FIA steward Daly says Schumacher should have had penalty

2011 Italian Grand Prix

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

  1. 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…

  2. 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.

  3. icemangrins (@icemangrins) said on 14th September 2011, 16:23

    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.

  4. Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 14th September 2011, 16:42

    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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  5. Dan Selby said on 14th September 2011, 16:46

    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.

    • snowman said on 14th September 2011, 17:32

      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.

  6. antonyob said on 14th September 2011, 16:49

    And what if Coulthard was a Steward!!

    Id imagine Schumacher would be given a drive through for not queuing clearly at the buffet breakfast and moving across the fruit salad in a matter unbecoming of a f1 racing driver. “rule 23.21 clearly states…” whined coulthard into his boiled egg

    • snowman said on 14th September 2011, 17:35

      Haha, though to be fair to the square chined one, him or Brundle haven’t been critical of Schumacher of late and even EJ is starting to mellow.

    • Its interesting how coulthard was so adamant that you could ask any driver and he would agree that schuey was in the wrong,
      and the only driver that mattered {lewis} saw nothing wrong.

      • snowman said on 14th September 2011, 18:09

        To be fair it looked as if Hamilton was completely holding back in that BBC interview.

        I would like to have seen what he was saying behind closed doors.

        If Schumacher did get away with anything it’s the first time since his comeback, as he has had some extremely harsh penalties this last two years.

        • Snowman is right. Schumacher has had some pretty harsh penalties for incidents which in my opinion should have been considered racing incidents, and which severely hampered Schumacher’s race usually costing him numerous positions.
          The 10 second stop-and-go penalty at Silverstone for example.

        • I think he was also holding back in his usual agressive racing style too, this was probably the reason he didn’t get past him quicker than he normally would, it’ll be because he’s trying to make sure he finishes a race rather than crashing out like he has done a few times recently.

  7. Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 14th September 2011, 16:57

    I do agree with the general consensus here that Daly may have overstepped the boundaries by issuing such a statement. While I do think that they should speak up (I’m looking at you, Mark Blundell), there is a right way of doing it (think Nigel Mansell).

    That said, Daly also mentioned that: “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.” Yet we STILL haven’t seen it!

  8. tharris19 said on 14th September 2011, 17:03

    I think it’s racing pure and simple. Lewis couldn’t get by because Schumi is a superb defensive driver. Lewis undestand this and accept it for what it is. Unfortunately, the rules are applied different to him. He would have been in the steward’s office straight from his car had he made even one of those move on anybody else.
    And this talk of Jenson making such a nice overtake is rubbish. He passed because even Schumi can’t defend a line against two cars. He was too tied up with Lewis to defend Button.
    Get out of formula one Lewis, it’s not worth the bother.

  9. Jonathan said on 14th September 2011, 17:14

    This is why we can’t have nice things. The moment the racing drivers try to do some wheel to wheel racing, they get penalise. Michael made one move to defend, then he returned to his racing line, which he is entitled to do so.

    If you start penalising people simply for being good at defending, then why don’t we just all go home after qualifying on saturday?!

    • Where in the rules and regulations does it say the driver is allowed to move back to the racing line to take the corner.

      FIA’s Sporting Code Appendix L, Article 2, para c states

      c) curves, as well as the approach and exit zones thereof, may be negotiated by the drivers in any way they wish, within the limits of the track. Overtaking, according to the circumstances, may be done either on the right or on the left. However, manoeuvres liable to hinder other drivers such as premature changes of direction, more than one change of direction, deliberate crowding of cars towards the inside or the outside of the curve or any other abnormal change of direction, are strictly prohibited and shall be penalised, according to the importance and repetition of the offences, by Penalties ranging from a fine to the exclusion from the race. The repetition of dangerous driving, even involuntary, may result in the exclusion from the race.

    • Patrickl said on 16th September 2011, 12:25

      Drivers should not be allowed to push each other off track. That this is illegal is actually written in the rules. It’s hardly ever enforced though.

  10. snowman said on 14th September 2011, 17:26

    I think it would make sense for the FIA to have a permanent driver steward that has raced in F1 the last 10 years and has plenty of experience.

    Having a guy that hasn’t raced in F1 since 1982 when rules and cars and everything were completely different trying to look at an incident from a drivers point of view is a bit of a joke.

  11. Hatebreeder (@hatebreeder) said on 14th September 2011, 18:08

    Question: I noticed there was some slight flexing in the front wings of mclaren at high speeds. and that they moved a lot when he went over the kerbs. Was/Is that normal?

    • yes, that is pretty normal.

      The material bends, so it can “wobble” when hitting the kerbs. And all wings bend down a little (or a bit more in case of the top teams since last year) under pressure when driving at speeds.

  12. this style of driving is not what you want the future generation of drivers to perfect

    Perfect? Perform?

  13. judo chop said on 14th September 2011, 18:57

    It was a good battle but a clear double move across Hamilton’s line from Schumacher on lap 20 and he should’ve been penalised as per the current rules. Either you want the rules applied fairly or you’re a hypocrite. The BBC should apply more attention to the steward’s behavior instead of trying to provoke soundbites out of drivers. Stewards who think it’s Schumacher’s duty to set an example for “future generations” or that Hamilton’s obliged to accept their career advice need to be put in their place.

  14. The only incident on lap 20, that I can see, was two moves by Michael between Della Roggia and the 1st Lesmo corner.
    Watching this again, a couple of times, I can only say Michael was guilty. But part of the coverage of lap 20, of them, was interupted by Vettel stopping to change tyres.

  15. “While looking at the slow motion video of this incident”

    So they have a video of the crash! Why did they not show it in TV?

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