Hamilton penalty: FIA closes the stable door after the horse has bolted (Video)

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Race control admitted Alonso shouldn't have been penalised at Suzuka in 2005

Five days after the Hamilton penalty controversy the FIA has announced how drivers should behave if they cut a corner and gain an advantage while racing a driver for position. According to Autosport:

Drivers [have been] informed that in the event of a driver cutting a chicane and gaining a position, he not only had to give that place back but should also wait for another corner before he could attempt to retake it.

This is a useful clarification ahead of the Italian Grand Prix, as the first two corners at Monza are chicanes. But it goes against the precedent the FIA set in the Alonso-Klien battle at Suzuka three years ago, which I think proves Hamilton is in the right. Here’s a video that shows why.

The Alonso-Klien incident, Suzuka 2005

The best precedent for the incident between Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen in the closing stages of the Belgian Grand Prix is, in my opinion, Fernando Alonso and Christian Klien’s battle at Suzuka in 2005. Here’s a video that shows everything that happened:

To summarise:

1. Alonso lines up Klien to pass him on the outside of the chicane
2. Alonso fails to make the corner and cuts it, gaining an advantage by passing Klien
3. Alonso allows Klien to re-pass him
4. Alonso passes Klien again at the very next corner

We could quite easily substitute ‘Alonso’ for ‘Hamilton’ and ‘Klien’ for ‘Raikkonen’ in the above and it would suffice for an explanation of what happened at Belgium. But what happened next is what helps us understand why McLaren managed the Hamilton incident as they did, and gives me cause to think he is in the right:

5. Alonso catches Michael Schumacher but is informed by race control he must let Klien pass again
6. Alonso lets Klien pass him again
7. Race control cancel the instruction to Alonso to let Klien pass – but it is too late, because he already has.

Point seven is crucial. Race control decided Alonso did not need to let Klien pass after all. Why they did this I cannot say but presumably they decided Alonso’s original re-pass on Klien – which was so much like Hamilton’s pass on Raikkonen – was fair.

And presumably the stewards were happy as well, as Alonso did not get a penalty after the race.

Why McLaren cleared the move with race control

I think the fact of the race stewards changing their mind about the Alonso penalty is sometimes overlooked because Suzuka ’05 was, by any standards, an absolutely stunning Grand Prix, better remembered for Alonso’s round-the-outside pass on Schumacher at 130R or Raikkonen passing Giancarlo Fisichella on the final lap to win.

This was exactly the kind of thrilling racing Spa served up last weekend – only this time the stewards got involved, contradicting the precedent they set three years ago.

At Spa, McLaren twice asked race control (Charlie Whiting) whether Hamilton had complied by the rules. Whiting twice replied that Hamilton had. Looking back at the Autosport report from after the Suzuka race it’s clear why McLaren were so keen to ensure the move was legitimate:

A message had appeared on Renault’s pitlane screen from race director Charlie Whiting to the effect that Alonso must surrender his place to Klien – again. Alonso was three seconds down the road down the road from the Red Bull by this time, so far from trying to pass Schuey, he instead had to wait for Christian and let him by. The team has protested that Alonso had already surrendered the place – and back came the message cancelling the previous instruction, saying it was okay for him to stay ahead. By which time he’d allowed Klien past…So Alonso had to repass again, going into lap 13. Autosport October 13, 2005

The words speak for themselves. The stewards were so inconsistent with their penalty for a similar incident at Suzuka three years ago that McLaren wanted to make utterly certain they would not get caught out. They did everything they could and were prepared to cede the lead back to Raikkonen, but race control never instructed them to.

Read more about the 2005 Japanese Grand Prix

Appeal date set

Max Mosley today gave a typically condescending retort to the suggestion that decisions such as those against Hamilton give the impression the FIA is biased in Ferrari’s favour:

I think it’s a reflection, and I’m sorry to say this, of the stupidity of the people who say it because they haven’t really thought the thing through and put themselves in the position of the people who have to take these very difficult decisions.

I’m not saying the FIA is biased in favour of Ferrari. But, Mr Mosley, I’ve thought this case through, I’ve put myself in the position of the stewards and I’ve looked at the regulations and their past decisions.

