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. Plain incompetence on the part of the FIA. What do we need these people for?

  2. @Erico,

    Should Toyota have even been allowed to race at all after running an illegal car in qualifying? Should Ferrari be penalised for running illegal turning veins on their sidepods?

  3. I just find this whole looking at a message on the ECU a bit odd, as I’ve said, McLaren must have known that the stewards could have checked that. So why lie?

    1)To get an extra place maintaining that Trulli passed illegally (which if were true then Hamilton/McLaren would certainly go down in my estimations).

    2)Because they thought (maybe not unreasonably) that the stewards would go against them and give Trulli the 3rd they thought they deserved. This, while somewhat unfair, (as they couldn’t check with Charlie Whiting and were probably just being cautious about getting penalised themselves for overtaking under the SC even if Trulli did go off) would have been better than them lying and being disqualified, which as I’ve said surely they must’ve known would have been found out and if true was stupid of them.

    3)Because they thought they would get a penalty for slowing to let Trulli past, which sad as I am to say wouldn’t have surprised me.

    But I still arrive at the conclusion that it was more stupid to lie, which while I wish wasn’t true, certainly appears that way. And as a Hamilton/McLaren fan I find that disappointing and even embarrassing.

    So either theyre stupid cheats (in which case they get what they deserve), plain stupid or the FIA have somehow twisted things, which while they have IMO unfairly punished Hamilton/McLaren in the past would seem to go beyond anything they have previosuly done.

    It’s just sad that by not allowing communication with the race controller or by thinking through different scenarios under the safety car that the FIA have ruined another race for me and have brought the “sport” into further disrepute.

  4. “The suggestion being voiced here is that the FIA considers this matter so serously that it is considering taking this matter to the World Motor Sport Council where further sanctions might be applied.”

    Can FOTA get FIA’s m0r0ns to look at this forum and see what other people view is? ******** fia

  5. I don’t think it can be proved Lewis lied to gain advantage. The fact is, Jarno broke the rules. The FIA are culpable for not correcting the situation during the race (and not being available, from what I can tell to do so) so all that should happen is that the results are taken back to Trulli 3rd, Lewis 4th and then Lewis rapped over the knuckles for being a naughty boy and given a suspended sentence.

    But no. The FIA pretends it’s all one person’s fault, let someone (Trulli) get away with breaking the rules (which are rubbery anyway, so he’s not 100% to blame either) and then gives Lewis the harshest penalty they think they can get away with.

    Lewis should have been sanctioned in some way but that does not change the fact Trulli broke the rules. Rubens broke the rules by causing an avoidable accident and also drove into Kimi, but got away with it. Vettel and Kubica effectively took each other out yet Vettel wore the punishment. None of this is anti-McLaren, it’s just all over the shop.

    I don’t think the FIA are organised enough for an anti-McLaren conspiracy, to be honest. They’re too busy punishing and not punishing teams and drivers who are nothing to do with McLaren.

  6. well they didn’t ‘lie’ but they deliberately mislead.

    magicians deliberately mislead, they don’t lie, they just show one thing to try and get another thing.

    1. @TODD,

      Please show the proof that they “Deliberatley” Mislead. It seems to me that this has all been caused by both teams being very confused by the rules. This in itself says a lot about the state of F1. This could all have been cleared up by race control during the race (or could it on evidence from spa).

      Until the FIA become transparent we will never know.

    2. hey i’m just going by what gets put out there.

    3. well we do know now.

      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.

  7. So many Hamilton haters here…

  8. had Hamilton done what Barrichello did (caused crash) he would have been thrown out of th f1 season for good!
    the FIA want to kill Maclaren.

  9. Wait… surely McLaren told Hamilton to give Trulli the place back – because they were afraid he had overtaken Trulli under SC and would later get penalised? If that is the case, which I would understand given Spa, this is absurd.

    Why would Hamilton try and cheat when he’s got at least 4th, a fantastic result given his car?!

    1. the Sri lankan
      2nd April 2009, 12:23

      because he’s a cheat. thats why

  10. I think a few people are missing the point. We realise McLaren lied… the point is, the Stewards/FIA should have known this 4 days ago. A decision should never have been made without reviewing ALL the evidence in the first place!

    1. Indeed.

      They open the case because “new evidence” appears. How is a radio conversation “new evidence”? This should have been “old evidence”.

  11. the Sri lankan
    2nd April 2009, 12:21

    OOOOH what a feeling!!!!!!!!! finally some justice! i hate lewis’s personality with a passion. people think alonso is dirty, but now get a firsthand experience of the real Hamilton! by the way i support Toyota and Jarno so kiss that Mclaren and all you lewis lovers

    1. May need to do some more reading mate. Hamilton was honest. McLaren on the other hand, were not. Don’t pile McLaren’s shame onto Lewis’s shoulders.

