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

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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”

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  1. Keith
    I fully understand your point that your not surpised; and normaly I would agree. However if the safety car would still be in effect would then there would not have been green flags now wouldn’t it. I think it’s dubious to punish an overtaking under green flags. What’s in the rule book on this? It’s a conflicting situation which should imho not be punished but immedeately be made clearer to all. Now we have again a situation that causes anger with the critical fans.

    1. what they’re saying is, even if there’s green flags, if the rules say no overtaking, then no overtaking. it may make sense to them (and it can make sense, if you think that one rule supersedes the other), but not to me.

      1. It is a pretty poor piece of rule-making. Just leave the safety car out in this situation. I don’t see what’s to be gained by bringing it in.

        1. Agree.

          Full stop.

        2. The leading driver gets to cross the line on his own rather than behind a great hulking Mercedes….makes it nice for the photographers.

          I guess that’s the reasoning behind it. Still seems a bit daft though.

          1. But in such case it’s obvious that the yellows flags should be kept.
            But they were NOT, and the green flags were being waved.

        3. I’m surprised the FIA isn’t getting called out for a technical on this. Question is, how insistent will Mercedes be about this? And if so, what avenues are available to them? IIRC, it’s a retro-drive-through, so it may not be appealable in FIA C of A. But we haven’t heard anything from Merc yet.

  2. Just wrong, the safety car was in and the pass completed well after the line (onto the straight in fact) and under green flag conditions. What happened to encouraging overtaking,eh? I think it is just a bitter Damon Hill and I fear the people here saying it was the right decision are just the schumacher haters open your eyes and look at the evidence

    1. I know, it’s crazy that people can point to such a ridiculous rule such as 40.13 and claim an open and shut case when the cardinal rule of racing in any series is green flags means have a go.

      The message from FOM was one of SAFETY CAR COMING IN which is used to alert teams that the safety car is being for lack of a better word un-deployed. There was no indication sent to any of the teams or shown on the timing screens that would alert us to the fact that safety car conditions were still to be observed and indeed the marhalls were obsiously not informed.

  3. Bartholomew
    16th May 2010, 18:10

    Lou made a phone call to Uncle Mo and everything was solved

  4. I’m a fanatic fan of Schumacher.
    But I’m afraid the penalty is fair.

  5. Haha. Of course it’s the Schumacher haters that think the ruling is right. Everyone else knows it’s wrong. The FIA clearly know how to ruin F1 further. The rules just contradict each other. I feel sorry for Michael.

  6. According to the FIA rules, you can overtake in the pitlane (cue to Alonso-Massa), but not under green flag…
    Why is always Alonso involved in the shady episodes of F1?

    1. He’s the new Schumacher, doncha know? ;)

    2. That is a bit harsh. Are you saying that Alonso deliberately ran his race just to be the car in front of Schuey at that point, and then deliberately held back as the SC peeled off so that Schuey passed him & was pinged? Long bow, my friend.

  7. What a joke.

    Firstly, the rules are ambiguous on the matter, for although article 40.13 says that one cannot overtake on the last lap when the SC enters the pits, it urges the drivers to ‘[…] take the chequered flag as normal […]’. According to these year’s rules, however, article 40.7 says that ‘[…] overtaking is forbidden until the cars reach the first safety car line after the safety car has returned to the pits […]’. Thus, the normal procedure is to overtake from the safety car line, which, as far as I know, is what Schumacher did. The rules contradict each other and are therefore open to interpretation.

    Secondly, when a green flag is waved the race is on. This video shows that there was both a green flag and a SC warning ( At 0:04 one can spot the former (and additionally at 0:11 one can see a green flag in the bottom right corner of the video), and at 0:12 one can see the latter. Again, a contradiction.

    Thirdly, if the SC was called in, why was the race not red flagged or finished behind the safety car. If it indeed is so important not to overtake on the last lap, why are the drivers given an opportunity?

    As much as I dislike Schumacher and like Alonso, this decision is ridiculous in my eyes.

    1. I just realised that Brawn has said that himself already… Oh well. Makes it even more ridiculous.

  8. I think it is an over the top penalty but I don’t blame the stewards for that as Keith clearly points out they couldn’t do much else as there isn’t a lot of room in the rule book.

  9. what are the rules surrounding an appeal? from where i sit it would seem that the conflicting information (green flags vs 40.13) should allow reasonable grounds for one and a decent chance of success?

    on a sidenote, i knew MSC would attempt something like that (brundle was obviously of the view that it was race on as he was commenting that webber should be safe as long as he had reasonable traction etc). definitely the most memorable moment of the race – thanks schumi

    1. the main concern here is if they CAN appeal. it’s a retro drive-through, after all. but I think if Merc can show that the decision was so wrong, they may still get a favourable ruling.

  10. Keith
    One last question. Al ot of people are now uitte harsh at Hill. However can you explain what the status is of Hill: Could it be that he was overruled? That he actually was ok with the overtaking and lost in majority? Just asking. Has there been a public statement of clarification of Hill himself?

    1. He’s one of four people in the room. The purpose of the drivers’ representative is more to give a perspective on racing incidents – for example, Hamilton weaving in front of Petrov.

