The FIA’s badly-written rules leave Formula 1 looking stupid once again

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

The rules made Schumacher's punishment inevitable - and excessively harsh
The rules made Schumacher's punishment inevitable - and excessively harsh

It’s not hard to see why so many people are screaming ‘foul’ over Michael Schumacher being stripped of sixth place in the Monaco Grand Prix.

At the end of a processional race Schumacher’s pass on Alonso was, at first glance, a smart of piece opportunism – not unlike the one pulled off on the last lap at Monaco five years ago.

But those feeling frustrated with today’s outcome should direct their frustration not at the FIA’s stewards, but the confusing and contradictory rules they have to enforce.

Why Schumacher got a penalty

Here’s the stewards’ explanation for Schumacher’s penalty:

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.

And here’s the relevant part of the rules:

40.13: 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.

The same rule was in effect last year (article 40.14 in the 2009 F1 Sporting Regulations).

What has changed since then is the creation of a safety car line – the point after which drivers may overtake when the race is re-started. Mercedes believed the race was being restarted at the safety car line.

How Mercedes got it wrong

Here’s Ross Brawn’s explanation for why Schumacher continued racing:

With regard to the penalty given to Michael, we believed that the track had gone green and the race was not finishing under a safety car when article 40.13 clearly would have applied.

The reason for the safety car had been removed, the FIA had announced ‘Safety Car in this lap’ early on lap 78 and the track had been declared clear by race control. This was further endorsed when the marshals showed green flags and lights after safety car line one. On previous occasions when it has been necessary to complete a race under a safety car, full course yellows are maintained, as in Melbourne 2009.

On the last lap, we therefore advised our drivers that they should race to the line and Michael made his move on Fernando for sixth place. We have appealed the decision of the stewards.
Ross Brawn

Brawn’s reasoning is persuasive but if his interpretation of the rules were correct we would have the strange situation where drivers were allowed to race from the safety car line to the finishing line. That scenario seems to be what article 40.13 was written to prevent.

It’s hardly surprising other teams were of the opinion that it would not be allowed. McLaren quite clearly told Lewis Hamilton:

Lewis this is the last lap of the race we?ll be finishing behind the safety car. No overtaking.
McLaren team radio

Hamilton saw Schumacher passing Alonso in his mirrors and registered his surprise:

I thought you said we couldn’t pass after safety car? Michael passed Fernando.
Lewis Hamilton

If cars are not supposed to be racing at this point one might reasonably ask why green flags were being waved. The regulations say:

As the safety car is approaching the pit entry the yellow flags and SC boards will be withdrawn and replaced by waved green flags with green lights at the Line. These will be displayed until the last car crosses the Line.

However the green flags visible when Schumacher passed Alonso were before the finishing line. This makes Mercedes’ confusion rather more understandable.

The penalty

The rules are clear when it comes to what sort of penalty the stewards can give:

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).

Having found Schumacher at fault, they couldn’t let him go unpunished. But, as with Lewis Hamilton at Spa in 2008, the time penalty is too harsh as it drops him behind people he wouldn’t have been behind if he hadn’t made the move.

Simply putting Schumacher back behind Alonso would have been a fair penalty, but the rules did not allow the stewards to do this.

The blame game

Schumacher’s penalty was excessive but it’s not the stewards who are at fault. Poorly-written rules are to blame.

The use of green flags made it unclear whether overtaking was allowed at the corner where Schumacher passed Alonso. It’s not hard to see how Mercedes could have thought the race was restarting.

And tight rules on penalties gave the stewards no option to give Schumacher a suitably mild penalty – such as docking him one position in the finishing order – for an infraction that was borne not out of malice but a misunderstanding.

A lot of comments have been made here criticising Damon Hill for the decision. Hill, a rival of Schumacher’s for many years, was serving as the drivers’ representative to the stewards.

It should be remembered that the decision to penalise Schumacher will not have been taken by Hill on his own. The other three stewards were Jose Abed, Paul Gutjahr and Christian Calmes.

Hill’s role this weekend was public knowledge and no-one he might conceivably have had prejudicial opinions for or against raised an objection. In an interview with the BBC before the race Hill freely acknowledged his former rivalry with Schumacher and said he would not allow it to sway his judgement.

Hill is too obvious and too easy a scapegoat. The rules are at fault, and not for the first time.

Like the Hamilton-Trulli incident at Melbourne last year, and Hamilton being stripped of his win at Spa in 2008, clearer rules could have prevented all these controversies.

2010 Monaco Grand Prix

Browse all 2010 Monaco Grand Prix articles

322 comments on “The FIA’s badly-written rules leave Formula 1 looking stupid once again”

  1. its a pity as it was a highlight at the end of a dull last 5-10 laps. there needs to be a re writing of the rule book in areas, to get rid of some of the old and some new rules which just dont make sense.

    1. Whether he should be penalized or not is unclear, as the situation with green flags waving clearly confused the issue.

      I firmly believe rules are rules, regardless of how stupid they may be, they apply to everyone. But this isnt a cut and dry situation. Clearly the track marshals are to blame for the confusion here and the FIA needs to take that into consideration. As Keith pointed out, Schumi’s pass wasnt done in malice but rather in racing spirit.

      I think at worst he should be relegated the 1 spot not 20 seconds.

      But most important is the fact that this rule is completly ridiculus, as we want to see racing at the end of a race not ‘more processional parading’. I think once the safety car went in and the cars passed the safety car line, it should be every man for himself until he passes the finish line. If the FIA doesnt want to fishin a race this way then they should clearly leave the safety car out with yellow flags and have cars finish the race under this control. But who wants that? Simply bringing in the safety car but not allowing cars to pass is a farce. It’s a bad attempt by the FIA to make the finish of the race appear to be under race conditions.

      The FIA needs to ask itself….do we want races to end in a procession or do we want to see racers racing towards the checkers…it’s a simple question

      1. I thought the Stewards agreed that they wanted to have Schumacher take back 7th place. The problem was that they had to issue him one of two possible penalties, and they ended up choosing the penalty that would have the least amount of an impact. (but even that was far too severe)

        1. Aussie Fan
          17th May 2010, 5:07

          He was in 6th before the move, why is everyone saying 7th?

          Thats where he qualified.

          1. Aussie Fan
            17th May 2010, 5:10

            whoops I forgot about massa, it was 7th after all

      2. the rule that penalises shumacher should have been removed at the same time as the rule of overtaking after the start line because its clearly related to that it is impossible of overtaking under safety car on the last lap but they changed that to the line before last corner but fia forgot to revise the last lap rule

      3. I don’t understand why people say the interpretation of Brawn is correct. The rules say

        40.13: 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.

        It clearly says […] it will enter the pit lane AT THE END OF THE LAST LAP and […] without overtaking.

        I agree the rules are written in a stupid way, but the spirit of the law is quite clear I think.

        However, it is indeed a very heavy punishment…

        1. The green flags are really the cause of confusion. For Michael and the fans.

        2. i don’t think that quite covers the fact that the track then went green before the finishing line.
          the fairest thing to do, given that both interpretations are valid (born up by the fact that different teams thought different things), would be to have alonso and schumacher share 6th place. it makes the championship standings look odd at the end of the year, but really no one should care about that.
          there should definately be a function in the rules to allow an x-place drop in final classification.

        3. Stevie. You are wrong because the race did not finish under safety car conditions. The cause of the safety car’s presence had been removed and the announcement was made that the safety car was coming in. Therefore RULE 40.13 DOES NOT APPLY. The rules do NOT state that if the safety car is still out at the start of the last lap then the race will be deemed to be finished under safety car conditions, so why is everyone presuming this to be the case?

    2. All F1 looks bad, I agree but it does because of this Chandhok crash.
      That looked nasty and is a reminder to everyone that F1 is not a sport – it’s hazard.

      Drivers heads are vulnerable to hit in F1 car and sooner or later a driver will be seriously injured in accident like this.
      I am sorry, it is the rule of statistics.
      And that’s already third such accident just this season. Remember Kobayashi in Australia in 1st lap or Liuzzi in China also in 1 lap?

      F1 has no future in current shape. I don’t suport it anymore, instead I support GT motorsports.

      1. This is a badly written rule and needs to be changed NOW.

        Im not much of a ‘what if’ person but for sake of discussion to prove how silly this rule is…..What if….

        Webber was the first car to go thru the scene of Trulli & Schandhok’s crash [no what if there – its a fact]…but what if Webber had cut a tyre or even clipped his front wing on debris and had to limp his way around for the last 3+ laps.

        Clearly he would never had pitted as he would have not only lost his lead but would have come out in a non-points winning position.

        Imagine how stupid this would have looked if the entire world wide audience watched Webber win the race with a cut tyre or damaged fromt wing! Under the current rules he could simply have stayed out and limped in P1 for the win.

        But if they were allowed to race to the line then he almost certainly would have been passed by Vettle & Kubica, at minimum.

        And thats motor-racing. We want to see non-stop fighting for the win until the cars have crossed the line.

        With the current rule they may have just red flaged the race after the lap 75 crash and called it a day. There would have been no difference in the results. The only difference is we were all treated to a sham of a finish by the sporting regs.

  2. the green flags are just for the show, and it has been clearly said many times in this blog before. The fans want to see tacing, not a show. Bravo schumacher.

    1. so what your saying is schuey got penalised for poorly written rules but massa didnt get punished for clearly crossing the yellow line when exiting the pits and trulli didnt get penalised either for causing an avoidable accident.what about rubens throwing his steering wheel and another car hits it i would class this as causing an avoidable accident these incidents are a clear breach of rules. going back to spa hamilton cuts said chicane and overtakes kimi, he lets kimi past then re-takes him he gets punished then the rules are re-written to justify the said punishement. the FIA (ferrari) and there rulebook should be re-named the joke book !!!!!!

      1. I agree that it is unfair considering what else people got away with, But by saying the FIA is in Ferrari’s pocket only makes your argument look silly and immature.

      2. I wondered about Barrichello throwing his steering wheel too. They are supposed to put it back if it is possible to do so safely. He just threw it out of frustration.

        1. it kinda fell of his car and rolled away, id loce to see an artical on this and some other parts of the monaco race

          1. If you saw it on TV it is obvious he threw it away.

            If it was accidental why would a driver be dropping the steering wheel outside the car anyway… and in any case his ‘drop’ managed to throw the steering wheel about 2-3 metres before it even hit the ground and rolled.

            It was a stupid thing done in the heat of them moment when he was cross.

          2. Here is video of Barrichello’s crash. You can see he just threw his wheel.
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmgDGDLVUqo

            I seem to remember Räikkönen doing this one time and a marshal tried to convince him to put it back and an annoyed Kimi gave him a shove. If I remember correctly, he got a fine.

    2. How do you call that racing??? Alonso was under the impression that there were was no overtaking and he was just coasting his car to the finish line. If Schumi wanted to overtake him, he should have done it under normal conditions.

      I bet Schumi must have been really proud of pulling that unexpected move on Fernando… well look whos laughing now.

      1. spanky the wonder monkey
        17th May 2010, 9:02

        i hardly think alonso was coasting given the amount of sideways he got. that was why he was wide. that was why MS got past.

        1. Of course he floored it when he sees someone trying to pass.

          1. IIRC he was already starting to go sideways BEFORE Schumacher started overtaking. I do not believe that he thought they weren’t racing, and have seen no evidence to support it.

            If there is evidence I stand corrected. I do not profess to be an expert, but that is how it appeared to me.

            Personally, I also thought the safety car coming in meant a few hundred yards of racing, as did the commentators. There was confusion, the green flags did not help, and this is very embarrassing for all involved.

            If I had been at race control, considering the potential for confusion, I would have made it clear that the safety car coming in did not mean a restart. It was a new situation, and a bit of clarification to the teams would have avoided this whole mess. As it is, the confusion is understandable, and the strict rules on penalties devolved this into farce (yet again).

    3. Umar Farooq Khawaja
      18th May 2010, 9:52

      While I agree wit the jist of what you’re saying, I don’t think the flags are just for show. That is a very slippery slope, and more than a little hazardous to the 24 human lives on track.

      The flags and other track side control and information mechanisms are long-standing and there for a reason. As another poster has said on this forum, the drivers rely on the flags, not car-to-pit radio because the radio can fail and is optional anyway.

      Furthermore, there is precedent of races ending under safety car and the flags being waved were Yellow, not Green. It is a stupid idea that they would wave Green flags just so that posterity will record the race as having ended under race conditions, and not safety conditions.

  3. I completely agree with the title. It’s ridiculous they took SC off just for the show if the drivers weren’t allowed to overtake anyway.

    1. By the way, have the rules always been like this? I remember a race from -99, I think, when they also took SC off on the last lap and Hakkinen and Irvine were fighting for the victory. I can’t remember which of them won but no overtaking occured. The commentators, however, said that it would’ve been possible to overtake in the last corner (I guess they were wrong then). Were the rules so stupid already in -99 and was it also just for show?

      1. I did some research and it was 1999 Canadian GP. Hakkinen won and Fisichella was second.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxHnD6Gm4lA

        No real battle at the end, but I remember how the commentators were speculating whether Hakkinen manages to keep Fisichella behind him in the last corner or not.

  4. You should give yourself COTD for this one Keith.

    1. Seconded! The title of the article is very appropriate.

      1. Yeah. Classic headline.

  5. Keith, Thanks for the additional article. I think you’re right in blaming the rules for not stating the facts more clearly, but in fact the stewards should still be blamed for misinterprating, in my opinion, what’s written in the rules! You say that if Brawn’s understanding is correct (which I’d strongly suggest, as 40.13 cannot apply due to the SAFETY CAR IN MESSAGE during the final lap, meaning the race will NOT finish under SC regulations) it would be a “strange situation where drivers were allowed to race from the safety car line to the finishing line”. What would be strange about that? Normally a race lasts until the finishing line, obviously including the final curve. When the track is clear and SC out of the way, race should resume, even for just one turn! After all, overtaking is at the very essence of racing and should be encouraged whenever feasible!

    1. “What would be strange about that?”
      – Exactly mate!! Nothing strange about it.

    2. Spot On. I clearly thought that the race was restarting as in Green flags and SC away. How or why should it be any different?

    3. Umar Farooq Khawaja
      17th May 2010, 9:58

      Exactly right, especially when you consider that the 2008 championship was decided at the last corner AFTER the race leader had already crossed the finish line.

  6. Brawn is right. The safety car was not deployed anymore. Race control put the “safety car in this lap” message on the screen. This puts article 40.13 out of the game.

    Schumacher overtook Alonso after the first safety car line (I have no idea if there’s a second SC line, unless it’s the start/finish line). So, Michael was clear on this too.

    1. There a second safety car line, after the pit exit lane has joined back the track. In Monaco, it was on the way up after turn 1.

      1. Now I get it! Thanks!

    2. Spot on! Thank you!

    3. even if the race control put “safety car in this lap”, the safety car was still there in the last lap, putting article 40.13 on top of whatever rules they made.

      it was really a big misunderstanding. brawn saw an opportunity but the other teams didn’t. macca clearly told hamilton that there would be no overtaking…

      1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekdNRjTU21g

        the same set of circumstances, yet you’ll note in Melbourne, the yellows remained out and waving and the SC board remained out. IOW, even though the SC was in the pits, it was still considered ‘out’. compare / contrast to how the same situation was (mis)handled in Monaco.

