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

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)

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

  1. SYM said on 1st April 2009, 21:58

    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!!!

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 1st April 2009, 22:25

      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?

    • John H said on 1st April 2009, 23:26

      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.

    • S Hughes said on 2nd April 2009, 2:23

      Excellent comment Sym, I totally agree!

    • MacademiaNut said on 2nd April 2009, 6:06

      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?

  2. Hallard said on 1st April 2009, 22:08

    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.

  3. verasaki said on 1st April 2009, 22:11

    can the fia not even get through the first freakin’ race of the season without this mess!

  4. Yusuf said on 1st April 2009, 22:12

    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.

  5. Dane said on 1st April 2009, 22:17

    Here come the Mclaren conspiracy theorists again…

  6. Hamilton should be DSQ if that’s true…

  7. michael counsell said on 1st April 2009, 22:43

    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.

  8. SLKManiac said on 1st April 2009, 22:45

    Yes – he should be disqualified for the rest of the season… shame on him!

  9. Paul said on 1st April 2009, 22:51

    Hamilton has issues under SC conditions. Really odd.

  10. chaostheory said on 1st April 2009, 22:55

    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…

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 1st April 2009, 23:13

      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.

    • chaostheory said on 1st April 2009, 23:45

      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)?

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 2nd April 2009, 0:31

      Oh yeah I’d definitely like tobe shown what they saw to make them think the Vettel/Kubica incident was worth punishing anyone for. It was a racing incident, np need for a penalty at all.

  11. Mike G said on 1st April 2009, 23:23

    What a suprise hamilton under investigation!

  12. David said on 2nd April 2009, 0:07

    Trulli span off, Hamilton had no option but to pass him. Trulli then regains his position (unseen). It seems very likely that Hamilton/McLaren relinquished the position to be avoid a penalty and leave Trulli/Toyota with the onus of deciding whether to stay ahead or give the position back to Hamilton. Whether through a decision or simple omission, they decided to keep 3rd.

    The question, then, is how both Hamilton and Trulli chose to interpret Hamilton slowing down. Neither driver acknowledged that the position had been given up by Hamilton, which, in my view, suggests neither were confident that saying they were second-guessing the FIA regulations/stewards interpretation of the incident would be sufficient to clear them of any penalty.

    In other words, Hamilton may have been ‘economical’ with the truth, but no more than Trulli being ‘disingenuous’ in claiming he thought Hamilton had some kind of problem. Both were convenient non-truths. Just worth pointing out before everyone comes down solely on Hamilton.

  13. Macademianut said on 2nd April 2009, 0:25

    Here we go with more stupidity. They should have simply given the 4th place to Trulli and not penalized him. I say give back the fourth place to Trulli. Let’s get on with the next race.

  14. footfarmer said on 2nd April 2009, 0:25

    With the diffuser row and the inability to make any decision that can’t be reversed, particularly one feels if not a ‘favoured’ ream – the FIA continues to make a mockery of itself and the sport.. embarrassing ..

  15. Macademianut said on 2nd April 2009, 0:31

    Or even better, let Trulli take his third place. Please don’t massacre the sport for the heck of it. Both drivers did what they did just to avoid the 25s penalty. Let’s see the “stewards” go with the “intent of the rule” and not “letter of the rule”.

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