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

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

  1. Magnificent Geoffrey
    16th May 2010, 15:55

    Could someone explain to me why they even introduced the Safety Car line in the first place? What was wrong with the ‘no overtaking before the Start/Finish line’ rule that we had for years? No SC line = no problem, right?

  2. It’s great isn’t, webber’s greatest moment of his life is overshadowed by Schumi – Alonso controversy

    1. A bit like his win in Brazil being totally overshadowed by Button winning the title.

      Poor Mark. If he won the world championship something would happen to deflect attention away from him.

      1. @Red Andy : you could make a brilliantly funny story on your website out of this i think :-p

    2. Well, the best way to sum it up would be something Webber himself said to Schumacher after Monaco quali 2006: “It shows how greedy and hungry you are to go to that length…”

    3. Nothing is overshadowed by any means.

    4. I agree, just as people forgot that he was 2nd behind Jensen last year in the championship at one point, and all the focus was still on Vettel, and just as many never noticed or commented that Massa led Kimi for much of 07, some guys never get the respect they deserve. The way Bernie talks you’d think Webber had already retired

  3. This is crap. I’m not Schumacher’s biggest fan but this is a rubbish rule. This situation is ludicrous.

  4. Seriously, he should be rewarded for making a boring reace interesting

    1. Yes he should be rewarded and Alonso for his drive from the back and Lewis for changing tyres at the right moment to come ahead of Schumacher.
      I love them all but I HATE INJUSTICE.

  5. It didn’t look to me as if anyone was cruising to the finish line, after the safety car came in everyone was racing as fast as they could through the last corner.

    Would they really be doing that if the rule was as clear as Ferrari claim it is? I am on Schumacher’s side when it comes to this one. Just look at the way Alonso was drifting out of Rascasse, doesn’t seem to me he was cruising.

  6. To me it is very clear, It is illegal to pass while behind the safety car, BUT! they were not behind it!

    It had pulled in! just like the incident in shanghai (precedent) where Webber was pushed off the road.

    The argument is not was he allowed to pass (He could as the safety had pulled in) but weather he did it before the line! The replay footage clearly shows that he was behind when they crossed the line.

    Therefore, It was legal.

  7. Guys, don’t pull just one article out of context! The rules are clear indeed and Schuey is and will rmain 6th: 40.7: “overtaking is forbidden until the cars reach the first safety car line after the safety car has returned to the pits” that’s a tick ; more importantly, 40.11: “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.” That’s exactly what happened, so 40.13 does not apply, as the race did not finish under SAFETY CAR DEPLOYED regultions!!

    1. Correct I’m glad someone has used common sense.

    2. Very clear! I think you are 100% right.

      1. But it did say “safety Car coming in this lap?”

        Who’s to say the safety car forgot to turn its lights out? Its happened before…

  8. I think Ross has it right!
    The SC came in so they were racing!

    If the SC procedure was kept on, it should have been communicated differently as a race that ends in sc mode but with the sc pulling in!

    If they do want to punish, only give up the position and it should be ok!

  9. stats say Australia & Italy 2009 finished under the safety car. were the rules different then & if not maybe someone can refresh us on how exactly those races finished?

    1. oh my bad, i meant aside from moving the overtaking line. maybe there were pit messages put out as well?

      this one looks to be another case of FIA regulations just simply contradicting each other and looks like a case for the lawyers..

  10. Previously, drivers were not able to overtake after the­ Safety Car pulled in until the start/finish line,­ meaning last-lap Safety Cars guaranteed the same­ results as when the final lap began.

    However,­ new-for-2010 regulations state that passes are­ permitted after the final Safety Car line, located­ before the pit lane entry and, in Monaco’s case, at­ the exit of La Rascasse corner.

  11. I think the fact that there was green flags then rule 40.13 is not applicable. They were back to racing conditions between the safety car line and the start/finish line.

