F1.com reacts to criticism of Fuji penalties by releasing new videos

Did Hamilton or Kovalainen force Raikkonen off the track at Fuji?

Did Hamilton or Kovalainen force Raikkonen off the track at Fuji?

Following criticism of some of the penalties served to drivers during the Japanese Grand Prix Formula One Management has published a montage of footage showing new angles of the incidents.

Most of the angles were not shown to fans who saw the standard F1 television footage as provided to ITV and many other stations during the race.

I’ve had a look at the videos and it’s given me some new thoughts on the incidents. Have a look for yourself and post your comments below.

Hamilton and Raikkonen

I’d seen the first two shots before. The third, slightly higher angle makes it very clear that it was Heikki Kovalainen, not Lewis Hamilton, that put Kimi Raikkonen off the circuit.

Watching the onboard from Hamilton made me realise he hadn’t actually out-braked himself by as much as I originally thought he had – he did go off the circuit, but not as far as I first thought.

This made me realise Raikkonen must have braked a bit late for the corner as well – though not as late as Hamilton – or surely Hamilton would have shot past him and Raikkonen would have been able to turn into the corner, as we’ve seen happen many times before (think Massa and Hamilton at Sepang last year).

Read more about this incident: Hamilton and Raikkonen?s Fuji clash – the penalty they got wrong (Video)

Massa and Hamilton

Not much new here – Mass clearly hit Hamilton and deserved a penalty. But the onboard camera from Massa gives me the impression it was not an intentional take-out, as some people have suggested, just a bad misjudgement by Massa.

Read more about this incident: Massa and Hamilton?s Fuji crash – the penalty they got right (Video)

Bourdais and Massa

I wrote before that I didn’t think the external camera angle made it possible to say will total certainty that Bourdais was innocent. Unfortunately none of the new angles help answer that either. For me the key question is: was Bourdais right up against the inside of the corner when the two touched?

However it seems clear to me there was more Massa could have done to avoid the incident. He has space to his left to use to avoid Bourdais, Bourdais had very little space to his right, if any at all.

I think the stewards should have stayed out of this one – it was a racing incident. By getting involved, they will find themselves expected to uphold this dubious precedent in the future. And the same goes for the Hamilton/Raikkonen incident.

Read more about this incident: Bourdais gets 25s penalty

Still, it’s good to see F1.com making worthwhile use of their enormous media resources. Here’s a few more suggestions for them.

A similar thing happened after last year’s Fuji race when the incident between Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel was re-investigated after new footage emerged on the Internet that had been shot by a fan.

Have these new videos changed your interpretation of the three penalties handed out at Fuji this year?

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113 comments on F1.com reacts to criticism of Fuji penalties by releasing new videos

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  1. beneboy said on 14th October 2008, 21:03

    Nice shots, especially the on-board shots.

    None of them changed my mind though, The fist corner was the result of several drivers mistakes, mostly Lewis & Heiki but others too.
    I didn’t think any penalty was needed though.

    Massa & Lewis was just a coming together during an overtaking move, all fair game in my book so again, no penalty needed.

    Massa & Bourdais looked mostly Massa’s fault, Seb had nowhere else to go. They were fighting for position & Seb would have made the corner if Massa had left him a cars width on the inside rather than trying to close the door on him.
    So Massa deserved a drive through for causing an avoidable accident.

    I can understand why the stewards saw it differently to me, I just don’t agree with them.

  2. Kester said on 14th October 2008, 21:04

    I think the camera angles show that Kimi tried to turn in on at least 2 occasions, but was however blocked by Hamilton’s out of control car. I still believe whilst harsh, the penalty had a clear reason. Hamilton stopped Kimi from turning in, and being the first corner, Kimi knew that 18 cars were behind him, and he couldn’t have braked harder without causing a larger accident.

    Also, Kimi was at the right speed to take the turn, Lewis couldn’t have turned because his tyres weren’t giving him any kind of grip, and what little it did was needed for braking. You can’t use grip for braking to turn as well. It’s a one or the other kind of thing.

    The second part (Massa/Hamilton) pretty clearly sums up that it wasn’t intentional, but was probably a pretty stupid decision on Massa part. Regardless I think it was a racing incident; Lewis wasn’t a car length ahead and should have probably given a little more room. Not that I’m excusing Massa for not slowing further or taking the grass more. It really seems to me like 6 of one, half a dozen of the other.

    And the Bourdais incident looks to me like he lost control of his car. You can see just before they collide that Bourdais makes 2 corrections to his steering. Also in the on board with Massa, a split second before they collide, Bourdais back end steps out. Seeming to show that he got some oversteer on his cold tyres, sliding in to Massa. Finally, when Massa car comes round, you can see Bourdais quite a way off the apex.

