Schumacher courts controversy with last-gasp pass on Alonso after safety car

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

The result of the Monaco Grand Prix remains provisional as the stewards investigate Michael Schumacher’s last-corner pass on Fernando Alonso.

Schumacher passed Alonso for sixth place after the safety car went into the pits on the final lap.

Update: Schumacher handed 20-second penalty and loses points finish

Ordinarily cars are allowed to race for position after the safety car has gone in once they pass the safety car line – a white line which, at Monaco, is near the pit lane entrance after Rascasse.

Replays showed Schumacher was still behind Alonso at that line, and passed him on the way into Anthony Noghes.

However the regulations suggest that on the last lap of the race if the safety car is brought in, such passes are not allowed, and the drivers must cross the finishing line without passing:

If the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed it will enter the pitlane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.
Sporting regulations article 40.13

Ross Brawn claimed after the race that they believed the safety car was being brought in on the last lap but the race was not ending at that point, meaning they were allowed to overtake between the safety car line and the finishing line.

He also refuted a suggestion that Schumacher had passed under yellow flags.

Among the stewards this weekend is former F1 champion Damon Hill acting as a drivers’ advisor. Hill had several controversial run-ins with Schumacher in his time as a driver, but said yesterday he would not let that influence his judgement if he had to make any calls involving his former rival.

Lewis Hamilton, who finished fifth, saw the incident in his rear view mirror. According to McLaren’s live text, before the safety car came in his team advised him “the cars will proceed to the pits and no overtaking.”

Do you think Schumacher should keep sixth place? Have your say in the comments.

2010 Monaco Grand Prix

Browse all 2010 Monaco Grand Prix articles

278 comments on “Schumacher courts controversy with last-gasp pass on Alonso after safety car”

Jump to comment page: 1 2 3 7
  1. Carlos Santos
    16th May 2010, 15:30

    I think the rules are clear (article 40.13), therefore he should be punished.

    1. What punishment would you suggest then?

      1. Sush Meerkat
        16th May 2010, 16:30

        I suggest a retrospective punishment of being stripped of 7 world titles and 91 race wins.

        That should put a message out to the drivers that in F1, you don’t overtake, its just plain rude.

        1. Love that one :) !

        2. Brilliant just Brilliant – Laugh I nearly ****** myself

        3. and reinstate his 1997 points so he has one world championship only.

          I still remember how Hill kept Schumacher behind for 12 laps of in Japan 1998 as a payback for 1994 so they should be even steven or is that stephen (hendry) :)

        4. Good one! And while we’re at it lets also put great big “NO OVERTAKING” signs on the back of every car to make sure nobody forgets :D

      2. I think if the rule is that no overtaking even after the safety car is in, then they should not follow the set-punishments but only swap Schumacher and Alonso’s places.

    2. But 40.13 is when the race ends under the safety car, It did not, you can see the safety pulled into the pits.

      1. The article was badly written and it should be changed, but you still can understand it

        when it says “it will enter the pitlane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking” you can see the safety car must enter the pitlane at the last lap (probably to avoid an “ugly picture” with the safety car leading the field at the end), but the cars should go on until the chequered flag, as if the safety car was ahead, because they’re not allowed to overtake.

        It’s badly written because, at the begining, it says “when the race ends under safety car” leading to an alternative interpretation that would consider Schumacher’s pass legal…

        It would be much more trouble-free if the safety car crossed the line ahead, or, if it came in before, if the track marshalls kept waving yellow flags to make it clear tou can’t overtake..

        Honestly, I think his pass was illegal, even though it was fantastic from the racing point of view

        1. Exactly Dan, great point

        2. Taking everything in, I still can’t understand why there were green lights, no waved yellows and no direction form the race director that the race was finishing under yellow flag conditions.

          If the rule is to stand, why were the lights green, and yellow flags ‘not’ waving? If Charlie is willing to risk ambiguity in the rules for the sake of a photo finish, then he deserves to have egg on his face, and give the points to Schumacher.

          1. It annoys me that they want a pretty finish, instead of either saying, the track is not safe, SC and no passing, or the track is safe, GO GO GO!

