Lewis Hamilton’s appeal fails and Felipe Massa keeps Belgian Grand Prix win

McLaren losing an appeal is hardly news, but anyway, it\'s happened again

McLaren losing an appeal is hardly news, but anyway, it's happened again

Lewis Hamilton was not successful in his appeal against the penalty he received in the Belgian Grand Prix.

The FIA International Court of Appeal’s decision means Felipe Massa remains the winner of the Belgian Grand Prix ahead of Nick Heidfeld and Hamilton.

As was widely expected the FIA threw out the appeal on the grounds that it was inadmissible, despite claims they mis-represented the opinions of one of their own stewards to do so, and contradicted a precedent set when Vitantonio Liuzzi appealed a similar penalty last year. Decision in full below:

International Court of Appeal – Decision

At the Grand Prix of Belgium, run on 7 September 2008, and counting towards the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship, the Stewards of the meeting imposed a drive-through penalty upon the driver of car No. 22, Lewis Hamilton, for a breach of Article 30.3 (a) of the 2008 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations and Appendix L, Chapter 4, Article 2 (g) of the International Sporting Code.

As the drive-through penalty was imposed at the end of the race, 25 seconds were added to the driver?s elapsed race time in accordance with Article 16.3 of the FIA 2008 Formula One Sporting Regulations.

Article 152 of the International Sporting Code states that drive-through penalties are ??not susceptible to appeal??.

The competitor Vodafone McLaren Mercedes appealed the Steward?s decision before the International Court of Appeal in a hearing in Paris on September 22nd.

Having heard the explanations of the parties the Court has concluded that the appeal is inadmissible.

The International Court of Appeal was presided over by Mr Philippe NARMINO (Monaco), elected President, and composed of Mr Xavier CONESA (Spain), Mr Harry DUIJM (Netherlands), Mr Thierry JULLIARD (Switzerland) and Mr Erich SEDELMAYER (Austria).


Article 16.3 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations provides as follows:

The stewards may impose any one of three penalties on any driver involved in an Incident:

a) A drive-through penalty. The driver must enter the pit lane and re-join the race without stopping.

b) A ten second time penalty. The driver must enter the pit lane, stop at his pit for at least ten seconds and then re-join the race.

c) a drop of ten grid positions at the driver?s next Event.

However, should either of the penalties under a) and b) above be imposed during the last five laps, or after the end of a race, Article 16.4b) below will not apply and 25 seconds will be added to the elapsed race time of the driver concerned.

Paragraph 5 of Article 152 of the International Sporting Code provides as follows:

Penalties of driving through or stopping in pit lanes together with certain penalties specified in FIA Championship regulations where this is expressly stated, are not susceptible to appeal.

The FIA verdict in full

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164 comments on Lewis Hamilton’s appeal fails and Felipe Massa keeps Belgian Grand Prix win

  1. Well in twenty years i won’t remember the 2008 Spa grand prix for its thrilling last laps, but for its redicule, pathetic decision to disqualify a talented drive and an appeal which was dismissed because they said it was inadmissable.

    Anyone else, what will you remember this race for?

  2. not surprised. its easy to win the championship if the judges are on your side, isn’t it ferrari?

  3. Spencer said on 23rd September 2008, 15:54

    Very suprised

    I thought McLaren were very brave to appeal!!!

    From past FIAT (uuups) FIA rulings it was more likely that the decission be upheld and McLaren and Lewis would be given a four race ban.

    Surely this would have been a more typical??? Perhaps the FIA are trying to clean up their act!!!

  4. oh dear, as expected really.

    The one issue that im not sure about is that IF the stewards said at the time it was a legitimate pass to Martin Whitmarsh then surely they wouldnt have given him a drive thru penalty? And if thats the case the retrospective punsihment cannot be a drive thru, only a fine???

    Or is it not the same people who decide? In which case Whitmarsh was asking the wrong people for verification. That does sound unlikely.

    I dont think its a fit up but im equally sure that some people at the FIA dont like Maclaren, and especially dont like ROn Dennis. something to do with class probably.

