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

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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

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

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  1. 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.

  2. 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….

  3. 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?

  4. Did anyone expect fairness from Ferrari International Assisstance.

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

  6. 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…..

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. Christian Briddon
    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?

  10. 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!

  11. JUSTICE FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!for all that crap HAM told to FERRARI lawyer “Answering one of Tozzi’s questions, Hamilton had said: “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:

  12. Good for the sport

  13. what a crock….

  14. I have followed F1 for 35-odd years, as part of the generation that grew up watching Fittipaldi, Lauda and Hunt in the 70s and spent decades absorbed with Senna vs. Prost, Mika vs. Michael and so on, “warts and all” as far as FIA/ FISA decisions are concerned going all the way back to some very dodgy events in 1976.

    A few years ago, even as late as the Alonso/ Monza and mass damper debacles in 2006, a “verdict” like this would have been accompanied by email and phone chatter with my friends and family, the outcome eagerly awaited, the ins and outs discussed with keen interest. Our collective verdict these last 10 or 15 years – that the FIA is as bent as it can be – would almost always be the same, as was the mounting frustration, but the interest was there, as was the faint hope that the thing would somehow right itself.

    Now? Exactly nothing. Nobody I know has had anything to say about F1 any more, nor I to them. Spa came and went, all without a single comment or opinion or line in an email – not a single line. For what is there to say? Just the annual pound of flesh extracted by whatever means necessary, and utter contempt for ideas like racing, fairness, sport, transparency and any respect whatsoever for our intellect.

    For me, this deafening silence says as much as any expressions of outrage and disgust on these boards about the events (of which I have also bothered to post almost nothing). Perhaps it is true that for every old fan who just gives up and stops watching (I can name at least a dozen of my acquaintance, sadly), ten new innocents come on board (after all, China alone has a billion would-be new fans capable of switching on the TV and buying the products) but a clearer betrayal of the trust of an audience, and nuclear winter of disinterest, I have yet to see.

    It’s always pointless to declare “that’s it, I will never watch F1 again!!” (accompanied by gleeful calls of “good riddance” from fans of the beneficiary team), all too melodramatic really, and I may, if the lawn doesn’t need mowing or a drain unblocking, put on the TV or otherwise follow up on the outcome, just to see if the delicious spectacle of seeing the cabal beaten anyway (as was indeed the case in 2006) might make it all seem OK again for a short while. But I have long boycotted products sold through F1 (to name one example I have gone out of my way to avoid buying Bridgestone tyres for a decade and will never do so again), for this reason alone, and I have long given up arguing with Nascar fans about racing purity (how can I, in all honesty?). For a type of fan like me, we are essentially done regardless of whether we make melodramatic declarations or not, as we leave.

    In the final analysis, it’s all nothing but sad, really. Just a terrible shame and rather a waste. Someone made an analogy about racing fans and battered and abused wives and I think it’s quite apt, we just quietly give up inside and look for ways to move on.

  15. So the FIA says that a drive through penalty is not reviewable even when its not a drive through penalty. As many have pointed out here, the reason a drive through is not appealable is because there is no possible remedy after the race is done. A time penalty imposed after the race is the ideal example of a remediable error.

    In any event the rules only state that a drive through is not “susceptible” to appeal. This ruling goes against the letter of the rules, it goes against precedent both on the merits and on procedure, and it defies all logic.

  16. Dont worry guys ..HAM will win this CHAMP as it is goin to rain in all the races..MASSA will be out in atleast two…CHEER UP

  17. Madurai – I’m not a ‘HAM’ fan but surely he did have a point to demonstrate to the the Ferrari lawyer that there is a difference between a desk-job and being a racing driver?

  18. saravanan, what sport? The FIA has seen to it that F1 can no longer be characterized as one.

  19. Sorry, I posted the same thing twice because of the slowness of the site.

  20. Alex..It cannot be argued that way.It is also not practical..when ever an attorney questions a convict it is not that he has to know about job the convict does..He just follows the rule book…If u break it u r in soup….It also shows how aggressive HAM is …The fame has gone to his head…

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