    Although again, Massa could have made it easier on him self by giving a little more room.

  3. On the Bourdais penalty, the footage from Massa’s mirror makes me think that Massa thought that Bourdais was a bit further behind him.

  4. The new angles haven’t done anything to explain their decisions really. Turn 1 – I still think that’s a racing incident and if you wanted to be really picky you’d have to penalise Heiki, but I wouldn’t.

    Massa/Hamilton – I agree with you here Keith, a mistake from Massa rather than anything more sinister. Hamilton’s onboard show that he had a look, then tucked in behind Massa to follow him through the corner. It was Massa’s mistake that he ran wide and Hamilton just went through as you’d expect. Massa should have backed off.

    Bourdais – other than slam his brakes on to let Massa past, I still can’t see what else Bourdais was supposed to do, especially if that directive from Whiting that cars exiting pit lane have right of way is true.

    Cavaet – I’ve tried to look at these incidents separately, without bias toward any driver just as if they all took place among backmarkers and had no bearing on the Championship.

  5. form the onboard Kimi was about to turn in, had to turn back twice on lewis and wouldn’t have made the turn and then Kov pushes him completely off.

  6. Robert McKay said on 14th October 2008, 21:11

    I think both Hamilton and Kovi are to “blame” for forcing Kimi wide, but I don’t think that that in itself warranted a penalty. I don’t know how two-thirds of the field can use the huge run-off apron at La Source on the opening lap of the Belgian GP and noone there be deemed to have done no “forcing wide”. In fact most race starts we see features someone optimistically outbraking themselves and making someone else take avoiding action – so this one is just a bit, well, made-up.

    Massa-Bourdais is pretty much the dictionary definition of racing incident. Massa slightly more in the wrong, but not really worthy of a penalty. To give it to Bourdais was just completely wrong.

    Massa-Hamilton is the most clear cut of the three, but 4 or 5 years ago all three would have been deemed racing incidents and the only recrimination might have been a quick stern talking to of the driver involved in private after the race was over.

    As an aside, it’s nice that the FOM/Bernie official site is actually acknowledging that there are controversial decisions, whereas normally they stick their heads in the sand and hope it goes away. And if they are going to go round youtube taking the videos down, at least if they put them up on their own site it is more acceptable/understandable.

  7. My Opinion hasn’t changed much. If you check the live Blog my responses were what they are after watching the Official Videos.
    First lap first corner incident – This is most common incident on race start in F1. I used to have tickets at 1st corner of Indianapolis the breadth of the tarmac on T1-T2 was half that of long straight and almost every year we had first corner pile-up I have taken photos to support my view. Never remember any Penalties given Before. Same thing almost every year happens at Monza race start where at least few cars end up missing the Chicane.

    Massa/Hamilton - I had mentioned during in Live Blog as well. Massa had no other place to go at that point. Other option he had was to brake hard and get rear ended by driver after him, that would have ended his race on the spot. rather losing nose and making stop for nose change was better alternative. When I look at this incident other incident comes to my mind is due to lack of visibility Lewis who had off track excursion, came back on track and had incident with Kubica at Fuji Last year. I don’t remember any one talking anything about that incident. It was candidate for potential DT for Hamilton.

    Bourdais/Massa
    – Did any of the Knowledgeable stewards tell Bourdais, the line he should have taken? I would love to hear the Stewards rationale in this absurd penalty. In case there was guilty party here it was ambitious massa.

    Incidentally Ted Kravitz has named the leader of stewards at Fuji its one They were headed by Graham Stoker, who is the chairman of the UK Motor Sport Association.
    Knowing this I wonder why Massa backers are not claiming victimization of Massa by Graham. Massa Hamilton was more than anything a “Racing Incident” Just think of all Coulthard incidents this year. Don’t remember DC or the other party given a Drive Through.

    Its just that the Stewards have become over cautious post SPA and hence the gaffes.

    Another talk during Live Blog was Independent Stewards who travel with the circus. With the above example rest assured they would be facing ire of fans for their rulings. The root cause of the problem is inconsistencies and non professionalism in general way FIA operates.

  8. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 14th October 2008, 21:24

    Too Good – the Fuji stewards were Stoker, Jose Abed and Kzunari Yamanashi, plus of course Alan Donnelly (PDF of Hamilton penalty document).

