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

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.

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

  1. janus1339 said on 16th May 2010, 15:36

    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.

    • Ben Curly said on 16th May 2010, 15:39

      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 ;)

      • BasCB said on 16th May 2010, 16:19

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

      • HunterX said on 16th May 2010, 18:32

        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.

  2. DannyJ said on 16th May 2010, 15:36

    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!

    • Indeed DannyJ :) :) :) :) :) :) :)
      seven smiles for a seven wold champion!

      • DannyJ said on 16th May 2010, 15:56

        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!

        • 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 ……. .

          • Paper Tiger said on 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.

          • WOHOOOO !!!
            Schumi is back!

        • Carl27 said on 16th May 2010, 17:24

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

  3. Ben Curly said on 16th May 2010, 15:37

    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.

    • Ben Curly said on 16th May 2010, 17:45

      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.

  4. Daffid said on 16th May 2010, 15:37

    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.

    • Tim said on 16th May 2010, 17:19

      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.

      • Well said Tim :)

      • Jarred Walmsley said on 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

  5. beaker said on 16th May 2010, 15:37

    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.

    • ilove said on 16th May 2010, 16:35

      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!!!

      • ilove said on 16th May 2010, 16:46

        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!

  6. Fer no.65 said on 16th May 2010, 15:37

    the screen showed “SC in this lap” so that’s presumably because of the track being clean, and not because of the regulation.

    If so, MSC’s move is legal i think.

  7. KNF said on 16th May 2010, 15:37

    There are only two possible sane outcomes:

    1) MSC and ALO swap places, and the wording of 40.13 will be made more specific for the next GP, or

    2) MSC keeps his place, and 40.13 is reworded for clarity. Drivers will be trying to back the field behind to ensure that they aren’t jumped at the restart.

    The last outcome which could have happened in darker, less sane years would be to give MSC a 25-second penalty, which would drop him dead last. Of course there will be protests and denunications of the stewards, especially of a certain Mr D. Hill if it happens.

  8. Xanathos said on 16th May 2010, 15:38

    In the slow-motion I’ve just seen the yellow lights flashing before rascasse – and then as Schumacher pulled alongside Alonso after the corner, there was a green light flashing. So it should be legal…

  9. Josh Osman said on 16th May 2010, 15:38

    The rule clearly states under a saftey car finish which it was not as the saftey car went in so the rules apply as normal for this year and they are alowwed to overtake therfore he keeps 6th place

  10. Mad said on 16th May 2010, 15:38

    now again started….Schumi controversy bla bla bla…it is not controversy alonso was just slowing down too much….Keith ur keeping ur eyes wide open to see if u can get some news to spank Schumi…..ridiculous ..Just post on Webber’s brilliant win rather than these

    • Daffid said on 16th May 2010, 15:41

      You expect him not to post on the biggest talking point of the race? It’s not controversy? Then why has it been referred to the stewards, why are Ferrari protesting? Don’t be ridiculous, if you’re not interested in a detailed analysis of the race why are you even here, just go read the results on Yahoo.

      • Mad said on 16th May 2010, 16:54

        What do u expect a driver to do when a guy infront of him slowed down drastically?I just meant to say that it was not a controversy just a incident(u can call it major as it was between two champs)But the title of this post does not bode well.I could not find a source where they say it is a controversy…Only u guys say so…

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 16th May 2010, 16:03

      As Daffid says, it’s clearly the biggest story of the race. I’d be out of my mind to ignore it.

  11. mf1 said on 16th May 2010, 15:38

    How do they know if the SC is coming in under rule 40.7 (normally) or under rule 40.13 (b/c of last lap)

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 16th May 2010, 16:03

      Good question!

    • Presumably if the race is finishing under the safety car they wouldn’t give the standard “safety car in this lap” message. Also the the yellow flags would continue and the “SC” boards would stay out.

      What does the green flag indicate? I think that’s the answer. Although it is interesting it’s taking a while for an official announcement.

  12. Sami said on 16th May 2010, 15:41

    Schumacher proves again that he is the best driver of all times.
    The move is legal, and schumacher deserve the 6th place

  13. F1 must be the only sport where the drivers don’t know what is allowed and what isn’t. Would be a real shame if he was punished, one of the best moves I have ever seen in F1.

    • Good point Tommy. After all these years, and past incidents, we should not really have this controversy and uncertainty.

    • Maksutov said on 16th May 2010, 15:45

      That’s because the rules change all the time, who can keep up with it…

  14. pSynrg said on 16th May 2010, 15:47

    So, we watch an interesting but processional Monaco GP virtually no ‘real’ overtaking to speak of.

    Then suddenly out of nowhere a miniscule opportunity opens up on the last corner of the last lap and a driver brilliantly takes advantage of it and succeeds!

    And most people here want it annulled?!

    I used to drop in here all the time. These days its just around the races. I beginning to feel like that’s becoming a bad move too…

  15. Towerade said on 16th May 2010, 15:48

    Regulations are clear. Schumi must be punished (+20sec, +30sec or grid position penalty in the next race)

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