  7. “A green flag indicates that any previous danger has been attended to. The track is now clear, and drivers may proceed at racing speed and may again overtake. The prohibitions imposed by yellow flags have been lifted.”

  8. A real pile of horse crap. What a joke. Fia and f1 are a joke.

  9. The rule is clear though it has no sense. Hill is a gentleman so he followed the rules as it were written. Shumi pass was great to watch, it reminded us his best years but the rule is the rule, if any to blame are the ambigous rules from FIA. Perhaps Alonso was aware of, in any case another clear example of poor management from the governing body so called FIAsco

  10. I don’t think it is fair that Damon is getting blamed for this, he is not the only steward who made the decision. Yeah Damon and Schumi have a past history but I don’t think that Damon would lower himself to the level that most people are associating him with.

    The rule’s are the rule’s and apply to who ever you are, if this had have happened to a driver at a smaller team there wouldn’t have been as much focus I don’t think. It’s just to do with there history.

    I think that the rule should really be re-writen for next season so that everybody understands it.

    Was a good bit of driving, in the words of Martin Brundle “real opportunist stuff,” shame that the race result couldn’t be decided on the track…..again.

  11. Very well written Keith,

    I really can’t understand how people can quickly jump to such alarming conclusions about Damon Hill. Even the respected James Allen went with the headline: ‘Schumacher punished by Hill’. Your non bias journalism is a welcome change from the norm, and once again you put this site ahead of the competition.

  12. Keith, are you a member of the BRDC?

    1. No – I’m not a racing driver!

  13. I couldn’t agree more with the title and content of this article. Sadly, we have had cases of ridiculously arbitrary penalties being meted out in the past. Sadly, if the FIA didn’t learn from Australia last year that the correct punishment for such an incident would have been to swap the two driver’s positions around, then we can’t expect them to even bother amending the rules to be clearer after is episode is over to prevent it happening again. What a shame.

  14. This to me clearly illustrates what is wrong with the stewarding system in Formula 1 at the moment, an ambiguous case, where we see a driver actually racing and fighting for position is stripped of his position due to the rules being unclear. I interpreted the rules in exactly the same way as Mercedes and turned to a friend during the final lap and speculated if anyone would be so gutsy as to try an overtaking manouver as they crossed the SC line (I was actually hoping it would be one of the Ferrari drivers, being a Ferrari fan myself). The decision was incorrect simply because it could have been interpretted in both ways. Penalising drivers for overtaking moves because of a technicality in the rules is ridiculous and only leads to a bunch of drivers too scared to race for fear of penalty. Where there is ambiguity in the rules, the results should stand and a clarification issued which applies from thereon.

    1. Well said. The way they do it now, It goes against every thing that makes races so exciting.

    2. The decision was incorrect simply because it could have been interpretted in both ways. Penalising drivers for overtaking moves because of a technicality in the rules is ridiculous and only leads to a bunch of drivers too scared to race for fear of penalty.

      I don’t agree it was a case of choosing which way to interpret the rules to get the most favourable outcome – it was a case of deciding what the intention of the rules is.

      Article 40.13 leaves you in no doubt what the intention is – the problem arises from the use of green flags (and possibly the messages the teams received about the safety car, though I haven’t seen what they saw so I can’t comment on that).

      1. For me, the intention of article 40.13 is to have the SC car removed from intervening the finish line. So it will be in effect if the SC going to cross the finish line of the last lap. If SC going to cross the finish line, then article 40.13 kicks in and forcing the SC to go to the pit lane and the race will end normally without overtaking as they are effectively still in SC period. Without 40.13, we would see SC car in front of whoever finished first which would probably ruin the atmosphere a bit (and ruin the photo of course).
        From what I see on the race, it just happen that the SC car supposed to go in on the last lap and not being forced to go in by article 40.13, thus article 40.13 was not in use. Even if they use article 40.13, then surely they used it the wrong way in Monaco and it shouldn’t be Schumacher fault.

      2. I believe Mercedes will withdraw their appeal when things have calmed down.
        The ruling and offence were correctly observed and dealt with, they will see this.
        You then have to ask when was the last time a stewards decision was overturned.?
        Having now established they are extremely unlikely to win this, what might they loose as the FIA don’t like to be questioned and i’ve noticed rule 39:1, have a look i think they may get that as punishment, you know what their like.

      3. It’s been clear in recent years that intent of the rules doesn’t enter in to their interpretation. The double defusers are a clear example of this, clearly the intent of the rules was to reduce the amount of downforce generated, most of the teams interpretted it in that way, a few didn’t and developed double diffusers based on a loophole, yet it was ruled legal. This also negates your argument that because the other teams warned their drivers not to overtake that it somehow makes Mercedes interpretation less valid, as we have seen in the past, majority interpretation doesn’t win out.

        I tend to agree with Mercedes and a lot of the comments here that because a “Safety car in this lap” message was issued, the 40.13 rule didn’t apply. Had they not issued that message I would have completely agreed that the race ended under safety car and rule 40.13 would apply.

      4. Praveen Titus
        17th May 2010, 20:47

        What happened at this race was that whoever decided to deploy the Safety Car failed to realize that the race was coming to an end and would therefore have to end under the Safety Car with no further overtaking.

        I was watching on TV where the Star Sports commentator was saying (as the Safety Car was circulating at the last lap)something like this, “Now the race will end in Safety Car and Webber can already consider himself the winner.” It was common knowledge.

        But then I was surprised when the race control caption appeared on the TV saying Safety Car In This Lap. I was wondering why that caption needed to be put in the first place! This was the last lap and the race was anyway going to be over. I was unaware of the Safety Car line rule, though. I thought that racing only resumes after the start-finish line after the SC has come in. So I began wondering what’s the point of the caption saying “Safety Car in this Lap”. The commentator was also saying “It’s pretty academic now.”

        So I think Race Control strangely and stupidly forgot to calculate two things – one: that the race would eventually end under Safety Car (proved by the irrelevant caption they gave), and two: that drivers and teams would make use of the Safety Car line rule to overtake (albeit no other team thought about that except Mercedes). Thus the confusion.

        Yes, rules are vague but I believe Race Control was to blame for this. Besides, Brawn and Schumacher are known to be loophole exploiters (whether mischievously or unknowingly is debatable, though I suspect the former). Remember Silverstone 1998? Or was it 1997?

        1. Your argument that it was common knowledge based on the comments made by Star Sports commentators means that I could make exactly the same counter argument based on the BBC commentatators saying that overtaking would be allowed after the SC line and that they thought Schumacher’s move was ok, in other words, a completely invalid argument.

          1. Praveen Titus
            18th May 2010, 16:16

            Yeah, you’re right. Commentators can’t be relied on. But basically I’m agreeing with what you said earlier that the caption “Safety Car in this Lap” caused all the confusion, but apparently only to the TV audiences and the Mercedes GP team.

  15. The blame for this incident doesn’t lie with Ferrari, Alonso, Schumacher, Mercedes, Hill or other stewards. The rule makers clearly didn’t think about the implications when they put in this safety car line, so the blame lies with them.

    The most Schumacher should have got out of this ‘transgression’ was demotion down to 7th.

    And for anyone trying to point the finger at Hill they’d do better to steer clear of sensationalist accusations. As poorly written as the rules are they have to be adhered to.

    1. This was Damon Hill getitng his own back, im sick of the FIA and their badly thought out vague rules. . .idiots!! i beleive they have Screwed Ross Brawn over personal issues which all too often come before the real rules!!!

      1. @Subaru_STi

        Are you for real? You seriously think Hill had a hand in this? The ex drivers are there as advisors, not as actual Stewards (as far as I know) and so the Stewards would have asked hill his opinion and then made a decision based on the rules. In fact this type of incident is not something that the ex-drivers would have much input on in my opinion as it was not really a racing incident as there is a clear black and white rule to go by. The rule is stupid and makes no sense at all and although I can’t stand schumacher I feel sorry for him. This is one of those situations where no one is at fault other than the FIA rule makers. The stewarding decisions have been very good so far this year so I think the ex-driver addition has been a huge success. What really grates though is Alonso’s response, he claims that he knew full well that there was to be no racing to the line yet it was his eagerness to get up to speed again (why if he knew overtaking was not allowed?) that caused his mistake and allowed the door to open for Schumacher.

        In my opinion the F1 rules need to be re-written from scratch as they bear all the hallmarks of having evolved in haphazard fashion over time and there are many rules that just make no sense anymore. There are also many rules that seem to contradict others which is why the last few years have seemed as if they are just making them up as they go along.

        However to blame hill is moronic, ignorant and uninformed. Do I think schumachers actions were understandable? Yes. Do I think the stewards got the decision right? yes. Do I think the rules are dumb? very much so.

        1. Well said. They need to go through the rule book with a fine tooth comb and give it tidy up.

          The rules are unfair on drivers and organisers alike. It’s also winding up everybody something rotten.

    2. Aussie Fan
      17th May 2010, 5:08

      aaaarrrrgh 6th, he was in 6th!!!

      1. Aussie Fan
        17th May 2010, 5:10

        whoops you were right it was 7th, I forgot about massa :-)

  16. HounslowBusGarage
    16th May 2010, 21:40

    Perfectly concise and accurate headline, Keith.
    There seemed to be a lot of confusion over the nature of ‘Green Flag’ status, but the quoted rule (Article 40.13) makes it clear that no overtaking is permitted, even though in all other circumstances a Green Flag means ‘Go for it’. . .
    As long as 40.13 has precedence over ‘Green Flag’ status, the penalty is properly applied.
    I don’t necessarily blame the FIA. But every time you try to nail down a rule tighter and tighter, chance will throw up a situation that lies exactly on the rule. Applies to this situation, double-deck diffusers and F-ducts.

    1. But do they have a 40.13 flag they can wave at the drivers?

      Yellow would have done just that if they had meant the drivers to cruise to the line.

      Green flag means only one thing to a driver. Go!

      If a mistake was made, it was by race control not clearly communicating its intensions to both stewards and marshalls. Why is a driver being punished for obeying the basic rules of racing?

      Green flag means free to race.

      Well done Schumacher.

    2. Completely agree. I really dont know why anyone is putting up the ‘green flag’ and the ‘track is open’ argument.

      Im sure Brawn has the brains to understand that the article states that the safety car comes in on the end of the last lap. After which there will be no overtaking. It doesnt matter if the flag is green, yellow, blue, pink or burgundy. I thought the rules were pretty clear.. until Ross Brawn and Scummy decided to try and bend them.

      1. So you want drivers to speculate on the flag colors in-race @+200 km/h???

      2. Because you don’t read the first few words from article 40.13.
        Let just say that there is a debris in the finish line, would they show green flag or yellow flag? SC car would still be pulled as per 40.13, but surely they would still show the yellow flag. Because they show the green flag, it effectively nullify 40.13 since the race doesn’t end with SC still in deployment and there is a bit of distance between the SC line and the finish line.

        Let me ask you this… did the Monaco race ended under the safety car?

        1. No it did not, the flags should have been yellow all the way to the finish line then, green means race.
          Comments from Brawn on autosport:
          “But we were advised before the end of the race that the safety car was coming in. There was no instruction that the race was going to finish under the safety car, so for us as soon as we got the instruction ‘safety car in this lap’ at 15:51 we considered the race was now on again”

  17. 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.”

    This rule does seem to be quite straightforwards and I can understand why it would be applied; i.e. to make the chequered flag shots (with no safety car in sight) more “marketable”.

    However, IMO, the FIA made a mistake and quite clearly did not have adequate procedures in place for this eventuality / rule change. They should not have announced that the safety car was coming in, because technically it was still out, albeit just not crossing the finish line with the racing cars.

    I can imagine the marshals would have switched to green flags as a response to the “safety car in” message, as they were probably instructed to do during training.

    IMO, this confusion has been caused by the FIA, or whoever made the call to declare the “safety car in” message. The FIA should carry the can.

    Alonso / Schumacher should have been re-instated to their respective positions behind the safety car, as this wasn’t really their fault at all.

    1. you’re right, SAFETY CAR IN means 40.13 must not apply. Whether the race marshals wanted SC DEPLOYED or the situation described in 40.13 will probably never be known. Either way, if the intention was to create the situation described in 40.13, most salomonic solution would have been to give 6th place to ALO and MSC as it was the organiser’s fault that that message, if indeed it was intended, was contradicted by the signalling in place.

  18. @ Tarcisio – Which part of 40.13 does NOT apply? They said they intentionally employed 40.13 so anything else is out the window!!! Nice that you can overrule their own actions! Lap 78/78 occurred with the SC and pulled into the pits per 40.13 and cars were to finish without passing. How thick some people are. It’s not a good rule perhaps but it was their rule, their intention and what was broken….

    1. Sorry, this is just wrong. By all means, for anyone participating in the race the only possible understanding of the situation was that SC did in fact not come in because of 40.13 but because of the SAFETY CAR IN THIS LAP and track clear given earlier in the final lap. Very simple, no case for 40.13, no case to answer.

    2. Does it state somewhere in 40.13 that the situation at the start of a lap is true of the whole lap?

      Must of missed that one.

      Clear track – RC

      Safety Car in This Lap – RC

      Green Flag – Marshalls (under RC)

      Overtake after SC line.

      Again, what has Schumacher done wrong?

      Michael is going to be docked all his points from this race because race control/marshalls/stewards can’t communicate?

      Spare me. I’m no Schumacher fan, but this just shows p*** poor judgement. Very disappointed.

  19. After some thought, I have come up with a perfect and elegant solution for this problem, borrowed from our friends across the pond in NASCAR, who may not know much about turning right but do know how to put on a good show: green-white-checquer finishes!

    If the Safety Car is out on the last lap, the race distance is extended by two laps so that we get two laps of clear running before the flag. That way, there are no complicated rules about what happens when the Safety Car comes in at the end of the race!

    Plus, we get the added excitement of wondering who is going to run out of fuel on those last two crucial laps.

    (This post may or may not have been made in complete seriousness)

    1. it is a good solution. Because they get a number of wrecks (as they call crashes), i think by memory that it is limited to two green-white checquers. Nascar does have some good points :)

    2. Sorry, but I disagree as things stand.

      With no refuelling, this would lead to cars running out in those last few laps.

      1. :) Cars running out of fuel? – That’s half the point. I like it. Good suggestion.

  20. Schumacher shouldnt overtake Alonso, and paid for its error. Justice has been made. There arent good rules. just rules… Nice race Alonso!

  21. Nice article Keith, I think everyone should be made to read this before arguing for or against the penalty.

  22. I disagree about the rule being in any way unclear in this case:

    “40.13 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.”
    so there are a few terms in order for this rule to work:
    IF:
    – The race ends whilst the safety car is deployed THEN
    – The safety car enters the pit lane at the end of the last lap THEN
    – he cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.

    All those conditions are definetly met in this case Keith. The race ended whilst the safety car was deployed so the safety car enters the pit lane at the end of the last lap, so they can’t overtake each other. Pretty simple so far.

