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

  1. DASMAN said on 2nd April 2009, 10:26

    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.

  2. Lynn said on 2nd April 2009, 10:27

    What on earth is going on?

  3. Mussolini's Pet Cat said on 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.

    • Gman said on 2nd April 2009, 20:30

      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.

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

  5. 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 ^^ )

    • Clare msj said on 2nd April 2009, 10:32

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

    • todd said on 2nd April 2009, 10:33

      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.

    • Clare msj said on 2nd April 2009, 10:42

      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

    • 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.

  6. Dougie said on 2nd April 2009, 10:29

    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.

  7. Nathan said on 2nd April 2009, 10:30

    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.

  8. gazzap said on 2nd April 2009, 10:30

    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.

  9. andy said on 2nd April 2009, 10:33

    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!!

  10. graham said on 2nd April 2009, 10:33

    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

  11. Richard S said on 2nd April 2009, 10:33

    If Hamilton / Mclaren has been less than truthful then of course I’m more than just a little disapprointed (gutted and I need to see the transcripts to know the truth). But really this is about FIA mis-management and a very mid-20th century attitude to crime and punishment. The whole organisation is a monstrosity and if we want to see fair decision-making to take the place of this “iron fist” approach we need to sweep away the old guard (a bit like Obama sweeping away that dreadful Bush administration). We need an end to the school master – pupil (dare I say Master & Slave) hierachy! WHAT A BUNCH OF DINOSAURS

  12. So McLaren gives misleading information, gets caught and penalised? Sounds familiar.

    But I do agree with Keith about instant communications with race officials. I know the FIA tries to be slow and deliberate, but you can hear this stuff going on real-time in American series. It is perhaps unnecessary to add that you don’t see controversy like this in those racing leagues.

    If they can do it, why not in F1? The technology and organisation is there. They just have to use it.

  13. graham said on 2nd April 2009, 10:34

    Mansell for FIA president the bloke knew how to race

    • Gman said on 2nd April 2009, 20:32

      Bingo…no more ticky-tack penalties handed out for drivers pushing the envelope and giving us a quality show!!

  14. Paddy said on 2nd April 2009, 10:34

    Does anyone else enjoy these little spats? I’ve only gotten into formula one seriously in the last 2 years so maybe this didnt happen a while ago but I’ve found that this is part and parcel of the pure randomness of the sport! I mean I find these change ups by the FIA after the race give me an awful lot to talk about between races. Although they bring the sport into disrepute occasionally, they are also a large reason I can last the long waits between races! Speculation, speculation, speculation!!

    • Jim said on 2nd April 2009, 12:43

      In that case you are clearly not a motorsport fan. If you want and enjoy all this stupid back-stabbing and in-fighting, I suggest you tune into Eastenders or something to get your fix of drama. Sorry if I sound harsh, but our sport could really do without ‘fans’ such as yourself.

    • Paddy said on 2nd April 2009, 17:44

      Jim I am a Formula one fan. I’ve watched every formula one race for the last 2 years and intend to keep watching them every year. The reason I got into F1 in the first place is because of the motorsport aspect. But apart I also keep up to date with the political side of the sport and enjoy it. I believe if every ‘fan’ was as commited to the sport as me then it would outrank every other sport in terms of popularity. Unfortunately fans (notice the lack of quotation marks Jim it means I’m talking about you and not a ‘fan’ like me) of the sport tend to be a tiny bit ‘harsh’ to people who actually like having a political side to the sport.

      I do enjoy the politics of the sport. I would hardly call this case in hand (hamilton’s disqualification) as back-stabbing or in-fighting. In fact the FIA were wrong about Trulli’s penalty and Hamilton deserved punishment for giving contradictory evidence, although the punishment might be over the top. Perhaps the FIA have some sort of grudge against mclaren or hamilton but I wouldn’t call it back stabbing.

    • Ronan said on 2nd April 2009, 17:56

      Sorry Jim, I missed the bit where it was announced that you get to decide who should be and F1 and who shouldn’t. A little self rightous, no?

    • Ronan said on 2nd April 2009, 17:57

      *who should be an F1 fan and who shouldn’t…

  15. gaz said on 2nd April 2009, 10:35

    keith, i hope this has nothing to do with your prediction comp have you been in talks with the FIA?? nothing will surprise me anymore.

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