            This is a sport, or meant to be, It’s rules shouldn’t be written to give me a pretty picture at the expense of safety, or credibility as a racing series.

    3. Alonso made a mistake there and Schumi had to pass!
      i dont think Schumi was supposed to lock his wheels trying not to overtake him.
      It was not an overtake by Schumi but a mistake on Alonso’s part.

    4. After safety car leaves you can see green light and flags so this is not /article 40.13. article 40.13 states that IF the SC runs to the end will leave at last lap but yellow flag and SC signs will continue to be on. So get your facts straight first. you can see in youtube that green flags were being waved, so normal racing was continued.

      1. That was the problem they says that it was under the yellow flag but they waved green flag, now who control the lights? If the marshal do then I think it was an error from them that they forgot that it was the final run to the chequered flag.

  2. Nice try but unfortunately he has to loose the position as he cleary broke the rules as stated above

    “If the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed it will enter the pitlane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.
    Sporting regulations article 40.13”

    1. But the race didn’t end under the safety car – it only ended when Webber crossed the line

      1. I hate Schum, but totally agree with you: he should keep the position.

    2. Yes, but the FIA made sure the safety car wasn’t deployed when they told the teams “Safety car in this lap”…IE green light…go for it! Had they not told the teams this, they would have pulled in the SC in the pits and the cars would have gone to the finish line without oveetaking.

  3. yes, absoulutely ridiculous if they take it off him. Why bring the saftey car in if they are not to race to the line?, why was alonso sideways if he was not pushing it? A great move

    1. Carlos Santos
      16th May 2010, 15:35

      I think Alonso wasn´t aware of the new rule but that doesn’t make any difference.

      I think the point is to let the winner cross the line without being behind the SC, can’t decide if that is stupid or not…

      1. That makes it Ferrari, McLaren i think Rosberg said it was a cool move but also thought it was not alowed.
        Looks like something just like the “taking a stop and go in the last lap” finishing in the pit thing Ross and Michael pulled off.

    2. ‘If the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed it will enter the pitlane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking’ – safety car will enter pit lane and the cars will take the chequered flag WITHOUT overtaking
      Thats the rule

      1. But was the race finished under safety car?? Thats the issue i guess so undecided

        1. Please read the rules, not just you but everybody.

          U40.13U If the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.

          1. Safety Car conditions are defined by SC boards and waved yellows.

      2. The race was not over. The green lights were on. Green flags were being waved. The saftey car was in the pits. Shumi was clever enough and aware enough to know the line had been moved, and to top it off he executed it. No problem IMHO

        1. Yep I totally agree with you it was very clever another Schui “classic” !

          Yes he has done some questionable moves in his career, but also some brilliant ones, such as this.

          1. I really wouldn’t call this brilliant. Brilliant would be overtaking someone fair and square, where there are no grey areas or controversies.

            This is another cheap tactic by one of the most desperate drivers on the grid.

          2. It was fair and square, Alonso went for it, got sideways, Lost speed, and ergo his position. It wasn’t as if he just cruised round the last few corners!

          3. The problem was that the green flag was waved & yes why was Alonso sideways? Was he too trying to take a place away from Hamilton when he saw the green flag?

      3. So why inform the cars the safty car is in the pit this lap if it is an expected think.

        THE DRIVERS HAS YELLOW LIGHTS on their steering wheels you know and the FIA makes sure these are on during a SCD peiod so the SO STRICT FIA must have left that light ON after the SC peeld off.

        Why greeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen.

        I think the FIA MUST BE FINED BY US FANS.

        1. They should. Allow free entry and ad-free TV coverage for the rest of the season!

          1. lol…second that!

      4. The way the race proceded corresponds exactly to the rule Brett M states. Ending under safery, the race ends with the safety car pulling in and everyone passes the finishing line without overtaking.

        However, the notice given “safety car in this lap” is contrary to this standard procedure. This seemed to indicate that the race went green and therefore it did not end under yellow, therefore they were allowed to overtake.