    I also disagree that the punishments are clear. It’s clear what punishments they can give, but it’s far from being specific enough. It’s like telling a judge he can punish a criminal by giving him community service, time in prison or time in a clinic of somekind. That’s not clear since it means that if you steal an apple, the judge may give you time in jail!! It’s not enough to know what kind of punishments they can give, they need to specify what kind of punishment applies to what rule, at least the maximum punishment. This is way too arbitraty.

    Another problem in this particular case is not the rule, but the PROCEDURE. Like I stated; The rule is clear, what causes the confusion is the procedure of the “SAFETY CAR IN THIS LAP”-sign. In the case of “FINISHING UNDER SC” the SC ALWAYS goes in at the end of the last lap. That this leads to confusion is obvious since people are now bringing 40.11 into the picture, which is, in this case, just plain wrong.

    1. Nick Barnes
      16th May 2010, 22:09

      You are quite right. “If the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed”…

      The question is, though, how do we know whether it was deployed or not?

      There could be two reasons why the car came in when it did:

      1 – Because the race was finishing under the safety car and the regulations were being followed.

      2 – Because the track was clear and it was safe to race again.

      Just because it came in when it did doesn’t automatically mean that the second reason can’t apply.

      1. Precisely, but today – for all the drivers and teams could have known – 2) applied, ie race on, because of the SAFETY CAR IN THIS LAP signal since earlier in the final lap. No ambiguity whatsoever.

        1. Nick Barnes
          16th May 2010, 22:21

          I couldn’t agree more. Sadly other people seem to think that it’s obvious 1) applies and 2) doesn’t.

          Ho hum.

      2. No in this case it could only be 1, since it came in in the last lap. It works the other way around too so you know it’s a finish under the safety car when the SC comes in at the last lap. If it comes in at any other lap it’s 40.11 and you can race from the SC line again, but if it comes in at the last lap it’s by definition a finish under SC.

        1. Oh and that means 40.13 applies, and not 40.11. I agree that the punishment is too harsch and the procedure of “SC in this lap” causes a lot of unnecessary confusion, but the rules is very clear IMO.

        2. Oh and that means 40.13 applies, and not 40.11. I agree that the punishment is too harsch and the procedure of “SC in this lap” causes a lot of unnecessary confusion, but the rule is very clear IMO.

          I do think they need to get rid of the entire “finish under SC”-rule though! I mean why not give them back 3 laps or something? I mean the cars save fuel under the SC-situation and if that doesn’t suffice then just change the regulations a little bit! So the gastanks become a little bit bigger again, but at least we’ll have decent finishes.

  23. so basically, rule 40.13 means that when the safety car is out on the last lap, no overtaking is allowed what so ever even if the safety car goes into the pits at the end of the last lap all in the name of a pretty race finish?
    safety car + last lap + 40.13 = no more chances for overtaking and the results are already decided as soon as the safety car is into the last lap. :( Boring.
    stewards were correct in their decision and punishment as they could do nothing but follow what the rules dictate but it’s yet another stupid and pointless rule to say the least! get rid!
    rule 40.13 (new version) should read “Drivers should go hell for leather after the safety car has gone into the pits at the end of the last lap when there are green flags and lights”

  24. This is BS! F1 is for people who enjoy watching racing and to be honest, the thing that intrests me the least are the rules. The less of them and the simpler they are, the better the racing! This kind of bureaucracy is ruining the sport!

    Big up for Schumi and Brawn for taking chances and risking just to make it all more exciting and competitive!

    1. Precisely! ………………………….

  25. I think if a driver has committed an offence, then it is right that he should go back further than where he would have been if he had not made the move. Its a bit like robbing a bank and then saying sorry, you can have the money back.

    1. It’s not like robbing a bank because they weren’t trying to break the rules. It’s more like being given some money and then being told “No, you weren’t supposed to have that. Oh and now you’re going to jail”

  26. Nick Barnes
    16th May 2010, 22:02

    So, the stewards believe that the race ended whilst the safety car was still deployed. Fair enough, but this raises a number of questions:

    1 – At what point is the race deemed to have ended? Surely the race ends at the point the finish order (prior to any stewards’ decisions) is known. For the stewards’ decision to be valid, the definition of ‘deployed’ must be entirely theoretical – quite clearly the safety car was, in reality, off the track and out of the picture at the end of the race.

    2 – Given that the safety car was still theoretically deployed, one then has to ask how the teams would be aware of this. My understanding is that the messages passed to the teams in relation to the safety car were *exactly* the same as in any other situation – i.e. they were told that the safety car was coming in and then everything lit up green in *exactly* the same way as would have happened at any time during the race.

    3 – Why were the teams told that the safety car was coming in when they should have been told that the car was coming in, but would theoritically still be on the track?

    Some people have suggested that because the safety car started the last lap, it is quite obvious that it was still deployed at the end of the race. Bear in mind that the regulations don’t define the end of the race in terms of starting the last lap.

    It is worth repeating that if this situation occurred at any other point in the race, MSC’s manoeuvre would have been perfectly legitimate. The only reason it wasn’t was because the safety car was theoretically still deployed. There was absolutely no way that any team could know whether the car was still deployed or not.

    On balance (given the green flags and what would happen given *exactly* the same circumstances, but at a different point in the race), I believe that MSC’s manoeuvre was entirely legitimate.

    Unless somebody can demonstrate how a team would know that the safety car was still deployed, I’ll continue to believe that it wasn’t and that MSC was wronged.

    1. EXACTLY RIGHT! ……………………….

      1. Jarred Walmsley
        16th May 2010, 22:28

        What would be interesting to know is did the safety cars lights went out, if they did then the safety car was finished and racing would be allowed, and this would be further confirmed by the waving of the green flags

        1. Nick Barnes
          16th May 2010, 22:39

          Yes, the lights did go out.

    2. “There was absolutely no way that any team could know whether the car was still deployed or not.”

      As a matter of fact the SC wasn’t on the track anymore so IMHO the right assumption for the teams was that the car wasn’t deployed.

      1. Exactly right…………………………

      2. Nick Barnes
        16th May 2010, 22:35

        That assumption, though, means that there could never be a situation where 40.13 would apply.

        I can’t believe for a moment that there would be redundant rules and therefore the only logical explanation is that a safety car does not have to be on the track for it to be deemed deployed.

        Given that there doesn’t seem to be any mechanism by which the teams are made aware of whether the safety car is deemed to be deployed, the whole thing’s a bit of a mess.

        There, that’s nice and clear isn’t it.

        1. Actually, if the ‘safety car in this lap’ would not have been announced, the rule would have applied. The safety car would have went of the track, but the overtaking would have been against the rules.

    3. It is also worth noting that following the logic that the race was “over” when the safety car started the last lap, had Mark Webber broken down and stopped on track without crossing start finish, he would still have won the race!

      All very goofy and unproffesional on the part of the stewards, there should not be any penalty for passing under green track conditions.

      1. Nick Barnes
        16th May 2010, 22:38

        Absolutely. Quite clearly, any argument that because the safety car started the last lap it should be deemed to have finished it is completely spurious.

  27. “Simply putting Schumacher back behind Alonso would have been a fair penalty, but the rules did not allow the stewards to do this.”

    No that would have been fair (for the individual), but not a penalty. A penalty is a punishment that should be imposed up on breaking the rules. The “fairness” should not be judged by the suffering of the punished (individual), but of the fairness of the whole, hence the 20 sec penalty.

    1. How is it fair the people behind Alonso get extra points for no effort?

      1. HounslowBusGarage
        16th May 2010, 22:48

        That’s irrelevent. If Webber, Vettel and Massa had broken down the all the other drivers would have benefitted “for no effort”.

  28. Thanks for the followup and perhaps my comment towards Hill was uncalled for. Unfortunately the FIA rules are garabage that was written and do not appear to have been taken thru scenarios to look for conflict within their very rules.

  29. GREEN FLAG MEANS GO RACING, ITS BEEN THAT WAY FOR 1 HUNDRED YEARS!!! it just sounds like some anglo saxon bureaucrat wants to to change the core rules of racing, so everyone ends up arguing over technicalities breeding caution and ruining racing, this kind of stuff is my pet hate and im seething with F1 at the moment more than i ever have before.

    1. you’re right, but as Keith pointed out those green flags created this unclear situation. they had to be shown only at the start of a new lap, not from the SC line to the finish line.

    2. Yes, and that’s the bottom line.
      The driver sits in his cockpit and relies upon the signals he is given by the officials. When you give him a green flag it’s an unambiguous signal that the race is on.

      You cannot punish a driver when you yourself have misled him.

      1. HounslowBusGarage
        16th May 2010, 22:51

        No, it’s not unambiguous. Green flag means ‘obstruction removed’, but the situation might still be subject to other conditions eg Article 40.13.

        1. Nick Barnes
          16th May 2010, 22:59

          Green flag does not mean ‘obstruction removed’.

          From http://www.formula1.com (The ‘official’ F1 web site):
          “All clear. The driver has passed the potential danger point and prohibitions imposed by yellow flags have been lifted.”

          1. To me it seems, Nick, that HounslowBusGarage said exactly the same, just nor formulated in the formal wording.

        2. No, a green flag means something more:
          “Green flag
          All clear. The driver has passed the potential danger point and PROHIBITIONS IMPOSED BY YELLOW FLAGS HAVE BEEN LIFTED.”

          “the situation might still be subject to other conditions eg Article 40.13.”
          – Not really.
          The direct signals always overpower the formal regulations because they are of dynamic nature (and are adjusted to the state of current events that they result from).

          Imagine you’re approaching an intersection with a traffic sign telling you to turn right, but with a Police car and a Policeman in the middle of the intersection telling you to turn left.
          Will you go right, because the traffic regulations expressed by the sign tell you to do so?
          OF COURSE NOT!!
          You will take the direct instructions from the authority!

          And the direct instructions from the authorities MSC received were:
          “All prohibitions have been lifted. The race is on!”

          1. No, any half-decent policeman would’ve switched off the traffic lights. Yet F1 couldn’t do that, and kept green lights on??

    3. Yes Sir I agree, Green Flag I know means “Bigety Bigety Bigety, Lets Go Racing Boys!!!!!”

      Please don’t change that.

      Maybe the FIA want’s say to Green Flag Means “Please Continue your Procession Gentlemen” and this is a race so please don’t overtake :)

  30. The facts:
    1. The lights on the safety car went out
    2. The safety car went to pit lane
    3. The green lights and flags were displayed
    4. The safety car signs were withdrawn from pit in to start /finish

    I have no idea what the officials are doing, and neither do they. All of the above CLEARLY indicated, “the race is resuming under green flag conditions to the line, go to it”.

    No race fan would have assumed anything else as the above circumstances cannot mean anything else!

    If there is some obscure requlation which says “you do not resume racing when the green flag comes out on the last part of the last lap if the safety car has gone into the pits, that is the quite stupid on the part ofthe FIA.

    If the race was to end under caution why did the safety car go back in and the green flag wave?

    A complete farce! Schumaker should be awarded the “Move of the Race Trophy’ for being the only one conscious on the last restart!

    1. You’re absolutely right 1.-4. together plus the SAFETY CAR IN THIS LAP message since early in lap 78 made it clear that the safety car was not deployed and the race on from SC line to finish. Maybe the organisers wanted 40.13 to apply, but then they got all the signalling wrong and no driver/team should be punished for reading and obeying the sigalling in place!

    2. It’s not move of the race if nobody else was bothering to race, or had been strictly instructed not to.

  31. Although the penalty gives me some reason to smile (FI got 8/9th and 3 additional points), I’m rather surprised at the decision. I was expecting the FIA to swallow its pride and give Merc GP and MSC a ‘let go’ as it was clearly a misunderstanding of poorly written regs and if anyone’s fault, it was the FIA’s. Mercedes did nothing wrong, imo, in allowing Michael to overtake as the track was clearly green and overtaking is allowed after the 1st safety car line.
    40.13 would’ve applied if the race had finished under yellow flags, with or without the safety car leading.
    As the safety car had gone in and the track was green-flagged, there was nothing wrong in Michael overtaking.
    The worst part in all of this is the ridiculous manner in which the FIA regulations are written. What a bunch of muppets! With their million dollar lawyers, they can’t even write a clear set of regulations, let alone sensible ones..
    Mercedes are very right in appealing as it is a grossly unfair decision.
    Utterly embarrassing outcome in the end.

  32. But this is what I don’t get, Michael Schumacher makes an attempt at an overtaking move which he successfully and legally excecutes, yet he gets docked five places (to last) from where he was before the move. In trying a move he gets penalised 5 places. Its not like he’s cut a corner or something. Normally I am not fond of NASCAR but the race extension idea sounds like common sense which at times is seriously lacking in our valued sport.

  33. As Dennis has said, this appears to be a failure of procedure. As Ross Brawn points out, “On previous occasions when it has been necessary to complete a race under a safety car, full course yellows are maintained, as in Melbourne 2009.” If the race was still under SC conditions, I don’t see why green flags should have been waved and the SC signs should have been drawn in. This can only lead to confusion. The procedures that the marshals follow should make it easy for the drivers and teams to understand the conditions on the track, not confusing.

  34. Keith,

    How about your website awards both Alonso and Schumacher an award for passing at Monaco. Both drivers should be cellebrated for doing what race-car drivers should do.

    Alonso had a great dive-bomb on Massa for the pitlane, and if that is legal, it was a great pass, and if it wasn’t it was a great pass.

    Michael is in the same boat here and I’m sure Alsono would agree (though possibly quietly). Race car drivers pass. Of all the bashing of Michael – how many other race car drivers passed another race car driver at Monaco?

    1. if that is legal, it was a great pass, and if it wasn’t it was a great pass.

      It was legal.

      I agree we should celebrate drivers making legal passing moves. A certain one at Spa two years ago springs to mind!

      Of all the bashing of Michael – how many other race car drivers passed another race car driver at Monaco?

      Outside of F1, Giedo van der Garde and Brendon Hartley did some good passes in GP2 and WSR respectively.

      And of course Alonso picked off some of the slower cars, though only di Grassi defended his position.

  35. Jarred Walmsley
    16th May 2010, 22:37

    Why didn’t the stewards simply award a single place position drop at Turkey which while still an unfair penalty would have been the most fair penalty that they would be able to give him.

    1. I think a penalty in the form of a grid drop at the next race would have been the worst choice.

      MSC is being penalised for overtaking and gaining 6th position. The way I read it, the FIA can only apply one out of the three penalty options… so if they chose the option of a grid drop at the next race, MSC would keep the points for 6th!

    2. The stewards only tend to use the grid penalty in circumstances where a driver has taken himself out of a race – e.g. Vettel’s collision with Kubica at Melbourne last year.

      And, to be honest, I’m happy with it that way. I don’t like to see drivers carrying penalties into the next race.

      Plus the grid penalty is a very inconsistent punishment. A five-place grid drop is a disaster at Monaco, but it’s not so bad at Istanbul.

  36. After a Pathetic Procession like today’s race, at least we have something to talk about.

    Keith, If we go by the facts of the green flag that you have given above I believe that Mercedes will gets a fair chance by FIA court reversing the decision/overtake but we will have to wait and watch how FIA would have to clean up their own mess.

