Schumacher handed 20-second penalty, loses points finish, Mercedes to appeal

Michael Schumacher has been demoted from sixth to 12th place

Michael Schumacher has been demoted from sixth to 12th place

Michael Schumacher has been stripped of his sixth-placed finish by the Monaco Grand Prix stewards, who handed him a 20-second penalty for overtaking Fernando Alonso at the final corner of the race.

The result drops Schumacher from sixth place in the original standings to 12th and out of the points.

The verdict promotes Alonso back into sixth ahead of Rosberg, Sutil and Liuzzi. Sebastien Buemi gains a point for tenth place.

Mercedes have said they will appeal the penalty.

The stewards explained their decision as follows:

The Stewards received a report from the Race Director that car Nr 3 – Michael Schumacher overtook car Nr 8 – Fernando Alonso when the Safety Car entered the pit lane at the end of the last lap.

As the overtaking manoeuvre was in breach of Article 40.13 of the 2010 F1 Sporting Regulations, the Stewards decided to impose a drive through penalty but, as it occurred during the last five laps, 20 seconds will be added to the elapsed race time of car Nr 3.

What do you think of Schumacher's penalty?

  • Schumacher was at fault and he should have got a tougher penalty (3%)
  • Schumacher was at fault and the stewards gave the correct penalty (17%)
  • Schumacher was at fault but he should have got a less severe penalty (18%)
  • Schumacher was not at fault and he should have got no penalty at all (62%)

Total Voters: 2,290

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404 comments on Schumacher handed 20-second penalty, loses points finish, Mercedes to appeal

  1. matt88 said on 16th May 2010, 17:49

    too harsh, they had to swap their positions and stop. i don’t think it’s a Todt plot, remember that Todt was in Ferrari but he was also in close relationship with Brawn and Schumacher. And Hill was helped by 3 other FIA commissioners (a mexican, a swiss and a monegasque… seems the intro of a joke :D )

  2. hawkfist said on 16th May 2010, 17:49

    Seems a bit harsh. If you have 2 rules saying different things then you can’t penalise someone for following one and not the other.

    Unless there’s something more to this decision this is a bit of a joke, and I hate Schumacher.

  3. George said on 16th May 2010, 17:49

    20 second penalty is completely over the top, especially after the safety car when it’s guaranteed to lose him so many places. I hope they cross out this rediculous rule so the drivers can actually race without having to leaf through a rule book first.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 16th May 2010, 17:53

      I think the penalty is too harsh but they weren’t able to give him a softer one – there’s no provision for it in the rules.

      • James Alias said on 16th May 2010, 17:59

        There is! A fine! they gave Webber a fine for speeding in the pit-lane, wasn’t he supposed to get a drive though penalty instead?

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 16th May 2010, 18:03

          They can impose a fine for pit lane speeding but not for this type of “incident”. Rule 16.3:

          The stewards may impose any one of three penalties on any driver involved in an Incident :
          a) A drive-through penalty. The driver must enter the pit lane and re-join the race without stopping ;
          b) A ten second time penalty. The driver must enter the pit lane, stop at his pit for at least ten seconds
          and then re-join the race.
          c) a drop of any number of grid positions at the driver’s next Event.
          However, should either of the penalties under a) and b) above be imposed during the last five laps, or after
          the end of a race, Article 16.4b) below will not apply and 20 seconds will be added to the elapsed race time
          of the driver concerned in the case of a) above and 30 seconds in the case of b).

          • Ben Curly said on 16th May 2010, 18:06

            There is another option, rule “not guilty”.

          • BasCB said on 16th May 2010, 18:47

            Hello Keith, i was wondering about this. Is there any real chance of Ross appealing the decision?
            Or is this one of those where no appeal is allowed to decisions of the race stewards.