  5. Although I am, and always was, in favour of Hamilton’s punishment: – this is the worst possible verdict for the appeal’s panel to deliver.

    A firm “he didn’t give the place back properly, and was right to be punished” or “the stewards got it wrong” would have ended the matter once and for all. As it is we’re left with no ruling on the legality of the move, and a simple “we’re always right.” to console ourselves.

    Now, we’re likely to have this debate raging for the rest of the season, and if Hamilton loses we won’t hear the end of it for long after.

  6. Well that was predictable wasn’t it. The FIA doesn’t care if appears biased any more, what an utter disgrace. Please, please, please someone start a break away formula soon so we can be rid of this corrupt old boys club once and for all.

  7. Yes, I have to admit, Old Charlie now doesn’t deserve any goodwill from the fans or the teams, and every FIA judgement should be questioned from now on, as with any Steward’s decisions – appeal away gentlemen! Lets tie them up in court time and waste their money!
    I agree, the question now is, is the FIA anti-Hamilton, and why? Or is it anti-Ron, and why? Or is it generally anti-McLaren, and why?
    Ron/Bernie/Max/Charlie go way back to Brabham and even before, so is this over some feud from back then that still has be settled? I hope not! It seems farcical if this is Ferrari still getting their own back over ‘Stepney-gate’! Who, if my judgement is correct, will be working for Honda next year anyway….

  8. Not surprising, but still crushingly disappointing (and I’m not mad keen on Hamilton) but sportsmanship and racing is the loser today.

    What fresh controversy will they artificially manufacture next year to hand the championship to Ferrari?

  9. Did anyone expect fairness from Ferrari International Assisstance.

  10. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 23rd September 2008, 16:05

    Martin Whitmarsh: “We are naturally disappointed with today’s verdict, and to have received no ruling on the substance of our appeal

  11. can anyone explain to me, im obviously not quick enough , why Ferrari had lawyers representing them at Hamiltons appeal? Surely it was a straight fia vs mclaren? ?

    On the bright side, for those of us who dont think Lewis is the anti christ because hes not humble enough, if he does win the championship he cant be accused of winning it in the courts. Massa on the other hand…..

  12. AussieLeb said on 23rd September 2008, 16:13

    I’m with Kris @20 The result was correct but the basis was not.

    Just so I don’t get smashed up by you guys I have finally found a link to a report that does a much better job of clarifying my opinion than I have tried to do in the past, as follows:


    So on to what should be a great weekend of F1 in Singapore. Come on guys get over it, no doubt Lewis will be better for this experience and lets hope moves are made by the officials to avoid this debacle happening again. My advice is, employ full time stewards or even better a rotating set of three from each team. Get rid of the option to appeal and provide the teams with a clear set of rules. Sounds too easy I guess!

  13. Not surprising, but still disappointing all the same.

    I’ve not subscribed to FIA/Ferrari conspiracy theories before, but the FIA have publicly bent every rule in the book on this case. And I’m no mad fan for Hamilton, but I’d like to see what the Italian or Spanish reaction is. Because the loser today was not Hamilton or McLaren, the loser today was racing and everyone who supports that.

  14. Christian Briddon said on 23rd September 2008, 16:15

    Why did they not just say immediately that this could not be appealed instead of costing everyone concerned thousands of pounds?

    This is pathetic. The only think that can save the sport I love so much is for the FIA to be replaced, or at least all those running it be replaced by people who are less corrupt and know what they are talking about. We also need professional stewards and not part time muppets!

    The number of people I know that now refuse to watch F1 ever again is crazy. Can they not see what damage they are doing to the sport?

    I spent £500 on tickets to this years British GP and I have spent the same on next year’s race. I am seriously thinking of ringing the Silverstone box office and asking for my money back. What is the use of spending so much money when the championship is fixed by the FIA?

  15. Hmm, once again the FIA make a bad decision concerning F1. Does anybody else feel that this is playing into Bernies hands a little too easily?
    And why are McLaren being made the scapegoat for some political juggelry by Bernie and Max (and Jean and Old Charlie?).
    Watch this space very, very carefully!

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