    Again Racing drivers cannot race by having a copy of the FIA regulations in the cockpit. So it is up to the team to instruct them. Mclaren did the safe thing possible because if they let loose Lewis he would have taken a couple of positions and possibly ended up on the 3rd position on the podium. If the Team instructed Schumi wrongly, then fine the team. Take the constructors points away for Mercedes and keep the position behind Alonso for Schumi with points. And for God’s Sake spare Damon Hill. Damon to be fair on you – please don’t accept this position until Schumi is racing. Everybody will have all sorts of comments on this.

    Anyway I have been watching F1 for last 20 years. Been watching NASCAR for only last 7 years. I know it will not sound very nice but please FIA talk to your NASCAR counterparts and understand how clean they do the Pace Car and the rules around it. Esp situations such as today’s are handled extremely well. There is even a new rule this year that they will make 3 attempts to finish the race under green before closing it under Pace car under the regulation time. Very well thought about.

    1. Racing drivers cannot race by having a copy of the FIA regulations in the cockpit.

      I agree. The sporting regulations are seriously over-complicated .

  37. The big issue here, from my point of view is “the first safety car line”. Why in the world would the race restart after cars cross the safety car line when there is a perfectly good and clear start/finish line 250 metres down the road? Since when has this regulation be changed, and for what possible reason? This is what has created all the confusion and is what should be amended in the first place.

    1. Brake Bias
      17th May 2010, 1:12

      Damn fine point there.

    2. because its good fun, more chance to overtake

  38. If they are not meant to be racing, why show green flags? For the cameras? How shallow is F1 now? It’s also a dangerous safety issue; imagine a young driver momentarily forgets the rule and sees the green flags waving. He goes for it, with the driver in front of him not expecting it. They tangle, there’s a crash, and somebody gets hurt.

    In future the FIA should mandate nothing but yellow flags. Do they really think that the TV audience will be fooled into forgetting that the race is ending artificially close just because of the colour of the flags being waved?

  39. It`s there in black an white, if the `SC In this Lap` message is given the race cant restart till it is out off the way, it doesn`t matter where in the lap the `SC In` message is given theres no racing till you pass the SC line.

    Now, if the SC message is given an the SC enters the final lap the cars still cant race till the SC line is passed BUT `the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking`.

    The only thing I can see in all of this is the stupidity of the rule wasn`t revealed till someone broke it.

  40. ‘Poorly written rules’ – that’s not fair! Motor racing is immensely complicated sport which requires more sporting regulations than any sport I can think of. It’s understandable that in the vast set of rules there will be a situation where rules become unclear, these are things which you just can’t anticipate, and to blame the FIA for this I think is mean.

    1. Nick Barnes
      16th May 2010, 23:03

      Any rule which applies under certain circumstances, but yet which fails to adequately define those circumstances is poorly written.

      This particular rule appears to have been written for an ideal world. I would suggest that it appears no attempts have been made to see how well it’d stand up in the real world.

      1. The rule is poorly written IF it was indeed interpreted correctly. For every person with understanding of English, it should be clear that the interpretation was not correct. So for this particular example I can’t draw conclusion that there’s something wrong with the rule. The race simply was not finished with SC on, because SC was called in and the green flags were shown. To finish it correctly with the SC on means that there won’t be green flags and the SC is not called in.

        There might be problems with the other rules ofcourse.

        Yellow flags are enought to tell the drivers that the overtaking is not allowed. So basically, even though the SC was called in, they could have separately forbidden the overtaking with yellow flags if that is what they wanted.

        So the fault in this case is on the people who made the decision for the penalty.

  41. what annoys me the most is that Webber’s incredible win is left behind all this madness about FIA’s own fault with those stupid rules that contradict each other…

    1. It’s not the first time. More than a few people would forget that Webber, not Button, won last year’s Brazilian GP. ;)

  42. Bad ruling. That was the only interesting thing in whole race, but it is quite understandable that anything interesting is forbidden in Monaco GP. Without the ‘safety car in this lap’ message, the overtaking would have been against the rules, but the race did not finish with the safety car.

    The rule _clearly_ states that “If the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed…”. This clearly did not happen because the safety car was indeed called in, so no need to read rest of the rule. The flags confirm that this indeed happened.

  43. If alonso knew that overtaking was an option he would problebly been closer to hamilton and watching michael more in the mirrors.

    1. Most definately he would have been, but Alonso didn’t know. So why should Schumacher be punished for Alonso and Ferrari not knowing the rules? SC was called in with _separate_ announcement, so the race did not finish with the SC on.

      1. Ferrari told Alonso that he couldn’t overtake in the last lap so Alonso knew about it.

        http://www.marca.com/2010/05/16/motor/formula1/1274020933.html

        It says Fernando Alonso:” When I saw Michael passed me I thought better some points he will lose”

        ”In the last lap the team told me it was forbidden to overtake on that lap, the safety car was going to retire, but symbolically, for the victors do not enter behind it”

        1. ”In the last lap the team told me it was forbidden to overtake on that lap, the safety car was going to retire, but symbolically, for the winners do not finish behind it”

  44. Rules are there to be interpreted and the stewards could have made up their minds in the way that would have defined this law. What they have now done is that if there is 2 miles between the pit in and the finish line the leader could just go to wards it at 1 mile an hour and the rest will just have to follow. This is not a good interpretation.

    This would seem to be what most of the racing world are thinking.

    I do believe that the interpretation taken was coloured by Michael and Brawns past audacious interpretation of the rules as well as Michaels ability to push/test the rules. And I do believe as much as Hill cannot be totally blamed he must carry some weight for the decision and that will be coloured by his and Michaels past.

    1. The race will finish `as normal`, so if a car does 1mph you can assume that it is retiring from the race an you can proceed as normal, funny enough thats what caught Lewis out last year in Aus, He had every right to proceed as normal.

      1. Nick Barnes
        16th May 2010, 23:28

        I think if we’ve learned anything today it’s that drivers and teams shouldn’t assume anything.

  45. Great article, Keith. But is it still posible to revert the penalty? I´ve read it´s not possible, since you can´t appeal it.
    I can´t believe how idiotic FOM, FIA and/or F1 really is: ok, let´s say the SC-period was still valid and cars weren´t allowed to overtake. Why was it so hard to keep the yellow flags and yellow lights on? It´s incredibly stupid to state that SC-period is still valid but show the drivers green lights and flags…

  46. Sorry but I think this article is a bit misleading in its representation of the rules …

    The part that states that the green flags will be shown is taken from the last part of para 4.11, which is ONLY relevant when the Safety Car period is FINISHED (and racing continues) …

    “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.

    As the safety car is approaching the pit entry the yellow flags and SC boards will be withdrawn and replaced by waved green flags with green lights at the Line. These will be displayed until the last car crosses the Line.”

    So, as the ‘Safety Car in this Lap’ message WAS sent by the FIA, this means that the CoC thought it safe to call in the safety car as per 4.11, therefore the green flags etc., and the only conclusion I can draw from this is that the safety car period was OVER. Therefore, overtaking allowed!

    Because, if the safety car period was still in effect until the end of the race, then although the safety car WOULD still have pulled into the pits (as per 4.13), rule 4.11 would NOT have been in effect, and therefore the green flags would NOT have been shown.

  47. In my opinion the FIA needs to get rid of the safety car line. What does it achieve anyway. So far this season the safety car line has resulted in confusion in 1/3 of all races. What’s wrong with just using the start / finish line?

  48. Mister Picky
    16th May 2010, 23:11

    Stupid rules? Maybe, but the rules are decidedly not at fault here. Race control can’t pull the safety car in, display green flags, then penalize anyone for overtaking. Not sure why this article is deflecting the blame to a rules issue, when it’s a race control issue.

    1. Nick Barnes
      16th May 2010, 23:15

      Sadly because race control appear to be washing their hands of the matter and the stewards are bound to make decisions based solely on the rule book.

  49. Roger Carballo AKA Architrion
    16th May 2010, 23:17

    FINAL POINT. If it would have been Lewis or Jenson who had been overtaken by Schu…. then all of you would be claiming for 40.13, as real as the earth moves around the sun. PERIOD.

    1. Nick Barnes
      16th May 2010, 23:31

      Some of us are capable of looking beyond team/individual colours.

      I apologise unreservedly for my original (and now moderated) reply to this comment. I rather stupidly rose to the bait.

      1. Roger Carballo AKA Architrion
        16th May 2010, 23:44

        Thanks…. Don’t worry. In my particular case I don’t look after the colours of any particular driver. But, anyway, look – read all those fanboys trying to prove that 40.13 doesn’t say what it says.

        I think the spirit of the rule is as neat as glass. If Safety Car is out on final lap, then, no more racing. Period. Why? I don’t know, and I don’t care. It is what it is, the same way engines are 8 cylinders and not 12 as I would like. That’s all.

  50. Why not just have the SC actually cross the start finish line (technically, the end of the last lap) and end all the confusion in the future? When the safety car peels off and the green flags wave, most driver’s will instinctively go into racing mode. If the SC stays out until the very end it would sure clear up this sort of mess in the future.

    1. Nick Barnes
      16th May 2010, 23:24

      I agree. Either it’s safe to race or it isn’t. If it’s not safe, then to remove the safety car from the picture is asking for trouble.

      I do like the comment other people have made that there should be a number of laps run sans safety car before the race can end.

  51. Rule 40.13 is quite clear;
    when the safety car is in and the lights go green there is no racing allowed until the end of the race.
    Hows that for ambiguity?

    1. Read the rule again. It does not say anything like that.

      In this case the SC was called out, so the race did not finish with SC, so that rule isn’t even interesting here.

    2. Nick Barnes
      16th May 2010, 23:35

      It’s self-fulfilling isn’t it?

      If no racing is allowed until the end of the race then surely that signals the end of the race (i.e. how can there be a race if nobody’s racing).

      So maybe it would be better off saying “When the safety car is in and the lights go green the race is deemed to have finished”. :-P

  52. As mentioned before,
    40.13 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.

    Was not valid here. If they want to avoid any racing in the last lap when there is a safety car driving during the last lap, just state that in the rules!

    suggestion:
    40.13: if during the last lap the safety car is still anywhere on the track, the drivers should follow all rules as if the safety car is out until they pass the finish line. (even when the safety car drives into the pitlane, turns of its signals, yellow flag disappear end CS signs are removed)
    Race control will display message: ‘finishing race under safety car’

    How hard can it be (in a multi milion dollar business…)?

  53. I think this shows how Ross Brawn`s mind works at a million miles an hour, He spotted a way how He might be able to bend the rules to He`s advantage.You cant blame Him for trying!.

    1. Nick Barnes
      16th May 2010, 23:59

      I would be interested to know which rule you think he’s bending and why that rule applies in the first place.

      1. 40.13 and it was the last lap.

        1. Nick Barnes
          17th May 2010, 8:43

          Nope. Don’t get it. Rule 40.13 talks about the end of the race, not the last lap.

          1. You just know that months ago when Brawn was lying on a beach somewhere mulling over the rules in He`s mind He thought when is a safety car not a safety car mmmmmm when its entering the pits, but the rule does say the safety car will enter the pits an no overtaking. I think the Court of Appeal will dismiss the appeal because stewards decisions cant be appealed, but if the appeal were to be heard they would have to argue over the meaning of `race ends` and `race ending`. If people start bending obvious rules then when a rule is ammended it will contain so much legal jargon to cover the bases that no-one but a highly trained lawyer will be able to understand it.

  54. Altough it was a long time ago and in a different serie swith different restart rules I found this clip on Youtube showing a similar situation

    In the 1985 IndyCar race at Sanair the safety car pulled in on the last lap and Pancho Carter caught the man in front, race leader Johnny Rutherford, knapping and got round him at the last corner and crossed the line first. Now although the restart procedure was different and the were no green flags there was still controversy as to who won. Eventually, CART announced Rutherford had won and seeing the incident with Schumacher today it instantly reminde me of this. Personally I think Schumacher should keep the place beacause the drivers are meant to be able to know whats happening just through the flags (in case radios break etc.). Every one knows green means go and as it was displayed then that means the the race is live. Great to see Schumi is still sharp (and not far from controversy) just as people began to doubt him!

    1. Hadn’t seen that before, thanks for that Evan.

  55. The rules are simple, no overtaking, end of.

    Well, not really. You see, this is Formula 1. It’s governed by the FIA, who and so incompetent that they cannot write a rule without contradicting another one. And if they manage not to contradict another rule, they’ll mess it up another way.

    Look at today. Safety car line. To me, that says one you go past this line, go mad, overtake, do what you will. To the FIA, if its the last lap, all of a sudden that does nto count any longer.

    Also, green flags and green lights mean go racing. Well, not if you’re on the last lap and the safety car has pulled in.

    FIA contradicts their own rules, again. And these people govern motorsport?

    Dear me.

  56. MacademiaNut
    16th May 2010, 23:59

    According to:

    40.13: 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.

    a race can never end under SC?

  57. Great article.

    I am ALO fan, so my opinion is biased. Nevertheless I found no fault of MSC, since the circumstances/rules were ambiguous.

    That said, if ALO got a ‘no overtaking permitted’ message, MSC did not do a nice move, only it seemed to be so, since ALO was not fighting for his position.

    It was unmotivated excitement what we got… I am biased, many of you too.

  58. Only in F1 does this happen.
    Green means the race continues in all major motor sports.
    If they are not to race back to the line then keep the damned yellow and safety car on the track.
    Even Martin Brundle said it.
    By taking the SC off and showing the green Webber won under green and did not finish under a SC condition in the record book.
    As far as I am concerned it was all about giving Webber a clean win, others went unpunished for other infractions as noted but MS gets hammered for racing smart when the rest of the world was dumbed down by the FIA.
    The farce that is F1 continues. Where the hell is Jean Todt now? Some change he has brought to the table.

    1. How is it racing smart when Alonso and all other drivers where told no overtaking? That’s a contradiction.

      I also disagree with keith that the rules don’t make sense or not easy to understand. If that’s the case Keith needs to explain why did no one else on the grid race for position? Oh that’s right, they where told not to.

      The drivers have driver meetings to talk about the updated rules one of which was the new rules about safety car line and this new rule would be included in that list. Team Principles have meetings too. If every other team understood this rule, you can’t overtake then simply Mercedes got it wrong.

      So what it has gone from Damon Hill to FIA now? these articles… This season so far up to this point the FIA have been doing a fantastic job, is it too hard to say under the rules the punishment is correct, that’s the facts here. Anything else is really subjective.

      1. “How is it racing smart when Alonso and all other drivers where told no overtaking?”
        – They were told no overtaking by their stupid teams.
        It’s not Schumacher’s or Mercedes’ fault others are stupid.

  59. Neil Tipton
    17th May 2010, 0:25

    Oh well, at least we now know that the F1 rules are at the very least acknowledging the fact that there is in fact very little passing in the normal course of events…

    40.13: 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.

    1. Well said!

      1. But the race didn’t end while sc was employed as the SC goes in sign was given and green flags were given. As a lawyer i must give Schummi his place back. The stewards should give the alright as the rules didn’t give any other options.

        Were the rules in the spirit of the rules probaly not but rules are never in the spirit.

        Was the rule in the spirit of the race NO a race should NEVER end under SC conditions.

        So who is in fault here the stewards for giving a penaulty but FIA for the bloody bad rules making.

