the better line into La Source. So I am suggesting that Lewis doesn’t fully relinquish the advantage he gained for the error at Bus Stop hence the penalty. Again they could have given a lesser penalty and simply demoted him to second instead of a drive through. However, once a penalty was decided to be warranted they had no choice as to the penalty they could impose, as per the rules.

  77. Sorry Keith, you asked the wrong question: “What WILL the FIA decide”? is more appropriate.

    They will not accept the appeal, to avoid having to render a decision.

  78. If it took three stewards 2 hours post race to decide to deal out a penalty. How the hell is Charlie Whiting going to determine that what McLaren did was OK, with 2 and a bit laps to go? When you say Charlie has been consulted on issues in the past could you give us one example, when there were less than 3 laps to go? I would suggest that in the past Charlie has had a bit more time to consult the stewards before giving an answer that could be considered valid. Even then wouldn’t the stewards still be able to over rule any such advice being that they’re the designated officials?

    On the other point, in my opinion you got it wrong Steven. Kimi clearly lost “optimum everything” when he moved across and had to avoid hitting Lewis who according to the rules should have been behind Kimi (obviously he didn’t need to be directly behind). As I said if Lewis hadn’t have made the error at Bus Stop the move at La Source was well executed. However he wouldn’t have been able to make it if Kimi didn’t have to avoid hitting him which was only possible because of the advantage gained at Bus Stop which Lewis didn’t fully relinquish. If Lewis had of held his nerve and not got “over excited” ;-) we wouldn’t be having this argument.

    On another note, the other day I watched a game of Rugby League and a try was awarded that was clearly a knock on. It cost the other team a spot in the finals. They should take it to the court of appeal……pfft some people!

    Stuff this I’m going to bed!

  79. AussieLeb

    Actually you’ve just said what I said you’d said, only using up a bigger paragraph! ;0)

    For what it’s worth, I did offer my opinion above. Lewis would have passed Kimi just about anywhere I think. He tried as soon as possible, which isn’t ‘dirty’ (save that for Max), just a racer’s instinct. Sure he’s impatient, but it’s not yet illegal to try to overtake! As Keith has suggested, running other drivers off-track when defending is ‘accepted’ but perhaps questionable. But whatever the acceptability, there was space for both drivers around the curve: Raikkonen cut off Hamilton to ensure he wasn’t passed (by a faster driver) in much the same fashion Hamilton cut off Webber (who also drive off track and took far longer to return the position, incidentally).

    But all of this is second to the fact I think Lewis did what precedent (‘the rules’) demanded. But I guess we’ll find out what ‘actually happened’ soon enough.

  80. @AussieLeb

    FIA race director Charlie Whiting clarified to drivers and team officials at Monza what is expected in terms of fair overtaking.

    It is understood that Whiting made clear his information was simply a clarification, rather than a new interpretation of the existing rule, or a new rule altogether.

    Why Whiting do all this job, when his opinion have zero weight ?:)
    But hey, Whiting know the rules and as result of this he make clarifications.
    Or may be he didn’t know that specific clarification at time of Spa incident tell McLaren OK, and just report it to stewards since this is his job – to report to stewards race incidents?
    But if he didn’t know how other drivers and teams will know it since the same Whiting make a clarifications to them on every briefing … magic circle.

    For me FIA just make jokes …

  81. AussieLeb,

    I don’t understand the point you are making about Kimi’s line into La Source. At first I thought you were arguing that Lewis being on Kimi’s left had prevented Kimi moving in that direction. Now you are saying that Kimi could not take the line he wanted. He moved to the extreme left edge of the track therefore the entire with of the track must have been available to him for his choice of entry line. I assume Lewis stayed on the left initially because he assumed Kimi with a car that was struggling would take a defensive line. 99% of the time in that situation he would. Had Kimi taken that line Lewis would have followed him through the corner and there would be none of this nonsense now. I can’t imagine Lewis thought Kimi would move left as that was totally illogical for someone in a disdvantaged car to do.

    The driver in the lead cannot brake anywhere he likes. He has to brake only in reasonable areas. Penalties have been given for brake testing in the past. I am not saying Kimi brake tested anyone he simply braked way earlier than Lewis expected because of the condition of his car. But just because the driver is in the lead he does not have free reign to do what he likes.

