Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Monza, 2011

FIA steward Daly says Schumacher should have had penalty

2011 Italian Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Monza, 2011
Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Monza, 2011

Derek Daly says Michael Schumacher should have been given a penalty for his driving at Monza.

The former F1 racer was the drivers’ advisor to the stewards during the Italian Grand Prix.

Schumacher was criticised for his moves while racing with Lewis Hamilton.

In a statement Daly said: “On lap 20, race director Charlie Whiting asked the stewards to look at an incident between [Felipe] Massa and [Jarno] Trulli at the second chicane.

“While looking at the slow motion video of this incident, I missed the Schumacher/Hamilton incident that happened at that moment.

“When I looked at it again at home, I believe that Schumacher should have been given a drive-though penalty. He was warned repeatedly and this style of driving is not what you want the future generation of drivers to perfect.

“We as stewards probably let Charlie down with this one.”

Hamilton overtook Schumacher on lap 27, and finished fourth with the Mercedes driver fifth.

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203 comments on “FIA steward Daly says Schumacher should have had penalty”

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  1. Schumacher did one move that wasn’t completely fair, but all other moves didn’t hinder Hamilton and was good defending. You can’t expect him to say ‘Ok, your faster than me, go right by’.

    1. I could understand their point if those corners had more than one line, but they dont.

      You either take the one line, or you crash.

      He didnt really have a choice but to try move over to hit the apex.

      1. So he should of stayed on the line before lesmo 1, not swerve across the track like your going up the senna S’s at suzuka.

        1. No matter what Daly says. Merc Big Boss is happy with Schumi’s drive


        2. I didn’t know that there were Senna S in Suzuka.

    2. Intresting point considering DRS was introduced to get the faster drivers in front.

      1. that wasnt what DRS was for, or well it shouldnt be.

        It should be for allowing the following driver to get closer to the leading car, and therefore have an attempt to pass, it was there to counter the dirty air effect. It should Not just be a switch to allow the fastest car to automatically reach the front.

        FIA need to tweak it next year, perhaps limit the angle the wing can change, hopefully meaning all it would do is allow the car behind close enough to have a stab on the brakes. not just fly past

        1. Agree. It’s better too hard than too easy.

        2. Your 100% right but to me it seems sometimes more like a fia rule not to mug up races for fast drivers ehhh… cars. F1 is more and more like the USA series with lots of action and ‘K.I.T. give me some power’ systems. ;-) I miss the drama of blown engines and single race hero’s holding up the big boys.

    3. I beleive the rules are you can make one move and then also able to return to the racing line for the upcoming corner.

      1. i fully agree you shouldn’t have to choose defense and crash or be lazy and take the proper line. that said, in general i normally think that its a race and you should really be able to do damn near anything to keep someone from passing you as that is the point of racing.

    4. people seem to forget that hamilton did a similar thing on the same corner in 2008, in the wet, on the outside to glock


      IMO much more dangerous. and he did it to a car that was much slower – no threat.

      1. I don’t think Hamilton forgets. That why he kept his comment fairly tame.

      2. commentry quote “shades of shumacher”

      3. He also did the same thing during FP3 in 2007 to Alonso (His team mate at the time).

  2. It’s funny how any 50/50 incidents involving Hamilton immediately gets investigated.

    However when Hamilton is on the losing side, there is nothing but a peep.

    Examples include all the times he’s been wiped out by Webber in the past etc.

    1. Hahahaa like Canada this year?

      1. erm, you kind of proved his point. In canada Hamilton was investigated, yet in Aus 2010 (almost identical incident just opposite) no investigation

        1. And Monza 08

    2. It’s because he has had warnings about his driving since he started in F1, there are only so many warnings you can give before the penalty book comes out. These warnings are not on a race by race basis, Hamilton is a repeat offender and is treated as such.

  3. Is it appropriate for Daly to be saying this publicly?

    1. It’s surprising that he has, it’s been clear in the past the FIA usually forbid stewards from doing it.

      It’s good that he has though, because it gives us a very useful insight into how these decisions are taken. Or not taken, as the case may be.

      1. I expected this 100%. Derek Daly has routinely criticized ANYBODY for putting on ANY kind of defensive move. As soon as I knew he was a steward in the pre-race, I rolled my eyes just thinking of all the blocking penalties to be handed out.

