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. This another example of inconsistency Hamilton has been disqualified for lying in an interview. The punishment is again blown out of proportion. I just don’t see why they can’t put Hamilton to 4th, also Mosely’s rule of the teams not being able to communicate with race control during a race has exacerbated current problems.

  2. Lee said on 2nd April 2009, 18:44


    “@ Lee:
    If I got what you said, your point is: The stewards did not speak to the press after Spa, ergo, LH didn’t lie and should be reinstated. Better than that only the Chewbacca defence”


    No, What I was saying is that the stewards signed statements can not be trusted (or rather Alan Donnelly). After spa, the stewards did not interview the drivers, Donnelly did. He is the stewards advisor and has not official place to interfere in the actual stewarding. However he saw fit to do this and then persuaded the stewards to sign the statement regardless of the fact that they had nothing to do with the decision!

    Why should we trust them now? Especially as they have managed to publish everything but the stewards interviews!

  3. kramkroc said on 2nd April 2009, 18:49

    I’m a big Ferrari fan and usally I love to hear bad news about Mclaren and especially about Hamilton, but this is just some sort of sick joke, bad news for F1. Give this guy a break, no way did he deserve this penalty. FIA stewards must be the thickest people on this planet.

    FIA suck.

    • Cameron said on 2nd April 2009, 18:56

      Being a fan of one team, is no reason to enjoy bad news about another. I’m a big McLaren fan, but there is no way that means I’d like to see Ferrari, or their drivers, in this same situation, or any detrimental situation.

  4. napalmblower said on 2nd April 2009, 19:00

    if mclaren and Lewis didnt lie , they can protest and that is the only way to go , why they not doing that ….?????

    I am not a mclaren fan , but it looks to me Mclaren making all there fans SORE LOSERS ….. it stinks

  5. graham said on 2nd April 2009, 19:06

    Wouldn’t it be great if the fia took 50 percent down force off the cars, and bought back slicks, and something like KERS, it would make OVERTAKING more frequent and the best drivers would come from I dont know say about 18th to third and it would be just was Ecclestone and Mosley wanted.
    Still we all live in hope I dont think that would ever happen
    Didnt someone say not so long ago I would love to see how lewis fairs in a slow car Well my Mosley you have your answer official classifacation says he didnt finish.

  6. CrApp said on 2nd April 2009, 19:13

    So the farse has started all over again.

    Hamilton disqualified, the diffuser problem yet to be resolved, etc. The 2008 season was totally marred by political manouvering and bad stewards decisions.

    When will the FIA, Bernie Ecclestone and the other decision makers realise that it is seriously ******* off F1 fans.

    I have recently re-discovered Moto GP. If you want to see exciting motor sport get hold of a recording of the 2008 Laguna Seca race and you’ll be converted instantly. What’s more in the last 4 years I have been watching Moto GP there have been no politics and no bad decisions!

    Maybe F1 could learn something from the way Moto GP is managed.

  7. Chris said on 2nd April 2009, 19:32

    This is outrageous… if Lewis is excluded from 2009 I will be boycotting the season. Not that Max or Bernie would care, but this is ridiculous!!!

    The Hamilton/McLaren witch hunt continues

  8. theRoswellite said on 2nd April 2009, 19:35

    Current statement in the press….

    With the FIA now admitting that ‘given the seriousness of this matter, we cannot rule out further action’, there have been suggestions that Hamilton could yet be suspended from future grands prix or even – some fear – excluded from the entire 2009 world championship


    This incident is growing into a megmatter, and it may settle the Hamilton championship defense before it begins (zero points at present).

    Whatever happens I would advise Lewis to be absolutely forthright about this matter, and do it sooner rather than later….not as a functionary of McLaren, but as the present World Champ. He is playing around with his reputation. Once seriously tarnished, no amount of effort will restore it to a former luster…(and if he is wondering how not to behave, check with one MS, he probably still has some unused road maps to moral oblivion)

  9. iBlaze said on 2nd April 2009, 19:36

    napalmblower makes a very good point here…

    If McLaren truly believe they did not lie and do not deserve this penalty, then why are they not appealing the decision?

    Ok, an appeal would probably not change the decision, but by not appealing it is making them look more guilty than the FIA’s evidence already shows.

    Yes, the FIA have made some questionable decisions recently. But this time, either:

    a) the FIA is lying (in which case McLaren would surely be protesting the decision) or

    b) Hamilton and McLaren were lying and have been caught out

    I know which one sounds more believable to me.

    • Richard S said on 2nd April 2009, 20:05

      Becuase Max is a lawyer (loosely) and knows how to fix it so that he can win before he enters the game. Mclaren know this and they don’t need the extra publicity. Toyota also knew this but have lucked out with the FIA wheels of “justice” starting to turn.

      I really hope no further sanctions will come from this because it will stink of over-inflated egos and self-importance on the part of the FIA. Sport indeed (loosely).

  10. Rosdeaq said on 2nd April 2009, 19:39

    Without getting to involved in the discussions, HOORAAY for toyota!

  11. Graham said on 2nd April 2009, 19:40

    Well Mr Hamilton Looks like Max has thrown you into the dungeon again and given you a right good whipping!!!

  12. The Limit said on 2nd April 2009, 19:47

    What needs to be done is the FIA needs to make the information public. Show the videotape of Trulli and Hamilton on track, provide us with the McLaren team
    radio broadcasts, prove that they committed wrong.
    This situation is an embarrassment to Formula One, everybit as much as the shambles that last years
    Belgium Gp became. Unlike the events at Spa, we had to wait half a week for the FIA to come up with a decision.
    This is just unacceptable in any professional environment, in any sport. It really does point towards
    the suspicion that Formula One is just rigged, which is a terrible thought for any diehard fan.
    The 2009 Australian Gp was supposed to signal the
    start of a new era, in which Formula One returned to more exciting racing with a playing field dramatically more level than in recent years. In one foul swoop, the FIA have made us all look like fools for believing that
    things can ever change.

  13. FuriousA83 said on 2nd April 2009, 19:49

    sighhh so annoyed with this…

    If something occured that was worthy of disqualification, why make it retrospectively? Why not make the penalty/DQ valid for the next race, Like – in fact – every other sport in the world…

    There is no point in watching it anymore really, because you know the incompetents(my new collective noun for a bunch of FIA stewards..) will just change it…

    A different farce, same old FIA…

  14. Tom said on 2nd April 2009, 19:55

    All the FIA have to do to clear this up is publish what was said when Hamilton and Ryan met with the stewards. Why release all pertinent information but this?

    I just find it hard to believe Hamitlon would tell a journalist that he had been told to let Trulli past and knowing the steards had access to radio then straight-up lie to them. Until the FIA actually publish proof that he did lie, I will question this decision.

    As for McLaren not protesting this, I’m not sure the FIA would let them get anywhere with it.

  15. Rob said on 2nd April 2009, 19:57

    The FIA are going to have to be careful. When is a race over anymore? I mean, all this controversy with the rules and bickering between teams is just unneccessary and just ruins the sport.

    I don’t believe McLaren, or any team for that matter, would lie intentionally especially with the FIA wanting to hand out punishments that are not just.

    I believe if a team/driver breaks the rules then it should not affect the race at which it participated if the FIA can not set a punishment within the race,
    i.e. drive through or stop go
    so the punishment should be given for next race like qualifying time penalty and/or fine. Least the race would be finished when we seen the cars cross the line, NOT days/weeks later.

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