            As the situation was not 100% clear (SC was out, came in before finish line. But green was waved and a “race free” was given), i am with you and would have preferred a penalty resulting in Schumi ending in 7th or maximum behind his team mate in 8th.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 16th May 2010, 18:50

            Not sure about whether or how they appeal exactly, obviously McLaren got theirs thrown out in 2008.

      • Ben Curly said on 16th May 2010, 18:00

        There is no provision for not penalising a guy who overtakes under green flags?

        • Robert McKay said on 16th May 2010, 18:15

          It doesn’t matter how many green flags there are. Rule 40.13 is in effect. It’d be less confusing if they weren’t there, but it doesn’t matter that they are.

          • Ben Curly said on 16th May 2010, 18:25

            “Track is clear” in my opinion means that the track is, well, clear. That was the information given to the teams. It wasn’t “hey, it’s a safety car finish”.

            They could just admit it, and say “our bad, we didn’t make the situation clear”.

            And if they really wanted to impose a penalty, they still had the option of “a drop of any number of grid positions at the driver’s next Event”, instead of 20 second penalty.

            What they did instead is ridiculous.

        • Green flags mean race. The last time a race finished behind the Safety car we had yellows waved –
          http://img237.imageshack.us/img237/8861/greg4w.jpg

          • Robert McKay said on 16th May 2010, 18:21

            That’s why I think Schumacher should be 7th, not 12th. But not 6th.

          • The last time a race finished behind the Safety Car you couldn’t pass before the start/finish line, under ANY circumstances. Nowadays you can, UNLESS it’s the last lap.

            Technically, of course, the last race to finish under SC was Monza, but I know what you mean….:D

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 16th May 2010, 18:23

            That was last year, Tommy, the rules have changed since then.

          • Frans said on 16th May 2010, 19:10

            This is for Red Andy…
            Then why are they waving the green instead yellow? If it were going to finish under the SC, even if the SC is going into the pit lane (because being forced by the 40.13 rule), it should be yellow instead of green all the way to the finish line.
            The race need to end with the SC in order for the 40.13 to be in effect, so when the yellow flags were replaced by the green flags, it effectively cancel the 40.13 because it doesn’t end with SC situation. Remember that the race doesn’t end until they cross the finish line.

            Can we punish the officials instead of the driver? it’s basically the officials fault instead of the driver/team.

          • Umar Farooq Khawaja said on 16th May 2010, 19:19

            Keith, the rules might have changed, but the flags haven’t changed and the rules governing flags haven’t changed either.

            If no overtaking is to be allowed, then the flag to be waved is Yellow, not Green.

            Please take your anti-Schumacher glasses off for a second.

          • Salty said on 16th May 2010, 20:59

            Totally agree Tommy, a green flag to a driver means one thing, race.

            If race control has made a poor job of communicating their intentions to stewards or marshalls over the restarting, or not, of racing conditions, then it is their error and the result must stand.

            Schumacher waited until he was past the SC line and had a green flag. How can he be punished for an overtake in these circumstances?

      • kowalsky said on 16th May 2010, 21:11

        you are right, they have to change that rule, like some others. I hope todt, takes a look at some of this rules, and uses his common sense, to make them more sesible.
        But the fans are clear, and todt, must be clear about.

      • Gary said on 19th May 2010, 19:32

        They could have dropped him one place on the grid at the next race – that would be much more fitting, under the circumstances

        (Not that I think he should have got *any* penalty ;-)

  4. Yet another example of the FIA outlawing anything which makes the sport good or interesting. They’re ripping the heart out of the sport. Already this season we have a ban on innovation with banning the f-duct, which discourages teams from inventing new things, because the FIA ban them for no reason. Now we have this decision, which unduly penalises a great driver for making a daring move against a driver who clearly thought he’d finished the race.

    One question to the FIA, if the race had ended, why did the safety car pull in? Why didn’t the safety car just carry on over the line under yellows, and end the race that way? The safety car pulling in, and the green flags being waved, is a universally acknowledged sign that racing has recommenced, which should be the case whether they are on the first or last lap.