    If the safety car pulled in but yellow flags still were waved than then that particular rule is the over riding factor. The race is finishing under safety car conditions, but green flags were shown, which means RACE.

    And believe me i’m no fan of Schu….

  12. Green Flag = Race

    I think race control got this one all wrong. If the safety car was pulled in because of rule 40.13, why waive the green flags.

    I can see them making a tweak to the reg’s after this one, to make sure that green flags are not waived when they are bringing in the safety car to adhere to rule 40.13

    This time I think Schumacher is lucky.

  13. oops that was meant to say the race didn’t finish under safety car conditions

  14. Gentlemen, the race finished under SC conditions, and it was just pulled in for the photo at the crossing line. It is not possible to pull in the SC in the last lap and end the race on normal racing conditions. If the SC is out during last lap, its 40.13.

    Anyway, the pass was good but not in racing conditions. I am not hoping the future of F1 entertainment is on this kind of passes exactly.

    1. The race didn’t end under SC conditions. Green lights and flags were shown. The race was back on. Smart move by wily old Schumacher.

    2. If the race finished under SC, there wouldn’t be a green flag/light… it would still yellow. Basically it’s about whether the SC came in because the race will end with the SC or because the race can resume normally.

      40.13 doesn’t state if the SC is out during last lap. It states that “If the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed”.

      So.. no, SC in the last lap doesn’t automatically make it 40.13. At least that how I would interpret it :)

  15. The FIA said the Safety Car went in so, according to the instructions of the FIA, the race didn’t finish under the Safety Car so we advised our drivers that they could still race between the Safety Car line and finish line.

    “Some even said Michael overtook Alonso under yellow but we have screenshots that there are green flags being waved right before Michael overtook Alonso.”

  16. Now he’s truly back and the rule bending has began…

    1. Now he’s truly back and ballsy racing is back!!!

  17. damn yeah!! He is Back.. dont never doubt..!!

  18. He should keep it and I think he’ll manage to convince the stewards.

    They have been particularly lenient throughout the weekend. Among the episodes I can recall are:
    1)Massa impeding Button during qualifying when he had all the time possible to give him clean air, while also not compromising his own lap.
    2)Barrichello throwing away the steering recklessly, which was then run over by an HRT. After this incident, the stewards asked for clarification and accepted his, rather weak explanation.
    3)Massa touching his two tyres with the yellow line on his way out of the pits, which wasn’t even considered for investigation by the stewards.
    4) Massa (again) cutting a chicane instead of joining the racetrack the way he should, which in turn would have resulted in him losing a position to Lewis Hamilton.

    I’m not particularly disappointed with the way things went as I believe racing within the limits must be encouraged. However, Massa got away with a lot of minor infractions. Touching the white (or rather yellow line in the case of Monaco) was enough to justify all his minor infractions and slap him with a deserved penalty. I don’t want to start any conspiracy theories, but I found it rather disturbing when Jean Todt, the president of the FIA, admitted that he loved Massa during a short interview with Italian TV station RAI just before the race. Persons in such a high position must have no conflict of interest, and this is one of the main reasons why I didn’t want him as president.

    1. Todt doesn’t enforce the rules, Just as Bernie Doesn’t.

      1. Yes, but just like any president, he has the final say before rules are passed.

  19. i think Schu is correct and the pass should stand, safety car went in and it was after the white line. plus Alonso got a bit off line so left the door wide open.

    Finally, I’d like to welcome the old Michael back!

  20. I think the pass was actually legal, due to rule 40.7, which says:

    Rule 40.7: With the following exceptions, overtaking is forbidden […]. Overtaking will only be permitted under the following circumstances :
    – if any car slows with an obvious problem.

    Alonso was obviously, from a certain point of view dangerously, slow out of Turn 17, which may have been due to a tyre problem due to overly long use so therefore, the pass was NOT illegal, seeing as Rule 40.7 permits overtaking when the car ahead has problems, as Alonso did.

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