Schumacher’s Monaco penalty will stand after Mercedes withdraw appeal

Mercedes canned their appeal but called Schumacher's penalty 'disproportionate'

Mercedes canned their appeal but called Schumacher's penalty 'disproportionate'

Mercedes have withdrawn their appeal against Michael Schumacher’s penalty in the Monaco Grand Prix.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

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143 comments on Schumacher’s Monaco penalty will stand after Mercedes withdraw appeal

  1. Brake Bias said on 19th May 2010, 5:38

    Keith, the penalty was always going to stand no matter what.

  2. Platine said on 19th May 2010, 8:45

    Commendable approach from mercedes, as their logic is impeccable, “track clear” and green flags, sounds like racing conditions to me. The rule book is a mess.

    3/5 is a majority btw.

    • BasCB said on 19th May 2010, 9:26

      You are right, 3 out of 5 is a mayority (Mercedes, Renault, Red Bull), but from the top ten finishers we had 6 teams (or 7 with STR picking up a point after the penalty).

      2 of those have already stated that they fully agree with the stewards and STR as well as FI would hardly agree with bot handing in their points for the places gained.
      That makes it 3/6 or 3/7 after the penalty, not really a majority!

  3. Paul Graham said on 19th May 2010, 9:29

    Clearly the real cock up was the FIA’s. If they had kept yellow flags out then there could have been no misinterpretation. For me Schumacher’s move was a wonderful bit of opportunism albeit made due to a mistaken belief that the green flags indicated that the race was back on from the safety car line. What the FIA should have done to be fair is say sorry guys you did get it wrong, but we can see why you throught that way, but as we contrubuted to the mistake we will simply reverse Schumacher and Alonso’s finishing results. That to me would have been fair.

  4. PatrickL said on 19th May 2010, 10:44

    So Mercedes and the FIA agreed to “tidy up the rules”. In my mind though, there is nothing wrong with the rules. Articles 40.11 and 40.13 are perfectly clear.

    Where things went wrong is in how race control applied these rules.

    If race control had not sent the article 40.11 triggering “SAFETY CAR IN THIS LAP” catch phrase and at the very least kept the SC signs and yellow flags out, there wouldn’t have been an issue.

    Of course it would be nice if the rules allowed less severe penalties to be given after a race.

    Although that is likely to open a whole new can of worms on another occasion. Imagine the stewards getting the power to move a driver back as many places as they deem fit for the “crime”. The debates could be endless …

    • Vincent said on 19th May 2010, 19:20

      The rules of the International Sporting Code already give them ability to hand out one of a rather large range of penalties, including a time penalty to be expressed in minutes and/or seconds.

  5. BasCB said on 19th May 2010, 11:04

    heres the view of another F1 hero on Schumis move.

    Moss would have done exactly the same seeing the green flags being waved.

  6. Jose said on 19th May 2010, 12:20

    Ohh poor Damon.

    He thought he was there to advise, and ended up being the decision maker, which makes you think how organised this people are.

    I mean a driver is meant to be there as an experienced racer that would help avoid harsh and unfair penalties, not to decide the fate of fellow drivers.

    No driver will want the role of lawmaker/interpreter, is like betrayal form them.

    All that money and power and tecnology, yet the rules seem to be written by monkeys.

    BTW, well done Michael, you are as sharp as ever.

    • Todfod said on 19th May 2010, 16:19

      Its not like damon decided the fate of Schumi, there were three others on that panel, and all went with the rule book and penalised him. If Schumi doesnt like the rules, then he should join another sport.

      “Michael as sharp as ever”

      Yeah right! Overtaking a driver who doesnt even know that they were racing. Great job Schumi, thats the last time you overtook Alonso in your career… too bad you got penalised for it.

  7. Ade said on 19th May 2010, 13:37

    Schumacher pushed his luck a bit too far, the situation was pretty clear to everyone, even to the TV commentator. So far Schumacher seemed to be the only one that tried a overtaking move. Yes, there might have been the green flag, but some times people/marshals make mistakes, I have seen F1 race marshal waving blue flag to a slower car when he was actually on the same lap with the much faster car behind him, but if that happend to schumi he would have made room, wouldn’t he?

    The penalty may be harsh, but Schumacher is not be defended, got to use your head more often if you are already familiar with the rulebook.

  8. gideon said on 19th May 2010, 19:05

    damon hill legend he really hates schumy why damon cant back in f1 what rivaly between them been in 90 s

  9. Vincent said on 19th May 2010, 19:12

    The more I think about it, the more I get p-ed off. The stewards have decided the race has apparently ended under 40.13, yet Race Control was then in clear breach of the FIA regulations.

    As viewers (and spenders on merchandise, race tickets, etc.) we are stakeholders in this as well. If we cannot judge the condition and regulations based on the information that is provided on our screens (no yellow lap counter, green flags at all outposts, green lights, and green status indicator at the timing monitors), at the track (flags and lights), how are we supposed to understand wtf is going on? By this decision of the stewards not only MGP is made to look stupid, so are we. They are pretending we massively misinterpreted the rules, whilst covering up the fact that they were in clear breach of their own regulations and the fact that in their stupidity they altered 40.7 without considering the effect this had on 40.13.