        The latter makes no sense, why allow overtaking over 300m? That’s how most teams supposedly interpreted it. But in the strictest interpretation of how the race happened, the race was under green, which is what Mercedes chose to understand.

        In my opinion, the mistake was not badly written rules, it was simply the race director not knowing the rules himself. You cannot go green at the end of the last lap. If you do end under yellow, the safety car will pull in, without notice, and the track stays under yellow.

        I would award no penalty for Schumacher (even though he is an absolute disgrace to Formula 1 and the human race). I would take Charlie Whiting for a training course.

  4. Schumacher fault, and controversy on the road

    1. its not a fault dude, its called racing, im sure if he was aware of the rule certainly wouldn’t have done it.

      1. ok, is racing, the pass was awesome, but rules are rules, and I don’t think Brawn don’t know it

        1. Race didn´t end under safety car: SC was in the pits and cars hadn´t cross the flag…

          1. Like it or not, it is still legal. Yet not nice through. Same as what Alonso did to Massa the other day.

    2. I don’t think it was Schumi’s fault he was shown the green flag like the rest of the drivers saw it, it was just the rules that were not clear.

  5. the regulations are pretty clear. illegal.

    1. How so? The safety car had gone into the pits, they had passed the first safety car line, and green flags were being waved.

    2. no, they are not! race didn´t end under safety car, it was in the pits…

      1. But the rule says “If the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed it will enter the pitlane at the end of the last lap…”

        The race was therefore still under safety car conditions, even though the safety car was no longer on the track.

        1. but the green flags were waving

        2. Tim you are correct.

          Why others can’t read the rules, or just can’t be bothered is beyond me.

          Maybe they just like to keep the pot boiling.

          1. Uhmm Hairpin. You are taking the point of view that everyone but you is an idiot. That is disrespectful. We are questioning the clarity of these rules that define whether safety car conditions were still in play at the end of the race.
            How would you define end of safety car conditions?
            I would say, Safety car in”, “Track Clear” message given and waved yellows changed to waved greens, yellow flashing lights changed to green lights. In other words, exactly the sequence that obtained.
            Previous races ending under SC boards and waved yellows correctly prevented overtaking.
            In any event, Shuey was taking orders from Braun over the radio to jump Alonso at the safety car line if the lights turned green.
            They did turn green, Shuey waited till the safety car line and made the pass.
            The new Safety car line confuses the situation. In previous years to this, no overtaking was allowed until the driver passed the start/finish line after the safety car exited at the pits.
            The rule still says “the cars will take the chequered flag *as normal* without overtaking.”
            (Sporting regulations article 40.13)
            But that was the old safety car rule as I said. No overtaking was the rule until the Start/Finish line. This year, there is no “as normal” because they are allowed to start racing at the safety car exit line.

        3. William Wilgus
          16th May 2010, 17:30

          Not if the green flags were being displayed. That means `race!’. Had they kept displaying the yellow, then Schumi’s pass might have been ilegal—but what about Alonso’s being `sidewise’? I think that would make Schumi’s pass legal whether green or yellow flags were being displayed.

          1. You have a good point, i’m going to watch it again.
            But alonso may have just ran off racing line knowing or thinking the race was over. (why defend).
            I have no axe to with either drivers.

        4. “If the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed…”. Please read it carefully. It means that while the safety car is still there, and one reaches the chequered flag… But here it is totally another case.

    3. the regulations are far from clear, and besides, the race didn’t end under a safety car.

      The rule that everybody is citing, including Joe Saward on his blog, is for when the race would normally finish under a safety car and the safety car would actually lead the cars past the line. That rule states that instead of having the SC lead past the finish line, have it come into the pits and have the lead driver act as the pace car.

      What happen in the race today was different – the race didn’t finish under the SC, therefor the overtake was fine, therefor MSC keeps his place over ALO.

      1. The safety car was out on the last lap and comes in before the finish line.

        Bernie doesn’t want pictures of a race finish with the safety car in front, thats what the rule is there for !