        I recall a few years ago when Daly was a stand-in commentator on the SPEED F1 coverage of the 2006 USGP – Daly butted in to the coverage a half dozen times to whine about how so-and-so was blatantly blocking. It got so bad that Bob Varsha ended up cutting him off one time to ‘remind’ him that drivers are allowed one defensive move per straight, and then are allowed to return to the racing line. The manner in which Bob did it though was just priceless – you could tell he just wanted to tell Daly to ‘shut up’, but since he had to do it on the air he tried to be more polite. Incidentally Daly has not been on the SPEED coverage since.

        The fact that he felt the need to go public with this just exemplifies his lack of tact and understanding of what a proper defensive line is.

        1. Generally speaking, in the U.S. stewards tolerate much less of the “one-move plus return to your line stuff” and much of it is simply labeled blocking. Daly has that attitude, probably, being a U.S. commentator so long. Daly should have been applying the “international” standard of course and I think he knows the rules. So I have to give some credit to these comments, with the explanation that the offending acts were never actually reviewed.

          And yes, Daly is a truly terrible TV announcer. UK people who complain about Eddie Jordan and whoever have no idea how obnoxious and dumb he is on the microphone. He has basically ruined every F1 broadcast he took part in. He is so bad that if I had kowalsky’s memory, I would be indicting him for other stuff that happened 31 years ago also!

        2. Glad I scrolled down and read a few of the comments first. I agree with you 100% Scootin159. Those of us who have had the misfortune of enduring a SPEED broadcast involving Derek Daly rolled our eyes exactly the same way that you did. I was shocked when they said that he’d be an official steward. It is obviously NOT appropriate for him to be saying this publicly, but he’d say anything to get his name mentioned. I’d also wonder how an official steward with all sorts of monitors and replay controls could “miss” something. But………Derek Daly.

        3. Derek Daly is another ex driver with a magnum chip on his shoulder.
          He drove in 64 races but had only 49 starts,he had zero wins,no podiums and managed 15 points for all of that.
          He should surely not be spouting off about an issue that he was only a minor part of.
          If anyone should have said anything it would have been Charlie Whiting, but he said nothing,as no rule was broken.
          Do we want racing or boring processions?.
          Schumacher was,is and always will be the Superstar of F1,and he NEVER whinges and whines about other drivers,he keeps his own counsel,and in my book,that says a lot about his frame of mind.

          1. He should surely not be spouting off about an issue that he was only a minor part of.

            On the contrary, he was one of the stewards brought in to rule of driving standards during the race. If anyone has a right to an opinion on this, it’s him, even if you don’t like it.

        4. I couldn’t agree with you more, and will never forget Daly’s criticism of Hamilton, during that memorable duel between Lewis and Fernando down the main straight at the 2007 U.S. GP, covered by Speed. Daly said to his fellow commentators Bob Varsha, David Hobbs, and Peter Windsor how much Hamilton was blocking Alonso down the main straight. Both Varsha and Hobbs felt that they didn’t see any blocking on Lewis’s part, and Windsor……..well Windsor said…….call it what you want, blocking, hindering or whatever, but what we are witnessing is F1 racing at it’s very best, by 2 of the best drivers in the field today!


          1. Given his (Daly) way of thinking , if it were possible , there should be two or three or four “tracks” (like a game of scalextric) , then the cars could go out and do the fastest possible lap times , and the one with the fastest time would win. Wow ! I’m sorry , but my opinion of Schumacher’s drive at Monza , was no different to when Alonso “held him behind” , think it was in 2005 or 2006 (may have been Imola), and when Jos Verstappen held David Coulthard in Monaco for 40 laps (some years ago now) , and there are a number of other similar incidents. Weaving is not allowed (meaning repeated moving across the track , from left to right several times) , and that’s definitely not what Schumacher did , he would move across once , then back to get the racing line at the corner , all in order.

      2. I thought that Derek Daly was starting to sound like a stuck record.

        But its nice to have this insight into how they operate and not being able to see incidents while they are investigating a prior offence, especially for the team principals.

        “OK Michael, Webber being investigated”
        Michael Mercs Swerves*

        1. Keith I agree,but with the concurrence of ALL the stewards not as an issue AFTER the race was over and dusted.

      3. I don’t think FIA will invite him to become a steward after this! I mean they like to keep things within themselves.

      4. It really is supprising. I am looking forward to see them discuss this with Peter Windsor tonight, as Daly will be on his show tonight!

