Hamilton excluded from Australian Grand Prix, Trulli third

2009 Australian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Melbourne, 2009

Lewis Hamilton has lost his third place in the Australian Grand Prix following a new investigation by the FIA stewards.

Jarno Trulli’s third place has been reinstated. His claim Hamilton had deliberately slowed to let the Toyota driver pass during a safety car period was upheld.

The FIA examined new evidence from McLaren’s radio communications which proved McLaren instructed Hamilton to slow down.

After the race Hamilton and McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh gave conflicting accounts of what happened to reporters: Hamilton claiming he had been told to let Trulli past, Whitmarsh saying Trulli passed Hamilton of his own accord.

Before the appeal Trulli said:

The FIA really got it wrong in that decision. We have all the evidence, including Hamilton’s admission, that I did not overtake him. He let me pass.

More needless controversy

It?s clear McLaren and Hamilton made a mistake by first encouraging Trulli to pass Hamilton on the track, and then not explaining why they had done so to the FIA. They have paid the price for this error of judgement.

But it is equally clear that the both the FIA?s rules and their implementation of them are far from perfect.

Hamilton originally passed Trulli when the Toyota driver went off the track during a safety car period. At that moment McLaren were unsure whether he had broken the rules or not. It later transpired they had not, but given their track record with the FIA stewards it is hardly surprising they were paranoid about making a mistake.

This sort of confusion might once have been resolved straight away with a call to the race director to check the correct running order of the cars. But when McLaren tried this at Spa last year they were incorrectly informed they had not transgressed, and ended up getting penalised

Max Mosley subsequently declared teams should not communicate with the race director on matters like this during the race. This needs to change.

A short message from race control could have informed McLaren and Toyota who was in the right straight away, and cleared up the matter without any fuss. Such calls are commonplace in other racing series, particularly in America, and there is no obvious reason why F1 couldn?t do the same.

Instead we have the same old story of the stewards fiddling with the results after the chequered flag, and F1 spoiling an excellent weekend?s racing by following it with days of needless acrimony.

Update: Full verdict from the stewards

At the first hearing following the Australian Grand Prix the Stewards did not have the benefit of the radio exchanges between driver No 1 Lewis Hamilton and his Team Vodafone McLaren Mercedes nor did they have access to the comments to the Media given by Lewis Hamilton immediately after the end of the race.

From the video recordings available to the Stewards during the hearing it appeared that Jarno Trulli?s car left the track and car No 1 moved into third place. It then appeared that Trulli overtook Hamilton to regain third place, which at the time was prohibited as it was during the Safety Car period.

During the hearing, held approximately one hour after the end of the race, the Stewards and the Race Director questioned Lewis Hamilton and his Team Manager David Ryan specifically about whether there had been an instruction given to Hamilton to allow Trulli to overtake. Both the driver and the Team Manager stated that no such instruction had been given. The Race Director specifically asked Hamilton whether he had consciously allowed Trulli to overtake. Hamilton insisted that he had not done so.

The new elements presented to the Stewards several days after the 2009 Australian Grand Prix which led to the reconvened Stewards Meeting clearly show that:

a. Immediately after the race and before Lewis Hamilton attended the Stewards Meeting he gave an interview to the Media where he clearly stated that the Team had told him to let Trulli pass.

b. Furthermore, the radio exchanges between the driver and the Team contain two explicit orders from the Team to let the Toyota pass.

The Stewards, having learned about the radio exchanges and the Media interview, felt strongly that they had been misled by the driver and his Team Manager which led to Jarno Trulli being unfairly penalised and Lewis Hamilton gaining third place.

The FIA has also published a recording of an interview Hamilton gave to the media and a part of his team’s radio broadcast.

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586 comments on Hamilton excluded from Australian Grand Prix, Trulli third

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  1. carl said on 2nd April 2009, 9:56

    What a Joke… This is Crazy…

    • Whewbacca the Cookie said on 2nd April 2009, 11:52

      Word is McLaren is not going to appeal. They seem to have accepted the judgment.

    • Kovy said on 2nd April 2009, 12:03

      McLaren don’t have a good track record with the FIA and appeals, do they? LOL.