        1. So keep the Yellow light ON on the driver streering wheels then.

      2. Nik I agree with you but you are missing the *as normal* point.
        It shows this rule is now out of date. Previously, the SC would not have led the cars over the line. No need as you weren’t allowed to race until you came to the Start/Finish line after a safety car had been taken off.
        Now it’s different with the new safety car exit line. There’s no *as normal* now.

  6. ..near the pit lane exit after Rascasse.

    Is it entrance?

    I think positions should swap back.

    1. Not enought, I want to see the FIA fined $20 million for this blunder and Hill stripped of his sporting imparciality and pay 10% of the that money to Schumacher’s chosen charity(ies).

    2. I agree the position needs to be swapped & the rules needs to be very clear.

  7. Not a Schumacher fan, but it was legal IMO. Should not be punished. Alonso was sideways too!

  8. James Alias
    16th May 2010, 15:33

    hahaha, whether he eventually loses his position or not but you BET Schumi does bring a LOT of entertainment and controversy to F1!! i laughed my throat off till it hurt.

    1. I personally saw the move as very entertaining and an awesome pass.. but if its rules then cant do nothing about it..

      1. Was you on the track?

  9. Ross Brown had fotos of green lights on, also there is a rule that speaks of SC in in final lap

  10. They were both across the SC line, and greens were shown. Ross Brawn’s argument is that everybody went for it anyway, but it was only Schumacher who succeeded. Brawn had printed out all of the timing and images from the car showing that the safety car was in at 15:52 and the race ended at 15:53 (something like that) and at Anthony Noghes greens were shown. The rule is the rule, but I think it’s a stupid rule. I’d want the overtake to count.

  11. I think it will end with a 25 seconds penalty, that’d mean:

    6 Alonso
    7 Rosberg
    8 Sutil
    9 Liuzzi
    10 Buemi
    11 Alguersuari
    12 Schumacher
    13 Petrov (+ 5 Laps)

    1. Too harsh. They should drop Schu back to 7th, give him a pat on the wrist and leave it at that. It was a nice move after all.

      1. Well a nice move, I agree, but it’s not synchronized swimming! The rules seem clear that overtaking isn’t allowed: the SC pits so the cars can take the chequered flag without the SC appearing to win the race… A 25 sec penalty seems harsh, true, but much less so given the circumstances than the stupid, stupid decision against Hamilton at Spa 2008.

        1. Maybe they will consider giving a grid penalty for next race?

        2. you are also getting it mixed up. That rule applies for when the race finishes under a SC – which this race did not.

          It is clear and simple – in that his overtaking was ok. It shouldn’t take 200 comments to flesh this out with everybody repeating the same mistake.

  12. Charlie Watts
    16th May 2010, 15:34

    As much as it pains me to say, Schumacher should keep 6th place. Ross Brawn makes a very good point. The race didn’t end under the safety car so overtaking should be allowed. It’s an interesting interpretation of what is an unclear rule.

    1. I don’t think it’s unclear when it says the safety car goes in and the cars cross the line without overtaking

      1. your right, that is not unclear. What is unclear here, is why they actually signalled that the SC was going in and showing green flags, despite this rule.

    2. It’s also a disingenuous interpretation! We have to think WHY the rule is there. At a guess, I’d presume that given the very short distance involved between SC going in and the finish line, the intention of the rule is to allow the cars to finish without being led across the line by the SC (anti-climatic). If so, that fully explains the rule ‘the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.’ Typical Brawn/Schu. Classless bunch.

      1. Typical Brawn/Schu. Smart bunch.

        1. *If* they get away with it!

          1. Yes, if they get away with it! lol

      2. Yes David, I fully agree and posted earlier.

  13. Although the regulations say it’s illegal, I think there’s a grey area in that the rule change about being able to pass after the saftey car line now doesn’t match up with the old rule. My feeling is that’s the stewards will let it slide and quickly alter the regulations to prevent this kind of confusion in the future.

    1. red bull are just making formula 1 boring
      because behind them were the renault ferraris and mclaren which would have been much better

  14. The crucial point is to figure out whether the safety car was coming in because the track was clear and the SC period was over, or whether it was pulling in under 40.13 for a photogenic finish.