  60. The rule does not clearly define when it should apply:

    “40.13: 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”

    Problem with this is that bringing the safety car ‘in’ makes it unclear what constitutes a safety car DEPLOYED WHILST the race ENDS.
    Is it:
    a) literally a safety car still ‘deployed on track’ when the race ends (e.g. behind leader but in front of others)

    b) a safety car that were it not for Rule 40.13, would still be deployed on track as the race ended because the ‘danger’ is not cleared (presumably, for safety, yellow flags still needed even after SC enters pits?)

    c) a safety car that has pulled off into the pits during the last lap because the ‘danger’ has cleared (yellow flags not needed for safety so use green) – but if there’s no SC on track and no danger – how is this a safety car deployed whilst the race ends?

    So, the rule does not itself clearly define when it should be used so one must rely on clear instructions from race control and/or the normal meaning of flags & SC notices, i.e. yellow = SC still ‘deployed’ as in Australia 09; green = SC no longer ‘deployed’.

    Also, if today’s ruling applies, it seems very inconsistent (& unsafe) to change the normal meaning of the SC yellow & green flags depending on what lap you’re on – drivers might not always be aware exactly what lap it is (if telemetry/radio down) so how do they know if the SC going in with green flags means danger cleared or danger still present but last lap?

    1. It’s an interesting point, I guess for rule 40.13 to work it must be considered by FIA that the safety car is deemed to be deloyed until each driver starts their next lap, regardless as to whether the safety car has physically left the track.

      I agree that the rule isn’t overlly clear. If I’m not mistaken I understand that the rules are written in French and then translated into English? Maybe in the translation the wording has got abit mixed up, making the rule more confusing than it really should be.

      However regardless of the interpretation of the rules, I think the rule and the safety car line are unnecessary and just add confusion. Is it such a bad thing for a race to finish under yellow?

    2. “40.13: 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”

      You highlighted the correct keywords here.
      Deployed means ‘status of the SC is out’, Signs with SC are shown around the circuit, and yellow flags are used.

      Without this rule 14.13 the cars would:
      a) have to follow the SC into the pitlane or
      b) the SC has to drive over the finishline with the F1 cars following.

      Now they want it to look pretty, so even though the SC pulls into the pitlane, the F1 cars have to cross the finish line as if there is a SC driving still in front of them.

      But once race control says: SC in this lap, after crossing the SC-line the race is on again (also shown with the green flags).

      So all very clear, to apply 40.13 you just have to keep the status ‘SC OUT’ and all goes well…..

  61. These are my2c why I think Michael Schumacher should not have been penalised.
    Firstly here is a picture of how a finish “under the safety car” has to look like:
    http://img237.imageshack.us/img237/8861/greg4w.jpg
    It’s from Australia 09 and the SC came in the same lap, but they kept waving yellow and showing the SC sign (as they should).
    My next argument is that race control did not only issue the message “SC in this lap” (which for a lack of a distinctive message they might also do if rule 40.13 applies) but they gave the message “track clear” as well.

    In the end a driver has to be able to rely on the flags shown by the marshalls as radio contact ist optional.
    So when he is shown green flags he has to be allowed to race till the chequered one as he doesn’t even necceserially know which lap he is at.

    1. I might add that in ’09 the same ruling as in 40.13 applied (at that time 40.14), although for a lack of the newly created SC-line in ’10 there was no real room for confusion.

    2. You’re right… Brawn was absolutely correct about this.

      The race did not end under the safety car. The SC deployment had been ended in the usual way.

      Dreadful decision by the stewards.

  62. I have to say, even as Ferrari fan, this penalty is a joke (although perhaps I’m slightly prejudice, with Schumi being a long term Ferrari driver). If all they’re allowed to do is follow around in this way to the finish line after late safety car, why didn’t they just call the result when Trulli crashed. The last few laps under safety car conditions, all I was thinking was, when will Webber actually be able to raise his hands as the deserved winner of the race. I’d only just become aware of the new safety car line rule, and in this situation, I thought it added a little extra intrigue to the last few hundred metres, that would never have happened with the previous rules. Otherwise, everyone except the top 3 should’ve just peeled off with the safety car and called it a day.

    I don’t believe Damon was getting his own back. I guess it must’ve been down to an interpretation on whether the race was finishing under safety car, or if the safety car was being pulled in because the hazard was over and there was a corner left to race on. I guess only the race director knows why the safety car was brought in, and made his point clear to the stewards. However, from the messages given to the teams, it was obviously not clear as to whether the race was ending under a safety car or if the safety car was pulling in because it was the last lap, and green flags only further confused the issue.

    Regardless of the race director’s understanding, unless everyone else understood the same situation from information given to them, which I didn’t think was particularly clear, then a 20 second penalty was ridiculous. The positions should just have been swapped back and call an end to it. If it wasn’t for the pass, the only thing which could have affected the result was one of the cars involved failing on track, crashing or something similar.

    I don’t see there any reason to compare this with Hamilton/Trulli in Australia (an situation which was born from il. Either the FIA need to refine the rules, or they need to ensure they are giving the reason why the safety car was coming in to the teams.

    At first glance, I thought it was a great opportunist moment from Schumacher, and as much as he stole a place from a beloved Ferrari, it brought a nice bit of action to a frankly boring end to the race.

    I still wonder if we should be bemoaning the fact that Fernando was able to do 76 laps on the same set of tires. Without the 2 compounds per race, EVERYONE may have done the race on a single set of tires, and I doubt the racing would have been any less interesting as a result. Nico Hulkenburg must surely be on Fernando’s xmas card list now…. if he’d have been driving a Ferrari too, you’d have had to wonder whether it was a planned crash, eh?

    Still…. congratulations to Mark Webber. Awesome drive!!!!

  63. What a crazy rule. You cant overtake under green, when the safety car leaves the track?
    V8supercars will probably use that rule next year

  64. After watching it again a few times I`ve noticed that MSC takes the same line through Tabac as Mansell did when chasing Senna in 92.

  65. OH! It was the Hill’s trap! Sorry Michal.

  66. David Livingstone
    17th May 2010, 1:57

    First I think you need to look at the two possible situations.

    In 1, the safety car comes in but the race was still officially under safety car conditions, so the pass was illegal.

    In 2, the safety car also comes in, but because the track was clear, his pass is deemed legal.

    There appeared to be no indication from the FIA that the former was the case, and in fact both the wording of the message that the safety car was coming in because the track was clear, and the green flags, point toward the latter.

    If however, the former was the case, then the FIA need to look at giving Schumacher a reprimand rather than a penalty, because the rules were not clear enough to indicate that what he did was clearly contravening them, similar to Hamilton at Sepang. If this was the case, I think the FIA would be justified in reinstating Schumacher his position behind Alonso, and clarifying the rules for the future.

  67. Had 40.13 been enforceable, then the pass could not have happened as there would have still been a lotus and HRT obstructing the cars from running side by side through the turn. Alonso would have taken inside (as would all cars), and it would have been single file to the flag.

    But this wasn’t the case. The track was cleared and pronounced clear, racing recommences.

    Only if Whiting had issued a memo to all teams that 40.13 applied could they enforce it, and as far as I know, this was not the case.

  68. There are far to many rules for fans and drivers to follow.
    They should removed the Safety car line and just allow the drivers to overtake after the Start/Finish line this way it would make it a lot easier for everyone.

  69. Vincent1972
    17th May 2010, 2:34

    Safety Car deployment has its reason – safety. In case of this event, we only need one question to be answered, “Is the race declared to be finished under safety car or it is only a coincidence that the track is “safe” at the last lap so the safety car will “come in”?.
    Here’s a thought on the current rule: if the cause of the safety car deployment are debris or car accident after the safety line and before the finish line, if the track is unsafe and it is the last lap, will the safety car “come in” and green flags will be waved? I think not on the latter but i don’t know about the first.

  70. Prisoner Monkeys
    17th May 2010, 2:35

    I wouldn’t say the rules are badly written per se. Rather, they are written to cover as much ground as possible, to account for as many scenarios as the FIA can think of. However, it’s impossible to anticipate every possible outcome, and when you get someone straying into a grey area – like Schumacher did – then they have no choice but to interpret the rules and then amend them to prevent that situation from arising again. There’s always going to be a limit to what drivers can get away with; you can’t rightly say “Well, if we do this, it will affect the outcome of the race, so let’s not do it at all”, because then you’re giving the drivers carte blanche to do whatever the hel they want. As soon as you let one driver through that loophole, you have to let all of them through, and once they gain a foothold, it’s likely that they’ll start pushing the bounds on other rules. The FIA needs to draw a very firm line in the sand, but on occasion, that line is not firm enough. If you had told the FIA before the start of the race that the race would end under safety car conditions and that one driver would pass another at the final corner on the final lap after the safety car had peeled in, they probably wouldn’t have believed you. All they can do is interpret the rules and then amend them to prevent it from happening again.

  71. If the safety car pits on Lap 77, well that’s a diffrent story. But from my understanding before, you can start racing at the start (finish) line. Good call by Ferrari & McLaren to talk to their drivers about this, I guess Mercedes missed out this one.

  72. The one to blame is the Mercedes team (Ross Brawn, maybe). They tried to be smart but were a bit ‘too smart’.
    It’s a choice they made and payed for it.
    The rules are complex but as Keith reasoned throughout the post they make no space for a wrong interpretation.

  73. The article is contradictory of itself. It says that if the race ends while safety car is deployed then it will enter the pitlane and there will be no overtaking. However, by entering the pitlane, the race is no longer ending while the safety car is deployed because of the new safety car line giving a few hundred metres of race time. So technically the race cannot end under safety car conditions unless the car is still out, so overtaking would be allowed. It is incredibly poorly written, but surely it shows that the car was no longer deployed and that therefore the article does not apply.

  74. lets juggle these 3 articles

    40.4 When the order is given to deploy the safety car the message “SAFETY CAR DEPLOYED” will be displayed on the timing monitors and all marshal’s posts will display waved yellow flags and “SC” boards for the duration of the intervention.

    from 40.7 With the following exceptions, overtaking is forbidden until the cars reach the first safety car line after the safety car has returned to the pits. Overtaking will only be permitted under the following circumstances :
    – if a car is signalled to do so from the safety car ;
    – under 40.14 below (covers starts)

    40.13 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

    my humble opinion had the safety car gone into pits with lights on and the marshalls were showing waved yellow flags and the SC boards after the car had pitted then the race would have ended under safety car conditions as intended by 40:13

    however the cause or the SC deployment had been cleared at the start of the last lap by the “clerk of the course” it had been signalled that the safety car was in and the green flags were showing BEFORE the end of the race (i.e weber ec crossing the finish line is the end of the race)

    therefore in accordance with

    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.
    At this point the first car in line behind the safety car may dictate the pace and, if necessary, fall more than ten car lengths behind it.
    In order to avoid the likelihood of accidents before the safety car returns to the pits, from the point at which the lights on the car are turned out drivers must proceed at a pace which involves no erratic acceleration or braking nor any other manoeuvre which is likely to endanger other drivers or impede the restart.
    As the safety car is approaching the pit entry the yellow flags and SC boards will be withdrawn and replaced by waved green flags with green lights at the Line. These will be displayed until the last car crosses the Line.

  75. At first I was in favor of the penalty, being used to various US racing series, where they absolutely would never throw the green and checkered flags simultaneously.

    I would suspect that race control knew once the crash happened that there was no chance the cleanup would be complete in time to bring in the safety car on lap 77 allowing for one last competitive lap.

    Then I thought surely they wouldn’t have gone through the motions of clearing the track so quickly and bringing in the safety car if there was no competitive racing left for the day.

    So either is was sloppy work on the part of the non-Mercedes teams to not realize there was an opportunity to pass, or it was sloppy work by race control to create a confusing situation.

  76. An insane penalty. We no longer want to see a parade of cars who do not race. Why even bother removing the safety car and having green flags to indicate a clear track and racing conditions to merely parade to the end. Bravo Schumacher for at least attempting to race in the true sense of the word.
    F1 is becoming a joke and this senseless penalty takes away the essence of what F1 is really about. Racing!

  77. Does anyone know what Red Bull’s Interpretation of the rule was? It at appeared to me at least, that both Webber and Vettel were racing to the line.
    If the race was meant to finish behind the safety car, why didn’t the safety car simply stay out?

  78. What the drivers see on track (the flags) must overrule any other communications. It should not be up to the drivers to count the number of laps themselves or rely on radio communications. The checkered flag tells them that the race has ended. If radio communications were down, they’d have no way of knowing that it was the last lap, and consequently the safety car lights out and green flags would tell them that the race is back on, until the checkered flag tells them that the race is over.

    1. Umar Farooq Khawaja
      17th May 2010, 10:58

      Spot on, Hutch.

  79. I want to know what Damon Hill said about this issue.
    Did he decide that Michal was guilty as a steward?
    If so, what is the determining factor as a driver’s point of view. If Hill persist in just rules not a driver’s point of veiw, I don’t think we need him as a steward.

  80. @Keith, how come barichello and williams did not pick up any penalty/fine for throwing the steering wheel on to the open track making it much dangerous. That wheel was picked up by and HRT or STR running right behind.

    The FIA regulation says that the driver should put back the steering wheel on to the car. What was FIA doing with the rules then ?

    Rubens did’nt u remember what happened to massa when a spring flew from back of your car. After almost 300 GP starts is that the way to behave by throwing a 10,000 steering wheel onto an open track making it potentially dangerous for others ?

    Consistency is an OXYMORON to FIA.

    1. Barrichello said on Twitter afterwards he was in a hurry to get out of the car because he’d had a big crash and his car was in a dangerous position.

      In those circumstances, I think it’s reasonable he would have got rid of his steering wheel in a hurry (the drivers have to remove them to get out of the cars).

      It looked to me more like he dropped it rather than threw it, and unfortunately it bounced awkwardly onto the racing line.

      If the rules telling the driver to put the steering wheel back on are there so the marshals can turn the wheel to move the car, it didn’t make a difference in this case because both the front wheels had been ripped off in the accident.

      1. Thanks Keith, That is a fair explanation. On the first looks it seemed as if he was frustrated and threw the steering wheel.

        Sounds more reasonable now. I was little irked initially since Rubens is a veteran in F1 and knows the rules better than anyone.

  81. chiliching
    17th May 2010, 5:48

    From my understanding, the race ‘did not’ end under a safety car because it did not cross the finish line. The safety car DID NOT complete the last lap, so from the first SC line to the finish line it’s all green.

    1. Umar Farooq Khawaja
      17th May 2010, 10:18

      Here are the full sporting regulations.

      http://argent.fia.com/web/fia-public.nsf/65EE8F15945D0941C12576C7005308AE/$FILE/1-2010%20SPORTING%20REGULATIONS%2010-02-2010.pdf

      Article 40.11, which Keith partially quotes making it sound like it was part of Article 40.13, clearly pertains to Safety Car being withdrawn.

      Monaco 2010 did NOT finish under the safety car.

    2. according to the rules, the safety car will never cross the finish line

  82. Not sure if these pictures have been posted here, but on my forum a member brought them to light and they are very interesting. Last years Australian Grand Prix ended under 40.13 conditions and guess what…

    http://img237.imageshack.us/img237/8861/greg4w.jpg
    http://www.blogcdn.com/www.autoblog.com/media/2009/03/button4_580op.jpg

    Spot the difference?

