Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Buddh International Circuit, 2011

Herbert explains Massa’s penalty: “He knew where Hamilton was”

2011 Indian Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Buddh International Circuit, 2011
Massa was blamed for his latest collision with Hamilton

Johnny Herbert, the drivers’ advisor to the stewards at the Indian Grand Prix, has explained why Felipe Massa was penalised for his collision with Lewis Hamilton.

Writing in his column for The National, Herbert said: “After looking at it from different camera angles and studying all the data available to us, it was clear that Massa knew where Hamilton was before he chose to turn across him.”

Herbert said Massa’s decision to ‘open the door’ for Hamilton, before taking his normal racing line for the corner, also influenced their decision:

“Massa knew where Hamilton was, he opened the door for him by moving wide, and after doing that he still swept across and did not give Hamilton room.

“That’s why the decision was made to punish him with a drive-through penalty.”

Massa disputed his penalty, saying: “I simply stayed on the ideal line, braking on the limit and staying on the part of the track that was rubbered-in. What else could I do?”

Hertbert, who made the decision with FIA stewards Gert Ennser and Vincenzo Spanno, said: “I know Massa was upset by our decision, but I believe we made the right call.”

He added Hamilton had not disputed his grid penalty for going too quickly under yellow flags during Friday’s first practice session: “He held his hands up and admitted that he had made a mistake.”

2011 Indian Grand Prix

Browse all 2011 Indian Grand Prix articles

Image ?? Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo

158 comments on “Herbert explains Massa’s penalty: “He knew where Hamilton was””

Jump to comment page: 1 2 3
  1. I think I agree with Herbert in this instance. However, I say this alot, but the phrase ‘racing incident’ seems to have lost it’s meaning. By which I mean that if an incident’s blame is apportioned 55:45 to Driver A, Driver A will now get a penalty, but not so many years ago it wouldn’t have been given a second mention.

    I don’t have exact stats but it seems to me that nowadays we have less collisions and yet more penalties than years gone by. That doesn’t sit right with me.

    1. I agree with Herbert too. But when you talk about racing incidents, are you saying you thought this was a racing incident? That, to me, is where two drivers make honest mistakes or misjudgements that result in a collision. In this instance it was one driver deliberately choosing to cause a collision, in the belief that he could get away with it, and not caring about potential injury or disruption to the race.

      But perhaps it would help if the meaning of ‘racing incident’ was clarified, because I’m not sure that I do understand what it means.

      1. @f1antics Generally people say “racing incident” when they feel neither driver was to blame, or perhaps both equally to blame.

        Which I don’t think was the case here, for pretty much the same reasons Herbert gave, as I’ve commented on earlier articles.

        1. Keith – I beg to disagree. Honestly, I’m a little surprised that Herbert, being a driver himself came up to this conclusion. Maybe, his time away from F1 and into gentleman sport car racing has drawn a different picture. I’m NOT a Massa fan – I’m a Lewis fan, but this incident was due to Lewis being a bit too hopeful.
          As a driver, when your in front you HAVE to take the racing line in. Even though Massa saw Hamilton, he has to assume that Lewis will back out because there is NO way Lewis can go through the corner as quick as Massa (given the tighter line and less grip). He has to back out, no choice. I think Lewis over committed and wasn’t able to back out.
          I wouldn’t penalize anybody for this. Its racing :) 55-45 blame, NOT a penalty.

          Just one drivers opinion…

          1. I think this is just a completely erroneous concept of ‘being in front’. Massa wasn’t in front because when he turned into the corner, there was a car there. The facts are uncontested even by Massa.

            1. He moved to the right, allowing space (something he hadn’t done the previous lap).
            2. He knew Hamilton was there and when the latter came alongside, almost level, he saw him again.
            3. He drove into the McLaren despite the fact there was track there for him to use that would have meant avoiding the collision.

            It’s irrelevant why Massa chose to crash, the fact is he did choose to do so. That’s all obvious, admitted by himself, hence the penalty fo causing an avoidable collision. And as numerous people have pointed out, we have seen plenty of examples recently (previous race) and in the past of drivers going through a series of corners side-by-side. That’s the real beauty of the sport. Not someone like Massa deciding to crash because he can’t accept being passed (by Hamilton). Massa’s decision was anti-racing, not pro-racing.

          2. But if you want a guess as to why Massa chose to crash, I think he risked any damage to his own car, which was indeed less, in the belief that Hamilton would almost certainly pick up the penalty. I actually find it fairly staggering that he can basically admit to causing a crash because he felt he had the right to the ‘ideal racing line’ and disagree with the penalty. Is there any other example of a driver admitting to causing a crash, being penalized, and continuing to argue he was right? Isn’t this contempt? Given the potential seriousness of this friction between the two drivers, my own view is that FIA should take this up with Massa before he does something even more reckless because clearly he’s neither learned nor apparently willing to cede minimally to Hamilton in the future.

          3. Lewis will back out

            Especially as Lewis did back off, just not enough.

        2. I politely disagree.
          Why would Massa ruin his race intentionally by turning into Hamilton, knowing where he was, if Herbert is right?
          What are the rules in the civil world, on the road? If you hit someone from behind, who gets the ticket?

          Remember Hamilton and Webber in Singapore last year? Similar incident, no drive-trough.

          The real problem is with inconsistent decisions – every time there are different people judging, hence a different decisions.