    Max and others may not think Charlie had time to make a decision but clearly Charlie did think he had time. It may take the stewards two hours to analyse that incident but I don’t know anyone else who took that long. I suspect if you asked the stewards if they wanted sugar in their coffee it would take them two hours to make a decision. If it was normal practise for him to consult the stewards do you really believe he would have given an off the cuff opinion in this case? Normally Charlie gives his opinion and the stewards don’t challenge it. In a racing situation no-one ever is going to wait for the stewards to consider anything. They would give the position back and try and take it again because that it quicker.

    I can’t quote examples of Charlie offering his opinion because they are non-events. Only in situations like this does it become memorable. It would be like quoting examples of 7 second pit stops. We all know they happen all the time but we can’t quote race/driver/lap when they did. The only reason it is in my mind is because it has happened so often.

    As I said before why do the FIA/FOM give the teams an intercom to Charlie if they don’t want them to talk to him when he is so busy?

  82. http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/70786

    Hamilton testified at length about his version of events at Spa-Francorchamps in front of the five judges, and at one stage got into an exchange with Ferrari counsel Nigel Tozzi QC.

    And at one stage, when angered about some comments regarding his behaviour, Hamilton said to Tozzi: “Are you a racing driver? No! …”

    still confused what exactly is role of Ferrari layer Tozzi on this case …

  83. Collecting some clues here and there, we can understand what has happening:

    Lewis has confirmed that was Allan Donelly who conducted the inquiry at Spa after the race.

    Now, Autosport reveals that Mr Nigel Tozzi were at Paris, having some nice talking with Lewis:

    “When he was called up to give his account of the events, Hamilton stood his ground when cross-examined by Tozzi.

    [I love this apart]

    And at one stage, when angered about some comments regarding his behaviour, Hamilton said to Tozzi: “Are you a racing driver? No!

    “I have been a racing driver since I was eight years old and I know pretty much every single manoeuvre in the book, and that’s why I’m the best at my job. We are talking about a skilled driver under intense pressure making a split-second decision which no-one, not unless they are in Formula One, can comprehend.”

    Lewis must take care with his words. They could give him a penalty again for trounce another Ferrari team member!

  84. Brad Spurgeon (who appeared on the F1 Fanatic Live Blog during the Italian Grand Prix qualifying) has written a very detailed account of proceedings so far here: Formula One & Sports Blog & International Herald Tribune & Blog…

    If there was one thing that I did truly pick up from this FIA ICA court case today it was that Formula One has gone WAY, WAY, WAY beyond a rational approach to racing rules making and judging. […] It is extraordinary to me that a victory may be lost, by Lewis, and another one won, by Felipe Massa of Ferrari, based on a so-called rule that no one can agree upon.

  85. Thanks for that article Keith. What I find most significant is this passage:

    “What the McLaren lawyer found astonishing was that when the court case began it was being told that the rule stated that the driver once cutting a chicane and taking an advantage had to give it back and could not try to pass again until the corner after the following corner. But Whiting said this was not a rule, just a practice.

    “It started in this case as a rule, it ended as a practice,” said Philips.

    Whiting at one point said that it was not possible to have rules that were black and white, and he explained his change in opinion – for he said now that he thinks Lewis should have been punished – was due to the complexity of the situation. Where he felt at first it was okay, upon further analysis, he changed his mind.

    The claim is that Lewis gave back part of his advantage, but not all of it.

    “You can’t always see things in black and white,” Whiting said. “It is impossible to say in a blanket way if a driver overtakes at the next corner it is wrong.”

    This, of course, is not what we have been hearing.”

    This is just atrocious and shows how Lewis’s dreadful fellow drivers are all cocksure of themselves and talking about a “rule” that was “common knowledge” when in fact there is no RULE, and it wasn’t COMMON KNOWLEDGE AT ALL. This highlights to me what a load of bandits the drivers who supported the penalty are – ready to jump in with a pack of lies in order to gain an advantage. How dishonest, how unsporting! Charlie Whiting comes out of the proceedings like a bumbling fool who isn’t quite sure what he’s on about. What on Earth is going on? Even the most diehard Lewis-basher must see what a shambles this all is.

    This comment was also significant:

    “… there were many more than just a few times in which I felt that I was not watching a rational analysis of motor racing.

    It is extraordinary to me that a victory may be lost, by Lewis, and another one won, by Felipe Massa of Ferrari, based on a so-called rule that no one can agree upon. In the past, a driver could give back the lead by allowing the guy behind to go back into the lead, as Lewis did. Now, it seems that we have to calculate speed down the straight, slipstream advantage, grip, the number of corners after which an event occurs, etc, etc.