    1. This is absolutely clear cut… the Monaco GP ended under green flag conditions not SC conditions.

      The clue is that green flags were being waved everywhere rather than SC boards!

  83. If the race ends under yellow flag, the safety car goes in to the pitlane to avoid that the safety car crosses the line in “first place”, something that will look very strange in the pictures.

    40:13 Wants that everybody crosses the finish line under yellow flag in the procession way, avoiding that someone tries to overtake only because the Safety car is not more there in front of everybody.

    Yellow flag must be waved all the time that the car is deploied. As seen in:

    “40.4 When the order is given to deploy the safety car the message
    “SAFETY CAR DEPLOYED” will be displayed on the timing monitors and all
    marshal’s posts will display waved yellow flags and “SC” boards for
    the duration of the intervention. ”

    That means: if you stop waving the yellow flag, and that the timing monitor did not displays “safety car deployed” anymore, the race is not under Yellow flag. 40:13 is not valid in that condition.

    1. No that’s plain wrong. A finish under SC is by definition a finish where the SC is going in at the end of the final lap. The procedure 40.4 is causing confusion because indeed they wave green flags and the track is clear etc. However there’s no other possible way to read this then when the SC is coming in at the final lap, it is by definition a finish under the SC. The track wasn’t clear, it was clear untill the finish, if it had been lap 35 there’s no way the “SC in this lap”-message would have been displayed since they were still busy removing trash etc. That’s another reason why Schumacher was wrong yesterday. But the main one is still that the rule is not interpretable in that way. The confusion is caused by the procedure of the SC in this lap.

      1. Umar Farooq Khawaja
        17th May 2010, 11:11

        I disagree… imagine if the SC-causing crash had been somewhere in the 1st sector, and the pit entry in the 1st sector as well. Last lap. Safety car in. SC1 line would be before the pit entry, so everybody would have crossed that way before the last 2 sectors. Do they race or do they proceed in order to the finish line?

        I say it depends on the trackside flags. Green flags imply racing resumes, yellow flags imply, proceed in order.

        How much of a race is left after the safety car has gone in on the last lap is immaterial to this. It’s the flags that are important.

  84. [IMG]http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j70/steveninthematrix/yellowandgreen.jpg[/IMG]

    Keith,

    GREEN MEANS go,

    if the race is really ending under safety car, a full course yellow must continue to be displayed, that is another rule of the FIA, and it wasnt

    1. I’m well aware of that, which is why I said:

      the green flags visible when Schumacher passed Alonso were before the finishing line. This makes Mercedes’ confusion rather more understandable.

  85. It was great to see the wiley old fox Schumi still has it, and why was Alonso so out of shape anyway?

    The stewards applied the rules correctly, There was no bias. The rules should be changed to ‘spice up the show’ it is racing after all. Barrichello did far worse than Schumi. What a bad sport throwing his wheel on the track! Speaking of bad sports Vettel is a little brat if he doesn’t win. In the post race interview said he was happy but happy people smile and it took Seb a long time to break that cowl into a smile.

    It would be great if another humble racer one the WDC – last year Button this year Webber!

    1. Check the Barrichello vid again please, its pretty clear that he did not intend the wheel to roll down, towards the track, I think he was just in a hurry to get the hell out of there
      How would you react Rob, sitting in a race car wreck facing traffic in a curve where the opponents cant see you coming over the hill?

      1. I surely wouldn’t get out of that car before SC is deployed. It’s a lot safer in the car than standing on track.

      2. I couldn’t even get the car out of the garage let alone take it up the hill at 270kph.

        I have had a look at it, and he threw it towards the gaurd rail and not deliberately in the path of an oncoming car. As a driver he has the responsibility to protect himself and his fellow drivers, I don’t think he did that.

        Interestingly when Webber retired from 3rd a few years ago when his Willians overcooked and he threw his steering wheel inside his cockpit in disgust I thought finally he was showing his frustration with the unreliability of his Wiiliams when he was in line for a great result.

        I’ve got no problem with drivers being angry and showing it we are all human, they just shouldn’t endanger others in the process.

  86. I thought i was watching a great race….right! till i heard that stewards news… whatta!! just wasting my time.

  87. @Keith
    “At the end of a processional race Schumacher’s pass on Alonso was, at first glance, a smart of piece opportunism – not unlike the one pulled off on the last lap at Monaco five years ago.”

    You really can’t just let that one go, can you? Just kidding… Then again, what other teams did, is irrelevant… why? Cos the notification shown on the tv screen, which is the same that is fed to the teams as well, it said, “safety car in this lap”… not “race finishing under safety car” and as such, any applicable rules. Ross was the only one who got it right. It was more than mere opportunistic move that you commented it to be. This is why Ferrari haven’t been doing as much winning as they did in Ross’s days there. They clearly miss his presence of mind and precise analysis of the situations during a race. Remember 4 stops at Magny against a superior Renault? There are occasions aplenty which would have made a better fit and read with the current story… :P

    This was Ross Brawn again at what he does best, in collaboration with the driver who made his strategies come to life… Michael… Love him, or hate him, you can’t take away from the fact that he is the greatest racing driver of all times…

    I think rules are pretty clear, very cut and dry, black and white, as you’d like it! It is the clarity of it all, which didn’t dawn on the stewards. They re-started the race and well, shot themselves in the foot with this idiotic move. It would have been simpler to explain for the stewards and the FIA, had they left it as it is. All they needed to say then was that the race was re-started and hence the move was legal… as did the message broadcasted say. Period!

    About what the other dimwitted twirps from other teams did is their own business. As i look at it, in court of appeals, Mercedes may have it as easy as a walk in the park (cliched, i know). I think even FIA realized the extent of the blunder by dear stewards, which is why they said, that “only decision could be contested, but not the result”. In this particular scenario, my bullet(s) is(are) reserved for the stewards and race control, who could done a lot better. It is between the two of them, and how they handled the entire situation. I’d love to hate the FIA, but it is the stewards who apply the rule, and this time around the lack of application of any thought whatsoever, it shows.

    1. You really can’t just let that one go, can you?

      You do realise I was referring to Schumacher’s pass on Barrichello in 2005?

      1. My bad :(

        Math isn’t exactly one of my strengths :P I thought you were talking about ’06, since not long ago there was an article written about it by yourself… and hence my assinine assumption of the same…

        Nevertheless, i’d want to know what do you think about my theory of stewards screwing it up, more than rules being vague…

  88. Wow, quite some reactions. I think your headline captured exactly what this is about.
    On the one hand the rule specifying what happens with the SC if it is still out at the end of the race. On the other hand the “SC in this lap” and green flags being waved after the SC-line.
    Makes it unclear what should be done. Sure Ross/Michael probably knew and took a chance, but the FIA should have made this without doubt.
    Good thing Mercedes has appealed, even though i am not sure what that might result in.

  89. Sasquatsch
    17th May 2010, 8:24

    In my humble opinion the rules are clear. The safety car was deployed on the last lap, so rule 40.13 applies and the order should remain the same, even though the track was cleared.

    So Schumacher deserved the penalty, and since illegal overtaking is a drive-through, the 20 seconds are appropriate.

  90. Keith, I really have to disagree with you on this.

    I posted this on the Autosport forums as well, and I’ll post it here again as I think it makes sense.

    40.13 doesn’t provide a premise for when the race ends under the safety car. The premise has to be derived from other two other articles, which are 40.4:

    [quote]When the order is given to deploy the safety car the message “SAFETY CAR DEPLOYED” will be displayed on the timing monitors and all marshal’s posts will display waved yellow flags and “SC” boards for the duration of the intervention.[/quote]

    and the counter argument 40.11:

    [quote]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.
    At this point the first car in line behind the safety car may dictate the pace and, if necessary, fall more than ten car lengths behind it.
    In order to avoid the likelihood of accidents before the safety car returns to the pits, from the point at which the lights on the car are turned out drivers must proceed at a pace which involves no erratic acceleration or braking nor any other manoeuvre which is likely to endanger other drivers or impede the restart.
    As the safety car is approaching the pit entry the yellow flags and SC boards will be withdrawn and replaced by waved green flags with green lights at the Line. These will be displayed until the last car crosses the Line.[/quote]

    Only with the distinction between those two articles can one say if the race ended under SC rules. I think in all fairness everyone can agree the 40.11 procedure was adhered to as opposed to the 40.4 procedure.

    1. Nono that’s also wrong. 40.11 and 40.4 are general rules, they apply when there’s no finish under SC. IF the sc comes in at the end of the last lap, THEN there’s a finish under the SC. No procedural matters can change that rule, that’s what it is. 40.11 does not apply and 40.4 was only the standard procedure they do when the SC comes in. The distinction between both articles is WHEN the SC comes in, if it’s in the final lap it’s a finish under SC (40.13) if it’s in any other lap, it’s not (40.11).

      1. Again, where do you find the rule that says that if the SC is deployed in the final lap the race will end under the SC? 40.13 offers the choice: “IF the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed”. It doesn’t say “If the safety car is deployed in the final lap the race will end under safety car conditions”.

        40.11 procedure was followed. That indicates the end of the safety car situation, not the end of the race under safety car conditions.

  91. “But, as with Lewis Hamilton at Spa in 2008, the time penalty is too harsh as it drops him behind people he wouldn’t have been behind if he hadn’t made the move.”

    The point of harsh penalties is to discourage people from breaking the rules.

    I’m with Schumacher and most other people on this issue, obviously he shouldn’t have been penalised at all, but I have to point that out.

    1. The point of harsh penalties is to discourage people from breaking the rules.

      Which is fine when the rules are clear and there’s no question of a driver having broken them. When you’re dealing with poor implementation of a badly written rule (Schumacher) or a previously unheard of and unwritten rule (Hamilton) a little leeway is needed.

    2. You are so damn right.

      1. Actually, I disagree. If someone does something which wasn’t clearly defined but was clearly against the spirit of the rules, a harsh penalty is the best way to send a message. Otherwise you will always get people taking advantage of known ambiguities, knowing that they will get a light penalty because they can say “Oh, I didn’t know, it wasn’t clearly defined!”. The only thing that achieves is to keep rulemakers busy writing new “clarifications”. It doesn’t keep order.

        But not in this case, obviously. There’s no safety issue here. There were green flags.

        Personally I don’t think we should get into Spa 2008 again right now…

  92. Why the rules are to blame!? Everything is so clear. After the safety car got in the truck was open. I looked over and over videos from diferent angles. It’s perfectly clear that the marshals were weaving GREEN FLAGS and light signals were green, that means the race was open and cars allowed to race the finish line. Remember the last year’s Australia GP, the safety car got in the same last lap, but cars crossed the finish line under yellow flags.

    The one to blame is “sleeping Alonso” ;).

    1. Sasquatsch
      17th May 2010, 9:03

      Only was the safetcar deployed on the last lap and thus the order should stay the same as rule 40.13 clearly states.

      1. Then why race control anounced the race open with green flags and green light signals?

  93. BTW, I think all this thumbing through the rule book is (as it usually is) irrelevant.

    Even if the pass did breaka rule (which it wasn’t), the rule should be canned. Can someone point out to me, where is the safety issue of passing on the last lap after the safety car has gone in? There isn’t one!

    This is complete crap. Once again real life and excitement is trumped by busybodies and their nonsense rulemaking. And F1 is made to look ridiculous AGAIN.

  94. Unbelievable, how can the rules be so poorly thought through, in several aspects. Great article, covering all the angles succinctly.

    Clearly Hill would never be so petty as to punish Schumacher for past racing incidents/blatant cheating :p

    1. I won’t call him petty, but I suspect he probably did want a little revenge here. However, as the article says if the rules wasn’t so poorly thought out, he wouldn’t have been able to.

  95. Re-think all this pile of crap if it was Fernando overtaking Lewis…..LOL…

    1. That wouldnt have happened anyway, LH races all the way to the finish line always. For good and for bad.

  96. To have green flags waved , but prevent overtaking at the same time , clearly shows the rules contradict themselves , if that penalty is upheld , then any driver who overtook during the race , should also be penalised , which would then obviously be ridiculous. Green flag means race , race means overtake if you can , and that’s exactly what Mercedes/Schumacher did

    1. Sasquatsch
      17th May 2010, 9:05

      Except when the safety cars enters the pits on the last lap as the rules clearly state.

  97. Badly written rules? How so?

    Rule 40.13 is entirely clear about what the safety car will do, whether safety car conditions remain in force and that cars are not allowed to overtake. The rule about SC boards the yellow flags and SC boards being withdrawn and replaced by waved green flags with green lights at the Line is also clear.

    So far the rules seem to be entirely straightforward. So what did Mercedes say in their defence? Ross Brawn said that the reason for the safety car had been removed, the FIA had announced ‘Safety Car in this lap’ early on lap 78 and the track had been declared clear by race control. In other words, Brawn is arguing that the race control had effectively announced that the race wouldn’t end under the safety car, so therefore rule 40.13 wasn’t engaged with the knock on effect that Schumacher was free to pass Alonso between the safety car line and Finishing Line.

    But Brawn didn’t at any point blame the rules for being unclear – he pretty much blamed race control for making it appear as if the race wouldn’t end under the safety car. As Keith points out, the green flags were visible when Schumacher passed Alonso were before the finishing line – but this was contrary to the rules.

    “Badly written rules” is an easy and often far too simplistic mantra for whenever anything goes slightly awry in an F1 race. More often than not it’s actually poor enforcement and interpretation, and there’s a big difference.

    1. Not quite so. Rule 40.13 is unclear as it doesn’t provide a premise as to when the race will end under SC conditions.

      1. But that’s because it’s a judgement for race control to take – as I said, race control should have been clearer about whether or not the race was ending under the safety car or not.

        Or do you think the rules should be so overarching that they tie the hands of the race director in terms of defining when it’s safe to restart the race or not?

        1. I don’t think the rules should be so overarching they tie the hands of the race director. However there should be a clear procedure for when the race ends under SC conditions.

          The 40.11 procedure was followed, thus offering the only indication there was: the safety car was no longer deployed. Race was resumed.

    2. “Badly written rules” is an easy and often far too simplistic mantra for whenever anything goes slightly awry in an F1 race. More often than not it’s actually poor enforcement and interpretation, and there’s a big difference.”

      Not really. If the rules are simple and clear, there’s no real room for implementing them poorly, and anyone who does will probably not last long as a steward (in theory. this is the FIA we’re talking about). When they overlap or are ambiguous, there’s always room for poor implementation.

      1. But the rules in this case are entirely clear – they don’t overlap, nor are they ambiguous.

        And there is almost always scope for the poor implementation of clear rules. As Keith points out in his article, Mercedes could point to green flags being displayed when Schumacher passed Alonso were before the finishing line – even though this was contrary to the rules. In Mercedes’ defence, Ross Brawn highlighted the actions taken by race control that made the situation unclear.

        Brawn did not highlight any grey area in the rules, he simply questioned whether (in light of the actions taken by race control) whether it was clear that the rule applied.

        1. how can they be clear if there is all this confusion??? NO, clear rules would prevent this. The fact that people don’t reflects that this is not the case.