        Derek and Conor Daly will be helping us with our Monza debrief tomorrow at 11AM Pacific http://smibs.tv/live

      5. It’s highly inappropriate that Daly should comment on this after the event not least because he makes it come across as if he is speaking for all the stewards involved that they would have deemed it a penalty.

        He says “While looking at the slow motion video of this incident, I missed the Schumacher/Hamilton incident.”

        He didn’t say they all never seen it but just himself.

        Maybe I’m wrong but what are the chances at least one of the other stewards were looking at the live action at the same time and seen Schumi/Hamilton and didn’t think it was worth looking into?

        I haven’t seen him on Speed but maybe that ordeal makes sense of this.

        1. That show is just about to begin in a couple of minutes now, have a try and you might still find out!

    2. “A steward told me after the race that he was very frustrated not to have been consulted during the race, particularly as he takes a very dim view of what he perceived as blocking.”

      This is from martin brundles post race column

      The moment i read this i was a bit disturbed because it says that without even having investigated the incident he was already happy to hand over a penalty, for something which most people seem to agree was a non issue close but fair. So how on earth can the fia assure the teams and fans that stewards are partisan when you have comments being made like these.

      It’s like the old black adder scene when cpt black adder is on trial for shooting a carrier pigeon, as the court assembles the judge says ah the black cap i’ll be needing that!

      1. And I will bet anything that steward Brundle mentioned was Derek Daly.

        I am all for stewards being open and transparent about all there decisions like the time they released the in-depth analysis of how they came to their conclusions at the Canadian GP.

        But one of them coming out and making it sound like he speaks for all of them over the incident is really badly done.

        Daly tries to make it sound like because he missed seeing it that was all that mattered even though he admits other stewards might have seen it and Charlie Whiting would have.

      2. The case before us is that of the Crown versus Captain Edmund Blackadder, alias the Flanders Pigeon Murderer. Oh, and hand me the black cap, will you – I’ll be needing that.

  4. Even schumacher crossed the line, The moves are not definitely worth Drive through penalty, probably a reprimand would have been suffice. If same yard sticks applied wondering what hamilton would have got for his moves on petrov in 2009. Disqualification??

    1. you meant 2010?

    2. This move was deemed to be breaking the slipstream I think. But I Hamilton was excessive in this situation.

      Incidentally, I think Schumacher was correctly unpunished.

      1. but that one wasnt blocking. if you notice, lewis moves first and then petrov follows his slipstream. n besides the mclaren was faster. there was no way petrov would’ve passed him.
        Accepted it was wrong and excessive, but i doubt he was blocking.

    3. I agree he should have been reprimanded but no penalty. The only clear-cut block was going into Lesmo 1, but should you get a drive-through for a single block? I dont know. In any case, the stewards’ non-action made for a more exciting race.

  5. I stand by what I said that had it been the other way around, Hamilton would have been penalised. So Schumy should have been penalised.

    1. No, that last bit does not follow. Perhaps it means that the FIA still can’t be very consistent, or that they are really unhelpful in showing the viewers how they do decided on other penalties.

    2. Even if Hamilton would have been penalised if the roles were reversed, it doesn’t actually mean a penalty would have been correct.

      1. The weary fact remains we all know if Hamilton had blocked Schumacher (or Alonso etc.) in identical style for so many laps, he would have been punished.

        I think that’s djdaveyp87’s point.

  6. I just don’t understand what is happening to the perceived mentality of driving in this sport. Michael’s defensive driving was methodical and precise under the most potent pressure, I truly enjoyed watching it. Lewis’ attempts to pass Michael at EVERY corner instead of building some momentum was just as contributory to his failure to get past, as Schumacher’s defending was.

    The incident at Curve Grande which has got some people oo-ing and ah-ing is most overblown in my opinion. The main reason Hamilton had to back out of the grass was because of the elongated raised kerb he would have met otherwise. Frankly, one could argue what was Lewis doing trying to dive up the inside in that situation, that move would never have fully worked whoever he was trying to pass, never mind someone like Schumacher.

    Genuinely, I think the most fitting thing we can take from their battle is that two drivers who have probably earned the most criticism for their wheel-to-wheel methods in the past 12 months, when put in a battle with each other, managed to have a great, dynamic scrap for over 20 laps without contact. This was a great victory for the driving which inspired many of us in the 90s.

    1. The incident at Curve Grande which has got some people oo-ing and ah-ing is most overblown in my opinion.

      Worth remembering Daly is referring to lap 20, so he’s not talking about that.