          1. It’s difficult to compare the outcome of Hamilton/Massa with Webber/Hamilton as Hamilton was forced to retire in Singapore and so no drive through could be applied.

            It is important to note that Webber did not get a drive through, and was in the same position as Hamilton in India.

          2. Why would Massa ruin his race intentionally by turning into Hamilton, knowing where he was, if Herbert is right?

            Senna used to. Not saying it’s right or wrong by that, but that’s the way he was.

          3. @Chalky, you can’t relate Senna to Massa’s behaviour here.

            Senna was more cunning than that – he used to position his car in such a way that he gave his opponent a choice, crash into him or yield. He knew that if they chose to crash, then next time the guy would think twice.

            Massa wouldn’t use the same method with Hamilton, firstly because they have a history of crashing already, and secondly because it was a sudden chop rather than clever positioning.

          4. What are the rules in the civil world, on the road? If you hit someone from behind, who gets the ticket?

            If you hit someone by turning into them, you are to blame. Especially when you admit you knew he was there and knew you would collide.

        3. keith,

          take a long look at the corner. and the 2nd part of the corner after it.

          now tell me how on earth where lewis was, was he hoping to make the 2nd part of the sequence of bends….? he wasnt, he was on the wrong line to have a chance of getting round.

          Therefore it was a bundled, misjudged attempt to pass. Admitted by lewis himself by saying he backed out of it. my understanding of backing out of something generally means they got it wrong.

          like i said earlier if someone tried that move into 130R you would be saying ‘thats madness’ and this is no different.

          Im afraid to many people are acting like the corner is a hairpin, its not it was a fast 4th or 5th gear bend that had one racing line. One driver was on that racing line and sadly for lewis it certainly wasnt him.

          i think there is a fair few short sighted views on this incident and they actually not looking at the track. and also not looking at other attempts to pass in that bend(all by lewis and all failed due the other driver taking the only line possible…which says it all).

          its not anti lewis. it just wasnt massa error, this time. in the pass massa has got it wrong, well wrong. but not here.

          1. how on earth where lewis was, was he hoping to make the 2nd part of the sequence of bends

            Looked fine to me, I think you’re exaggerating how quickly Hamilton was going into the corner. It’s not as if Hamilton ran wide and into the side of Massa – Hamilton was right over on the left when Massa hit him.

            if someone tried that move into 130R you would be saying ‘thats madness’

            No I wouldn’t. As I said in reply to a comment on a different article I don’t agree with all this ‘that’s a single-file corner, you can’t overtake there’ tosh. Anyone can pass into any corner given the right circumstances.

          2. yes they can pass on any corner, if they get it 100% right or head into the corner in the lead.

            and you cant say he did. cos he clearly didnt, he failed on all basis for that. Unless im watching a different race

            and again your not looking at the corner at all, and that is vital. otherwise anyone could just blindly throw their car up the inside anywhere. To say its not important about the corner is very short sighted. If michael had kept his toe in when fernando was just ahead but on the racing line into 130R in 2005 he would of rightly been penalised.

            without stating the obvious but the pass wasnt on. the only way it was ever likely to happen was if massa got fully out the way and left the circuit doing so. and as he was leading and on the racing line, and the only sensible line for a fast corner such as that so why would he jump out the way?

            off course massa was to the left, he was taking the left hand bend…. lewis had failed the move. infact was pulling out cos he had got it wrong. It was misfortunate but it was poorly judged pass that made the incident happen. Massa didnt weave and didnt force anyone off the circuit. he went into the bend CLEARLY ahead and on his racing line. its pretty basic stuff.

            cos on this basis are we saying michael was at fault 1995 at silverstone???

            Prost at suzuka 90?

            Clearly they were not.

            Tho its getting pretty old to waste so much time on a racing incident of two drivers hell bent on getting in each others way. and frankly both driving very averagely.

          3. ever heard the phrase block passing? you should watch more motorcycle racing, its common place there.

            You arrive into a corner fast up the inside, basically stop on the line, making the other person have to break, turn, and squirt.

          4. I agree with everything you’ve said @Q85. Very well put. This was an eccentric decision by the stewards.

          5. @keith

            There is no way Lewis could have entered that corner at the same speed as Massa. Hence, it was inevitable that Massa would be ahead of at entry.

            Thats the point of the racing line right: Longest curve and hence highest speed. Lewis knew this, and started backing out.

            In my mind, 100% no way Lewis could have reasonably thought that he could have overtaken Massa before the corner. Literally, the only way he could have pulled a move like this off is is he managed to get ahead of Massa, turn in earlier and park his car on the racing line. Given that its a 4th/5th gear corner thats not possible. At a hairpin it is, because you have lots to gain in the braking zone.

            To make this work, he would have had to get ahead of Massa before the corner turn in point. Massa presumed Lewis would back off, in part- that presumption was right, but Lewis messed up and didn’t pull out completely.

            For all the people who are saying that Massa knew Lewis was there and choose to turn into him. ABSOLUTELY, every race car driver will turn in at that point with the presumption that the driver on the inside, who isnt past them, will back out. Its just physics. Better line, faster speed.

      2. As you say, to clarify, my understanding of ‘racing incident’ is a case in which an accident occurs but it’s just one of those things, it wasn’t because Driver A deliberately took out Driver B or vice versa. It is just a happening that occurs because two (or more) drivers are racing hard and make contact without intent.