    We’ve seen Ross Brawn’s argument… He says the FIA said the safety car was coming in, that the track was clear. The pictures showing the green flags also speak for themselves.

    If the stewards say the SC was being pulled in under 40.13, they also have to explain how the teams (and we!) were supposed to tell the difference between the two scenarios.

    1. Carlos Santos
      16th May 2010, 15:38

      Very good point!

    2. exactly. i better written than me.

    3. Perfect point Kris as make by Ross B .. Green lights and Flags means racing is allowed … if this had finished “under Safty Car rules” then there would have been yellow flags and an “SC” board out to keep the drivers informed.

      So for me it’s a ‘well done Schumacher’ for beening on the ball and ‘bad luck Alonso’ for losing control/grip at the key point in the race.

    4. The other way around too:

      If the stewards say the SC was being NOT pulled in under 40.13, they also have to explain how the teams (and we!) were supposed to tell the difference between the two scenarios.

      1. I imagine that if Ross is right (and my instinct is that he is) the stewards will say that in the other (40.13) scenario, there’d be a message to the effect of “Race ending behind safety car” and the yellow flags + SC boards would stay out.

        After all, the flags are supposed to be definitive – radios fail and drivers are supposed to be able to know what to do from the flags (and perhaps the pitboard for stop/gos) alone.

        I think that events found a hole in the rules: – when 40.13 was added nobody stopped and thought “but what if we want to bring the safety car in on the last lap?”


          This is from Australia 2009 where the race finished behind the safety car. You can see at the very end when they cross the line, yellow flags are out.

          So I completely agree with you. I think the fact that green flags were out shows that the SC period was over and normal racing was allowed.

          1. Indeed and let’s fine the FIA 20 million dollars.

          2. kenapa kau salahkan ali
            17th May 2010, 2:18

            @3:39…yellow flags being waved

      2. Both you and Kris are right here. I remembered in China nobody was much aware of the new rules with the safetycar-line. This rule was never properly explained and now it ended in controversy.
        McLaren and Ferrari were clearly of the opinion they should not race and told their drivers not to overtake. Brawn takes from the SC in message and green flags being waved, that they could race there.
        It was a great move, but if Fernando was not aware of having to race, then it is just bogus and bad for the sport.
        Let the Stewards explain and explain why there was conflicting information to the teams.

    5. Kris is right IMO.
      There’s no wrong or right in this case, so no matter what ppl post here, they can [b]always[/b] be proven wrong.
      There are 2 conflicting rules, the FIA should (and will) rewrite them, end of story.
      Now, the question is: what will the race result be. As stated above, there’s no wrong or right, so it’ll be interesting to see how the FIA or the stewarts will argue ;)

    6. Wow, brilliantly worded.

      I think, your last paragraph tells exactly the argument that Ross Brawn will use while defending Schumi.

      “How are the teams are supposed to know??”, There, that is your grey area. Ross Brawn will exploit that!!

      And if the green flags were clearly visible, then clearly, no penalty should be given!!

  15. The regs are clear but the situation is not, Mercedes have proof of there instructions, I think he might just get it. An I don’t think it’ll be outrageous if the Stewards give this to Mercedes.

    1. Regs are clear in every situation, with the exception of a SC in the last lap ;)

  16. The thing is the rules a contradictory. 40.13 states that he should be penalised, but that other rule says that once they cross that line they’re allowed to race. So the question is which takes precedence? Normally in law, the most recent law sort of overwrites the old one. So from my point of view, it needs to be cleared up and the regulations rewritten, but Schumacher keeps the place.

    1. The more specific rule overrides the broader rule, so 40.13 is more important in this case. Which is a shame because I quite liked this move ;)

      1. But why then did they show green flags on track? The BBC also spoke about Webber having to fight for it one more corner.

      2. There are totally no conflict here. People need to read both rules word by word, not just by presumption. It’s legal. End of story.

  17. No notification from the FIA that the race was ending under the safety car, just that it was coming in, therefore race till the end. Great move!