      What Max said: really, pretty stupid. Race positions should be decided during the race, never after it.

    • No it’s not a joke…

  2. Rob B said on 2nd April 2009, 10:00


  3. Ben said on 2nd April 2009, 10:01

    If he did not tell the stewards pertinent details he should be punished accordingly. Especially when he goes blabbing it elsewhere and ‘forgets’ to tell the stewards some pretty important details, thats just poor and bad sportsmanship. He should be telling the stewards everything that happens, even if its to his own detriment.

    • I agree.

    • Whewbacca the Cookie said on 2nd April 2009, 11:31

      Second that… If he did indeed hold back some truth he has deserved the penalty.

    • David said on 2nd April 2009, 12:46

      I think people should back down from the Hamilton fetishizing – ‘he,’ ‘he’, ‘he.’ It’s kind of juvenile. Hamilton told various sources he’d been told to let Trulli pass. If McLaren then made a TEAM decision to claim otherwise, the onus is on them, not Hamilton, who was basically placed in an impossible position by his employers.

      I think the decision’s right, though, at a team sporting level. McLaren are looking just as shoddy as they did in the spygate and Alonso episodes.

    • Toby Bushby (@toby-bushby) said on 3rd April 2009, 1:26

      I agree with David. McLaren have caused this to come about, not Hamilton. Listening to his team radio, he seemed like a young driver trying to find out where he should be, not like a cold, calculating tarred-with-the-same-brush-as-Schumacher figure. It seems to me that the team have decided to keep this info from the stewards to gain podium prestige, but failed to inform their driver before he spoke to the media. They deserve the punishment, but Hamilton doesn’t. He does have to wear it, however. Team sport ‘n’all.

  4. alan said on 2nd April 2009, 10:01

    FIA makes F1 a shambles again

    • FIA’s contribution to this problem was, as stated before, Mosley’s rather ridiculous undermining of Charlie Whiting’s authority as race director.

      And the rather strict options about what penalties can be handed out (though, as discussed earlier, before Hamilton/McLaren’s misleading of the stewards came to light, in this case a 10-slot grid penalty plus dropping Trulli to 4th would have been a more appropriate penalty)

      What’s mindboggling is, was the team aware that Hamilton had given the interview? And they think the stewards will not find out? They’ve pretty much given away any chance that they will be treated fairly from now on — any of their testimony would be treated with justified suspicion by stewards in the upcoming races, who would not want to be cuckolded as the Melbourne ones did.

  5. Jonny said on 2nd April 2009, 10:01

    I’m getting fed up with F1.

    Not that I want to see Lewis and VMM getting away with stuff when they are clearly misleading others, but because of the constant inconsistency of the stewards and the FIA. Get it right on the day, during the race and let that be an end to it!

    Pathetic state of affairs.

  6. Go Renault 09" said on 2nd April 2009, 10:03


  7. Jay Menon said on 2nd April 2009, 10:03

    Rubbish! So what does this mean? Does Lewis keep fourth? Or does he get the 25 second penalty which would place him 12th?

    If the team is at fault, the driver should not be penalized. I know its a team sport but this is clearly the teams wrong doing. Strip the team of Contructors points or fine them, they should strip the driver of points.

    • Rob B said on 2nd April 2009, 10:07

      Hamilton gets disqualified from the classification. If they did mislead the stewards then it is just, but as he went and told the media I don’t beleive it was intentional. If they intended to mislead you’d imagine they would get their stories straight…..

  8. Philip Mortstedt said on 2nd April 2009, 10:04

    Forget rule changes, this is what F1 really is, needless, continous post race controversy and meddling which essentially makes the idea of a race completely pointless.

  9. zerogee said on 2nd April 2009, 10:04

    So let me get this straight. And before I start, McLaren are geese for not being honest.


    Trulli slides off. Slides back on then, knowing he cannot pass under safety car, did it anyway. Then, after the usual FIA faffing, he’s penalised 25s and Lewis gets the third that was technically his anyway.

    So they’re recalled, despite Toyota giving up (ie declining to press charges) a new meeting is called, McLaren’s flexibility with the truth uncovered and, despite the fact that Trulli had broken the rules, he is reinstated. So instead of just bumping Lewis back to fourth, he is DQed?