        In this instance I do think Massa was due a penalty, but only because of the precedent that has been set with over-zealous stewarding. I’m just saying that in general, it’s a shame that everything is penalised as it is.

        1. I think in this instance it was Lewis who was doing the Ayrton impersonation. He placed his car in such a way that Felipe could cede the position or crash.
          We all saw Felipe’s decision.
          A game of chicken that went wrong, so for me a racing incident.
          I am not a fan of either driver.

          1. I don’t agree, for me it’s like Kamui and Lewis at Spa.

            One one driver occupies a space, another driver can’t also occupy it. Massa tried it, and we all saw the consequences.

            I think Massa did deserve a penalty.

            There’s racing incident. And then there’s just plain stupid.

          2. “One one driver occupies a space, another driver can’t also occupy it.”

            Can’t that be said for any crash?

      3. I dont know what u guys opinion. But what i can see is.. Massa looks like purposely cause collision. I watch f1 every race, so many times i saw this kind of overtaking style (massa n hamilton), i can say its a simple but very good overtaking if hamilton can get through. For my opinion here, massa very unprofessional in this situation. He can see hamilton front wheel n front wing clearly beside him, he should try to avoid collision while try his best to defence his position from hamilton. Look at button overtook webber situation, both of them very near to each other, n looks like almost collide but they did not, bcoz they drive in very professional way. 2008 massa is very good driver but now i have to admit his performance very poor and unprofessional. So massa “I know u dislike hamilton, but dont show ur mad situation in the race!!!!” That cause yourself a trouble and ferrari team will think twice to sign ur next contract or not. Ferrari is well known to be very professional team, but u spoilt their name because u r “too following ur heart feeling when u mad!!”.

      4. Hey what i see, at the corner where massa n hamilton collided, the track is wide enough to avoid collision. When u r racing alone yes 100% u will simply follow the racing line to cut a corner. But when in overtaking situation it would be different. Massa cearly know hamilton alongside him. A good driver will not necessarily follow the racing line at corner when he know there’s another driver beside him. He should try his best to avoid collision n defences his position in professional way. Massa style is very unprofessional. Its happen a lot to other f1 driver where overtaking happened at corner, they try to avoid collision, racing line is not a reason to blame hamilton here. To me massa is on fault. He should grow up in mind. Hamilton now have change a lot, he grow up, unlike b4 where he always criticise by many. But now he change.

      5. Drivers look at these things 100% differently than commentators who havent race..

        David Coulthard’s comments:

        “This won’t be a fashionable view for British fans but, for me, their collision on lap 24 was a racing incident at best,” he said. “At worst I felt Lewis was more to blame. I simply can’t understand how Felipe could have been deemed the guilty party. As drivers we are always taught that the car behind is responsible so to my mind the stewards misinterpreted what happened.

        “I don’t want to beat up on Lewis. Far from it. I supported him in similar circumstances after Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi clipped the back of him at Spa. And after everything that has gone on over the past weeks and months he deserves a break. But in this instance I feel he was definitely the guiltier party. “

    2. I 100% agree.. there’s a Penalty for everything these days.. and F1 is the only Motorsport in the world that abuses them to this extent

      They need to return the penalty to where it’s only necessary.. It’s got to the point where everytime someone crashes, someone gets a penalty. I hate it

      1. The saddest thing about it is @aus_steve, that the drivers themselves are the ones asking for more punishments to correct behaviour!

      2. I used to think that too.

        But I’m slowly starting to take the side of types like Jackie Stewart who are pushing to make any kind of contact, deliberate or mistaken, totally unacceptable. Therefore there should be a penalty for all contact resulting from overtaking or blocking.

        There is always the choice to back off or open the door. Drivers ignore that choice nowadays and attach more importance to “Who has the right” than safety and common sense. They willingly put themselves in situations where they 100% know they are going to crash and that’s just nonsense.

        There is no such thing as a “blameless” racing incident. If 2 drivers colide, they are at necessarily at fault (either one or both of them) because their job is to drive the car on the track and they failed to do that..

        1. I don’t think you have ever raced. It doesn’t work like that..

          You would never be able to pull off an overtake move if you don’t risk something. Racing wouldn’t be racing at all.

          1. I’m advocating 0 risk. I’m talking about situations where you know 100% that it’s gonna go wrong. Like Massa did when he turned in on Hamilton in India.

            Felipe was thinking Hamilton was not far enough alongside, probably justifiably, so he thought he had “the right” to turn in. …BUT why turn in when you know you’re gonna crash? It’s nonsense.

            My issue is with incidents like this one where it is 100% garanteed they will crash. No other outcome was possible with the cars in those positions.

          2. Sorry I meant I’m NOT advocating…

          3. @piffles You don’t necessarily know you’re going to crash. This is why it’s racing is still a sport of guts to a large degree. Massa was banking on Hamilton backing out, but Hamilton didn’t. You asses that risk with racing another driver side by side and entering a corner. Though I agree with Herbert that Massa was to blame for the accident, I also grant Massa the fact that he was in a high pressure situation to make a judgement call and he made the wrong call. If you know 100% things will go wrong, then there IS 0 risk. In this and many other passing situations, a driver will almost never 100% know because of the human and random element of racing.