Unless, since Suzuka ’05, the FIA has put out some other clarification of how drivers should handle this sort of incident, I cannot see how Hamilton is guilty in light of the facts. (Do you know of any such changes? If so please post details below).

The World Motor Sports Council will render a decision on Monday 22nd of September.

Loads of other F1 bloggers have written about the penalty. These observations and reactions illustrate the mixed views on the penalty. Here are a few choice articles:

The comments below have been split across multiple pages. If you’ve having trouble viewing the pages click here to view all comments.

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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85 comments on “Hamilton penalty: FIA closes the stable door after the horse has bolted (Video)”

  1. Hamilton is not in the right, cheating is cheating, there is no ‘right’ side to it. He should have waited and he never truly relinquished the advantage as the ferrari is faster on the straight anyway.

  2. I think the reaction of the other drivers has been interesting. Trulli, especially Bourdais and rather strangely one ‘unnamed’ driver on the BBC.

  3. Amy, by your logic, in the video I’ve posted, Alonso “never truly relinquished the advantage” on the straight either – and race control (eventually) decided he shouldn’t have been punished. So why should Hamilton?

  4. Of course, the stewards could have said this in their judgement. Or the FIA could have said this after the judgement was released, a week ago. Rather than let the world talk about it for days on the internet and only bother to clarify it when the drivers themselves ask what is required. It only makes it look like it took their combined brain power a week to find a justification for giving Hamilton a penalty.

    “Cheating” is the kind of inflammatory word that helps noone and does not allow for sensible discussion. Cheating would have been not bothering to try to pass Raikkonen but simply driving across the chicane and staying ahead and not even bothering to cede the place back without being told to. Hamilton tried to do the right thing – he just didn’t do it correctly, in the eyes of the stewards. To call it cheating is over-egging it.

  5. Well Kieth, rules do change and I guess it also depends on the circumstances, what they have now said about the corner thing cements the fact hamilton did not fully relinquish the advantage. If it was Monaco or somewhere similar would would have happened to hamilton had he tried the same thing, BANG!!! You cannot just cut corners because it is more convinient.

  6. Amy – are you saying that Hamilton should be punished by a rule the FIA changed five days afterwards? Or do you know of an earlier occasion when they announced they had changed the rule?

  7. Here’s how I see it. If practically all the other drivers on the grid think Hamilton was in the wrong, then he was more than likely in the wrong. I would have thought they would know.

  8. Kieth, yes, I think he should have been punished anyway, cut the corner, gained an advantage, did not properly relinquish it. What happened with Alonso is not important for Hamilton’s decision simply because it was a different situation, different stuards, etc. You cannot compare 2 incidents where the same rule was broken from different years and different situations because it always amounts in a different result.

  9. Amy – I don’t see how the two situation are so different – as I wrote above they’re extremely similar. What do you think makes them so different?

    As for comparing different years, it’s not as if we’re comparing today with 1950, this was less than three years ago and the rules on racing have hardly changed at all since then.

  10. “Kieth, yes, I think he should have been punished anyway, cut the corner, gained an advantage, did not properly relinquish it. What happened with Alonso is not important for Hamilton’s decision simply because it was a different situation, different stuards, etc. You cannot compare 2 incidents where the same rule was broken from different years and different situations because it always amounts in a different result.”

    This is the problem F1 has – no consistency. Different stewards + different drivers + different year = different penalties – then you decide the rules after. It’s not helpful.

  11. my point exactly robert, no consistency which is why the 2 incidents cannot be compared due to the lack of inconsistency. I THINK the penalty should stand, my opinion only, I am not claiming it to be the correct one, I am simply stating that were it up to me (which it obviously is not) I would make the penalty stand.

  12. William Wilgus
    13th September 2008, 0:04

    Extremely similar is not the same thing as exactly the same—which the two incidents are clearly not.

