Mercedes have withdrawn their appeal against Michael Schumacher’s penalty in the Monaco Grand Prix.
However they described Schumacher’s penalty as “disproportionate” and said the FIA has agreed to discuss the terms of article 40.13 under which Schumacher was punished.
They added they were supportive of drivers having a role on the stewards’ panel. Damon Hill, who served as the drivers’ representative to the stewards last weekend, received hate mail after Schumacher was punished.
A statement from the team said:
On the final lap of the 2010 Monaco Grand Prix, Mercedes instructed our drivers, Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg, to race from safety car line one until the finish line as permitted under articles 40.7 and 40.11.
Mercedes were fully aware of article 40.13 which states that no overtaking is permitted if the race finishes under safety car conditions. However we believed that the combination of the race control messages ‘Safety Car in this lap’ and ‘Track Clear’ and the green flags and lights shown by the marshals after safety car line one indicated
that the race was not finishing under the safety car and all drivers were free to race.
This opinion appears to have been shared by the majority of the teams with cars in the top ten positions who also gave their drivers instructions to race to the finish line.
It was clear from our discussions with the stewards after the race that they understood the reasons for our interpretation and acknowledged that this was a new and previously untested situation but ultimately disagreed with our interpretation.
Mercedes would like to emphasise that we fully support the inclusion of past drivers on the stewards panel and are completely satisfied that the Monaco Grand Prix stewards acted professionally, impartially and properly in this matter.
The FIA has agreed to include article 40.13 on the agenda of the next Sporting Working Group for discussion and to consider the scale of post race penalties. We believe that the 20 second penalty imposed on Michael to be disproportionate in the circumstances.
Whilst we cannot be happy with the outcome, we are pleased that the FIA has recognised the reasons for our interpretation. Therefore in the best interests of the sport, Mercedes will not be submitting an appeal.
It’s interesting that Mercedes’ claim their view racing was permitted after the safety car went in “appears to have been shared by the majority of the teams with cars in the top ten positions.”
We already know Ferrari and McLaren instructed their drivers not to race at this moment. Presumably Mercedes is referring to Red Bull, Renault and Force India when it speak of the “majority” – these were the only other teams with cars in the top ten at this point.
Appeals against drive-through penalties (which is essentially what Schumacher got) have been deemed inadmissible in the past, most famously when Lewis Hamilton was stripped of his win in the 2008 Belgian Grand Prix. So it’s no great surprise to see Mercedes drop their attempt to have Schumacher’s sixth place restored.
Schumacher’s Monaco penalty