      He’s almost certainly referring to what happened between the della Roggia and Lesmo 1.

      1. keith. Do you know how much are this ex driver get paid for doing such a job? I imagine it’s not cheap to fly them over to the track plus hotels etc.

        1. I don’t think any of the stewards get paid, though they may have their basic expenses covered for them. I’m not 100% sure.

      2. Keith, is there a way for the FIA to know how the fans feel about instances like these or they care less? Every common theme in this post is asking for consistency in the way Stewards operate. I’m sure it is implied that FIA act fair and they act in the best interest of the sports. How do we know if Daly is raising an opinion about Schumi’s driving and other Stewards are in concurrence?

    2. i agree. He is having a second youth, and we need to encourage him, to see if he is able to do some of the things that captured the imagination of a generation of fans in the past. Even though the other drivers burn with envy.
      Some people like brundell or daly didn’t even win one gp, and would be too humiliating for them to see schumacher win some when he is over 40!! sorry guys, i hope he does.

      1. amen to that

    3. Michael’s defensive driving was methodical and precise under the most potent pressure, I truly enjoyed watching it.

      I have to agree with this.

      I have never liked Schumacher, and only grudgingly admit he’s a good driver. I’m also a big fan of Hammy. But I was screaming “Go On Schumacher!” at the telly during that battle, at least at the start. It was great, exciting racing.

      I also think that Schumacher should have received a reprimand. No other penalty, just a slap on the wrist and “Don’t do that again”. There was some brilliant defensive driving, but he also broke the rules at other points. Not serious enough for a drive through (Although I doubt Hamilton would agree) but enough for a telling-off.

  7. should, would is in the past

    1. Indeed, Brundle at al are always going on about the stewards having far more footage and data than we do, but what good is aquiring a pile of evidence when the only judges permitted to preside over it are unobservant and logically inept?

      They could and should punish drivers after the fact if they are deemed to have broken the rules, the problem is – as always – a complete lack of consistency.

  8. that was racing plain and simple…. In my opinion none of the moves were dangerous and that should be the only consideration for penalties…. The one move rule is outdated, drivers know that finishing these days is more important than reckless blocking.

    1. That is your opinion, though – and maybe a lot of other people’s opinion. But whether you think the rules are outdated or not, they are still the rules and should be enforced. Unfortunately, we have the situation where sometimes they’re enforced and sometimes they’re not. If that frustrates the fans, think what the drivers must feel about the situation.

  9. My issue here is no longer with the incident, but the fact that there doesn’t seem to be a system that allows the stewards to investigate an incident while also ensuring that the rest of the race remains fair and safe.

    1. (and, essentially, properly stewarded)

    2. I was just about to post the exact same thing!
      What kind of an organization suspends officiating to perform a task while the event continues to play out?
      In North American Football, a whistle is blown to stop play so that the officials can discuss incidents and possible penalties. I understand that the race can’t be stopped during the review of an incident but surely this grand international organization can develop a method to ensure that the proper officiating can take place during the entirety of the race?

  10. All we ask for is consistency. I would love for drivers to be given final warnings by Charlie Whiting, or for drivers to be told “moving back to the racing line” isn’t allowed in any case. And next week I’m going to win the lottery…

    1. If the stewards had investigated Schumi and then either issued a warning or decided it was just racing I would have been happy, but that they didn’t even investigate it is a problem. They shouldn’t became incapable of doing their job while investigating another incident, and if on reflection they think it deserved investigating then they didn’t ‘let Charlie down with this one,’ they let down the teams and fans who expect and deserve correct stewardship.

      1. Not that fair and consistent stewarding will ever happen though, as you say.

      2. It’s Charlie’s job to refer incidents to the stewards for investigation.

        1. Strange, because he said this:

          We as stewards probably let Charlie down with this one.

          But then he also said it was Charlie who got them to investigate the Trulli and Massa incident. I wonder how they let him down if Charlie is the one who refers them? Regardless, the incident shouldn’t have been completely missed by all the stewards (including Whiting), it probably should have at the bare minimum been looked at and considered for investigation.

          1. According to the Sporting Regulations both is possible:

            “Incident” […], which is reported to the stewards by the race director (or noted by the stewards and referred to
            the race director for investigation)

    2. But if they do that, again, they need to tell the public its done because of a warning from race control. So we all know what’s happening.