    • todd said on 2nd April 2009, 10:26

      yeah DQ seems harsher than trulli’s 25 second penalty.

      end of the day, trulli went off, they let him back in front.

      then the fia stuck it’s nose in, messed up the results, threw in a penalty, then, messed the results again and threw in a bigger penalty.

      really the teams sorted it out on the track it all was fair.

      as much as i really don’t want to see all the whining, it does seem harsh for something that was never an issue.

    • todd said on 2nd April 2009, 10:29

      oh i see why now. because once the FIA decided to investigate the 3rd place they then hid the evidence and mislead the FIA into giving them the position rather than telling the fair truth and allowing toyota to retain the 3rd place.

      oh well, burnt for being bad.

    • Williams 4ever said on 2nd April 2009, 12:24

      That Trulli Slid of Behind the Safety Car, he was entitled to get back his position as per rules. So McLaren like good boys gave back Trulli his position. Stewards in Australia were incompetent enough Not to know the Rules deemed Trulli wrongfully overtook Lewis behind Safety car. And stripped the Italian off his righful result. Now another bunch of idiots try to undo it without honestly confessing botch up was at their end. And Hamilton loses his fourth place. Two wrongs doesn’t make it right, it just makes bloody screw up.
      To be honest I am not a fan of the brit ( solely due to his loud mouth and “ME” Talk), but the kid is wronged this time for sure. SPA actions of the Brit were contentious for sure.. but this time around he is being wronged

    • ROB said on 2nd April 2009, 21:49

      Correct events ; Trulli slides off track, Hamilton slow s down (80KMH too slow for safety car regime),Trulli overtakes Ham ,Trulli disqualified after interview with stewards , Hamilton mislead the stewards pass and do not say anything to stop the wrong decision to disqualify Trulli. What a champion!!(thanks to Glock )
      By the way you defend the cheating guy looks like you are english!!

  10. Ben said on 2nd April 2009, 10:05

    It just says Ham lost his 3rd, so he’s most probably been put back to 4th. Its not the end of the world people.

  11. sam said on 2nd April 2009, 10:05

    Starting to think its all fixed now.

  12. Clare msj said on 2nd April 2009, 10:07

    Hmmm, if he didnt tell the stewards stuff that he later admitted in an interview then fair enough, he should be penalised for it, although it does seem a little harsh given that the whole situation was rather confusing to start with. And as much as i think that Trulli deserves his points back, how have they removed a 25s penalty – they wouldnt have been able to remove a drive thru – is that not why you cant appeal it in the first place! Technically, both drivers should have then recieved the 25s penalty if they were going to do anything about it – rather than remove Hamilton altogether, not that it makes much difference.

    Ideally id have liked the original result to stand, and I am a fan of neither driver – but they both deserved some points! If only Hamilton had been honest to the stewards in the first place thats what would have happened! All over an extra one point.

    • Gman said on 2nd April 2009, 20:24

      I agree that if Hamilton was misleading, he should get some punishment, but to be DQed from the whole thing is terrible.

      I hate to sound like a broken record, but do any of us think that Raikkonen and/or Massa would be excluded from the results if they had been in the same position?

  13. PJA said on 2nd April 2009, 10:11

    Well it isn’t a massive surprise Hamilton and McLaren getting penalised is it, what are the odds they won’t be allowed to appeal?

    I hope the FIA release all the evidence they have to make their decision as transparent as possible. From what I read so far it is based on the radio transmissions not matching Hamilton’s and McLaren’s statements, so I have to ask why did the stewards not look into these before issuing their original penalty in Australia considering how big an impact it had on the final results, as Trulli lost his podium and ending up with nothing.

  14. Heckie said on 2nd April 2009, 10:12


  15. Go Renault 09" said on 2nd April 2009, 10:12

    they FIA need to clarify things sooner so we don’t have issues and results to races being decided nearly a week after the race has finished.
    I agree that lewis and Mclaren should not get away with this behavior or actions and is probably mostly there fault it has gone on so long. if there wasn’t conflicting story’s from them it should have been resolved by monday at latest.
    Oh well bring on Malaysia i say!!

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