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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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…

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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…

  9. 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…

  10. 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)

  11. Maksutov said on 16th May 2010, 15:49

    Who cares anyway let the pencil guys decide, it was a good pass. And Webber wins !! yea!! and im going to bed happy tonight! :)

  12. Ags said on 16th May 2010, 15:49

    this is ridiculous, alonso should get 6th back…it clearly states that in the rule shown. so i dont see why it should be bent, even if both drivers weren’t aware of it.

  13. adaptalis said on 16th May 2010, 15:49

    This reminds me of Australia 2009. Didn’t the provisional result penalised Trulli for passing Hamilton (before the lie-gate incident was publicised)?

  14. Gurpz said on 16th May 2010, 15:49

    Green = racing conditions. Everyone went for it, simple. Alonso was sleeping and got caught out by the best thinking driver. Ferrari say the race finished under the SC, then why did everyone floor it coming into and out of Anthony Noghes like it was a race??

    I hope Damon Hill and the rest of the stewards make the right decision and let Schuey keep the position.

  15. Gentlemen, start your lawyers!

    I think 40.13 is pretty clear – under the safety car, no overtaking on the last lap regardless of what the SC does. So Schumacher should drop back to 7th.

    But we will see, maybe Brawn’s appeal to the inherent ambiguity of the regulations will win out.

    • But, was it under the SC. SC in, green lights, green flags…

      • That’s the question. The thing is that the safety car comes in at the end of the final lap whatever happens. So do the green flags actually mean anything?

        Apparently both Alonso and Hamilton were told over the radio that overtaking was not allowed at the end of the race. If so that confirms the idea that 40.13 trumps the other SC rules.

        • Massa has just said on the BBC forum he too was told over the radio that he could not overtake on the run to the flag.

          • It doesn’t matter what Ferrari told their drivers if it was wrong.

            The rules governing the use of the green flag are very clear. Under safety conditions at no time is the green flag shown until racing resumes.

        • Gill said on 16th May 2010, 17:56

          “So do the green flags actually mean anything?”

          Well shouldn’t you assume they mean something, until proof to the contrary? Here I can see no such proof. And one thing they could mean is just that the race did not end under SC, though the SC would come in anyway.

          And what teams said on radio obviously does not determine what the rule is. They may just have been wrong.

      • wasiF1 said on 18th May 2010, 8:03

        @ HG
        Totally agree with you “SC in, green lights, green flags” if they waved yellow flag as they did in 2009 Australian GP then I would say that Schumi needs to be punished but that was not the case.

  16. kapow said on 16th May 2010, 15:49

    everyone’s looking at 40.13 but go up a bit to

    40.11: When the clerk of the course decides it is safe to call in the safety car the message “SAFETY CAR IN THIS LAP” will be displayed on the timing monitors and the car’s orange lights will be extinguished This will be the signal to the teams and drivers that it will be entering the pit lane at the end of that lap.

    which we all clearly saw on the screens

    • Ags said on 16th May 2010, 15:55

      yeah, thats for any other lap in the race, 40.13 is specifically aimed at the last lap, and this whole over taking thing was in the last lap, therefor 40.11 wouldn’t apply.

    • e4gleeye said on 16th May 2010, 15:56

      This pretty much seals it in my mind. I love Hill, but if he somehow managed to get MS penalised because of old blood, he’s no longer my favourite driver.

  17. 1. The FOM message was SAFETY CAR COMING IN THIS LAP.

    2.The corner was showing a green flag status (green light) indicating that drivers are to resume racing.

    3.The lights had stopped flashing on the safety car indicating that the Safety Car had been called in by the race director.

    Schumacher absolutely deserves to keep his place for this crafty piece of driving.

    Rule 40.13 simply can not have any weight on this situation due to the mitigating circumstances listed above.

  18. Karel said on 16th May 2010, 15:54

    F1 is a lot more interesting at moments like this, don’t take it away from Schumacher. If overtaking is not allowed, don’t wave that green flag. Obviously the Master wants to teach everyone a lesson in these boring F1 days, let him! I believe Alonso will not make that mistake again.

  19. Glenn said on 16th May 2010, 15:55

    Am I the only one who sees the irony that Schumacher is sticking it to Ferrari this time around? all the years of dishing it out now they are taking it full on from Schumi.

    BTW The pass was legal. Unfortunately the regs and what happened on the track are not clear, they do not coincide. I think it was FIA’s error to bring in the SC and now they have made an incredibly sore gray area.

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