    If Ferrari had not been involved in this case, the decision would have been very different. I am disgusted with the FIA over this.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 16th May 2010, 17:52

      One question to the FIA, if the race had ended, why did the safety car pull in?

      Because that’s what it says will happen in the rules:

      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.

      Which was quoted in the article earlier:

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

      • KevinC said on 16th May 2010, 17:59

        But the Safety Car had been pulled in, and the green flags were clearly out???

      • But that doesn’t address my issue. I understand why Schumacher was penalised, but why do we have that rule? What purpose is it serving? Is it safer? I’d say no.

        As the guys on the BBC coverage pointed out, if a person had crashed on the last corner, they would be allowed to overtake, as they would in racing, so why are we allowing the drivers to get to racing speed, but not overtake? What if Alonso had gone wide, leaving a clear gap for Schumacher, but Schumacher stopped so as not to overtake Alonso. There would have been a pile-up behind him!

        Bad bad decision by Hill and the FIA here.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 16th May 2010, 18:04

          Yeah I think the rule is a strange one – why not just keep the safety car out? Bringing it in in this fashion just creates confusion.

          • Ben Curly said on 16th May 2010, 18:07

            Bringing it in is a one thing. Waving green flags instead of yellow is another, just as is informing teams that the track is clear.

          • Robert McKay said on 16th May 2010, 18:16

            They want the “money shot” of the leader crossing the line unsullied by a big safety car in front of the pack.

          • Damon said on 16th May 2010, 21:05

            Not at all. There is no confusion if the yellow flags are waved and “SC” boards are on display.
            This however wasn’t the case today.

          • Derek said on 17th May 2010, 12:13

            Like I said earlier, with only 3 laps of the race remaining the race should have been ‘Red Flaged’. What is the point of the cars just going around in circles and not been allowed to overtake?

      • kowalsky said on 16th May 2010, 21:15

        they don’t want the picture of the gp winner, behind the sc in the magazines all over the world. That makes sense.
        I think schumacher and brown were way too hungry. But on the other hand the fans have spoken loud and clear. Schumacher must be demoted to 7th, and that rule to be clarified.

      • Karan said on 17th May 2010, 9:46

        But if the race ends under safety car, the flags and lights would still have to be yellow.

      • MacLeod said on 17th May 2010, 11:49

        This sentence means the IF the SC IS DEPLOYED but Race Control said SC coming in THIS LAP which means the last part safety car line to finish is to be raced that is why the green flags are waving for.

        Green means any restrictions are removed (short version) and back to normal (rules) IF RC wanted to ended the race under SC they should NEVER give the order SC coming in this LAP.

        SO race control made a BIG mistake here. so any conclusions is for the account of the FIA.

  5. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 16th May 2010, 17:50

    Honestly, I’m not surprised. I thought Ross Brawn’s explanation was questionable and I think it’s telling that both McLaren and Ferrari instructed their drivers not to overtake after the safety car line. Mercedes’ view of the rules was not correct.

    However I don’t like seeing drivers getting punished for overtaking and a fairer penalty would have been to put Schumacher back behind Alonso in the standings. Unfortunately that option wasn’t available to the stewards under the rules.

    • Dimitris said on 16th May 2010, 17:55

      Why was Mercedes’ view not correct? Wasn’t the track officially given the “clear” status…? Yes it was. Wasn’t the “green light” on, as opposed to waved yellows under SC? …Yes, it was.

      So, ALL the indications demonstrated a clear track, green status and not finish under SC rules. How was Mercedes to know that the track was in fact NOT clear and that the green light was a MISTAKE….?

      The only mistake was from race control who did not advise that the SC would pull in but the race would finish under SC rules. I.e., the track should NOT have been cleared and the green lights should NOT have gone on.

      Simple as that.

      • matt88 said on 16th May 2010, 17:57

        probably the mistake hasn’t been made by FIA but by the stewards, who shouldn’t show green flags.

