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?óÔéĽÔäós pass)

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

  1. Gautam said on 2nd April 2009, 6:40

    If this news about FIA investigation is true, then why is it not reported in http://www.formula1.com (the official website)?

    • Whewbacca the Cookie said on 2nd April 2009, 6:53

      The official F1 site usually reports news / incidents that have been finalized :)

  2. Whewbacca the Cookie said on 2nd April 2009, 6:47

    In my opinion it’s McLaren’s fault. I don’t think Hamilton or Trulli would lie about the situation. McLaren had probably feared a penalty and told Hamilton to let Trulli pass. It cannot be Hamilton’s or Trulli’s fault. They have done what they were supposed to do. Hamilton could not really refuse to let Trulli pass when his team told him to do so. Neither could Trulli refuse to pass Hamilton and come to a stop in the middle of the track. All in all it’s an honest mistake on McLaren’s part. The fair decision would be to grant back Trulli his 3rd place and relegate Hamilton to 4th.

  3. Go Renault 09" said on 2nd April 2009, 7:37

    Mclaren should have investigated with the stewards first as to whether they were required to let trulli back past.
    if hamilton has just pulled over then you could only expect jarno to keep going .
    Give trulli back his spot on the podium and give hamilton 4th.
    Or if ther is evidence that he has been intentionally misleading then give him the 25s penalty.
    Personally i would rather see the latter but that is my opinion, Hamilton has never been picked on by the stewards if he and the team didn’t put themselves in these situations then it wouldn’t have to be looked at.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 2nd April 2009, 8:58

      Mclaren should have investigated with the stewards first as to whether they were required to let trulli back past.

      After the Spa debacle last year the teams were told they’re not allowed to do that. Which I think is wrong – it happens in other championships and, as this sorry mess goes, it could spare us a lot of trouble.

  4. keepF1technical said on 2nd April 2009, 8:06

    why, given all the post race video clips and evidence, cant we just get the sensible outcome to all this.

    That the FIA throws out its own previous penalties…

    just throw out their previous investigation of trulli and let the race result stand (if maclaren erring on the side of caution gave them fourth instead of third then so be it – it was their call). Or even use the rule that allows time for a repass to take place if its deemed necessary – in the old days when the teams trusted the communications from whiting! If that was immediately after the race, so be it. Plus the fact you see cars overlapping / passing each other momentarily all the time behind the SC without penalty.

    and just throw out their previous vettel / kubica investigation and decide what everybody else had already decided as a racing incident. Again, no team was complaining about this. Let the race result stand.

    and throw out the appeal on the diffusers. they had after all confirmed their legality during the off season. Let the race result stand with no impending appeal which could change it.

    why cant the FIA just grow balls and stand up as men to their own mistakes.

    whilst i like the intrigue of the politics in f1, these decision and appeals and just bullsht and incompetence. If only there actually was a political element of ferrari vs maclaren for example… but there is no way i give the fia enough credibility to achieve it. This just really makes me mad and this is just round 1.

    and another point… Wasn’t it speculated recently that a gambling company was to become a big sponsor? Surely no bookie would come near this sport because there is no way of knowing which result is the correct one. I think as it is, the bookies all state they pay out on the finishing line order and they ignore the post race melee.

  5. DGR-F1 said on 2nd April 2009, 8:29

    Are we heading into a season where EVERY move to pass between the cars is going to be disputed, and every ‘Racing’ incident is going to incur tough penalties? This is just SILLY, and not in the spirit of F1!
    Moan over.
    I thought it was reported early on that McLaren had asked Hammy to let Trulli through again as the original pass had been made just as the SC period had started, and McLaren were trying to keep on the right side of the rules.
    And, thinking about it, under racing conditions, isn’t it correct that if the car in front slows down suddenly, or falls off the track, you are entitled to pass it legally and above board, even if you have no idea what has made the car (or driver) behave strangely?
    Or is this the local FIA Stewards (and can we have their names please) taking the ‘No Team Orders’ ruling strictly by the letter and not even allowing a Team to think on its feet? If so, the FIA Stewards deserve the punishment, not either Hammy or Trulli.

  6. Hugo Bourgeois said on 2nd April 2009, 8:49

    It is a straightforward pity that the FIA and the stewards want to get into the racing so much. They are so afraid of screwing up that they meddle too much. Trust the drivers a bit more and just get on with it!

    Either Trulli passed under SC or he didn’t. Surely this is a straightforward fact? And honestly, if I were McLaren, I’d have told Hamilton to slow down, too, regarding last year’s farces about letting through/not letting through…

  7. Hugo Bourgeois said on 2nd April 2009, 8:50

    Moreover, if you intend to have more cars pass each other, you’re going to have more incidents, because there will be more racing.

    => More racing equals more meddling from FIA and stewards? Please don’t!!

  8. Yusuf said on 2nd April 2009, 8:58

    haha, it was Jarno who took the decision to overtake him and waited Hamilton to overtake him again during a safety car period(who will risk it?).

    If this turns out to be a farce, I will stop following F1.

    It is serious this time because they will be suggesting that Hamilton/McClaren fixed the race. If I was summoned by the stewards, I will send in lawyers instead.

  9. really said on 2nd April 2009, 9:06

    someone like him with such a great talent
    but arrogant and clever(stupid) should have his
    Super License stripped off!
    he just thought he could get away with everything
    it’s not schumi era anymore

  10. Yusuf said on 2nd April 2009, 9:06

    Interesting that Surinder will be present in the meeting. How can he let down an Italian?

  11. PJA said on 2nd April 2009, 9:16

    Prior to the start of the season we were promised more openness in regards to the steward’s decisions, so can anyone tell me what records of the stewards meetings are kept and what have been made public. Do they simply keep minutes of what is said, I know during the race we had that brief camera shot of race control but something tells me they wouldn’t film any stewards meeting. If the drivers are interviewed do they have to sign a statement if it is a relatively important incident, or is more like a informal chat.

    Also I find it strange that we have seen no official footage of either pass. I appreciate that the cameras by the side of the track could have easily missed them, but Hamilton at least had an onboard camera during the race, was it malfunctioning at that time or have they simply not thought to look at it or make it public.

    With all the possible sources of information at their disposal such as telemetry and radio transmissions even if they could not find any film of either incident you would have thought the stewards would have been able to know enough of the facts to make such an important decision without relying on either driver’s word.

  12. Pee said on 2nd April 2009, 9:17

    Have we realized that anything involving Hamilton, he definitely has to take the blame. Couldn’t believe when Hamilton was handed 3rd place. Hamilton has never come out of anythn with the FIA the victor, so definitely I couldn’t believe that. All for this to come out. What a shame to F1. They definitely have a problem with one guy and that is Lewis Hamilton!! Its a pity that they didnt learn from last year. You can’t put the guy down, he will only come back stronger!!

  13. todd said on 2nd April 2009, 9:25

    if anything trulli should not get any penalty. they did everything right and by the book, and they even withdrew the appeal even though it was all in their favour.

    props to toyota.

  14. Cameron said on 2nd April 2009, 9:30

    Yet more rubbish in F1. Why can’t the end of a Grand Prix just be the end of the Grand Prix? All this court case garbage is a joke.

    Hamilton deserves 3rd place… Trulli made a disaster of a corner, while under the safety car. He should be 4th, NOT 12th!

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