    Is there any way we, as stakeholders, can request or demand clarification of the FIA on the following mysteries:

    – The fact that the SC can be deployed when its not actually deployed;
    – The fact that green flags and track clear status can be used at the time the safety car is deployed;
    – Why 40.4 offers no exceptions on the yellow flags and SC boards if the above is true;
    [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.]
    – How teams, drivers and viewers are supposed to know the current applicable regulations if ISC Appendix H, 2.4.1 is not used or superseded (by non-existent regulations?)
    2.4.1 General
    In the supervision of the road, the Clerk of the Course (or his
    deputy) and the marshal posts rely largely on the use of signals to
    contribute to the drivers’ safety and enforce the regulations.]
    – Why, with the leniancy (reprimand or no penalty at all) in case of other breaches of regulations in hindsight, for instance the following:
    * Hamilton’s weaving – clear breach of ISC appendix L, chapter IV rule 2b
    [2b) Overtaking, according to the circumstances, may be carried
    out on either the right or the left.
    However, manoeuvres liable to hinder other drivers, such
    more than one change of direction to defend a position,
    deliberate crowding of a car beyond the edge of the track or
    any other abnormal change of direction, are strictly prohibited.
    Any driver who appears guilty of any of the above offences will
    be reported to the stewards of the meeting.]
    * Rubens’ throwing of the steering wheel onto the racing line – in the very least a clear breach of rule 30.5 but must be in against the spirit of any safety regulations and general sanity;
    [30.5 A driver who abandons a car must leave it in neutral or with the clutch disengaged, with the KERS shut down and with the steering wheel in place.]
    * Lewis’ and Fernando’s overtaking with all 4 wheels over the pit entry – a clear breach of ISC appendix L, chapter IV rule 4
    [4. Entrance to the pit lane
    a) The section of track leading to the pit lane shall be referred to
    as the “pit entry”.
    b) During competition access to the pit lane is allowed only
    through the pit entry.
    c) Any driver intending to leave the track or to enter the pit lane
    should make sure that it is safe to do so.
    d) Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the
    Stewards of the Meeting), the crossing, in any direction, of the
    line separating the pit entry and the track is prohibited.
    e) Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the
    Stewards of the Meeting), any line painted on the track at the
    pit exit for the purpose of separating cars leaving the pits from
    those on the track must not be crossed by any part of a car
    leaving the pits.]
    * unsafe release of cars after pit stops throughout the races before Monaco – clear breach of rule 23.1j of the F1 sporting regulations
    [23.1j) It is the responsibility of the competitor to release his car after a pit stop only when it is safe to do so.]
    * and so on.

    – such a draconic penalty was handed out whilst the stewards had a wide range of more suitable penalties at their disposal due to the ISC;
    – Why an ex-driver, who is supposed to be an advisor on driving ethics and experience, is consulted for the interpretation of regulations;
    – Why 40.13 was not amended this year, as its effect is clearly changed by the change in 40.7;
    – Why the strict procedure of 40.11 (indicating the SC leaving the track because the obstruction was cleared) was followed whilst actually 40.13 [Which in the absense of any defined procedure must solely rely on 40.4 (to indicate the deployment of the safety car), 40.1, 40.3, 40.5, 40.6, 40.7, 40.8, 40.9, 40.10, 40.12 (general safety car prescriptions)] was in effect;
    – Why a driver, a team (and the audience – changing the results after the race has finished) has to pay for the general mess created by the contradiction between the procedure followed by RC and the apparently executed regulations as defined in the FIA F1 sporting regulations;
    – Why the appealability of the penalty inflicted (when inflicted after the race) is at the sole discretion of the Stewards of the meeting.

    Is there any way to make them explain themselves?

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 19th May 2010, 20:40

      Why, with the leniancy (reprimand or no penalty at all) in case of other breaches of regulations in hindsight […] such a draconic penalty was handed out whilst the stewards had a wide range of more suitable penalties at their disposal due to the ISC

      I’m not clear what alternatives you think they had under the International Sporting Code. Certainly under the Sporting Regulations they could only give a drive-through/time penalty or grid drop.

      I agree they should have given a more lenient penalty and I’m glad of the less severe punishments we’ve seen this year. But I don’t see how it was possible in this instance.

      • Vincent said on 19th May 2010, 21:12

        The Sporting Regulations are in addition to the International Sporting Code.

        In the International Sporting Code, 152, a whole range of possible penalties is described:

        − reprimand (blame);
        − fines;
        − time penalty;
        − exclusion;
        − suspension;
        − disqualification.

        It is under these regulations penalties such as speeding fines, or a fine for not putting the steering wheel back in place after a crash, or in Hamiltons case a reprimand are handed out to drivers or teams.

        • Vincent said on 19th May 2010, 21:34

          In addition: this is part of the code (penalties is 152 and 153):

          Time penalty means a penalty expressed in minutes and/or
          Any one of the above penalties can only be inflicted after an
          enquiry has been held and, in case of one of the last three, the
          concerned party must be summoned to give them the opportunity
          of presenting their defence.

          So, as you can see a time penalty of even just enough to swap back the places was an option they have not used.

  10. Mischu said on 19th May 2010, 20:42

    most comments on the topics with Schumacher.absolutely amazing is this man.GO SCHUMI !!!

  11. Rammer said on 20th May 2010, 9:18

    I REALLY would like to see if all this comments had been risen this way if Shumy was over a Ferrari and Alonso over A Macca……I know that the “if” and “but” world is a world of idiots, but…

  12. Gary said on 20th May 2010, 12:23

    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 …

    Oh, yes, 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)

    “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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