    The irony, of course, is that the FIA says that it is trying to encourage overtaking….

    Let’s hope that the series can save itself. Let’s hope that justice is done with tomorrow’s judgment.

    “I’m not really worried,” said Hamilton to a few of the journalists afterwards. “I just hope that the judges see the truth and understand that I’m a racing driver. I drive for excellence.””

    What an absolute travesty!!!!!

  86. Brad Spurgeon’s piece is damning about the FIA, Ferrari and Charlie Whiting. Ferrari using photos taken at one time to ‘prove’ something that happened seconds later. Charlie Whiting made a decision at the time now he is arguing it should have been obvious to Lewis that the opposite was true. Charlie is sitting in a nice, dry race control building with time to consider his response. Lewis is using every fibre of his being to run at maximum speed on a wet track. Why should a driver, any driver in that situation be able to come to a conclusion in seconds that Charlie seems to have taken several minutes to arrive at? It’s like a football referee then after the match deciding it wasn’t a penalty so we will cancel that goal but let the amended score stand.

  87. Here’s an interesting aside. David Coulthard refers to the FIA’s ‘clarified’ rule on cutting chicanes as “the new rule”, lending more credence to the claim this is a rules change, and not a ‘clarification’.

  88. Interesting that DC thinks Singapore flows less than Valencia.

  89. I’m a Massa fan and a lifelong Ferrari fan and I think Lewis has been punished unfairly.

    In the years I’ve been watching F1 it has been accepted that if you cut the chicane then you let the other car past and then go for it again.

    Kimi was driving far too slow in the wet conditions and Lewis was all over him, any suggestion of an unfair advantage is simply rediculous, the advantage came from the relative performances of the drivers cars.

    Kimi’s move to the left, combined with his very early braking, is the only reason Lewis got past him at that point, had Kimi kept his normal defensive entry into that corner then Lewis would have had to wait until the next corner but he didn’t, he moved over and braked early.

    Either way, Lewis would have had him on that lap.

    Max Mosely needs to be removed from the FIA as soon as possible taking Allan Donelly with him.

    Let us have an openly defined set of rules, even if they are vague and open to interpretation at least we will all know what they are. The current system is simply unacceptable for a major international sport. I wouldn’t pay to watch a football match if I didn’t know what the rules were and equaly I am unwilling to pay to go watch an F1 race when I don’t know what the rules are.

    I get all of the Sports Entertainment I need watching Triple H wrestling Jeff Hardy, I want to get my racing fix from F1.

  90. That Mark Phillips lawyer rises empathy for points of view.

    “Fans want to see good races on the track and it is very bad for Formula One that decisions of this type are made behind closed doors.”

    And when he says about the 25 seg penalty is not a concrete Drive Through, one may think at first that this is something like a truism but secondly one may think that if a Drive Trough is for sure an irreversible fact, a time penalty is not. Because it´s possible to be given 2 hours after race and out-given 15 days after the race.

  91. The Stirrer aka AussieLeb
    23rd September 2008, 9:21

    Where do I start!

    I have said it before. My initial thought when I saw the incident was “That wasn’t right”. I’m not talking about the cutting of the chicane but rather the relinquishing of “the gained advantage”. Let it be known that I had also accepted that what Lewis had done was sufficient, not saying I agreed with it. I do happen to listen to those two english commentators going on about their love for the golden child and was almost convinced that it was ok. Then it was put that there was an incident under investigation involving car 22 etc etc, not long after the end of the race. Then I thought “That’s what I thought”. I have read posts on this blog in the past but never thought to comment yet when it was “lit up” by angry **** I couldn’t resist!!! I have always been patriotic when deciding to follow a particular team or individual in sport yet in F1 I have kept away from switching teams once my countryman in Schumi left Ferrari. Instead I stayed true to them support them with a passion. So it bothers me that when the FIA make a ruling that is not in favour of McLaren they feel the need to undermine the FIA’s authority via this stupid appeals process. Then to really get my back up we have these ignorant McLaren fans dragging Ferrari into another conspiracy debate! One post in this thread mentioned that all the teams should get out of F1 and see what happens then. Along the same line of thinking I would love to see Mercedes pull their engines out of the McLaren shell and put it in a Toro Rosso and get behind their country man in Vettel. Mercedes are losing face being associated with McLaren! I want to raise another point and that is the coincidence that Massa was promoted to first. Some posters on here would have you believe that the penalty was dealt for the benefit of Massa. I disagree because I have to believe that penalty would have applied regardless of the positions!