      • absolutely correct, disgusting decision, especially when you take into account the ‘offences’ drivers have only got reprimands for in the previous races.

      • Daffid said on 16th May 2010, 19:13

        Track clear doesn’t mean the safety car is in, track clear means the obstruction is removed. Then notification came that the safety car was ‘coming’ in, but not in yet. However i agree the green seems to have been a mistake and so feel the penalty is harsh, but sadly unavoidable under the rules as they’re written.

    • +1 on the putting Schumacher back a place, but Brawns explanation to the BBC team seemed perfectly understandable?

      Anyway if the race should finish with a safety car it should lead the drivers over the line, what possible reason should their be to bring it in?

    • +1 on the putting Schumacher back a place, but Brawns explanation to the BBC team seemed perfectly understandable?

      Anyway if the race should finish with a safety car it should lead the drivers over the line, what possible reason should their be to bring it in?

    • Keith,
      I agree with you that it would have been better if they’d just reverted the positions back to what they were when the cars were following the SC.
      Basically MSC gained a position because of the SC being out. He couldn’t pass Alonso legimately during the race so why should he gain a place because of the SC? My gut feeling says that isn’t right.
      As far as I can see the rule is there because it’ll look naff for the fans and promoters if the race finishes with the SC going over the line first – it’ll spoil the finish photos. So bring the SC in just before the Final Flag whilst finishing under SC conditions.

    • mark said on 16th May 2010, 18:27

      Have to agree with Keith. Yes, the rule is vague and the penalty is too harsh. But McLaren and Ferrari were not racing at this point. Why? Because they interpreted the rule correctly. It’s clear that the safety car will not cross the checkered flag, if racing should happen around the last corner, that should be stated in the rules too. However, the way it’s written now, no overtaking. End of story.

    • MacademiaNut said on 16th May 2010, 18:30

      I agree that they should have done what you said without handing over a penalty to MSC. It is too said that they have to pick a punishment from the rule book.

    • Antifia said on 16th May 2010, 18:48

      Alonso seemed to be thinking that he was racing at that point. He clearly overaccelerated, going sideways as a result.
      Why would you do that if you didn’t think the guy behind had to right to try and overtake you?

    • Ronman said on 16th May 2010, 19:23

      exactly my view… since this specific rule is new, and confusion was obvious in the de-brief… Alonso should have been given his spot back, overtake annulled… a 20 second penalty is completely disproportionate especially that the race ended bunched up behind a SC.

      but you got to give it to coincidence, Shumi under doubt when his former nemesis is steward… i have a feeling Bernie directs these things from his invisible director’s chair…

    • macca77 said on 16th May 2010, 19:24

      I disagree with you Keith. As a lot of people said before, the FIA or whatever is in charge of the race control, should HAVE NOT waved green flags and should HAVE NOT used the same terms that are used when the SC comes in during NORMAL race circumstances. The race control should have used a NEW WAY to signal these new rule situation. The fact that McLaren and Ferrari interpreted the rule the same way (not he Mercedes way) is as relevant as their interpretation of any other fuzzy rule in the past (not relevant at all). ie. the famous double diffuser affair last year, when the interpretation made by the majority didnt stop Brawn to do it and be legal.

    • OEL said on 16th May 2010, 20:20

      Well, I don’t understand why the safetycar was coming in on the final lap if you’re not allowed to overtake.

      • OEL said on 16th May 2010, 20:30

        By the way I don’t understand why the rules have to be so unclear. Ihadn’t even heard about the “safety car line” before China, despite followin f1.com, autosport.com and f1fanatic.co.uk during the winter. There was a lot of fuss about changing the point system twice both for 2009 and 2010 and that it would be confusing for the fans, but the safety car line rules are in my opinion much worse.

  6. James Alias said on 16th May 2010, 17:51

    I think FIA needs to learn a thing about entertainment PR.