          4. @piffles. I partly agree with Joey-Poey. A driver never knows 100% whether a move will come off. That was meant to be my point. Almost every move (other than down a straight) has risk involved, to varying degrees. MOST of the time a good move is one where you put your car in a position where your letting the other driver know, ‘Hey, I’m going for this, if you want to stop it we’ll both be in the barrier’. 9 times out of 10 the other guy will back off and you’ll make the move.
            NO driver wants to end up picking up parts of his/her car. Unless your after something sinister, which is very rare and very obvious.
            Trust me, when your in a race car, 150+mph, with all the vibrations, sounds, smell, helmet, low visibility, adrenaline –your not going to calculate risk. If its an opening, you go for it. The second you stop going for it, your not a race driver anymore. Anyone who’s sat behind a wheel will agree with that last sentence of mine. You don’t think, you just go.
            According to me, Hamilton went when he was not supposed to. Massa assumed Hamilton will back off (given that he had the racing line) but Hamilton was too committed. Thats it, racing incident.
            Danger is part of the sport. You can’t be doing 200mph AND be competitive without the danger aspect. If you remove the danger, hence the risk, it isn’t a sport anymore.

          5. @Joey-Poey
            I really don’t think Massa calculates there won’t be a collision in such cases. He just slams the door and hopes for the best (for himself). It’s a career trait.

          6. I don’t get the automatic association people always do between risk / sport / danger.

            Risk is the basis of all sport: being on the absolute limit while risking going over it and losing everything (spinning, running off the track, wearing your tyres etc.)
            Danger is an unfortunate consequence of going over the limit that exists particularly in motorsport. If we could eliminate danger and the possibility of people getting hurt, which we’ve been striving to achieve forever, motor racing would be much better off.
            Because of this danger we have in motorsports, there is debate on whether it’s necessary to make some compromises on the sporting aspect in certain situations, and overtaking is one of them, to ensure some kind of reasonable safety.

            Side A)
            Older drivers (like Jackie) keep droning on about the fact that, when they raced, because of the danger of serious injury with car to car contact, they would leave a little extra space, back off a little sooner if they weren’t sure the other driver had seen them, even though, in pure competitive terms, they would have gone for the gap or shut the door.

            Side B)
            Don’t consider the danger element and just run balls out in all situations as competition dictates (Senna’s famous “go for a gap” interview with Jackie)

            I think, the numerous penalties are the FIA trying to make the drivers more aware of side A. The mentality is, the drivers should race but, when it comes to it, should always find a way of avoiding contact, even if it means going against competitive instincts. An accident cannot be left just as a “racing incident”. The drivers have to be made to think about how it could have been avoided.

            That’s the debate. As I said, I used to be firmly on side B but am, with recent events, starting to better understand Side A.

          7. @Piffles

            Most of the high risk incidents seen recently in F1 seem to have been due to mechanical failure in high speed corners, broken car parts striking other cars/drivers, high-speed braking misjudgments (e.g. Schumacher, Webber) that have resulted in cars going airborne, or multiple crashes that have also led to the same. None of these as far as I can remember involved ‘car-to-car’ contact of the kind involving Ham and Massa, for example, and implied by Stewart as I understand it. Some of Schumacher’s moves – e.g. on Barrichello last year, maybe on Ham this year at Monza – have looked dangerous but again they don’t seem to be covered by the FIA crack downs, and indeed seem to have met with a good deal of lenience from FIA.

            So either the stricter rules are failing to address the real risk situations and are largely ineffective/irrelevant, or they are actually intended to curb something else. My own theory is that they stem from 2007 and especially 2008 and FIA’s Moseley-Donnelly inspired ‘constraints’ on McLaren/Hamilton. These set an almost vindictive precedent from FIA, curbing precisely the kind of driving popular among fans globally. Many of the later rule clarifications/modifications since 2009 onwards have been related to incidents involving the latter driver too. In some ways the new structure is clearly intended to be ‘fairer’ due to the perception among many that one driver/team was being persecuted. But it remains far from ideal and has included some bad decisions I think.

            My own view is that some of the changes are good, for example the intention of penalizing a driver for an avoidable ‘minor’ collision that harms the other driver’s race. But over all many of the decisions and mandates strike me as lame, discouraging racing and favouring drivers with poor/aggressive defensive skills. The decisions at India seemed better, though – especially the Massa decision, which basically told him either to defend better (not leave a gap) or race better (drive side-by-side and look ton regain the advantage).

          8. I’m talking about situations where you know 100% that it’s gonna go wrong. Like Massa did when he turned in on Hamilton in India.

            He probably expected Hamilton to back out…

    3. Just to elaborate further on the topic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9p9rBiUhOEg
      Did HAM get a penalty? Similar situation? I’m sure you will say no. The fact is that HAM retired, WEB continued, so no actions taken based on output, not the intent. In this case, there was no intent – just like as in India.

      But at least someone dares to tell why. That doesn’t mean that I will agree, but it’s something …
      BTW, what happened to “Whoever wants to overtake, he has to make it clean” – or just presume you’re faster?

      1. Looking at that Singapore 2010 incident: look how much room Hamilton leaves on the inside of that turn: there was space for a car to straddle the kerb and get up the inside.

