Hamilton’s third place under threat again (Update: FIA opening new investigation)

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton's version of events in Melbourne are in dispute
Lewis Hamilton's version of events in Melbourne are in dispute

Lewis Hamilton may have thought that Toyota’s press release announcing it would not appeal Jarno Trulli’s 25 second penalty was the end of the matter.

But according to a report in Auto Motor und Sport (translation here) Hamilton could still lose the third place he inherited from Trulli at Australia – and potentially a lot more.

Hamilton passed Trulli for third place during the safety car period after Robert Kubica and Sebastian Vettel’s crash. Amateur video evidence later showed Hamilton had done this legally, as Trulli had gone off the track at the time:

However there is not yet any footage of the moment Trulli passed Hamilton, which is at the heart of the stewards’ concerns.

The AMuS story claims Hamilton told a journalist after the race that he was instructed by McLaren to let Trulli past. But Hamilton either did not tell the stewards this, or told them it didn’t happen.

The stewards are now investigating what radio communication there was between Hamilton and the pits at the time, and whether Hamilton’s claim he had slowed down because he was examining his car’s display is true or not.

Toyota accepted they are not able to protest the decision for the same reason that McLaren were not allowed to protest Hamilton’s penalty at Spa last year. However the stewards may choose to investigate of their own volition. And if Hamilton is found to have lied or misled them, the punishment could be severe.

Or, failing that, this is just a strange German April Fools’ joke. What do you think?

Update @ 20:57, 4/1/09 – No April Fools’ joke – the FIA are officially investigating

According to Autosport the stewards are examining a new record of the McLaren radio transmission. The decision will be announced tomorrow, but it’s safe to assume they wouldn’t be calling for a fresh investigation if they hadn’t found something significant.

Update 2 – Thanks to Rob B for posting this recording of Toyota’s radio traffic from the final laps. If only we had McLaren’s too we could do the hearing ourselves!

Read more: Trulli penalised, Hamilton takes third (Update: Video of Hamilton?s pass)

133 comments on “Hamilton’s third place under threat again (Update: FIA opening new investigation)”

  1. Looks like we are going to face another dispute. Im not bothered though, seems to make things more interesting and after reading comments around the web.
    It looks like Hamilton may of let important bits out when questioned about Trulli after the race.

  2. (assuming he lied)

    This has got to be the dummest thing Hamilton has ever done… for one freaking point!

    Rooting for him, but this is just stupidity when it’s worst.

    1. Yes – I think this has become a complete charade.

      I’d hope if Hamilton was ordered to slow down and let Trulli repass they’d reverse the original penalty and fine McLaren for telling their driver to drive very slowly.

      I wouldn’t think Lewis has deliberately misled the stewards by not telling all the story but it strikes me as quite a foolhardy thing to do.

      The worse thing I think deserves to happen would be a fine for Hamilton/McLaren and a reversal of the penalty handed to Trulli.But this is the FIA so I suspect they might black-flag him after the event for good measure.

  3. I’m really interested in knowing if these dash displays will be functional while its raining hard.

    Is it the FIA that determines how long a message stays on the screen, or is it the team?

  4. Shouldnt they just take care of this DURING the race? This is far from rocket science. If someone passes under yellow, tell them to get back in order or black flag them. This 25 second penalty after the race is just silly.

  5. Surprised that Hamilton is under investigation not – he was awarded – much to his surprise 3rd place – not very surprised the stewards then find issues too change their ruling(max and bernie – where were you?)
    No surprises here just more taking of the proverbial by the gruesome twosome, playing us like pattsies

  6. Ferrari has done badly in Australia , so Lou tells Mo :
    ” Mo, dont let the rest of the cars get too far ahead, throw the rules book at anything thats not a Ferrari”

    Bernie tells Mo to let Brawn get away with their diffuser so he can claim an exciting new sponsor joining F1.

    However after a while Mo will get instructions to do something against Brawn if they regularly beat Lou´s cars.

  7. Can everyone just shut up about Ferrari! It has nothing to do with them, so lets just assume they have nothing to do with it.

    Trulli was unfortunate to lose the initial place to Hamilton. McLaren are obviously unsure about the situation so they tell Lewis to let Trulli past. Hamilton then lets Trulli past.