      1. Agreed.

        To clarify, I prefer lenient stewarding, just that if we’re going to start punishing people then they should all be punished. I am a little concerned at some comments though, which seem to be advocating going even further and letting drivers put others at risk of injury and death. No heightened experience or “show” is more important than the lives of the marshals, if we can help it.

        1. Agree with that as well.

        2. Agree, some people are suggesting scrap the one-move rule, but that could just cause carnage, which would detract from the racing if too many people crash too often, and it would be unsafe.

          1. There were OTHER stewards in the room watching the race while ‘whinger’ Daly was reviewing the Trulli/Massa incident. The race wasn’t being ignored, it’s just that the other stewards didn’t think it was worth investigating.

            Perhaps we should stop calling it the ‘one move’ rule and start calling it the ‘defending’ rule as some people and supposed ‘experts’ seem to be confused about the whole returning to the racing line.

            Christ! I have just watched the flying lap and this man’s views are nonsense. Maybe he would like F1 to follow the American model where cars aren’t even allowed to leave the racing line to defend their position!

  11. In the good old days if you were trying to pass someone it was up to you to get the job done. Better drivers got the job done and didn’t have to deal with the “one move only” rule.

    Drop the rule entirely and let the better driver in the better car do what he does best…drive the racecar as he sees fit.

    If the best you can do is to just block then maybe your team has picked the wrong driver.

    Unfortunately we live in the world of safety and that has left F1 somewhat sanitized.

    1. Couldn’t agree more; great comment !

    2. and totally ignore driver etiquette?
      Vettel would be pleased to hear that..

    3. In the good old days, cars weren’t 100% aero dependent and could actually move offline to overtake. That’s why despite some valiant blocking attempts, better drivers could still overtake.

      The 1 move rule is a necessary evil, a direct consequence of our current era of aero dependency.

  12. daly is a disgrace.Obviously he should have been penalized.

    1. lol, yes you are right

  13. i still can’t believe people compare Hamilton’s weaving on petrov to this incident. this “way.. way off” in comparison. jeez..

    please look at the incident regarding Hamilton & Alonso at Malaysia GP..

    no penalty was fair, good racing from both..
    but please don’t bring up the weaving incident on ’09

  14. So whilst the stuards are looking at one incident if another incident happens it’s missed because they don’t have anyone else watching the action, this is good knowledge for the teams, if a back maker has a crash then they could use a slip road to overtake someone and get away with it.

    1. Yeah, that’s the most interesting part here. F1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport, and they can’t investigate two incidents at the same time?

      1. At the beginning of the year they couldn’t even have two detection points for DRS. And the DRS still can’t differentiate between a car in front and a lapped car. Also the TV coverage misses things and is slow to pick up new technologies (HD and 3D). Everything about the sport other than the cars is surprisingly low-tech and suffers a distinct lack of common sense.

      2. There were OTHER stewards in the room watching the race while ‘whinger’ Daly was reviewing the Trulli/Massa incident. The race wasn’t being ignored, it’s just that the other stewards didn’t think it was worth investigating.

  15. Andy G (@toothpickbandit)
    14th September 2011, 16:17

    I think whether or not he should have had a penalty comes down to your opinion of whether or not you can return to the racing line after your one move.

    Personally I believe moving back to the racing line is a ‘double-move’ and he should have been punished. Then again I believe he should have been punished only to maintain consistency with Hamilton’s penalty in Malaysia for blocking Alonso (he did almost the same thing). I would have rather neither of them punished; it was nice to see a good fight last 20 laps rather than the DRS single straight ‘fights’ that are all too common today.

    1. That makes no sense. If you move off line as a blocking move and then aren’t allowed to move back on line the chasing car gets a free corner. That would mean that effectively you can’t make ANY move unless you would like to just give the corner away.

  16. Interesting that he has spoken out about it. Personally, I enjoyed the battle between Schumacher and Hamilton – its a shame it had to end in controversy. Some of it was stretching the rules a bit and I think that that was made clear as Ross Brawn came on to the radio.

    I did have a bit of a chuckle when Jenson seemed to just waft past Schumacher…

    1. Jensen flew past Sch and kept the place due to different a different gear setup than Hamilton. Sch’s rear tyres done in too!