          1. So your argument is that if ever there is confusion then the rules must be to blame?

            Read what Ross Brawn said – to paraphrase, he says that the actions taken by race control caused Mercedes to think that the race would be restarting. Some other teams thought that that the race would not be restarting. In other words, the messages given out by race control were open to interpretation. As Keith points out, the fact that green flags were displayed at the final corner adds to Mercedes’ case.

            The fact that there is confusion does not automatically mean the rules are to blame. Sloppy practice from race control and poor flag marshalling, on the other hand…

  98. My take on it is a screw up from the FIA because of confusing/conflicting rules. I personally believe Schumi was perfectly entitled to the place, I mean its not like Alonso wouldn’t have taken the chance to overtake schumi if the positions were reversed and Ferrari realised the possible loophole in the rules…. Have we all forgot what Alonso did to Massa at the entrance of the pit lane at China? This is racing and at any given chance drivers/teams will use any tactic to get ahead if they think its ok in the rules, just like Alonso himself did. Wrong,Wrong,Wrong to dish out a penalty so harsh when essentially he was right to overtake.

  99. In essence, Ross Brawn’s defense stands in all situations, except when the safety car situation lasts until the final lap. That’s where article 40.13 kicks in.

    So, what appeared to be a typical Schumacher-Brawn stunt, comes back to haunt them. Sad, but true.

    1. Where do the rules say that if the SC is deployed in the final lap the race will end under 40.13?

      1. exactly!
        thanks for that.

      2. there isn’t! But people wanted to read that but that isn’t what is written. It’s very common in laws…

  100. let’s try to look at it the other way:
    how could anyone think the race is going to end under safety car? were there any signs indicating that?
    as far as I know, there were not.

    -message was “SAFETY CAR IN THIS LAP” which would not have sent out if race had ended under safety car
    -next fia-message “TRACK CLEAR” which would not have sent out if race had ended under safety car
    -green flags and green light which would not have set if race had ended under safety car

    how could anyone?

  101. The green lights were the culprit if they were yellow by then, we shouldn’t have reached here.

  102. So the safety car on the last lap always goes to pits. What if the safety car is on track because it’s too much water there – they let them race for the last corner or two in ‘too wet’?

    1. No, they simply let the Safety car go in, then CONTINUE to wave yellow and “SC” signs for the remaining parade, instead of waiving green

  103. Btw, what does everybody think of this idea:

    Every car takes enough fuel to last a race+ 5 extra laps. If the SC goes in at the final lap, we get one extra lap of solid racing. To me this is a huge advantage because:

    – 40.13 can go
    – No more lame SC-finishes. It’s boring as hell.
    – An extra long race and sort of a make-up for the boring parts behind the SC.

    5 extra laps is because of the hypothetical situation that something happens in the one lap before the end (like yesterday). They might have to drive behind the SC a little longer so it may last longer than one lap and cars wouldn’t have enough fuel if it was + 1 extra lap. Obviously they save a lot of fuel when behind a SC, but this way I doubt there will be a problem besides perhaps wasted fuel, but who cares anyway :p

  104. It is clear that the old combination Brawn-Shumy is has been again able to find a situation in which there could be a lot of interpretations(if you want “badly written rules”),Ross is a master in in this, but if they want to take the risk, in the gray areas you are always 50/50; sounds even more risky if you think that no one else have even tought to try to do such a maneouvre….

    1. Umar Farooq Khawaja
      17th May 2010, 10:13

      It was pretty clear cut, as far as I am concerned. Schumacher was robbed.

  105. Umar Farooq Khawaja
    17th May 2010, 10:12

    At first read, I thought Keith finally explained the mystery of the Green Waved Flags. Unfortunately, all you have done is misrepresent the sporting regulations.

    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.

    At this point the first car in line behind the safety car may dictate the pace and, if necessary, fall more than ten car lengths behind it.

    In order to avoid the likelihood of accidents before the safety car returns to the pits, from the point at which the lights on the car are turned out drivers must proceed at a pace which involves no erratic acceleration or braking nor any other manoeuvre which is likely to endanger other drivers or impede the restart.

    As the safety car is approaching the pit entry the yellow flags and SC boards will be withdrawn and replaced by waved green flags with green lights at the Line. These will be displayed until the last car crosses the Line.

    40.12 Each lap completed while the safety car is deployed will be counted as a race lap.

    40.13 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.

    Here’s a link to the full document containing Sporting Regulations governing Forumla 1 for 2010.

    http://argent.fia.com/web/fia-public.nsf/65EE8F15945D0941C12576C7005308AE/$FILE/1-2010%20SPORTING%20REGULATIONS%2010-02-2010.pdf

    Article 40.11, which you partially quote pertains to the Safety Car being withdrawn from the track and to racing being resumed. There was no confusion. Michael Schumacher was robbed.

  106. I don’t see how the rules are badly written. I think it’s perfectly clear that race control made an error.

    The message “SAFETY CAR IN THIS LAP” dictates that rule 40.11 is applied. Which allows racing after the first safety car line.

    Schumacher made a legitimate pass according to the rules. The fact that race control intended to stick with rule 40.13 is their problem. They should have kept the SC signs up like they did in Australia 2009.’

    The teams should be able to discern between whether 40.11 or 40.13 is in force. The use of “SAFETY CAR IN THIS LAP” to indicate that the track is clear coupled with green flags and removal of the SC lines made it perfectly clear that 40.11 was in force.

    Look at the finish of Australia 2009 where Button passes under a SC sign. Safety car was pulled in, but the SC signs stayed out. Clear example of 40.13

    It’s a small difference, but an incredibly obvious difference nonetheless.

    1. Perfectly said.
      The race control had the intention of doing 40.13, but the actual actions they undertook were putting 40.11 in force. That’s their own error and their problem.
      MSC and Mercedes acted accordingly to what instructions they were given.

    2. Agree with all of this.

    3. “I don’t see how the rules are badly written. I think it’s perfectly clear that race control made an error.”

      I agree.

    4. I just saw the Ross Brawn interview and he showed evidence that they even got the “Track is clear” message after the “Safety car in this lap” message.

      So race control seemed to give every indication that the track was clear and the rac was to continue from the first safety car line.

      Maybe there is a misunderstanding between wat race control was doing and what the stewards thought was happening?

  107. Frankly, it would be far better to see a fair faight during the race and not such a “clever” game at the last kerb, for which Rosshumy are well known, but it was obviusly not the case…and if FIA is entitled to write the rules,it is entitled to interpretate them too, in a good or bad way; ending, would like to see the reactons if were different pilots/teams involved….

  108. I am happy for Toro Rosso and Buemi. He had bad luck many times and this time luck was with him.

  109. Mark Hitchcock
    17th May 2010, 11:26

    Apologies if this has already been mentioned (I can’t be bothered to read 6 pages of comments at the moment) but why didn’t the stewards use the grid-drop penalty?
    If they can drop him any number of places on the grid for next race why not just drop him back one place?
    Obviously it’s not ideal but it’s a much more appropriate and fair decision than the one they chose.

    The 20 second penalty they ended up giving him is a replacement for a drive-through and I’m not convinced that they would have given him a drive-through during the race if it was before the last 5 laps. He would have been told to give back the place.

    1. Because he cannot keep the extra points. If these points (or Alonso’s) decide the world championship at the end of the season, then the consequences are even worse.

      And I think the grid penalty only applies when the driver who deserves a penalty does not finish the race.

      1. Mark Hitchcock
        17th May 2010, 12:01

        hm, good point.

        Hopefully the FIA will learn from this and give the stewards a little more freedom to decide punishments.

  110. Two things are to blame:

    1. Badly written rules.

    2. Stewards misinterpreting those rules.

    The safety car was brought in. Green flags were waved. The instruction given to the teams was SAFETY CAR IN THIS LAP, not RACE WILL FINISH UNDER THE SAFETY CAR.

    So the safety car deployment ended before the end of the race, and the rule about races that finish under the safety car simply did not apply.

    Ross Brawn made a perfectly reasonably judgement and Schumacher has been unfairly penalized.

    1. but what if “safety car in this lap”, if “this lap” is the “last lap”?
      There is room for interpretation.

      1. The rules don’t say “when the safety car comes in on the last lap” it says “if the the race finishes whilst the safety car is deployed”.

  111. I agree with Stevie
    Stevie says:May 17, 2010 at 10:35 am
    I don’t understand why people say the interpretation of Brawn is correct. The rules say

    40.13: 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.

    It clearly says […] it will enter the pit lane AT THE END OF THE LAST LAP and […] without overtaking.

    I agree the rules are written in a stupid way, but the spirit of the law is quite clear I think.

    However, it is indeed a very heavy punishment…

    1. Umar Farooq Khawaja
      17th May 2010, 20:37

      There’s still the small matter of the green flags being waved and Article 40.11.

  112. On the subject of Hill bias…

    Conscious? Probably not. But subconscious? I find it hard to believe that he didn’t skim through the rules, jab a finger at 40.13 and shout, “Aha! Got him!”

    I think a really good steward would have appreciated the unique and confusing circumstances and would have refrained from penalizing the driver.

    1. I agree. Which is why ex racing drivers should never be allowed to be stewards.

      Just like an executioner should never be allowed to be a judge.

  113. Safety car line? I’ve heard this for the first time yesterday.

    1. Did you miss the race in China? It was pretty heavily discussed back then.

      http://www.formula1.com/inside_f1/rules_and_regulations/sporting_regulations/8687/fia.html

      (see 40.7)

      1. Well I saw Webber losing a place or two at the restart, but thought it’s okay because under safety car everyone’s allowed to overtake someone who went off the track.

        Apparently it was after the line.

        1. Well I mean more the fact that the “first safety car line” thing was discussed a lot after that restart.

  114. Question: If everyone else understood that 40.13 was in place and there was to be no overtaking, why didn’t Webber just cruise in and make a little donut over the finish line? I’m exagerating but you get my drift.
    He of course went flat out just like the rest of the pack as soon as he saw the green flag.

    Apologies if this has been brought up in previous comments.

    1. Instinct? The need to drive fast? Give it one nice blast for the audience?

      The fact that the safety car comes in is just for show. So why wouldn’t the drivers give that show?

      1. Umar Farooq Khawaja
        17th May 2010, 20:38

        Or maybe all the green flags being waved?

        1. Well Hamilton obviously was under the impression that overtaking was not allowed (as the team had told him). He was rather astonished:

          HAM:”I thought you said we couldn’t pass after the safety car? Michael passed Fernando.”

          1. Umar Farooq Khawaja
            18th May 2010, 9:59

            If you recall last year, 7 teams thought that the double-diffuser was illegal. Only 3 teams thought it was legal. How did it turn out? The 7 teams who thought it was illegal were wrong and the 3 teams who thought it was legal were proved correct.

            Just because Hamilton was ill-advised by his team doesn’t mean their interpretation was correct. They were either mistaken, or they advised Hamilton *before* the Green flags were waved, because if you look at the footage again, you will see that the flags and the lights were still Yellow, until the Safety Car peeled off and then the flags and lights went Green.

  115. The harsh point, that´s the question.
    Alonso used the same tyres from the second lap.
    He Failed because of that.

    -After green light everybody in the track was in full throttle. –
    -Even those that think that they need to stay in “normal” position, may think, (as Alonso had a clear wheel false spin) something like “Overtake him or be overtooked by another”
    – As everybody says, it´s impossible to pass in Monaco(if the front car did not fail).
    -The harsh point is the interpretation that Schumacher ovetooked Alonso by a clever manouver. When what really happened was that Alonso failed.

  116. Perhaps Mercedes should get a further penalty for wasting the FIAs time and resources with a specious appeal on specious grounds. This is not that difficult to understand. It’s enough to understand that the would-be change of position would not register until the cars took the S/F line the next lap anyway…but there is no next lap. Otherwise, what would timing and scoring show: A back-dated change of position post-race? So their entire line of sophistry is moot. The least laughable argument for them is to claim that it was a permitted overtaking under yellow, such as when a car is disabled or comes to crawl/stop, because the last lap is a special case. (Remember Hamilton and Trulli in Australia last year and how fuzzy that can be? If Hamilton/Ryan didn’t fib, they may have gotten away with it.) But, no, Mercedes want to revise the logic of the relevant rule, essentially making the stated last-lap exception entirely superfluous, to suit their particular advantage. Not clever.

    1. So you didn’t bother to read the 6 pages?

      Let me point you in the right direction:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NrxMHo61G7s

      The green flag you see in the lower right corner @ second 3 means “RACE”

      (The red car you see around second 8 is a Ferrari, its all over the place because it just raced the entire race on one set of tires sans one lap, easy prey at this time even though you can clearly see it gets hammered by the driver :) )

  117. Whatever it may be.It’s quite clear that its not Schumi’s mistake.
    SAFETY CAR IN,TRACK CLEAR.
    GREEN FLAGS.
    Moreover whatever it might but British media never stops ctiticising Schumi even if he is not at fault.Its actually shamefull.Even bbc says “Why Schumacher is Wrong”.
    Schumi is criticised only because he is a German.
    Even more shamefull acts have been done by Mclarens and Hamilton,may it be SPYGATE or a LIEGATE.These are two of the most shameful sins of the recent times in f1.Why British media didn’t show that enough?Instead they would find a reason to focus on Schumi.
    We should be more conscious before making comments on others.

  118. Graham Hill, a geat world champion, must be spinning in his grave, having to witness his moron son cheat another great world champion. Strong prediction: MS’s penalty will be overturned on appeal and he’ll get to keep his overtake of Alsonso.

    1. Mercedes cannot appeal a time penalty.

      On the other hand, if the FIA decides they did something wrong they might overturn the penalty (like they did with Hamilton vs Trulli after Australia 2009)

  119. As much as I love F1 and detest NASCAR, NASCAR does avoid situations like this and Melboure ’09 and Spa ’08. In NASCAR, Race Control actually controls the race. They check the order and if cars aren’t lined up correctly, they will tell the teams to pass/let him by before waving green flags. F1 doesn’t seem have thought of this. Instead of fixing the problem right then the FIA just issue penalties after the race.

    I understand bringing in the SC, but why did they wave green flags and turn off the yellow lights if they didn’t want them racing? Yellow means no overtaking and Green means GO! for crying out loud!

  120. I think it seems to be a bit of a muck up with the rules and how they were implemented during the race.

    I think the intention of the rules is that they don’t want the safety car to take the chequered flag, so even if the incident has not been cleared they would like the safety to come in on the last lap.

    Before the safety car line was introduced and cars couldn’t pass before they crossed the start/finish line this wasn’t an issue, but under the current rules it has allowed the possibility to race the last few corners, especially when the green flags are being waved.

  121. In my point of view Mercedes trying to appeal the decision is an attempt to clean a bit the already questionable reputation of MS while justifying their advice or lack of advice to his driver during the last part of the final lap. Ross Brawn is acting as a very smart manager by calling to the forces of “interpretation” once again (remember the DD) it’s better to point the finger at some ink and paper, messages on a screen or a marshal waving the wrong flag than the lack of knowledge of the written rules by the team. Mercedes is making a fuzz to divert from the fact that they don’t want “We don’t know the rules” added to their already long list of bad and demoralizing things this year, that include:

    • We lost the vast speed advantage of last year while our main last year rival got massively quicker
    • We made a mistake on the first design of our car
    • We changed the design but it is not that much better
    • We won’t be champions this year unless RedBull, Ferrari, and McLaren drop out
    • We have a native 7 times WDC on our team but we make him look no better than a tall skinny guy with only 1 GP win on a yellow, under funded, “fat looking” car

    The rules in this matter are written just fine, get over it! Mercedes is just doing what is politically correct for them. If Mercedes were upset by the rules they would call for a revision of the rules (The same ones that they agreed on when they entered this season), not for a revision of the infraction.