    After the show they ask Lewis what happens he mentions to Speed TV that his team told him to move over and let Trulli past (he said it so lets assume he is correct). Trulli gets penalised for overtaking Hamilton.

    So two things:
    1. Why did Lewis change his story?
    2. Why didn’t McLaren hold their hands up when Trulli got his penalty and say.. actually it’s our fault we told Lewis to let him past… therefore not deserving a penaly..

    I feel really sorry for Trulli and if Lewis did lie to the stewards then he should be in some serious trouble. Liars never prosper.

  8. I find this really sad and so corrosive to the spirit of racing. The FIA have created such pervasive atmosphere of fear and confusion, due to dodgy decision making last year, that teams like McLaren are on egg shell trying to keep out of trouble, so much so that they MAY have hamstrung Lewis on this occasion.

    – Jarno makes pigs ear of corner, Lewis drives past, as anyone would
    – Lewis gets orders to slow down and let the Jarno have place back just in case
    – Lewis does as he is told
    – Initially FIA does nothing (v strange)
    – FIA demotes Jarno and gives Lewis what he had already given back
    – Again Lewis does as he is told, after all Jarno did fall off the track on his own
    – Now Lewis is to be punished for for doing as he’s told and keeping his head when Jarno lost his

    What does this guy have to do to get a fair break in this series, its getting a bit silly now, not to mention the damage being done to the sport. Lewis is a great british champion a highly talented, exciting racer and an outstanding ambassador for F1 around the world. Yet what ever he does or doesn’t do seems to generate controversy.

    FIA: let the boys race race for goodness sakes!!!

    1. What I want to know is, what evidence did the FIA use against Trulli in the first place, that this apparent contradiction in Hamilton’s position has suddenly undermined?

      Surely they didn’t just take Hamilton’s word against Trulli’s?

    2. Indeed. I’m with you Keith. Why the heck didn’t they analyse Hamilton’s radio communication WHEN they were looking to aaply the 25second penalty to Trulli (I mean, it’s not as if it wasn’t a serious decision or anything!).

      It just beggars belief in my opinion. Very sad.

    3. Well said.

      This investigation better not result in any more penalties. I have the same question as Keith. What evidence did they use in the first place to penalize Trulli?

  9. Am I the only one that thinks it’s really weird that Trulli drove off the track during a saftey car period at low speed? And poor Lewis, probably just trying to follow orders and be cautious and avoid another unjust penalty. The FiA truly should have investigated this more thoroughly before penalizing Trulli, that way we wouldnt have all this muck. Too much politics, we want unadulterated racing this weekend for a change.

  10. Even if Hamilton/McClaren allowed him to pass, the reality is that Trulli and Toyota should never have attempted and stuck to 3rd place.

    The enquiry mentioned is just for administrative purposes to confirm the fears of both teams which are all understandable. However, the eyes are on the ones who took advantage rather than those taking caution.

  11. There is pressure on the stewards to make a decision fairly quickly which encourages drivers to omit certain truths and not accept the blame. Vettel didn’t follow this and got punished. Hamilton probably omitted the fact tha the slowed down becuase it could leave him open to be blamed. Trulli effectively received a 6 point penalty for accepting a genuine offer to retake the place. Neither of them were cheating. McLaren appear to be the only ones at fault even if they thought they were doing teh fair thing not Hamilton, so Trulli and Toyota should not be punished. The penalty should prbably be waived and teh rules clarified. I don’t think either team could really dispute this, but I don’t think it will happen.

  12. By the way, what happened to that post-race videos showing accident/incidents idea from last year? They (F1.com – I dont know if it was official FIAs initiative) did it for Japan – if I remember correctly – and then it disappeared…

    1. It doesn’t seem like they managed to catch either incident on video. Rather like Fuji in 2007, we’ve got a bit of film caught by a spectator (which FOM are having taken down from the video sites) of Hamilton passing Trulli, but so far nothing of Trulli going past Hamilton.

      If anyone has got footage of it and wants to send it in, you can upload it to the F1 Fanatic drop.io quickly and easily.

    2. But isnt this valid anymore?:
      “In a significant change the FIA will ensure all video evidence relating to controversial moments is made available to the public via its and FOM’s websites.” – its from your post.
      Did FIA forgot about this?
      OK, no Ham vs. Tru video exists, but there were another controversies – Kub vs Vettel, (and Barichello weird moves)?

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