        1. It was still close, and without onboard of Webber it is hard to judge, but at least he left some space.

      2. webber didn’t back out.. he squeezed hamilton

    4. I agree that comings together which I think would have been classed as a racing incident are now more likely to result in a penalty.

      Before hearing what Herbert had to say I thought one of the main reasons for the penalty would have been the fact Hamilton’s car was damaged and he had to pit which dropped him down the field.

      This was also why I think Hamilton was penalised for his coming together with Massa in Singapore, because he gave Massa a puncture which ruined his race.

      If in either case, no damage had been done to the other drivers race then I think it would have been more likely for them to classed as racing incidents and no penalty issued.

      1. I see what you’re saying, but regarding your final paragraph, I feel that ‘racing incident’ is a term assigned to the cause rather than the outcome, and so whether either car is damaged should be irrelevant.

        As I say, I understand where you are coming from though, and the impact on another drivers race should have a bearing on any penalty applied.

    5. This is the worst reasoning to make that kind of decision ever. It is simply speculation and without any facts. Here’s a great picture that shows who was a head and in my opinion who had the “right of way”.

        1. You do realise he’d already started backing out by that point as a result of Massa moving across regardless?

          1. If hamilton’s “move” had stuck he wouldn’t be rubbing Massa’s rear tire. Massa expected hamilton to “yield” because he has no grip on that side of the track. That’s why the “door was left open” according to some. He went to were the grip is, which is the racing line when hamilton crashed into him.

          2. He wouldn’t have been rubbing his back tyre had Massa left him room then not moved across on him, forcing Hamilton to get out as best he could. Hamilton went to the inside, Massa let him there, so he has to deal with the non-ideal less grippy line- that’s what happens in an overtake, you are forced into a situation that is not ideal and you cope with it rather than crash into the other driver.

        2. That picture is not relivent , hamilton was well alongside befor the corner and at the braking point just he had the brains of if two cars need to go round this corner side by side we will have to go a little slower, massa obviously was the one that just expected hamilton to yeild which tbh massa left the door open up to the corner so should never of slammed it shut. that pic just shows hamilton like most of us that are saine new what massa was about to do so tried to avoid him.

          1. i bet you a million to 1 that if you had the telematery for this pic ham is on the brakes and massa is not, there is only one person in this pic that had knowere to go and no way of avoiding the accident and thats massa

        3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6RS5lchZXo

          Look at the video as it moves from 2 to 3 seconds Hamilton is more than 50% up the side of Massa. If the overtaker is more than half way up the inside then the driver being passed should yield not try to chop the front off the other car unless he can get around the corner leaving room for the other car. As at 2-3 seconds Massa starts to move across – Hamilton starts to brake seeing a collision about to happen. Meaning Massa caused a avoidable accident.

          In Singapore Hamilton locked up his left front & slide into the rear Tyre of Massa causing the puncture. A avoidable accident & ever so more of a “racing incident” than this one.

          1. Good analysis. I think regardless of how avoidable it is, if there is a clear culprit and the collision actually damages the other driver then a penalty is fair, if only to appease the damaged, innocent driver.

  2. If it wasn’t Hamilton, Massa wouldn’t have turned in imo.

    I liked Justin Wilson’s view on the incident.
    He shouldn’t have turned in so fast!

    1. @solidg I also thought Wilson’s view (quoted here) was very perceptive.

    2. Turning in earlier would’ve been even more dangerous, you can’t just close someone off on a straight when you’re alongside!

      He knew he had the advantage of braking later with the clean line, so had to brake as late as he could whilst still being able to make the next sequence of corners, as it’s all one steering movement.

      1. “earlier and gradually”, that is no exactly the same as close some one off…

        1. @De Regardless, if you start turning towards another car on a straight (as it would have been if he turned any earlier), it would not be a good look.

          The fact that he turned in as late as he did indicated that he wanted to give as much room to Hamilton as he thought he needed, considering Massa could brake much later.

  3. From The National article:

    If Massa had not gone wide – that would have been a different scenario altogether. If there had been contact then, the blame would have been Hamilton’s.

    So the primary reason for the penalty was that Felipe went wide – not because he saw Hamilton in his mirrors?

    P.S. Props to Herbert for explaining this (I really wish all stewards would do this!)

    1. P.S. Props to Herbert for explaining this (I really wish all stewards would do this!)

      Hear, hear!

    2. I think that reasoning is quite ridiculous, as of course Massa would want to get the clean line. Hamilton also follows him towards the right hand side of the track.

      1. @ed24f1

        of course Massa would want to get the clean line

        He didn’t on the previous lap (as I mentioned here). He stayed left to keep Hamilton getting a run down the inside.

        1. @KeithCollantine Yes, but once Hamilton was on his left, of course he was going to move for the racing line rather than just being in no man’s land in the middle of the track.

          1. What are you talking about? Massa moved for the racing line way before the corner/braking zone, that is why Hamilton was able to get on his side. Just watch the video, as Wilson said, Masse left the door open…

            Massa then turned in as if nobody was there, in fact what is indeed ridiculous is Massa’s move, pretty much remind me of any first time Gokart driver.

        2. My God, so many people arguing with the umpire, if Massa wanted to defend he should have taken a look at how MSC did it a couple of races ago, Hamilton never got alongside the slower Merc, when eventually he did MSC had to concede.Massa thinks that being Brazillian he can be Ayrton but he is not, he should have been penalised much earlier in the season, after all to collide once is an accident, to collide twice is careless to collide thrice is something else.