    The FIA is right about the infraction, Mercedes knows this but by appealing they are just trying to establish that there were external factors for it other than the lack of knowledge of the rules.

    1. What does this have to do with Schumacher anyway. Ross Brawn told Schumacher and Rosberg to race.

      You can’t posibly imagine that the drivers know all these rules by heart.

      I think Brawn has a pretty good case too. The SC signs were removed and green flags were waved so one might assume that the safety car situation was cancelled rather than still “deployed” (but in the pits)

  122. Why shouldn’t MS overtake AL? it was a race wasn’t ti,to the last foot? All this talk of Green flags,SC going off,rulles all to h*** ~~~~~~at least Michael was still wide awake and thinking fast,unlike Alonso who it seems momentarily dozed off.

  123. Mark in Florida
    18th May 2010, 0:09

    I think that the rule book got caught with its pants down.I myself questioned why are they waving the green flags? Ross Braun and Shumacher apparently were the only ones awake to the overtaking opportunity.Even if the penalty stands you have admire the fact that Ross still does`nt miss a trick.Next year they`ll have a properly developed car and will be back in near the front.

  124. strogateta
    18th May 2010, 0:42

    from all of the above, and the videos, I can only conclude that I myself am MORE inclined towards the ‘camp’ of those who claim it WAS a race-control error,
    creating a contradictory-signalling situation, misleading Mercedes GP/MSC.

    Keep in mind that they are all supposed to obey the new rules, no matter how tedious they are, so for a split-second the drivers/teams must have been torn between believing the messages+rulebook and believing their eyes seeing GREEN GREEN GREEN – so what happened at Rascasse yesterday was a CLEAR Race-control mistake
    and penalizing any driver in that situation is just pathetic.

    However:

    the consequentially confusing situation obviously shed also a strong light on the vague and ill-defined wording in the sporting regulation (which, on the other hand, is very likely to be a ill translation in English, if it is true that the original rulebook is conceived in French). Namely:

    the wording of article 40.13 contains a reversed-logic paradox, creating an effect similar as to : “If it rains today, we will go to a picnic tomorrow instead. But if it rains tomorrow, we will go to a picnic today.”. See for yourself:

    Art. 40.13 says: “… if the race ENDS while a SC is deployed, then the …. ” which is enough to see that this Article is misleading and clearly ill-worded/ill-translated, as the race has ENDED ONLY AFTER the last of the running cars has completed the last-lap-finish-line crossing, and if that pre-condition is fulfilled, it is already too late to post the conditionality (as all the cars have already finished and there is no point in it).

    So, to sum-up:

    obviously a flagrant race-control error, which has enlightened everybody to notice also how negligent the translation of the Sporting regulation has been done. If FIA doesn’t have sufficiently skilled lawyers/translators, it’s their problem – not Mercedes GP’s.

    Ironic or not, have you conceived the possibility that FIA has maybe actually admitted its race-control mistake, with the fact that they penalised MSC only with 20 seconds ? Maybe if it wasn’t for their mistake, they would delete all of his points from the season and ban him for 4 races for this move.. OK, this is a sarcasm, but isn’t the entire thing totally ridicolous?

    Btw. loved the point brought out previously about “.. to proceed as normal without overtaking…”. That’s an incidental symbolism about where this sport seems to be heading nowadays – to become an environment hostile to ANY overtaking. Why? Well, on a subconscious level, maybe it is not desirable to have TWO cars on parallel on the screen in a sport called Formula ONE…. :-)

    Btw. I agree that one cannot worship MSC’s move so much from a technical point of view, as it wasn’t as much a clear pass, it was much more of an alert & vivid grasping of a window-of-opportunity presented by clumsy-accelerating-slide-on-worn-tires ALO. Still, the space&time available for grasping such an
    “open-door” at Rascasse (and MonacoGP in general) is so small it is VERY improbable that any other driver would have used it, let alone being THAT alert at the end of a 78 lap Monaco GP which is in itself detrimental to anyone’s state of body/mind/concentration/eyesight. So make no mistake, MSC is still the benchmark for the others (if a bit rusty as a driver now, too, due to a these-days-huge 3-yr sabbatical – my guess is he’ll need as much as 3-4 more races of running-in before actually ‘showing up’).

    1. In one of my comments I suggested that maybe the sporting regulations had been written in French and then translated to English, which may not actually be the case.

      When writing my earlier comment, I assumed that the Sporting Regulations would have been be written in French then translated to English, as other FIA documents are written in both French and English. However, looking at the FIA 2010 F1 Sporting Regulations on the FIA website just now, it appears that the Sporting Regulations are only in English.

      So regardless as to whether the Sporting Regulations haven’t been translated it doesn’t change the fact that article 40.13 is poorly worded as Strogateta explained excellently.

      In my mind the newly introduced safety car line is the real culprit. If there was no safety car line there would be no need for a poorly written article 40.13, and no confusion over whether what Schumacher did was right or wrong, as without a safety car line there would no passing before the start finish line, at which point the race would have finished.

  125. Davetherave
    18th May 2010, 2:57

    Saftey car in, Green flags showing !
    So why did the saftey car not stay out if the race was over ?
    MS is a pure racing driver and in these situations he has to make a split second decision.
    The race controllers and the rules are at fault, so why should MS have to be so severely punished. The fair thing to do would be to put the positions back to what they were when the race, in the eyes of the controllers, finished. Not to punish him like this.
    BTW i am not a MS supporter, Webber is my man .

  126. Even though I am a Schuey fan, I understood the rules completely. The rule is pretty much straight forward like any other SC incidents.
    What I believe is that, no one is allowed to overtake before crossing the start/finish line after the SC came in. in this case, since there are no more laps following the 78th, they should have crossed start/finish line without overtaking. If there is a 79th, then they can start overtaking after passing through the line of the 78th lap.
    But the punishment is a little harsh though.

    1. No that rule changed for this year. See article 40.11 of the regulations.

  127. The confusion came when the safety car went into the pits at the end of the last lap.

    Had this not happened, then the penalty would have been correct. But this was not the case.

  128. Sometimes event the FIA don’t know what the rules are, if they don’t lift the penalty off from Schumacher it will be a total shame from them.

  129. strogateta
    18th May 2010, 8:29

    @CD:

    the point raised so far is not so much about whether MSC should have or shouldn’t have been penalised, but it is about the following:

    how on earth could FIA decide to penalise ANY driver for doing something in circumstances unheard of so far (created by the very race-control), for which, btw., there was (AFAIK) no official prior written notice to the teams to warn them that “Dear Team, … please bear in mind that as of 2010 F1 season the Green Flags and Green lights DO NOT NECESSARILY MEAN “GO” and RACE CONDITIONS”…

    Even if the FIA claims tha this was the first time the 40.13 was applied in reality, and that it’s the teams’ fault not to have interpreted the new rules correctly, FIA can still be found in a contradiction as to the published (and not consequently & timely updated) explicit meaning of Green flags and/or Green lights.

    So just in case all arguments in favour of Mercedes GP and MSC are overruled (which would surprise me as FIA is definitely due to accept the blame for this), they (Merc.GP) still have an ultimately solid argument that things were left vague, ill-defined and confusingly executed. One could even claim that this proceedings could have potentially caused a dangerous situation, due to confusing the drivers as to the meaning of GREEN FLAGS/LIGHTS, in which FIA risks that some journalist could add the word “DIMINISHING” between the words “SAFETY” and “CAR”.

  130. Thanks Schumacher for the only excitement and overtaking in this tediously boring race (as usual in Monaco). Alonso wasn’t asleep as much as the viewers.

  131. The bright light who places the SC line not on start/finish line made this all possible with the current rules. If the SC line was on start/finish the sc could enter the pit and the drivers could race after the cross the finish line which also ended the race in the correct order.

    Brawn saw the lopehole in the rules and as this was in a real court they would win easy…

  132. To all who say that rule 40.13 is obvious and that Schumacher should not have overtaken Alonso, please try looking at it this way …

    Firstly, it’s an old rule, not new for this year, and explains that when the race is going to end under the Safety Car, the SC won’t drive over the finish line at the end of the final lap, but will instead pull into the pits leaving the race cars to take the chequered flag (without a saloon car to spoil the photos!). Under this rule, it is obvious that there should be no overtaking, as the Safety Car period is still in effect even though the SC has gone into the pits.
    However, the contentious issue is that rule 40.13 starts with an IF … and unless that ‘if’ is true, then the rest of the rule is irrelevant (and so should not be enforced).

    Was the race going to *end* under Safety Car conditions? The ‘END’ is the chequered flag at the Finish line – NOT the start of the last lap, nor the middle of the last lap, but when the cars cross the FINISH line and get the chequered flag. If you don’t agree with that, don’t bother reading any further.

    So – what did Race Control do to let the teams know whether the Safety Car period would be still in effect until the end of the race (e.g. cars getting chequered flag as they cross the finish line), or whether it would finish once the cars reached the SC line before the entrance to the pits?

    The Rules:
    1) 40.4 states that yellow flags and SC boards must be shown while the SC period is in effect
    2) 40.11 states that when the CoC 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 … and as the safety car is approaching the pit entry the yellow flags and SC boards will be withdrawn and replaced by waved green flags with green lights at the Line.

    The Facts:
    1) The teams were told that the track was clear, and that the safety car was coming in that lap (in exactly the same way as for the end of all of the previous safety car periods in the race).

    2) The yellow flags and SC boards were withdrawn and replaced by waved green flags with green lights at the Line

    Conclusion:
    i) If the SC period finished before the end of the race, then it was wrong of the stewards to quote 40.13
    ii) Or, if the SC period was meant to remain in effect until the end of the race, then Race Control got it wrong and should not have followed 40.11, as this communicated to the teams that the SC period was over and so 40.13 would no longer be in effect …

    In either case, I do not think it would be fair to penalise Mercedes.

    Personally, I have *never* been a Schumacher fan since he left Jordan, but I think the SC period ended *during* the last lap, so was no longer in effect after the cars crossed the SC line, and therefore rule 40.13 was NOT in effect – so overtaking was allowed

    1. EXACTLY!! Very well put. The facts are clear and rule 40.13 has no relevance in this case.

    2. Outstanding comment!

      I’ve read both articles dealing with this and yours is the first to completely deal with the facts at hand and leave emotion or driver bias completely out.

      Your summary is spot on. But one point you did not deal with is this: Schumacher could receive a penalty is if he overtook Massa BEFORE the safety car line.

      I’ve just spent 10 fruitless minutes watching my recording of the race, mostly in stop-action and frame-by-frame, watching that last part, but the FOM director had the cameras elsewhere and I can’t see exactly at what point the safety car line was in relation to the pass.

      So, has it been officially decided just exactly at what point the pass occured?

      1. dsob – No problem with the overtaking, there was a slo-mo of the onboard from Schumacher’s car shown on the BBC coverage, after the race, where it showed the rear tyre of Alonso’s Ferrari crossing the line before Schumacher’s nose crossed it.

  133. When you think off it when was the last time we saw an overtake between Tabac and the last corner, Alonso was obviously off the power for Shumacher to get the jump on him so it wasn`t the amazing overtake that people insist it is. Though it is good to see the Brawn/Schumacher synergy starting to emerge. ( I had Schumacher odds off 14-1 to win, last time I listen to the BBC weather site ).

  134. The problem here is that people are making presumptions. By what definition did the race finish under safety car conditions? Is it because the safety car was still out at the start of the final lap? There is no rule that specifies this. The stewards did NOT announce that the race will finish under safety car conditions and the cause for the safety car’s deployment had been removed, so why is this being presumed. If you want to go strictly according to the rules, then rule 40.13 does not apply and Schumacher is not guilty of any offence.

    1. Yeah, I’m wondering what information the teams got at the end of the 2009 Australian GP.

      Indeed you’d expect a “Race will finish under safty car conditions” instead of the catch phrase that’s used to trigger 40.11 and effectlively ending a safety car situation.

      If in the 2009 Aussie GP they got the same “SAFETY CAR IN THIS LAP” and “TRACK CLEAR” messages then the FIA could have a point.

      Still the green flags and removal of the SC signs make no sense, but that could be attributed to a simple misunderstanding.

      1. I don’t know if any announcements were made in Aus’09, but the SC board stayed out and yellow flags were waved all the way to the finish line. That makes it clear that the Aus’09 race was finishing under safety car conditions.

  135. To me, the key issue is the wording of the rule:
    “40.13: If the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed …”
    So was the SC still deployed at the end of the race?
    Clearly it was deployed at the start of the pit lane of the last lap … but that is not the end of the race.

    There are 2 possibilities:
    1) The SC period was continuing so the SC pulled into the pit lane in accordance with “40.13: 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.”

    Or alternatively
    2) the SC period had finished and racing would resume at the SC line.

    So actually, it is down to what the race officials do and say about how the SC is being withdrawn from the track. Surely, the onus is on the officials to point out the the SC period is continuing in accordance with 40.13 if this is the intention. How else is a driver or team supposed to know?

    I think Ross has a point and he should have challenged.

  136. Mr Larrington
    19th May 2010, 16:00

    I’m mildly surprised that Alonso didn’t get a ticking-off for overtaking Chandhok in the tunnel under a yellow flag on lap 1. Chandhok moved off-line to the left to let Alonso past, but found himself heading for the mortal remains of Hulkenberg’s car at R17. Admittedly Alonso didn’t have a great deal of choice in the matter but if the stewards claim to be applying the rules strictly…

    And yes, I am a Ferrari fan.

  137. I wonder what they think of all of this in SuperKarts, where they had overtaking allowed from the SC line at the end of an SC period for a couple of years … and the same equivalent to rule 40.13 … seems strange that the FIA are only now learning the problems with it …

    And, just to put the icing on the cake, it seems that the current 2010 regs do NOT state in 40.11 that at the end of a Safety Car period, the flags and lights go GREEN at the safety car line!!! Instead, they say it is to happen at the ‘Line’ – that’s the Control/Finish line (see para 5.3) That capital letter on the word ‘Line’ makes a big difference.

    “As the safety car is approaching the pit entry the yellow flags and SC boards will be withdrawn and replaced by waved green flags with green lights at the Line. These will be displayed until the last car crosses the Line”

    So, the waving of green flags at the SC line was NOT as per the regs, nor was the removal of the SC car board at the SC line … they should instead have been removed at the ‘Line’ !! So, the Race director got it wrong by the regs, and for all 4 restarts!

    For the first 3, by para 40.7 the cars could overtake once they’d crossed the SC line, but they would have to do it under yellow flags & lights and SC boards deployed until they reached the Control line …

    And for the 4th? Well, who knows, it’s still unclear what the were reading as regs for that …;-)

    What a mess.

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