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. Madurai said on 23rd September 2008, 16:20

    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:

  2. saravanan said on 23rd September 2008, 16:21

    Good for the sport

  3. Sooooperpigdog said on 23rd September 2008, 16:25

    what a crock….

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. saravanan said on 23rd September 2008, 16:33

    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

  7. Alex Cooper said on 23rd September 2008, 16:34

    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?

  8. Sooooperpigdog said on 23rd September 2008, 16:34

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

  9. S Hughes said on 23rd September 2008, 16:35

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

  10. Madurai said on 23rd September 2008, 16:40

    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…

  11. S Hughes said on 23rd September 2008, 16:41

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

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Saravanan said on 23rd September 2008, 16:43

    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


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