    1. Indeed DannyJ :) :) :) :) :) :) :)
      seven smiles for a seven wold champion!

      1. Gotta love the cheek of the old-timer… I have no great love for Alosno, I think he’s proud and spoiled, but a great driver none-the-less. Still, he’s no match for the Great Schumi who infruriated me for so many years!

        1. Without Schumy, F1 is like food without salt, bland. Oh I am sooooooo happy for this pass even if he get all the punishments he dose NOT deserve from a jealous old Hill :)

          Go Schumy go ……. .

          1. Paper Tiger
            16th May 2010, 16:50

            With the exception of this ‘are Schuey and Brawn back to their old cheating ways’ controversy, in what way has Schuey made this season better than, say, 2008?

            Also, you ought to cut down on the salt. It’s really bad for your health.

          2. WOHOOOO !!!
            Schumi is back!

        2. Your opinion but he “alosno”(?) managed very well in 2005 and 2006… as Ayrton could have done in 1994 if…

  18. I liked this move, to be honest. However if it’s against the rules, then it’s against the rules, and Alonso should take points for sixth place.

    1. Well… I had the chance to see the whole situation again, and now I agree with Brawn. Stewards gave no indication that the race was ending under safety car conditions. They informed the teams that the track was clean, they waved green flags and the light was green. Green means GO. Michael shouldn’t be punished for doing his job.

  19. More wonderful vagueness from the lawyers… all those millions and they can’t compile a coherent set of rules. Leaving Brawn’s seemingly valid points aside, article 40.13 makes no sense. If the car is STILL deployed, i.e. doesn’t peel off as it did on this occasion, how the hell can it enter the pitlane ‘at the end of the LAST lap’? If it enters at the end of the last lap, then it is no longer deployed, that’s where the confusion arises.

    As it stands though, despite Ross’s little print out, Alonso has to be given the place back. The race was ‘ending’ with the car deployed, it entered the pitlane at the end of the last lap, and the cars took the chequered flag as normal, so there can be no overtaking. But what a bloody shambles caused, once again, by wilfully vague rules.

    1. The rule is entirely clear, the problem you’ve described is with the notifications given by the race director, i.e. does “safety car in this lap” mean the race is finishing under safety car conditions or that the race is back on? Ferrari say they believed the race was ending under safety car conditions, Mercedes are arguing that they had good reason to believe the race was back on. But the wording of the rule is not to blame.

      The presence of the safety car isn’t a prerequisite for safety car conditions to be in force – they aren’t the same thing. There have been many situations where the safety car has pulled off the track before the point that racing can resume. At that point, the leader effectively becomes the safety car and safety car conditions remain in force, i.e. no overtaking, until the line.

      1. Jarred Walmsley
        16th May 2010, 20:23

        Okay, fair enough, BUT if this was the case then the yellows would have to have continued to be displayed, which they WERE NOT indeed green flags were being waved which to me and apparently to Brawn and Schumacher that race conditions were in place and I have to agree with them, but even if it was illegal then the penalty was still to harsh and he should only be dropped to 7th as an absolute maximum penalty

  20. the rule is open to interpreation. it depends if the SC was coming in because the accident had cleared or SC was coming in as the rule stated becasue the race was over.

    In my opinion, if the incident had not be cleared the MSC was not entitled to over take.

    If the SC was coming in because the incident was clear, then you have a one corner race.

    It rule depends on the interpretation of if the SC was still deployed at the end of the race. Was it coming in because the incident was cleared or because rule 40.13 said it must.

    Over to the lawyers to sort it out.

    1. Guys, everybody refer to 40.13, but nobody to the part (new for 2010 season)of chapter SC, so here you are:
      “When the safety car is ready to leave the circuit it extinguishes its orange lights, indicating to the drivers that it will peel off into the pits at the end of the current lap. The drivers then continue in formation until they cross the first safety-car line where green lights will indicate that they are free to race again.”
      This is the true case in Monaco!!!

      1. In addition to beaker post – it’s very simple to determine which is the case:
        SC – orange lights!
        Stewards – GREEN flags and no table SC!
        You can see it very clear in YouTube!

Jump to comment page: 1 2 3 7

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.