Hamilton excluded from Australian Grand Prix, Trulli third

2009 Australian Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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.

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

  1. FFS

    Honesty, unfortunately underrated by many. Great start to the season.
    How dumb is Whitmarsh to think they would get away with this. They didn’t edge on the side of caution in this instance did they.

    Disappointed with Mclaren.

  2. What a farce.

    It seemed under the safety car none of the drivers had a clue what they were supposed to be doing, like when they had to overtake the safety car. Hamilton and McLaren were probably just as confused about how to deal with this situation too. First Vettels arguably unfair share of the blame for his crash with Kubica, then the 25s penalty on Trulli which was just harsh given the circumstances, and now this? I can’t wait for the diffuser hearing.

  3. I think, it’s cool with Lewis-Trulli incident now. Lewis probably would have had the 4-th place if he would have told the truth at the first place.

    I also agree with Schumi that Vettel’s punishment was too much as well.

    But, I think they are now having second thoughts on this one as well.

  4. As a mccca fan this is very bad news.

    As the points haul was probably the last we were going to see for a while not that has gone it is going to be very bare in the macca trophy cabinet!!!

  5. If Lewis Hamilton has been disqualified from the results of the GP then this sounds like he will get no points.

  6. What next? Brawn, Toyota and Williams all disqualified over the diffusers, Ferrari handed the 1-2 instead because had the ‘naughty’ other cars not been running on the same racetrack they wouldn’t have caused the same wear and tear on the Ferrari engines or the mistakes made by the drivers! Well anything is possible these days!

    1. Indeed, for those of us sick and tired of the FIA and their henchmen stewards deciding the outcome if races, let’s not forget that “diffuser-gate” is still brewing, and that the entire course of the season could be completely changed in the next few weeks :(

  7. Excellent article Keith. You have really summed it up succinctly. I bet Lewis wonders why he bothers. The thought that such a brilliant drive, just like the one in Spa, should lead to nothing, is such a farce and a smack in the face for F1 fans.

    1. The penalty has nothing to do with his driving, or the actual incident itself – it is they way they kept quiet about slowing down to let Trulli back past that is the problem. It is their own fault – harsh but true.

    2. Well not really – in fact it’s more like a warm comforting arm around my shoulder (as an F1 fan), so please don’t bracket all F1 fans under your terms.

      He and his team were disingenuous and have been punished. End of story.

    3. Well said….

    4. I agree S Hughes- terribly harsh for the circustances. I’m a Hamilton fan, and thought that was one of his best career drives. But yet again, the stewards much up the whole situation…..

  8. What a mess and shame :(
    Ruining a person’s hard work over a faulty message..
    Disqualifying is way too harsh a penalty..

  9. Wow, the FIA has no idea what their doing. i cant believe how long this B.S. has gone on without it being solved immediately. Trulli ran off course so Hamilton moves into P3 and Trulli takes P4, and all the crap after about radio transmissions and what ever else…FORGET ABOUT IT, just throw it out the window, and leave the results as that. I cant stand F1 this year:(

    1. no you have no idea what you are doing. the FIA DQ’s him for lying about giving back the position, by lying they got given the 3rd place.

  10. So, the FIA decide that Hamilton cannot get points for being confused in a situation THEY have allowed to arise by refusing calls to the race director.
    May be the FIA just can’t stand having a black guy doing well with a dog of a car (how many on this forum alone – usually fairly balanced – would have clapped gleefully if Hamilton had had a bad race?). With a fascist like Mosley involved, we can’t expect him to tolerate equality.
    Go on – lambast me for suggesting there’s rascism in F1. And I’ll laugh at you for believing this is “motorsport”. This is politics. Only a mug believes there’s a sporting element left in this organisation – maybe the teams can lay claim to sportsmanlike behaviour at times, but the FIA is about as sporting as UKIP. And about as relevant.

    btw. If I’d suggested that the FIA are anti-McLaren/pro-Ferrari, while less controversial, it would no doubt spark just as much criticism, so I’m sticking my head above the parapet to make the link between fascism and rascism. Daring.

    1. He didnt lose the place because of the confusion, he lost it for not admitting he slowed down to let Trulli back past – leading to Trulli getting unfairly penalised for overtaking under the saftey car when he was left with no choice – just like Hamilton overtkaing Trulli in the first place had no choice. If he had said to the stewards ‘look i slowed down – it was all a bit confusing, i didnt know whether to let him back past or not’ he would probably have fourth place right now – which whilst isnt third – is a lot better than a dsq!