  17. Brundle hinted at that in his post race comments.

    I really feel the drivers are pushing far to much into penalizing every slight deviation from perfectly safe. Wether its the call to ban DRS in the Monaco tunnel or Eau Rouge, or punishing a driver for knocking off his own wing, Liuzzi for ruining his and others races etc.

    If these penalties were based on clear cut easy to follow rules, it might help get young drivers to understand what is fine and what is not allowed.

    But with the inconsistency of FIA stewarding, and the messy/foggy rules it just gives the feeling we should have all drivers get an allowance for DRS passes where its not even allowed to defend (makes sense on ovals, but not for normal tracks), and not allow drivers to either take a chance and attack, nor to defend.

    If they want to penalize this, isn’t a reprimand fully satisfying? If not, then they would have really have had to ban Maldonado for a couple of races for his driving after Spa qualifying to keep penalties balanced.

    1. Well summed up, I think.

  18. It was clear – we saw a frustrated Lewis sitting behind a relatively slower car. As far as Lap 20 is concerned, with hindsight, Michael could have been reprmanded. It is not the first time Michael got the stick. Calling for a penalty is still harsh and it takes away the real spirit of racing. We all know how wide his car grows…. Spain 2010, 2011 are some examples. The fight he had with Ricardo Patrese @ Hockenhiem (in 1993?) was very impresive

    Are stewards an independent body or part of FIA? I meant their consistencies are quite apparent isn’t?

    But, if there’s ever a reason why F1 is still interesting….. we know why.

  19. I think it’s worth remembering that before Senna squeezed Prost at Estoril in 1988, drivers moving off line to defend was uncommon. Watch that incident now and it seems fairly tame, but at the time it was shocking. (Partly the reason I think Daly feels so strongly about this – he raced in the late 70’s and early 80’s and doesn’t have as much first hand experience of such tactics).

    Senna had a repuation for being uncompromising on track, and when Schumacher arrived he took it to another level – perhaps a level too far. His rivals then had to adopt similar tactics if they were to try and beat him and it soon became the norm. However, with the racing of the 2000’s being largely devoid of overtaking and more reliant on strategy, strong defensive tactics happened less frequently and therefore were less of an issue.

    In the last few years however with the return of slick tyres, less aero and devices such as the KERS, F-Duct’s and DRS we’re seeing more passing on track rather than in the pits, and as such we’re seeing more of the strong defensive tactics.

    As a result it’s been necessary to upgrade the ‘one move’ rule from a mere drivers understanding to a hard and fast because otherwise, all the drivers who grew up watching Schumacher and Senna being uncompromising on track will be likely to use such tactics themselves. Having one or two drivers at is is a risk, but if the whole field have the “if you don’t back off we’re both going to crash” mentality then it’s a surefire recipe for disaster.

    The grey area is whether moving back to your racing line is deserving of a penalty. It needs addressing, because there are calls to penalise Schumacher for doing this on Sunday, but Hamilton did exactly the same at Spa and it put him out in a nasty accident. (I also remember Hamilton squeezing Webber onto the grass at Monza 2008, but whilst that was a bit naughty, I don’t remember it being discussed much afterwards becuase that type of driving was almost seen as ‘the norm’).

    Consistency is what’s needed, but it’s such a tough rule to enforce anyway I think each instance should be looked at individually during a race, rather than being a blanket rule in which anything resembling more than one move is hit with an instant penalty. Charlie getting on to the teams and asking any driver on the borderline to calm down is the best way to deal with it in my opinion.

    1. You’re right. Although I didn’t see Schumacher do more than one move, sometimes he left Lewis too little space when he was lamost alongside him. I’m not sure if going off line and back to the racing line is one move or two, because Schumacher after Lesmo 2 moved to the center of the track, then on the right for braking at Ascari. In my opinion it was a hard battle but fair, and it was for me a rare view which I enjoyed. Of course Schumacher is the best at defensive driving, but this was nowhere near Hamilton’s swerving at Malaysia 2010.

    2. Excellent post, Dan – I agree with all your major points but have a slightly different take on some things.

      Driver coach (for Bruno, among others) Rob Walker made the point in a “Flying Lap” interview, that Senna under normal conditions was nowhere near as hard or unfair as he’s often accused of being. He chose Senna’s wheel-to-wheel confrontation with Mansell in 1991 on the pit straight in Barcelona as an example, and made the point that both drivers did the “nerves of steel” thing with car proximity, but Senna did not block unduly and neither driver was behaving dangerously, weaving or whatever – just racing hard. Then he contrasted this with the Schumacher move on Barrichello in Hungary and said something like: “so which driver would you rather be racing against, if you value your safety?”. Because of Japan 1990 and a couple of lesser and earlier incidents like Estoril (arguably before he fully matured as a driver), Senna is often grouped with Schumacher as borderline homicidal in some serial way; he was certainly hard and occasionally unfair, but I agree with your take that it was by the standards of the time that Senna’s driving was seen as sometimes OTT, and all but his worst moves (including Estoril) now look relatively mild.