    Now on the incident itself and you not being able to unserstand my point, Steven. The point I am making is that Lewis does not relinquish the advantage he gained, completely. He still had his nose near the left rear wheel of Kimi’s car. He should have backed off completely before resuming instead of shadowing as he did. You can’t be sure that Kimi was struggling because you have stated on a number of occasions ” I assume” or “he assumed”. I based my comments on what I saw not what I thought Kimi or Lewis were thinking and everytime I watch it the only good move Lewis made was borking Kimi and getting the better line in and out of
    La Source.

    One point being treated as anecdotal is the presence of Ferrari at the said appeal. Let me remind you that Ferrari where stated as being part of the initial investigation so in the case of an appeal, the result may or may not affect them and hence they to would need to be represented.

    The difference is that I am stating my opinion on a matter. On the other hand a majority herein are chastising me on my opinion and taking sides without any or even factual evidence.

    Here’s an interesting read for you Ferrari haters:


  92. The FIA will not turn this one around because the sport is bent and Ferrari and the FIA are in the sport together united.

  93. I couldn’t get to the last page of this thread but I will go with what I can remember.

    The reason Ferrari were allowed to attend and participate in procedings was dealt with here:


    In regards to Charlie Whiting I tend to agree with Max. McLaren seem to have a tendancy to play the ingnorance card in these circumstances. Of course they knew who they needed to clear things up with. If Charlie says it’s ok surely they, for all their resources would have realised that he isn’t the be all and end all of the decision. The issue I think that has been smoke screened by many biased posters on this blog is the stage of the race when the incident occured. Although it’s clear that Ferrari made no official protest I did read somewhere that they did speak to Race Control regarding the incident. This would suggest to me that they knew that the incident was under investigation. With that knowledge they obviously knew that no official decision could be made between then and the end of the race and hence let it go. I also read a post on another forum werein it is pointed out that this incident was and still is a complex issue hence the amount of data that would need to be analysed could not bare an outcome in approximately 5 mins. So to put this one to bed, for me at least, I will say McLaren should have made their own interpretation and suffer the consequences either way and not try to drag Charlie Whiting in as a scapegoat. Another mistake was that made by Charlie himself for allowing himself to used like this. Won’t it set an interesting precedent if the appeal reinstates Lewis, that’s mean you can cut any chicane, get the crew to find a scapegoat to OK everything without having a proper chance to review, all because there’s only 2 Laps to go!

    As for the incident itself all I will say is that the fact that Kimi had to “jink” away to avoid Lewis front end is clear evidence that the “full advantage” was never relinquished. You should never assume anything Steven!

    I look forward to your rhetoric. Which will no doubt include factual evidence or workable solutions. Just lines on how I have no idea or better yet a dissection of my post with quotes cut to suit your point of view.

    I still can’t believe the carry on from all these people. One poster even had to start their post by clarifying as to who they support only to buy in to the pro Hamilton side of the debate (the rival of the team they support). Smells a little fishy to me!

  94. AussieLeb

    Lewis had his nose alongside Kimi’s right rear then went completely behind his car. At that point he had reliquished his position. That is a fact. He was behind and travelling at a slower speed. That cannot be disputed. Kimi entered the next corner on the extreme left of the track therefore Lewis’s positioning did not affect his ability to take the corner. There has never been a requirement that the position be given back before the next corner. It has often been the case that one or two corners later the position has been yielded. In this case the position was given back almost immediately without affecting either Kimi’s forward progress or his ability to choose his stupid line into the next corner. Lewis quite clearly initially stayed on the left because he was expecting Kimi to defend his line.

    As for the nonsense that Kimi had to jink to avoid him. Lewis maintained a straight line. Kimi only had to jink because he tried to move into a space that was occupied by another car. There was no logical sensible reason for Kimi to be on the left. There was no requirement for Lewis to be behind him at any particular point in the run to La Source. He only had to cede the position at some point before a penalty was issued.