      2. But the point here is @ed24f1, that Massa did not move to the clean line or racing line.
        The point where Massa notices Hamilton is getting next to him, moves to the right to defend his place and then moves into the corner where he knew Hamilton was there as well, is what got him a penalty.

        1. I’m becoming an advocate of playing the advantage rule like in football. If there is contact and it doesn’t affect either driver then play on. If a driver is penalised (takes a reasonable amount of damage) then it is reasonable that the instigator is punished, otherwise they’ve gained an advantage themselves.

          1. @matt90 i totally agree. Outcome has to be more important than intent. Unless of course someone looses his mind – then hè should be punished regardless outcome.

  4. Nice that we get an explanation as to why this conclusion was reached, it should be done by the FIA stewards ofcourse and not the ex-driver who was there for that race, but bravo to Herbert to actually wanting to explain it.

  5. It is interesting that the entire F1 following seems to suffer selective amnesia when it involves a certain driver.

    1. I don’t see the connection here – no-one’s accusing Massa or Hamilton of making two moves.

      1. Agreed – I don’t see what point @Bono is trying to make. Did you feel Massa was weaving? I certainly didn’t.

      2. That is true but the article isn’t only about that.

        1. So @bono, you admit the main point of that article (about weaving) was not what you had in mind with posting that link, please tell us what part of the article you were referring to then.

          1. My view is pretty simple, there should be respect, always and everywhere.
            Cars do not disappear in thin air, ever, he had him by his side for half of the straight, almost Fwheel to Fwheel.
            There was a fantastic duel in Korea between LH and MW that showed us that with the necessary respect we can have very good racing.

            BTW, the autosport article starts with article 16.1. of the SCode which is very informative.

          2. entire F1 following

            Dunno bout you but I see a very multi sided argument.

            I’m confused

            suffer selective amnesia when it involves a certain driver.

            I could have sworn that’s referring to Hamilton. But then

            Cars do not disappear in thin air, ever, he had him by his side for half of the straight,

            You’re criticizing Massa.

            My view is pretty simple, there should be respect, always and everywhere.

            I agree, but you did start this thread by accusing me, (being a follower) of having a selective memory………

  6. Good to see Herbert gives at least a bit more information to inform us on why it was a penalty. He is right off course, and Brundle should realise that as well, not to mention Massa himself should.

    1. It’s not just Brundle who thought the penalty was incorrect, as per his column.

      I wrote this column on the plane back from Delhi and around me were drivers and team principals, along with other people I respect, and nobody can understand the Massa drive-through penalty.

      1. That is what Brundle writes, yes. But until these other people (For all we know he might have been in a plane full of Ferrari team members!) tell the world they do not agree, I will not say they should change their mind about it @ed24f1

        On the other hand, I also saw many people including drivers, saying how they did agree with it, and that was even before Herbert gave us a bit more information on the reasoning.

        1. Well of course they aren’t going to make a public comment about it. I think Brundle’s about as trustworthy as journalists get, so I think we can take his word for it. Furthermore, he’s not stupid, he wouldn’t say that if he was sitting next to Domenicali and Fry.

          Of course everyone has different views, but I don’t think you should impose your view on others like that, in that saying what others should think.

          1. “I think Brundle’s about as trustworthy as journalists get, so I think we can take his word for it.”

            I like Brundle, but himself and Coulthard are always very quick to blame Hamilton for things. Like telling the public that Massa’s DNF was due to Hamilton, before seeing the footage of Massa ploughing over the kerb, again.

          2. @ed24f1, I think you are going quite a bit over the top there when you say

            Of course everyone has different views, but I don’t think you should impose your view on others like that, in that saying what others should think.

            I did not impose my view on anyone there, unless you mean I want people to respect what the stewards decide and why they decide to do so, if sufficiently explained.

            Herbert has now explained that reasoning, I think Brundle should change his mind. I will not start to discuss other people Brundle is reffering to.
            I did not say he was in the plane with anyone from Ferrari, just that we cannot know who he drew in for his support. And I countered that claim with pointing out there are other respected people who disagree with Brundle’s view to show its not as clear cut as Brundle or you in your post present.

          3. Brundle also implied that the corner was 180 mph, so I’m not as sure about his journalistic integrity as you.

  7. I agree with Herbert.

    I just want to ask fellow Fanatic,we see that each race he nearly have different driver’s representative,will it be a good idea that we only have 2-3 only who will run the whole season instead of different people in different time? So that the result can be consistent?

    1. In football, there are a number of referees that officiate different teams/games. This is, I believe, to average out any bias they may have towards any particular team from previous encounters or just in built allegiances – I guess its to give a consistency overall throughout an entire season – a kind of statistical long-term strategy.

      For the same reason while it initially seems completely sensible to have the same 2-3 guys every race, it also could lead to a individuals starting to let their bias (perhaps without even realising it) get in the way of their judgement for en entire season. Who would these three drivers be? If one of them is an ex-driver then they will not be completely impartial. At present this is also kind of ironed out over the season, although to look at some individual comparisons would suggest things are not working very well.

      In summary, there is no easy answer to this one. The current system is certainly better than a few years back, but some incidents will always defy objective assessment. Of course, another option is to have no stewards at all – that would definitely remove any bias but is obviously ridiculous!