    2. Rachel, you are right. Don’t fear being lambasted. Of course racism is a factor in F1 politics and stewards’ decisions. Anyone who would deny that is someone who wants the status quo because it ties in with their own vile views, or is someone who is too stupid to acknowledge racism exists just because it has never happened to them.

      The FIA just do not want a black man to come into a previously “white man’s sport” and show them how it’s done. It makes me feel physically sick.

  11. What a shambolic situation! I’m no fan of Hamilton, but he did deserve a top five position. Likewise for Trulli. I’d say they are probably the best drives I’ve seen from both of them.

    It seems that F1 is creating too many of its own ‘grey areas’, in which confusion reigns supreme. Are we going to end up with drivers all swopping positions because they think they might have made a mistake in overtaking someone who has fallen off the track (or someone missing a wheel)?

    Max Mosely has done it again by not allowing communication with Charlie Whiting. Max is a pillock! End of.

  12. What on earth is going on?

  13. Mussolini's Pet Cat
    2nd April 2009, 10:27

    here we go again…..at least i can have a sleep in this weekend, ‘cos we won’t find out the result until next week…….farce.

    1. I know the feeling….with every (insert explative of your choice here) decision like this, I am less and less motivated to alter my sleep schedule for races like Malaysia, which due to Bernie’s TV bias, starts at 4:30 AM in my local time zone.

  14. I was expecting worse penalty. Well, does tht mean the used engine/gearbox doesn’t count too???

  15. I disagreed Trulli’s penalty and I disagree now… well, in fact it seems that Lewis has been penalized for “being a liar” (I’m not telling him a liar, it’s just what it seems they’re accusing him off). However it’s fun to read the reactions to Trulli’s penalty (“ok, they’re the rules”) and current reactions :)

    Anyways I thought that Trulli’s penalty couldn’t be waived because it was a race penalty ( which I’d hate if they do that because Alonso would get another point ^^ )

    1. Yeah I cant understand how Trulli’s penalty was waived either :S Thats the whole reason why you cant appeal a 25s penalty :S

    2. yeah toyota’s stance on the rules has been good all weekend, when they got hit for the rear wing they accepted it and didn’t fight, when they got the penalty they put in an appeal then withdrew it and accepted the result.

      they agree, rules are rules and not to fight the people trying to enforce them at every step.

    3. Yeah, they have accepted all thats been thrown at them havent they – and are now second in the title for it. I try not to like Toyota after they kept on Trulli and got rid of Ralf (not that I hold a grudge of owt!) – but i cant seem to help myself, i kinda like seeing them do well – any ‘midfield’ team do well to be honest. Especially Williams :D

    4. Not that it couldn’t be waived…they just weren’t allowed to appeal. I think Toyota had a good suspicion that FIA was going to reconvene and that is why they pulled their appeal.

  16. I’m no fan of the FIA, but I don’t see how you can blame them and get all worked up over inconsistence blah blah with this one.

    Had Lewis told them the truth to begin with then he would be 4th and Trulli 3rd, no penalties and the race result stands… however he lied, and therefore Trulli received a 25sec penalty. Now that the truth is out it is only fair that Trulli’s penalty be removed and Lewis disqualified.

    The FIA has acted correctly and fairly throughout this case. It is Lewis & VMM who are at fault here.

  17. This is perfectly fair. Trulli broke no rules. I found this on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OohT1HbaEF0

    It’s an extract of Toyota’s team radio. Towards the end you can hear Trulli explain that after Lewis slowed down he passed because he thought he had a problem, but when he realised Lewis didn’t have a problem, Trulli slowed to let him pass again but the McLaren didn’t pass. McLaren then went and protested, it’s their own ignorance of the rules that has cost them.

  18. they (stewerds and FIA) should not have done anything – at least not until they were sure of what they were doing. it seems they meddle, then 2 days later meddle again then meddle a third time just to annoy everyone.

    It should have been how it finished (Trulli 3rd, Hamilton 4th). If there were no investigations in the first place then Maclaren could not have got muddled up in their evidence in order to get disqualified.

    its got nothing to do with racing. its all ‘off-track’ stuff thats ruining F1. the FIA are a total joke.

    Also, Lewis got punished when it was Whitmarsh who lied. Ham told the truth and lost his points.

  19. What lewser has done is blatant cheating simple as-doent matter about creed or colour,i believe this is worse than what schumacher did to hill yrs ago.
    hes lied to mclaren and lied to stewards,no wonder other drivers dont like him!!
    he brings all this on himself,ban him for the season!!

  20. I look forward to finding out who wins this Sundays race in about two weeks Wednesday, it should be thrilling. Its just what Bernie and His special friends work so hard to entertain us with, Actually scrub that I will ask him next week when I see him in Asda I will let you all know then

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