  13. the only thing i can really add, that’s not already covered here, was something discussed in fp2 on 5live earlier today between maurice hamilton and ian phillips.

    apparently during a driver’s meeting charlie raised this issue at some point in the past, and told drivers to relinquish a place and wait for the next corner before attempting another.

    the two didn’t mention any specifics, but i recorded the conversation so i’ll try and dig out the relevant part (from a 90min chat, may take a while), and post a link.

    if that’s is true, and it happened post suzuka, mclaren don’t stand much of a chance, and the fia clarification is just fine.

  14. Sidey – That’s very interesting. I wonder, then, what happens if that remarks was in 2006 when Hamilton wasn’t racing in F1? How would he have been informed about it?

  15. “apparently during a driver’s meeting charlie raised this issue at some point in the past, and told drivers to relinquish a place and wait for the next corner before attempting another.

    the two didn’t mention any specifics, but i recorded the conversation so i’ll try and dig out the relevant part (from a 90min chat, may take a while), and post a link.

    if that’s is true, and it happened post suzuka, mclaren don’t stand much of a chance, and the fia clarification is just fine.”

    We discussed this on the live blog today, was interesting as I hadn’t heard it myself. The question was asked why, if Charlie knew about this rule, he then told Mclaren twice that they were ok. And it doesn’t also explain why the other drivers don’t seem to know any more about it than us.

  16. Would they have made Hamilton cede the position again had Kimi not crashed.? Maybe they wanted to punish him in a similar way but Kimi took himself out.

    Regardless of where you stand on the penalty, you must admit it was handled poorly.

  17. “I wonder, then, what happens if that remarks was in 2006 when Hamilton wasn’t racing in F1? How would he have been informed about it?”

    the guys were sketchy on the details. it’s possible, even probable that lewis had no clue such matters were ever discussed. it may have come up post magny-cours though, impossible to speculate really.

  18. The ‘clarification’ was obviously made to protect the besieged FIA stewards. It appears clearer but this new ‘clear ruling’ actually means, in effect, that if, say, driver B cuts a corner, overtakes driver A in the process and then returns the position (as Lewis did), driver A can now drive as slow as he wants to the next corner without driver B being able to pass.

    This occurred to me because, really, Raikkonen was passed at La Source because he braked too early (insert famous Lewis ‘balls’ quote here) not because Hamilton ‘got an advantage’ at the chicane. (It’s tiresome repating this but: how did he gain an advantage if he returned a position – a full car length – when in fact he was level with KR at the entry and into the chicane and was shoved off line by him? The implicit argument of everyone claiming Hamilton deserved the penalty is that he ‘knew’ he wouldn’t make the corner without cutting it. But the fact is he *did* make the chicane and got alongside KR with enough room on track for both, i.e. it was a legitimate pass in full control of the car.)

    Anyhow, so no matter how slow KR had been in the rain, LH would have been stuck behind him, trundling along, until they got past La Source.

    Now imagine a scenario where driver A can help his team mate by slowing down driver B. Like most ‘clarifications’ of previously simple rules, it generates more potential problems than it solves. The rule was simple and understood by everyone – until it became convenient for FIA to undo their own mess by changing it.

  19. in matters like this, where the rules are not completely clear you have to look at precedent. This is commonly done in most courtrooms and should also be applied here. Another thing is the fact that McLaren put their best effort at relegating the situation. No matter what you think abot the team, its a stab in the back. Everybody knew it was a close call and they asked for approval. They got the go ahead and then later received a penalty. If a referee misses something at first they shouldn’t be able to go back and make decisions later. This is not fair to the drivers.

    Maybe Raikkonen should be given the win since he can argue that if Hamilton had been ordered to let him repass, Kimi wouldn’t have spun. Why make Massa the winner? Why put Hamilton 3rd? This is stupid and ridiculous. Make the call on the spot and stick to it. Don’t take a win from someone after they have tasted the champagne couse you sat in front of a screen watching replays for 3 hours and pondering about what should happen!! the stewards should be held responsible for making quick and stern decisions, and not change their minds after the race.

  20. Makes you think maybe they should just put it in the rules. You know, like every other sport does…

  21. Hamilton was third because of the 25seconds rule which I believe is the time taken to serve a drive through penalty.

    Also I think it was mentioned somewhere that in the drivers briefing all the drivers were made aware of this on more than one occasion that if you cut a corner you have can’t pressurise the guy immediately into the next corner.