      1. @john-h, I think the system there is now also has a sort of rotation schedule, we have seen several drivers return to the the role as steward. I recall Mansell saying that he learned a lot from the first time and was able to do a better job the 2nd time.

        1. @bosyber Indeed. Perhaps consistency in the steward choices by the FIA will in time lead to consistency in the stewarding itself.

          We change the rules themselves every year so perhaps we should stick with the current system for a bit! Would make a refreshing change.

          1. @john-h, I am a bit worried that it sounds too sensible for the FIA and F1. Then again, maybe that was in the past; while Todt has been a bit disappointing this year, lack of common sense hasn’t really been the problem with his tenure at FIA.

  8. Massa’s comments:

    “My view is that I braked later than him, I was in front, I was on the grippy area as well and then I started to turn. And I didn’t see him on the left. So he was behind.”

    I guess it boils down to whether Massa not seeing him before braking and Massa not seeing him after the two braked are the same thing (or whether Massa is lying but I’m willing to give him the benefit of doubt).

    I still believe Massa should have had more respect and left some room, but racing incident would have also been a fair reaction by the stewards perhaps. Tough one.

  9. I’m very surprised at Herebert’s explanation, maybe they rather over analysed this one. What surprises me the most is how Coulthard and Brundle both had the opposite view, how is it possible for such experienced drivers to give the total opposite opinion? This is why there will never be any consistency in the penalties.

    I thought we had got to the point now where we are saying if the car in front is ahead and on the racing line, the car from behind has to yield until at least being level or ahead. Surely if you are the car behind, it is your responsibility to make sure the move is acievable – not just have blind faith in hoping the guy in front will just give up and let you go?

    1. Hebert and other stewards clearly had more information and camera angles available to them as stated in his article unlike DC and MB, not too difficult to understand why…

    2. how is it possible for such experienced drivers to give the total opposite opinion?

      Because Herbert had more data available to come to a decision.Brundle / Coulthard had on the same view as the rest of the TV viewing public.

      At the time I had a quick glance from my cooking of a Sunday Roast. I did my very best Mr Bean impression with Rowan and assumed that Lewis was at fault. Only looking at it closer after the race could I see that maybe I jumped too soon with my blame.

      It might seem that the rules in F1 are flexible and are adjusted race by race. Just remember, you can always have one set of rules, but interpreting those rules will always be handled differently by different stewards.
      However, how a driver reacts to a decision against them should not alter. Even if they feel aggrieved they should be professional and accept the decision and move on. Maybe so should we.

      But then what else do we talk about after Vettel wins another race? :D

    3. I think it doesn’t matter if the cars are level or not, if you don’t defend your inside line you have to take the consequence, that is if you let something beside your wheels before going into a corner(front or left doesn’t matter), then clearly you can not turn in as normal anymore, or it will touch your wheels, you don’t want to bet that it will disappear quickly enough. Just leave it some space and see who come out of the corner first.

      Left the door wide open and still have the racing line all to yourself? Wouldn’t that sound great, you might as well get a fastest lap while defending your position.

      1. Ops I meant “front or rear”…

    4. I’m very surprised at Herebert’s explanation, maybe they rather over analysed this one. What surprises me the most is how Coulthard and Brundle both had the opposite view, how is it possible for such experienced drivers to give the total opposite opinion? This is why there will never be any consistency in the penalties.

      Certainly, the stewards, as mentioned, have more video footage, but DC has been in the same situation, hasn’t he?

      Glad that at least someone else has a different opinion. Not that it will resolve the issue with inconsistent penalties, though …
      The same thing is going to be repeated race after race.

      1. In past events they, and by they I mean DC has jumped to Lewis’ defense like a bull to a red rag. Forgive the backwards cliche.

        Maybe they were told off for it?

  10. Hopefully this will be the end of this article. It is clear as day that Massa knew where Hamilton but decided to close in on him and the inevitable happened. I’m glad that the stewards decided to give us an insight into their decision. It certianly helps us fans to understand the decisions they they take.

    This whole Massa/Hamilton saga has gone on for too long its becoming uncomfortable. The two should know that they are both driving fast and a potentially lethal car. I’m sure a lot of people will agree that if this same move involved two different drivers, Massa/button, button/hamilton, vettel/hamilton, etc.. it wouldn’t have ended up this way. clearly the two of them need to show each other respect both on and off track. This whole point of i tried talking to the other but won’t talk to me is very childish. maybe the drivers need to sit the two of them down and get them to sort this out once an for all.

    Massa trying to talk to Hamilton immediately after the race when the adrenaline was pumping was probably not the best move. “don’t confront someone when you are still angry” applies here.

    Overall i think the stewards made the right call and they’ve explained in detail the factors influenced that decision. Its time for everyone to take a piece of wisdom out of that and move on!

  11. Ian (@twister27uk)
    1st November 2011, 14:12

    I have to agree with Herbert too, for me the difference between this incident and others involving Hamilton this year is that he was already alongside and Massa knew so, he didn’t lunge to the inside he was already there, unlike Monaco where he lunged for the inside.

    Massa knew he there but chose to take the normal racing line without consideration of Hamilton being there, I see this no differently than Schumacher and Barrichello at Hungary, Schumacher new Barrichello was there but chose to drive him into the pitwall (nearly!).