  9. Part of the problem with “Over Agressive” Approach of Lewis is for some of his indiscretions on the track in his rookie year the Stewards/FIA/FOM took Softer approach as all of them were trying their best to let him win Championship in rookie year,which would have been a great boost for F1 in Particular and motorsports in General.
    Its that over confidence that has resulted in Lewis crossing that fine line of agression and fool hardiness

  10. hehehe I saw it a while ago and was amazed they put it up. I guess it’s a start, but alas yet again they fell short by not showing it from more angles and from all those drivers involved especially with more from the in-car camera perspectives to help us get a better objective view.

    I take a different view regarding the Lewis/Massa incident. In my view it shows he deliberately hit lewis. You can clearly see that no one part of Massa’s car was on the black tarmac in the second part of the ‘S’ bend with half the car on the grass and half on the raised red and white curb indicating he was comprehensibly beaten (not to mention he clearly out braked himself) and chanced his luck by deliberately ramming Lewis and got away with it by not receiving at the very least a 10 second stop go penalty and 5 place grid penalty at the next race for bad sportsmanship. Surely if it was a street circuit he would have hit the wall as was his remark regarding Lewis and the Spa controversy.

  11. Keith as a Non FA /FM/LH supporter, I am just pointing that, if Lewis and his fans feel that persecution by FIA. Massa and his fans can claim the similar. and the resulting situation will spiral out of control.

    EPL referees , NBA Umpires and even “Neutral” Cricket umpires have not fully addressed the “persecution complex” the teams & fans feel their “team was done” on purpose. And even Bunch of “Neutral Independent Stewards” will not alleviate the problem. Fans will always find some connection to prove that their team was “done with”

  12. The videos are helpful.
    Incident 1. Its clear that HAM and KOV out break themselves. RAI would have held the road but not the apex. But KOV is the real stinker here. Why was he right up his teammate’s chuff AND even later on the breaks? He was actually out of control. If Hamilton had braked properly, there would have been two McLarens on hooks. If we are grading on forced-curve, penalty goes to KOV. And the penaly on HAM is inexplicable–RAI would have actually gone under him on the exit but for KOV.

    Incident 2. It was not deliberate, but Massa was out of control. Its not like he tipped Hamilton on the way in as Hamilton closed the door—he made a nice chord through the grass as if to build more speed for the attack. Foul on Massa.

    Incident 3.
    Looks better for Massa. Bourdais was clearly behind. However, Massa had all the room in the world to avoid this. He did not have to slam the door mid-corner to get past. This is “racing,” but a massive brain-fade by Massa.

    We are lacking this topic, but foul on the Fuji feed. Our feed in American was disgusting. I had never seen so may slow-mo replays of the 18th place car getting lapped.

  13. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 14th October 2008, 21:35

    Too Good – I know, was just making it clear everyone knew there’s more than one steward.

    Before the season began the FIA were talking about not allowing any stewards that shared nationality with any of the participating F1 drivers, but they must have dropped the idea.

  14. Mr Soap said on 14th October 2008, 21:46

    It doesn’t really change my view of anything, really.

    – Yes, Hamilton blocked Raikkonen, but without Kovalainen there, Raikkonen would still have made the corner. You can’t be held responsible for what other drivers do. The entire point of overtaking is to block the other car from the ideal line, but without Kovalainen, another line round the corner would’ve existed.
    -Massa was at fault. You should know if you go that drrp into the first corner, then you’ll have to go slowly at the second corner in order to make it through, and haven’t a chance of racingthe person in front if they’re already that far infront of you. Interesting to not the parts of bodywork flying off though.
    -Massa was at fault. He had the entire road to use. As far as I can tell from the inadequate clips they’ve provided, Bourdais front right tyre is still tight to the kerb, and so there’s little else he can do. There’s certainly not enough evidence that Bourdais was in the wrong to give him the penalty they did.

  15. diseased rat said on 14th October 2008, 21:50

    The first corner penalty is dubious, I can see both sides of it really and don’t feel comfortable coming down on either side. The one thing I would say is that in marginal situations I would err on the side of not giving a penalty.

    It’s very clear from the Massa and Hamilton incident that Massa had to drive completely outside the white lines – and thus off the track – in order to get his car in a position capable of nudging Hamilton. If he had stayed on the track then it’s a racing incident but because he cut the corner it’s a straightforward penalty.

    The Bourdais Massa incident is just asinine. Massa either thought he was lapping Bourdais and ignored him or just plain did not realise he was there. If he did know he was there then the move was an entirely unnecessary risk as was his veering across the pitlane exit to overtake on Webber.

    Anyway, these videos just underline that neither of the top two title contenders is looking remotely like a complete world championship winning package at the moment. Hopefully the title will be decided by who can hold it together best, rather than a mechanical fault.

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