    2. lewis lied on behalf of maclaren, he should have higher morals than this

  12. Ok, Ok, let put it like this:

    act 1. Trulli runs out of track on safety car phase
    act 2. Scared stiff (of FIA) Hamilton is not so sure and let’s Trulli back to 3rd.
    act 3. FIA punishes the rule breaker (Truli) meanwhile the Liar ( cause he’s scared of FIA) gets away with it atleast for the time being.
    act 4. After some few days FIA backtracks and punishes the Liar (remember he lied because he was scared stiff) and lets the Rule breaker gets away with

    act 5. coming soon courtesy of FIA…….?????

    1. 5. Alonso wins the race after the diffusers are found to be illegal!

  13. I just don’t get why McLaren would ‘deliberately mislead’ they stewards though. They could easily be found out and the consequences of that we have seen today. I cannot comprehend why, knowing that, they would do something like that, it just doesn’t make any sense to me. Unless they thought the stewards wouldn’t find out, which would be, I think, incredibly naive.

  14. @ Lee,

    The following statements are inconsistent:
    1. Hamilton was instructed to let Trulli past and _acted_ on these instructions
    2. Trulli passed Hamilton of his own volition (is it a “pass” anymore?)

    Because, while there was no _audio_ communication between Hamilton and Trulli, Hamilton clearly gave a visual signal by moving wide of the racing line and slowing down considerably (how else did he act on the instructions, do you think?). This was a clear _signal_ to Trulli, and hence _a_ communication.

    Trulli would have been justified in thinking Lewis had gear selection problems again, a la Brazil 07.

    (I’m responding to your earlier response to me, not your subsequent comments).

  15. Hamilton and McLaren (seem to have) lied.
    They will not appeal.
    Enough said.

  16. @The Sri Lankan

    And toyota ran an illegal car in qualifying but were till allowed to race……..

    This is not about whether you like hamilton or not, it is about the way the FIA are destroying F1. These things should be cleared up during the race but the FIA would rather have this farce play out for days afterwards. Vettel is also an innocent punished unfairly by the FIA and yet Ferrari yet again are not even investigated for their (possibly illegal) car. Also either toyota hid the rear wing from the scrutineers or the scrutineers are hopeless. F1 is a total mess.

    1. Toyota were allowed to race as they rectified the problem before race time. It has happened before and will probably happen again.

  17. a small punishment for what Lewis/McLaren did. In any serious sports the duo would have been suspended for months. However, the F1 structure, with all its dependence on sponsors, does not allow this.

  18. Looks like they’ve managed to ruin it from the off. Whichever of the three result fiddles deserves to stand, there really should be stricter rules about buggering about with the results after the weekends over

  19. @Kurtosis,

    I agree that Trulli did not act unfairly. However the two statements are fine. As I said, trulli made that decision under a yellow flag. He could have radioed back and toyota could have asked mclaren what their intentions were (after all this was not split second decisons here). Afterwards Toyota did the same but Hamilton chose not to overtake the obviously slow toyota as they were under yellow flag conditions. However this is the perfect situation for race control to sort out, however you can understand why mclaren would not trust their advise even id Max had not told the teams not to bother race control for these things.

    In my opinion both Trulli and Hamilton are innocent victims of the grey F1 rules and useless leadership of the FIA. The fair results would be to leave them as they finished or to swap their places around. As it is F1 fans have again been treated to an utter farce. Don’t forget that 5 of the top 8 (including trulli himself) could still be affected by the stupid diffuser row! We will not find out the real result of this race until april 14th!!!!!

  20. “Lewis was instructed to give the place back to Trulli,” said Whitmarsh. “The team thought, having not seen the incident, that it was the safest thing to do. That instruction was given to Lewis and he didn’t agree. Before that discussion was finished, Trulli had been passed. If we look at the speed traces and compare it to other periods, he didn’t do anything abnormal and it’s quite clear that Lewis shouldn’t have passed him. As soon as that happened we spoke to race control to ask if we could retake the place. race control was busy and couldn’t answer us.”

    OK I’m probably being dense but I don’t understand what bold bit means. Does passed here mean let past?

    Anyways after reading JA’s blog the point of contention is whether, thinking the stewards had access to the radio transmissions Hamilton simply omitted the radio bit (which even thinking they had, you could agrue he could have given a summary, knwoing they could check) or whether he left that out purposefully, to mislead, which wouldn’t make sense to me

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