    As for the bleacher report whoever wrote that is not overly well informed. Max’s deputy is on the Ferrari board and his chosen successor is on the Ferrari board. Add that to the fact that Alan Donnelly who is not a qualified steward conducted the driver interviews while the stewards of the meeting sat in slience and of course Donnelly listed Ferrari as a customer on his company’s website until just before he got his current job. No-one in the higher reaches of F1 is or has been in any way associated with another team. Then you can add in Charlie Whiting’s lies during the trial. What motivated them? Do you think it is OK that we are going into a race weekend with a race director who stood and lied to the ICA? Does that not concern you? Does it not concern you that the court did not challenge the fact that he lied? Is it really OK with you that these things happen so long as Ferrari benefit? Or do you think the fact that the race director lied and has not been challenged suggests there are fundamental problems with how the sport is administered?

    The bleacher report author says Massa should not be penalised for Valencia because he cannot see in his mirrors. What does that have to do with whether the team released him safely or not. Is this idiot saying that all the other drivers who have been given drive throughs for precisely the same offence including in the GP2 race the same day have some magical ability to see through people that Massa and the rest of humanity do not have? What Massa can see is of no consequence. The team released him unsafely in the view of the stewards and every time that offence has been punished the penalty has been a drive through. The offence has gone unpunished on too many occasions but on those occasions where the stewards have chosen to punish it there has never been more than one penalty for the offence. While defending the non-penalty he was given sever high ranking FIA people said it would have been unfair if he had lost the race on a penalty having driven so well. So why doesn’t the same sympathetic approach apply to Hamilton at Spa. Because he does not drive a Ferrari?

    Frankly if that Blacher Report is the best evidence you can produce to support your case you better hope Max is picking the judges.

  95. Dan aka AussieLeb
    24th September 2008, 14:18

    @Steven Roy:
    You have gone to great lengths to present your view of the incident and as such I have to respect it. However I don’t buy your line that when Lewis finally does go behind Kimi that that was the advantage returned. There would be no reason to have any rules in place regarding cutting the chicanes and requiring the offender to relinquish the advantage if that’s the case. My argument is that Lewis does not fully relinquish the advantage he gained. He may have relinquished a portion, no doubt about it. The jink I refer to occurs shortly after they cross the start finish line. You can see Lewis very gradually backs off but keeps his nose there then as they approach the corner you will notice Kimi drifts to his left, agreed. However at that point Lewis had not relinquished his advantage. Then Kimi jinks away and Lewis goes behind. Lewis then forces Kimi hard left again to take the perfect line into the corner while Kimi tries to recover and continue. So again what I am saying is that Lewis was in a penalty situation. During this time he performs a move that gains him a further advantage and according to you, allows him to return the position gained, albeit for a split second. That my friend is wrong and an action that the driver should be responsible for.

    Which brings the Massa/Valencia debate to light. It was not Felipe’s fault that he was released early so why should he be penalised? Please find me a link to an article that shows the rule regarding the mandatory drive through he should have received.

    The Bleacher report is no more than an article written by someone who is of a similar opinion to me regarding the rhetoric visited upon Ferrari and the FIA because McLaren have been in the spotlight for breaches, that’s all. I have no case to answer for so I don’t know why I would need any evidence. I do not believe the FIA are biased for one simple reason, Michael Schumacher the greatest modern day F1 driver was not gifted a retirement world championship! I do believe that McLaren are a bunch of whingers who have no one to blame but themselves for their current standing amongst rival F1 teams and the people that run the Sport. I also believe that the sooner Mercedes leave McLaren to fend for themselves, the better Mercedes will be for it!

  96. AussieLeb,
    “I look forward to your rhetoric. […] Just lines on how I have no idea or better yet a dissection of my post with quotes cut to suit your point of view.”

    You mean like this?
    “So it bothers me that when the FIA make a ruling that is not in favour of McLaren they feel the need to undermine the FIA’s authority via this stupid appeals process.”

    I agree completely with that point. It is indeed strange that the FIA has undermined the FIA’s authority via this stupid appeals process.

    Please don’t take this post too seriously ;)

  97. Without getting too serious. You have just done what I thought someone might. You have dissected my comment to ridicule my opinion. The issue I have is that there is the option for teams to appeal a decision that in any other sport would be considered final. It is the fault of the FIA that they allow this process, I agree. However McLaren are undermining the authority of the FIA by appealling this decision.

    So you have dissected my post and even better, put words in my mouth. Well done.

    OK now, who’s next!!!

  98. This is fun!
    I can’t, off the top of my head, think of any sport where a punishment meted out after the event cannot be appealed.
    If the FIA use their authority for “evil”, I have no problem with anyone challenging that authority.

    With that I will follow McLaren’s lead and turn my attention to Singapore

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