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. My opinion on this involves too many offensive words so i’m just going to say…

    GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

  2. fastmike said on 2nd April 2009, 10:48

    You guys just dont get it do you ?
    The stewerds job is the ensure Ferrari win the world championship… even if that makes the FIA look bent.
    At this present time they are trying to find a way to undermine Brawn…… be warned

  3. jack y said on 2nd April 2009, 10:49

    one word for hamilton mclaren comes in the eqasion reading these comments and they are right CHEAT

  4. Luke said on 2nd April 2009, 10:49

    I really don’t think its the FIA being a shambles, Lewis and Macca’s original intentions where honourable, however when they saw they could steal 3rd place with a little lie they went for it. Fortunately the stewards saw that this was a lie with physical evidence backing up. It doesn’t matter if it is 4 days after the race finish or 4 months after the finish if someone is found to be lying/cheating they should definitely be punished.
    If Lewis and Macca had just told the truth in the beginning they could be sitting back with a 4th place with a car which should barely be breaking into the top ten but instead decided to mislead the stewards and the fans so should definitely pay the price

    • Cameron said on 2nd April 2009, 11:30

      The point is, the FIA/Stewards/Whatever should have reviewed ALL the evidence. What McLaren claimed shouldn’t have mattered… Whatever evidence changed the decision to this, should have already been viewed. Trulli should have always been third, Hamilton should have been left fourth. It’s a joke. I just can’t understand what the stewards have looked at now, that they couldn’t have looked at earlier.

    • Luke said on 2nd April 2009, 12:50

      the point i was trying to make was that at least maclaren and lewis were found out for being deceptive. yes this should have been established before trulli was given his penalty but it is far better late than never. i think its terrible for lewis to take away trulli’s well earnt position by decepting the stewards. people on here are stating that the positions should be settled on track but the truth is that things can never be that simple.
      if somebody lies no matter how late after the event has taken place they should be punished.
      sShame on lewis and maclaren and well done stewards, they took their time but eventually made the right decision(for once)

  5. IDR said on 2nd April 2009, 10:51

    Yeah FIA rules are so much badly interpreted and managed during races. It’s really scandalous how FIA manage this kind of things.

    FIA’s management is a joke. No one in a private company doing the same FIA is doing, will mantain his position. We have to wait up to mid April just to know who is the winner of Australia and maybe Malaysia GP’s winner, Toyota and McLaren were not able to know how to behave under safety car…. what next?

    But well deserved punishment for McLaren. They have cheated. They tried to take advantage form their own mistake being quited, meanwhile Trulli was unfairly penalised.

    • todd said on 2nd April 2009, 10:54

      unfairly penalised because of mclarens deception. if it was all above board the fia would have just dismissed the whole case and nothing would have happened at all…

  6. david brown said on 2nd April 2009, 10:52

    Since the SWEARING incident a couple of years ago i thought then this guys a real charmer.
    he is alone bringing this loved sport into disripute!!

  7. Freeman said on 2nd April 2009, 10:53

    It’ll be interesting to see how Lewis and the team will react to this aftermath. Will he admit he lied? Stay quiet? Or put blame on others?

    Being a McLaren fan, this surely ****** me off. The FIA do need to shoulder some blame as to why they did not seek such critical evidence such as radio transmissions? And allow these after-race farces to plague our sport time and time again?

    But if Lewis did lie, then I do think he needs to be punished.

  8. gina tweedle said on 2nd April 2009, 10:55

    hes gone down in my estimation,used to like him now as others have said this is why hes not popular.
    he should really be banned for min 5 races

  9. Jonny said on 2nd April 2009, 10:56

    The FIA need to get a better grip on reality.

    A race is competed on the CIRCUIT, not in meeting rooms afterwards.

    If the FIA were a little more savvy, they would have by now implemented PERMANENT race stewards who have executive rights to race regulation while they are being run, i.e. if they see something amiss, fix it straight away.

    Trulli should have re-relinquished his place to Lewis, as the rules define. Why did the FIA remove the communication with the race director? He could have told them the SC rules and the whole thing would have been OK, Lewis in third and Trulli in fourth. No great harm done for Trulli, considering that he was a muppet for falling off the track in the first place. Instead now we have more points being awarded for rubbish driving, and egg on the face of McLaren yet again (which adds to the detriment of the sports reputation).

    So, instead we have this farce now, and the credibility of this already Circus-like spectacular has plummeted even further!

    • todd said on 2nd April 2009, 11:04

      yeah end of the day i agree with you, there needs to be in-race communication between the team’s and the race director to basically referee the goings on and clarify any situations.

      the reason for the after the track meetings and inquiries is that they cant act on problems fast enough, things happen so quickly, unlike football where you pause the match, get a video referee to check the data and decide they cant pause an f1 race and check the video.

      they currently do that, but when there’s an incident with only a couple of laps to go there’s next to no time to make that happen

  10. Lynn said on 2nd April 2009, 10:58

    Lewis and McLaren can’t win whatever they do. May be it’s time for Lewis to look for something else to do. I would’nt be surprised if he packed it in, then spill the beans

  11. gina tweedle said on 2nd April 2009, 11:00

    god get rid, good riddence take mclaren with him (im not a ferrari fan,a f1 fan)

    • Cameron said on 2nd April 2009, 11:16

      If you WANT to see one of the top (most years, not all) teams LEAVE the sport of ever, and take the driver that is finally pulling the sport into the eyes and minds of the general public with them, then you are NOT an F1 fan. Sorry, but your comment is utter ******** and you know it.

  12. Bigbadderboom said on 2nd April 2009, 11:02

    I McLaren were being neglectful with the truth then they deserved to be punished, however were does a DQ come into it, places penalty at next race, return result to tru 3rd ham in 4th. I don’t get it. Our sport is now suffering huge embarasments. Somebody needs to get hold of things and redefine rules, regs and punishments.

    A colleague at work has just seen me reading Keiths article here and said to me “I don’t know why you bother (with F1) it’s all fixed everyone knows that”. Is that really the non fantic opinion of the sport we love? is public perception becoming this twisted?

    I’m gutted for F1

  13. Just a F1 Fan said on 2nd April 2009, 11:02

    My God…

    Where do they go find those stewards… Newspaper adds?… Why in hell do we need rules, when at every race those guys just made it up as they go?… And that shot of the race commissars sitting on a big table watching the race in a tinny monitor… All guys above, at least 60…. Can they really see anything, or just decide what they want (or others paid them to decide…)

    I was hopping this year would be better than last one and that those … gentlemen would shut up and went have a drink or something during the races… I was wrong…

    Prepare yourselves – don’t be happy or sad with any final race results… Because THEY’RE NOT FINAL!…

    Days after, we will have appeals, changes on the classification, futile explanations and other things that, together with that joke of a FIA president are KILLING Formula 1 all together.

    If this don’t stop right now, I’m sad to say, Formula One will be no more my favourite Sport of all.

    I like and watch soccer and have my team and all, but Formula One it that magical thing, ever since I can remember, was a thrill….!

    No more!!!

  14. blakey said on 2nd April 2009, 11:03

    i wont shed any tears,f1 is not for cheating teams and drivers.
    remember its not the first time mclaren have tried cheating!1
    (like gina not a ferrari fan)

  15. bbc said on 2nd April 2009, 11:06

    I am really getting annoyed with f1..how does the punishement fit the crime? Vettle incident ws simply a race incident but he is given a 10 place penalty.. Lewis stripped of all points when i dont belive he Mclaren tried to cheat to get 1 extra place…Shambles

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