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

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  1. Anshumaan said on 17th May 2010, 7:22

    I think the biggest confusion in the race was whether the cars ended the race behind the safety car and if u watched closely the SC was due to get in and race would go on normally. That means the pass was legal in the sense that we didn’t finish under the SC, there were no yellow flags either. Article whatever that was used to penalise Schumi just doesn’t hold!!!
    In the end brilliant thinking by Schumi and i forgive him fr what he did at The La Rascasse 3 years ago.

  2. Christian said on 17th May 2010, 12:22

    “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″

    I think this rule is written with the 2 hour race limit in mind and did not apply at the 2010 Monaco GP.
    Mercedes just MUST appeal !!!

  3. gideon said on 17th May 2010, 18:33

    i think that damoon hill want revenge to schumy beacuse for adelaide 1994 .i dont know what referes do in f1 sleep’?

  4. PeterMetro said on 18th May 2010, 2:19

    What a stuff up.
    Cars do not overtake (whether behind a safety car or not) regardless of article 40.13, if waved yellows are being shown. Don’t you think it sends a mixed (unclear) message to any driver, to pull the safety car in, stop waving the yellow flags, bring out the green ones, start waving them, announce track clear (get on with racing)…safety car in…but, oh by the way…they forgot to announce NO OVERTAKING!! How stupid! How about we keep it really simple. If they don’t want cars to overtake after a safety car period…keep the yellow flags out! It’s not that hard. It’s not brain surgery. It’s ridiculous, and a little bit embarrassing. What a stuff up.

  5. PH said on 18th May 2010, 4:49

    I have not read the whole threat, but some that could be considered:

    as much as i don’t like NASCAR, something about it that would be an option to stop “controversy” as the one caused by Schumi’s pass on Alonso. Why not have a rule for White/Green finish in cases when the safety car will be expected to be out until the last lap. They could just add that extra lap to allow the race to end in “proper” competition. Some would consider it unfair to whomever is on first place but if something were to happen, who can predict that would not have occurred earlier in the race.

    just my 2 cents.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 18th May 2010, 21:26

      It’s not really a solution – say the race goes green again, another crash happens, the safety car comes out and we’re back to square one.

  6. Keith:
    While all the articles I have read so far on F1 Fanatec have shown a refreshing common sense and honesty, I must point out an uncharacterisic contradiction in this article.

    You say “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 you read the very rule you cite in the article, it says that, when the race ends under yellow, the pace car will pull in on the end of the last lap. There is no ‘if’, there is not choice to be made, it’s compulsory. The safety car simply cannot finish the race on the track.

    The mistake, in the grand prix, was to announce, on the last lap, “safety car in this lap”. This indicated the race would go green on the last lap + 1 which makes no sense.

    I my opinion, the blame for this whole controversy lies squarly on Charlie Whiting’s shoulders. The rules are clearly written. They were not correctly enforced for the race procedings.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 18th May 2010, 21:28

      I don’t think that’s a contradiction I think you’re just taking what I’ve written a little too literally. In fact, I broadly agree with what you’re written, only I’m not sure about the exact timing and wording of the “safety car in” announcement, and what was communicated to the teams, so I don’t want to pre-judge anything on that.

  7. Riff said on 22nd May 2010, 8:16

    40.13 should change to “it will enter the pitlane at the end of the last lap and the cars will follow the SC to the pitlane….well at least it much more clearly than old one. :)) just kidding :P

    • Riff
      You are quoting rule 40.10!
      “Under certain circumstances the clerk of the course may ask the safety car to use the pit lane. In these cases, and provided its orange lights remain illuminated, all cars must follow it into the pit lane without overtaking. Any car entering the pit lane under these circumstances may stop at its designated garage area.”
      :-D

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