    And there’s only one difference between Suzuka and Spa and that is the distance between the two corners.

  22. rules? no, this is the FIA. as the saying goes rules are made to be broken, or in the FIA’s case, rules are meant to be made according to how it feels.

    seriously though, good, Hamilton is a well known kerb jumper, so now he gets told off its a travesty?.

  23. Sush – The last time Hamilton got penalised for cutting a chicane I was all for it for the reasons I explained at the time, which is quite different to this situation: Video: Hamilton under pressure after error in French Grand prix

  24. It´s not fair that Driver B take a tow that he would never achieve (with today’s aerodynamics f1 behavior) if he didn´t came close enough to driver A.

    Alonso was a big cheater, if we can say that lousy thing about someone, because he clearly take a tow behind Klien.

    Hamilton didn´t even tried to go behind Kimi to take the unfair tow. He was only in a brief moment behind Kimi when the Finn decided to enter la Source wide open.

    If Kimi braked in the inner point , Hamilton would try to pass him outside again. And he would be not penalized in that case, I thing , because the overtake would be finished in the middle of the la Source or even after it.

    For sure there was no intention from Hamilton to cheat. That is the same thing to say a driver wants to have an accident or break the car.

    Kimi got to the left side of the track perhaps an unexpected move. If that move didn´t happened the Lewis maneuver would look quite clean

    The 3 events: 1)Chicane cut 2)devolution 3)overtaking thus, came in a stream that turned to be suspicious as the Alonso one was. And the drive need to bear in mind that he need to prove he is innocent in this case because he was already benefited by a run-off that could made he lost the race or have an worse accident…

  25. Keith:

    I think you made a great investigation! While I think Hamilton’s punishment was correct, because he indeed had an advantage by overtaking immediately after surrendering the position, we have a serious precedent that made McLaren and Lewis think they did enough to respect the rule and, altough stewards may vary from race to race (correct me if I’m wrong), the FIA Court of Appeal is the proper place to standartize jurisprudence.

    The need the FIA felt to clarify the rules “ex post facto” only makes McLaren’s chances grow stronger.

  26. The telling part of this decision, for me, is McLaren being informed….twice…..that Hamilton’s actions after the cut-corner were OK.

    I think in a group of reasonable people the interpretation of Hamilton’s pass might vary.

    But, I can’t conceive of a situation in which a team was told….DURING THE RACE….TWICE……that they were within the rules, and then after the race that decision was reversed. And importantly, not with with a minor punishment, but with one that may change the driver’s championship.

    And…did I miss, at least, an apology by the stewards over their own misdirection?

    It seems the stewards, above all others, would have previously insisted that this “problem area” be clarified, so as to avoid a situation like the one we have at present.

    As a result of the decisions and penalties coming out of Spa, my first question as a team manager would not be about procedures surrounding a driver cutting a corner while fighting for position; but about a more general situation………are directions from the stewards, during the race, to be considered reliable?
    If the answer to this question is no, or even maybe, we have a larger problem than that surrounding overtaking procedures.

  27. The very fact that they have come out and said this means that they concede that it was not clear from the rules. As you mentioned Keith, they should amend the rules.

    I think the decision will be reversed in the courtroom as there is ample evidence that FIA botched the whole issue during the race and now they are doing everything to save face. I wouldn’t be surprised though if McLaren were not allowed to argue this as drive-through penalty cannot be questioned.

  28. I think this clarification is not only very welcome, it is a very fair and clear rule.

  29. “And presumably the stewards were happy as well, as Alonso did not get a penalty after the race.”

    That’s where the comparison breaks down though. Unlike Hamilton, Alonso did let Klein re-pass again, so the decision by the stewards was never needed. Guessing what the stewards might have decided had Alonso not allowed Klein to re-pass again is pure speculation.

  30. do i read a message of hope here? is it possible that the fia may actually consider a decision in the favour of what is actually right and just gave themselves the reason to do it?

    bated breath, brethren.

