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

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

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  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.

            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.

        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…


        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!

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