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. Madurai, I fear your hatred of Lewis is blinding you to rationality.

  2. I for one thought the penalty handed out to Hamilton in Spa was ok, but this “judgement” of the FIA is purely ridiculous and a shame. Rejecting the appeal on formal grounds AFTER the hearings and debates, this is a farce. I don’t belive in the FIA’s Ferrari-bias – although Tozzi’s role is really quite obscure in this case, to say the least – but now I’m absolutely convinced about the organization’s and its officials’ utter incompetence.

  3. SEAN

    very sad, and although it probably does say more about you than the sport (this sort of thing has always gone on, come on!) i do agree with you, in part. However this chat board is not deathly silent and Lewis (love or loathe him) has generated more interest since the hayday of Prost, Senna, Mansell.

    Ive been watching F1 since 78 (age 7) and basically you watch it with awe and only know the race, in your teens you read a bit of press and in your 20’s you might even go to the odd race, in your 30’s you get a bit anoraky about it until bang, something lets you down. For my dad it was Jim Clark dying, for me it was Coulthard expressing glee that he could nail the throttle on a corner and the electronics would make sure he didnt spin.

    This FIA ruling is as nothing compared to them, it is a bump on tambarello made huge because of the protaganist.

    To all intents and purposes F1 died the day Colin Chapman put a cigarette logo on his car and you are right we are like battered wives, going back for more, hoping it’ll now be different and like a battered wife, we have nowhere else to go.

  4. Sooperpigdog….It all that happens..eg FOOTBALL.It is decision of refree given on the spot.u cant even appeal.
    Atleast in F1 u hav that


  6. mudarai

    “convict” – hes a criminal now is he?

    and er duh! did you think Lewis got to the pinnacle of f1 by being a wall flower. some people. “its gone to his head” “he raised his voice” “the arrogance, how dare he” deary deary me. where do you live? the 1880’s?

    oh btw im not a “ham ” fan- just a bemused fan

  7. The FIA are the Judge, Jury and Executioner – What other outcome could have possibly come of this? This cannot be a fair way to run a Multi Million Pound business.

    Got to hand it to the FIA – Reading their press release on the court ruling their case was solid with the 3 different types of penalties they can give out and if their was ground for an appeal if it was a drive through. Why then, did they allow it to get this far if they knew their own laws!?!

    What has come out in the wash is some more dirt that has been thrown at the FIA especially with crazy antics with Tony Scott Andrews. Seems they are officially prepared to lie to win their battle with Mclaren.

  8. c. is it because he is black?

    no it’s because he’s not red.

  9. Maduri, where have you been? Have you not been listening to Schumacher, Alonso, or Kimi, or Massa (or even Massa’s engineer). All the drivers behave like this, they are the top of the class, they are unbeatable. The press tells them, their manager tells them, their boss tells them. Why should they not believe it? They wouldn’t be in that car if they weren’t that good.
    And other top professional sportsmen believe it too – footballers, basketball players, cricketers, snooker players, even golfers, its part of sport….
    They are where they are because they are good enough to be there, and we aren’t!

  10. This decision was obviously coming: the intriguing bit is why they let everyone present their cases and expose the murky depths of collusion between FIA and Ferrari. Deliberately and blatantly misrepresenting the opinion of a former official in the process. Really, at this point you have to question why the other teams allow this to continue (answer: money, money and more money). Nice spectacle all round.

    At least if Lewis wins the WDC, his detractors won’t be able to say it was undeserved. Well unless FIA invents something else of course.

  11. So I think the only way for Massa will become a genuine WDC is with six points ahead LH

  12. What a hell. So everybody goes around saying that they are the best in the sport and that their rivals don’t have the balls or they don’t have the skills to keep him behind…and so on? DG, I have seem LH – the super smug big mouth – saying these kind of things time and time again. Can you point out to me any article, webpage, tv interview, or any other media in which any of the other driver in the grid has been behaving like that? Please come up with specifics. LH is a good driver but he has such a big mouth that I hope he never wins any title in his F1 career (a sort of second Stirling Moss). That would fit him well.

  13. Ferrari sent lawyers to the appeal because their Janitor couldn’t go. Seriously now, who would you have had them send?

  14. what….has….it….to….do……with……ferrari?


  15. Sick of people saying that if this had been Ferrari, they’d have gotten away with it. The very notion of “getting away with it” says that you’ve done something wrong in the first place.
    Still, it’s a bad penalty. An overhaul of the steward system seems the best way to go. I’d recommend a system whereby there’s a representative from every team who decides on these things. But then, I suppose that doesn’t really make sense, does it?

  16. this is just soooo wrong. and soooo predictable.

    my only surprise is they didn’t apply a further penalty.

  17. Saravanan, at least in football, during the game, the ref’s is the one in charge…What do we have in F1?? um charlie whiting… um stewards….. it’s anybodys guess cos the wont clarify it..

  18. WannaBeAmetalHead
    23rd September 2008, 17:22

    I am not a racer , but i love racing . Hamilton got what he deserves , he gained an advantage during the race and he just lost it afterwards ….and forever ..as simple as that …

    As a fan of this sport , i believe the FIA acted in this matter is just not biased. They made the right decision . You cant compare 2006 suzuka incident with this , and it is clear that Hamilton did gain an advantage. Lewis did try to gain advantage like this and got penalties before, this year itself . I am so happy now :)

  19. Why can the teams not have a direct radio link to the stewards, seeing as they’re the ones who are making the decisions?

    Having a radio link between the teams and Charlie is just useless, seeing as clearly all he is there to do is push the ‘go’ button come 2pm, and according to the FIA has no right to give opinions on anything regarding what happens in the race.

    Seems as if the FIA needs a drastic surplus staff cull as well as a reigime change.

  20. antonyob,

    Exactly my question!
    was this not a straight FIA vs McLaren issue?
    Why were Ferrari lawyers even present?

    well, that’s it for me!
    K!$$ MY GR!T$ FIA (pardon my French!)

    man, I haven’t been this ticked off since GeeDubya got re-elected

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