  7. So I guess the drivers now have to receive directions from race control telepathically rather than relying on the instructions and signals of the mashalls and track lighting system.

    A sad step backwards for Formula One stewards.

    Matt
    Australian Autosport Community

  8. MrWolf said on 16th May 2010, 17:51

    40.13 was too clear about this, think is the right decision

    • Todfod said on 16th May 2010, 18:50

      Exactly.

      Yellow and green flags should not even be a part of the argument. It was the last lap and the article explains clearly what is expected of the drivers. Brawn interpreted the rules incorrectly, and Scummy executed it.

      Rules are Rules.. no matter how harsh they might seem. If Scummy didn’t want a penalty he shouldn’t have tried a cheap overtaking move like that one.

      • David A said on 16th May 2010, 20:45

        It’s extremely childish when people nickname him “Scummy” which reminds me of that buffoon mp4-19b who used to post on this site.

  9. Randy said on 16th May 2010, 17:52

    Right or wrong(I don’t know), it was the only signifigant manouver in an otherwise incredibly boring race. If this ruling was correct they need to change the rules.

  10. kapow said on 16th May 2010, 17:52

    Well, I’m just glad that MSC made that move. It’s good to see he hasn’t lost any aggression in those split-second decisions he makes.
    This is the Schumacher we know- the one who sees an opportunity and definitively takes it, no prisoners, no sorries. It happened in Adelaide 94, then Jerez 97, and maybe even Monaco 06. But that commitment to always go for the win and just take every chance he gets is what made him great; glad to see it hasn’t gone away.

    • Todfod said on 16th May 2010, 18:52

      You just pointed out all the low points in Schumi’s career. If you think those actions make him a great competitor, I really do not know what you think of true sportsmanship.

      • Sri said on 16th May 2010, 19:06

        That would make Ayrton the worst ever… by far and in some time to come… Do you agree? Cos it can’t be both ways…

        • Todfod said on 16th May 2010, 20:17

          That is exactly why I wouldn’t use Senna’s first corner collision with Prost as an example that defined him

  11. Mark Hitchcock said on 16th May 2010, 17:53

    I can see why he was punished but 20 seconds is unduly harsh in my opinion.
    What’s the problem with just putting Schumi back to 7th?

    • Under the rules the only penalties that the stewards can apply are 1) a drive-through, 2) a 10sec stop/go penalty, or 3) a grid penalty for the next race. If an incident happens in the last 5 laps of a race 1) or 2) can be substituted with a 20-second penalty. Unfortunately there is no provision in the rules for simply swapping the drivers around, though I agree it would have been a more appropriate punishment.

      • Mark Hitchcock said on 16th May 2010, 18:07

        Oh yeah, forgot about the last 5 laps thing.
        It would make sense to give the stewards the power to apply a more appropriate punishment if they see fit.

      • David A said on 16th May 2010, 18:11

        I think the list of arbitary punishments they still choose from just shows that the FIA simply don’t learn from their previous mistakes. In last year’s Australian Grand Prix, Trulli was initially handed a 25 second penalty, when the FIA should know that under safety car conditions, the field gets bunched up and such a penalty would be far more severe than it would have been under normal racing conditions. The fact that a simple position swapping penalty still hasn’t been considered for these situations is very worrying and saddening for the governing body.

  12. TOTALLY UNFAIR :( :( :( :( :( :( :(

    We the fans demand an explination!!!!

    Brawn MUST appeal the decision if upheld then I would like to rose some certain Hill to Hell.

    God > infinity

  13. Bernard said on 16th May 2010, 17:53

    I agree that this is bad call.

    Green flag
    All clear. The driver has passed the potential danger point and prohibitions imposed by yellow flags have been lifted.”

  14. Dill said on 16th May 2010, 17:53

    very bad decision, thats outrageous for penalizing so much as it was a badly written rule, its a joke having damon there, at least just put him back to 7th

    mistake

  15. The law is clear, good decision

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