      They way I see it, this is purely a technical, rules-based decision, so not an area where the drivers’ representative might have as great a role to play.

      Of course the rules governing this are utterly different to how they were in Hill’s time.

  11. From JA: #f1 OFFICIAL – Mercedes’ has decided to appeal the FIA stewards’ decision to penalise Schumacher

    1. I doubt this appeal will be fair.

      Similar to Hamilton’s Spa penalty, penalties given after the races are apparently immune from appeals.

      Mclaren’s appeal was thrown out on this technicality.

      1. Mercedes is appealing on the stewards decision not on the penalty. It seems the penalty handed out cannot be appealed but the decision taken by the stewards can be.

  12. Article 40.13 of the Formula 1 sporting regulations states: “If the race ends while 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.”

    No interpretation required, that’s the rule drawn up by the FIA not the BRDC.

    1. the issue is that 40.13 is conflicting with other rules, most notably, that of the “overtakes allowed after first SC line” clause. the green flags basically shoot down 40.13 for me. if there’s green flags, you can race.

      1. Not really as 40.13 is intended specifically to cover the last lap.

        Green flags just indicate that you don’t have to slow down, not that specific rules don’t apply.

    2. If the 40.13 was in force, then there would be still yellow flags being waved, and despite the SC not being physically there anymore, the drivers would have finished the race UNDER SC CONDITIONS.
      But this was NOT the case, as the green flags were waved and normal race conditions were restored.

      1. “GREEN FLAG
        A hazard has been cleared up and the cars can proceed at racing speed.”

        Not “Please proceed and ignore any other rules in place”

        1. Again, you need to look at the first few words of the article… “If the race ends while safety car is deployed”.

          My question to you is do you think the race ended while SC was being deployed? If so, then even if the SC were to came in the pit, shouldn’t the flag be yellow instead of green to indicate that the race would end with SC?

          Since you think that they waved the green flag because the hazard has been cleared up, then wouldn’t that meant the race wasn’t ended while “SC is deployed” since there is a gap between the SC line and the finish line?

  13. Mercedes chose to appeal, good choice and good luck for them!

  14. This is disgusting. Michael was in the right. The race is only over after a car receives the checkered flag. The safety car pulled into the pits well before the flag, so technically and legally the race was still on. Mercedes and Schumacher must fight this all the way, and sue everybody and anybody who had a hand in this nefarious outcome. If that Brit loser, Damon Hill, had anything to do with this he must be hounded out of not only F1 but all motorsport. Disgusting, disgusting, disgusting.

  15. for real….i thought we left this rubbish behind

  16. the waived green flags should overturn that rule

  17. Vincent1972
    16th May 2010, 18:28

    I think the penalty should go to the officials by instructing to wave the green flag (means go racing) not the driver who follows the signal.

  18. The rule clearly states, as wrong as it is, that if the safety car controls the field on the last lap, as it did, then it will pull into pit lane at the end of that lap and drivers will then drive to the finish line in formation without passing. This is regardless that the track is clear and the green flags are being waved. Its just about the only situation I can think of where passing under a green flag is against the rules. McLaren, Ferrari and presumably other teams knew this and informed their drivers as such. Schumacher and Mercedes got it wrong as we all saw and Schumi passed Alonso. While I don’t agree with a 20 second penalty, I do think the stewards had no choice but to penalise Schumacher. I don’t agree with the penalty but that is the only penalty option they had in the rules.

    And to those calling Hill a loser or saying that this is some sort of revenge plot, stop looking for someone else to blame for the Mercedes team getting that part of the rules wrong. Remember that Hill himself wouldn’t have made the decision. He would have only made a recommendation. For all we know he might have said to leave things as they were when they crossed the line. Just because the driver involved is Michael Schumacher it doesn’t mean Hill was out to get him. Besides, what would he have been doing? Depriving Schumacher of world title #8? I highly doubt it.

    That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it. Rules are rules, as wrong as they are, in this case at least.

    1. “This is regardless that the track is clear and the green flags are being waved.”
      – How does this make any sense?!
      Either you KEEP waving the yellow flags as you already do, or you start waving green flags WITH SOME PURPOSE in mind.

      Why did they wave the green flags? To fool the drivers? As a joke? For fun??

  19. Adrian Elward
    16th May 2010, 18:30

    Correct but a little harsh.Just put him back 1 PLACE..
    Schumacher 0- Hill 1-Alonso 6

  20. This is absolutely ridiculous. I think in all fairness the explanation given by Brawn is a very plausible one and in line with the regulations. Just because FIA’s own rules are apparantly multi-interpretable, they hand down a penatlty on Schumacher? It is a disgrace. I really never liked Schumacher, but he did not deserve this penalty, he and his team just went by the rules!

    1. They only appear to be “interpretable” by Schumacher, how strange!!

      1. Mike,

        I am not a legal expert, but just the notion of someone like Brawn who has been in F1 for so many years, to risk his driver getting penalized, to me proves that it is multi-interpretablle. Just with the double diffusers discussions last year, I think Brawn is right this time as well. Race control are to blame for creating a situation with lack of clarity. Why else would all the drivers race to the finish line instead of just taking it easy?

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