      Re: “[Schumacher’s] rivals then had to adopt similar tactics” – yes, but I never really thought they did, in his dominant era. Standards certainly ‘deteriorated’ (if you see it that way) in general, and it was a horrible example for the various racing ranks to follow (I saw it personally in karting – almost a step function deterioration in standards at certain points over a 10 year period, depending on what had just happened on TV), but it always seemed to me that Schumacher usually acted with impunity under the auspices of the “one move” rule, and I don’t recall many (if any) moves made against him that rank with his pushing Alonso onto the grass on the Hangar straight, or pushing Ralf at the pit wall in Germany, his contact-blocks on Hill or Villeneuve, or his move in Hungary. I could only ever conclude that either (a) his main rivals accepted their place in some kind of “pecking order” where they were intimidated by him (I think Coulthard even admitted to such a thing?), or (b) there was actually a general and systematic double standard in the stewarding, and they all knew it. I see evidence for both. It seemed to me that there was a long period where “one move” from Michael could mean what you like, no matter how harsh – as long as there was only one of them, and if others raced him and there was contact (like when Schumacher understeered into Montoya at turn 1 in Malaysia), it was usually Schumacher’s rival who got the penalty. I know this is getting back to the whole “FIA favouritism” story (and Keith will probably jump on me for polluting his blog with it) but I feel that this has *direct* bearing on where we are now. There was a long period where “one move” (ambiguously defined as you commented) seemed to be the sole standard. It was only when we got to Hungary 2010 that we heard that not pushing your rival sideways off the track was also a rule (and a lot of people on the boards were still hollering that what Michael did to Rubens was fine and dandy, precisely *because* it was just one move). I honestly don’t know the chronology of how the rules and the rule interpretations evolved, but I can sure as heck say that the standard applied against Michael in Hungary 2010 was conspicuously absent during his dominant period – at least where he was concerned.

      Re: “if the whole field have the ‘if you don’t back off we’re both going to crash’ mentality then it’s a surefire recipe for disaster” – well exactly, and I was saying the same thing in 1998, and for at least the next decade. So it’s remarkable we got this far without a fatality, and – a serious question – how did that come to be, exactly? (Addressed to anyone who will run with it).

      With all of the above in mind, I looked at Michael vs. Lewis at Monza on Sunday and thought “OK, that’s borderline, but mostly it was just what we want: hard racing”. It’s amazing, though, that we’re still arguing whether one move really means two moves. I have long assumed (because so many block-and-back-to-the-racing-line double moves have gone unpunished) that it is indeed OK to block and then move back again, and that the reason Brawn was on the radio about it is that if your rival has overlap after you blocked him the first time and made him move offline, then you clearly can’t move back and force him aside again. That’s what Michael was in danger of doing, especially into Ascari. I agree with you that this really needs clarification – it’s such a basic thing and, yes, that’s exactly why Hamilton was at fault against Kobayashi at Spa (albeit unwittingly, having evidently not realized he still had overlap in the braking zone).

      If one move really does mean two moves, then I think this is a bit of a shame. It means that not only can you block someone who’s quicker than you, you can effectively block them twice if only you make the second sweep back to the racing line quickly enough. It’s actually a potential recipe for some even more horrible double-blocks than we saw under “one move” – as long as the leading driver can say “there was no overlap when I moved back”, then you can stick the rear end of your car in your opponent’s face twice and claim it’s all OK. In this respect, I’m somewhat sympathetic to where Daly is coming from.

  20. Does anyone else not find it a little strange that they simply ‘missed’ it…?!

    There’s a panal of stewards – surely one (at least) needs to be keeping an eye on the live action?! Plus, there should be replays in full use.

    I find this really rather odd.

    1. Daly said “I missed it” not “we” so perhaps there was someone watching and didn’t think it needed looking into.

      I find it extremely hard to believe anything can happen and go unpunished when they are looking at a replay.

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