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”

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  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. Mansell for FIA president the bloke knew how to race

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

  4. 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!!

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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?

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

  5. 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.

  6. I think it’s fair to say that Trulli’s 3rd should have been up kept from the get go. And a simple position swap would have sufficed.

    but i think Disqualifying Hami is not cool. although i didn’t help me from liking the fact that Trulli’s 3rd stuck…

    i think that when Hami retires in a few years, he will be known as the most bullied driver by the FIA.

    hey Keith, that’s interesting, who was actually the driver most bullied by the FIA? i guess McLaren are the team…..

  7. ll people saying this is crazy and unfair etc you really should be aware that Lewis’ story to the FIA was that he taking in information from his steering wheel when Trulli passed him, hence why he was slow and off line. Data proved his steering wheel to be blank and the team having told him to pull over and relinquish the place. In black&white context flagrant lying to the stewards is probably taken even more seriously than disqualification from one event. If you’ve read this and are still unsure, I suggest you read the rules provided by the FIA and then dash on down to dictionary.com to comprehend the definition of a rule!!

  8. graham dund
    2nd April 2009, 10:37

    I agree with andy-no room for cheats in this sport,what hamilton has done is unforgiveable.

  9. Same old, same old. Interesting that I’m wondering why I bother with F1 after just one race.


    1. The FIA is just one big joke, a bunch of cretins who are determined to transfer the race result from the track to their own petty little domain, guess it makes them feel important.

  10. BowtNetterToDo
    2nd April 2009, 10:38

    I’m not sure i want to watch another season of the fia’s manipulation of the results.
    The FIA had the opportunity to clarify the confusion from Toyota and McLaren over the SC overtaking rules and declare Hamilton 3rd and Trulli 4th, but no, an opportunity to go round layin the boot in cant be missed.

  11. yep hes cheated no doubt,ashamed to call him british.
    This is not the british way.

    1. Too right! The British way is to moan about it!

    2. Oh dear, this just is not Cricket is it now sir.

  12. If McLaren told Hamilton to let trulli pass, why would they launch an appeal?

  13. Good post, Kieth. For a start, why do we need more than one ‘steward’. Why not have just one referee as in Football.

    Sure, the ref in football comes in for a lot of flack, sometimes he’s wrong, sometimes he’s right, but at least everybody knows where they stand. In F1, the ref should make the call at the time, and then stand by that decision. We can all have a good moan about it after, but at least we will have a result to moan about.

    Just because the stewards (plural) right now don’t have to make their minds up until after the event, doesn’t mean they will always get it right – look at the Bourdais Japan decision last year, and the controversial Hamilton one in Spa – it went on for bl**dy days!

    Keep it simple. One ref, he makes the call during the race, his decision is final, we can all go home knowing the result.

    All these steward meetings are needlessly intellectualizing what should be just a simple, quick process.

    …and BTW, if Hamilton mislead the stewards, then he deserves to get DQ’d.

  14. I don’t get the DQ.

  15. Fia very slow here,BUT they have found wrongdoing fair play to them.
    This is why he is the most hated man in f1.
    we all have to be responsable for our own actions.
    Well done fia

    1. Pete_Firestarter
      2nd April 2009, 11:40

      I do not agree with you comment mr ging “This is why he is the most hated man in f1. we all have to be responsable for our own actions.”

      He is a good racing driver and very entertaining and world champion too. May i ask why YOU hate him? 90% of users here like him.

    2. I thought I read somewhere that he was hated by most of the drivers….. not the fans.

    3. yeah the F1 drivers n the teams hate him but the reason is not bcoz he lied (coz they lie everytime… only thing is that FIA close their eyes when it comes to certian teams n drivers) it’s just that lewis’s is damn good …….

  16. Its truli i feel for,he pleaded his case proved he didnt do wrong,mclaren/hamilton trying to suck him in to there cheating ways.
    well done jarno for sticking up for yourself.

  17. Openness in the decisions FIA? Remember this promise a few months ago? More competent stewards at the races?

    Instead what do we get? Just a page with a single sentence with the decision and two idiots who cannot decide on the spot that Hamilton and Trulli gave conflicting statements.

    FFS if the drivers give conflicting statements you call them back!

  18. I REALLY HOPE YOU ALL REALISE that the FIA was trying to help and make sure mclaren weren’t being taken advantage of here.

    Remember, they looked at the info, took in what mclaren said and then penalised toyota. Gave mclaren the extra position.


    Just saying that because no doubt in the future there will be another ruling and you’ll all complain how the FIA is against mclaren.

    So all you brittish take note.

  19. Hamilton should be also given 10 place grid penalty for Malaysia!

  20. FIA? What does this stand for? ***** Idiots Association? What a bunch of pratts, why do they always find some way to spoil a good race for Hamilton, they should make their mind up on their decision before they go public. There trying to make the sport better and eveything when at the moment non of the racing is done on the track it is all off the track, and i am starting to see that the FIA favour other drivers to Hamilton, and in my opinion this is unfair.

    If the FIA just keep getting involved like this after every race formula 1 will loose alot of fans.

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