    1. ” unlike Monaco where he lunged for the inside.

      Massa knew he there but chose to take the normal racing line without consideration of Hamilton being there”

      Monaco, Massa had 2 cars directly infront of him, so he wouldnt have been braking at the usual point, Hamilton saw an opportunity to dive in, as Schumacher did on Hamilton in the exact same place, Hamilton recognised the move and gave space, they both lived to fight another lap. Massa though, unlike India, dove into a very early apex (check his line vs previous laps and the cars infront), which is why the collision happend. I actually think Massa was more so in the wrong than India.

      1. Ian (@twister27uk)
        1st November 2011, 14:34

        Just watched the Monaco clash and I have to agree Massa turns in 3 or 4 trees earlier than normal, I was using the trees as reference for turn in point.

        1. Correct, when seen from the overhead view it was clearly Massas fault as David Hobbs said on Speedtv after seeing that view of Monaco.

  12. I was baffled by the decision at the time, it was pretty much the definition of a racing incident. Hamilton believed Massa was going to yield but Massa had no intention of doing so. Hamilton didn’t realise in time to back out and they collided. There was no need for the stewards to intervene.

    If Hamilton wanted to make a move cleanly into that corner he needed to be get past Massa under braking but instead he was reliant on Massa yielding the place despite having the racing line and being ahead going into the corner. Massa on the other hand could have defended the inside line much more effectively thus avoiding the move altogether, but instead thought Hamilton would back out after being outbraked by someone on the racing line. Both made calculated risks that turned out to be misguided so they crashed, that’s just the way racing is sometimes.

    1. Absolutely. Each driver thought that the other should (and would IMO) yield. It just comes down to which driver was correct in thinking so…

    2. Nonsense, if you are alongside the other car has to leave you room on the track, just ask Ross Brawn and Schui, or otherwise the only passing would be on the straights.

  13. I still think these interviews the stewards do after incidents for newspapers are not the way forward.

    I think the FIA should produce a clip of the incident, WITH the angles the stewards receive, with one of the stewards talking through their decision. This could then be uploaded to the official Formula One website, through the FIA, with no questions asked.

    It would prevent stewards giving off their individual opinions through newspapers and diluting decisions.

    People want clarity, that’s all.

  14. What a bunch of moaners, u guys are. Enough Said :P

  15. Ahhh, on the topic of trolling… :)

  16. we will never know if Massa turned in on Lewis intentionally, or because he didn’t see him. But either way it was his fault.

    I would compare this to to the overtaking move Webber did on Alonso into eau rouge this year. I think we all agree that that corner is even more challenging than the one in india and the commitment going into it is probably even higher. The driver is busy on his own let alone while being overtaken. Alonso could have easily closed the gap on webber who was creeping alongside as they were entering the corner, but he recognized that Webber was there and was smart enough to give him room and avoid a big accident. if they did crash, I can easily see Alonso claiming that he didnt see him and that he was taking his normal racing line. Many people would agree with him. My point is that if all the drivers closed the gap like massa did in india, we would never see wheel to wheel racing. The great drivers are able to judge these situations better and make compromises.

  17. If you reverse the drivers positions and put LH on the outside of the corner with Massa coming up the inside and the incident played out as it did….who do you think would have got the penalty then?

    I agree totally with Johnny – if Massa knew LH was there or there abouts, he should have left some space.

  18. Massa was ahead of Hamilton at the turn, so don’t expect Massa to yield. Lewis isn’t completely innocent in this scenario.
    Obviously Herbert being an Englishman he wouldn’t give an Englishman a penalty.

    1. I dont think thats fair to say but I think former drivers are afraid to lose some of Hamiltons spirit with so many penalties that were almost all consensual.

    2. @Faraz… this is the most ridiculous point i’ve ever seen on this forum. what has being English got to do with anything. When will people grow up and stop playing the race/favouritism card?

      PS Herbert wasn’t the only steward on that day. Get your facts right!

      1. @faraz

        Lewis was doing what is technically termed ‘raceing’

        more specifically when massa left a gaping hole on the inside between himself and the corner he positiond his car there to force Massa to run wide and thus take the place away from him

        this technical move called ‘passing’ has been known about and used as a raceing tactic for some time now, there are even rumours its been around since the very first race ever

        that is why the first thing raceing drivers are taught about defensive driving is defend the inside line and make your competitor go round the outside

  19. What I saw was Massa always looking at the wrong side of the mirrors. In my opinion its was a racing accident, because usually the faster driver is always expecting the slower driver to yield. It reminds me of the all time greats they were always expecting their opponents to yield. Hamilton had much better traction and was definitely entitled of taking that line despite the odd overtaking place Massa was obviously hoping for Hamilton to back out.

    1. But Hamilton wasn’t the slower driver. A slower driver wouldn’t be attempting to overtake now would he?

  20. with the exception of obvious foul play the way I see it…

    if you go up the ouside into a corner and touch its your own fault

    if you try on the inside and touch it’s probably the other guys fault…the only exception I see to this is if you can’t make the corner your self because its too tight or your going to fast OR there isn’t enough room for you to both make it round in the first place and you run the other guy off the track


    monaco, silvestone, japan, india…all massa’s fault

    spa…kobayashi’s fault

    malaysia…lewis’s fault

    …have I missed any

Jump to comment page: 1 2 3

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.