  31. btw- keith, you rock for finding the vids you post. especially since this one isn’t just a snippet. just a yanks point of view, i can see why everyone likes brundle. hmmm. if the beeb doesn’t want him, we’ll take him. he’d make a nice bookend for matchett-who they can’t have.

  32. This could have gone either way. It happens in sports. Get over it.

  33. @Brar #24,
    You don’t even have an idea what a tow is. You talk like you know what you are saying when in actual fact you do not. If you have watched a replay of the pass you’ll find that the word “tow” doesn’t even figure in this incident.

  34. We could quite easily substitute ‘Alonso’ for ‘Hamilton’ and ‘Klien’ for ‘Raikkonen’ in the above
    Sorry but I dont agree with that. You have missed a crucial point in the argument:
    Could anyone overtake the car in front at the next corner following the car thru the previous corner properly?(you know the chicane in question)

    The answer to this question in Lewis-Kimi case is a solid ‘No'(echoed by every driver except Lewis). I dont know the answer to the quesion in Suzuka 2005 case but I think(with my limited F1 knowledge) its ‘Yes’.

    There you go the argument given by the drivers against the Belgium move is different than the incident at Suzuka.

    My next point is that just coz FIA changes a rule does not mean it wasnt valid at a different situation in the past. What a rule change genrally means is that FIA realized that some knowledge wasnt ‘clear’ and had to explain it using the constraints of cars and tracks.

    They can make a long complex rule explaining the length of straights you may be allowed to overtake on… For example Belgium’s back straight is (I think) the longest in F1 calendar. If the incident had happened there, then I doubt the Stewards would have questioned the move, simply looking at the difference in speeds of the Mc Laren and Ferrari.

    What I find hard to digest is that ‘the drivers’ for whom this rule means the most seem to understand it the best and agree that infringement happened, its just the fans and the tv viewers that are hell bent on making this a conspiracy theory!

  35. Hass: Sorry I was ansewering to Oliver.

    Haas: there is not new Fia rules. Perhaps new formalisition on things we should agree abour

  36. @Brar
    I must have got things mixed up when reading your comments. I thought initially u were referring to Hamilton, when in actual fact you were talking about Alonso.

  37. Taking the win away from Hamilton for the alleged offense is akin to issuing a death penalty for jay walking!

    Regardless of our differing opinions on whether the stewards were right or wrong, it’s the severity of the penalty that rubs most (including the referenced drivers) the wrong way.

    And hence, all the “FIA Favors Ferrari” implications.

  38. Very biased article Keith, I did not see this coming.

    I can’t understand why you are trying to defend Hamilton’s pass at La Source, which was clearly a case of not handling back the advantage.

    In my book, what lets Hamilton off the hook is his spin while passing the Williams. Since, he inadvertently returned the place and advantage there; in the very same lap.
    Alonso returned the place and advantage to Klein about 2-3 laps after passing him illegally, and he was not penalized. Hamilton did that in the same lap, but he was penalized.
    You chose to ignore these facts.

  39. Haas,

    You make a fair point and applied some logic to your reasoning. But it’s very difficult to arrive at that conclusion you just did, because, The way Kimi took that final chicane was not the optimum way. So its very possible he would not be able to accelerate out of that corner as normal had he used the correct line through it.
    We also have to take into consideration that, It was raining at this time, and Kimi was already suffering from a lack of grip which was why he braked very early prior to the chicane and also afterwards.

  40. .Sumedh

    There is nothing biased about this article. Keep an open mind. The subject isn’t if Hamilton crossed the chicane. Or of he deserves the win.
    The matter at hand is, why did “Race Control”, after Mclaren had sought clarification, say Hamilton had surrendered the lead. Not once but twice.
    Do not allow your dislike for a driver cloud your reasoning.

    And from your statement it is also obvious you did not understand what Keith just wrote which was. “The stewards were satisfied that Alonso had surrendered the lead the first time and where comfortable with him repassing on that same straight.” But by then the stewards had already “made a mistake” by asking him to surrender the lead a second time.

    Read the article again and understand what is being said.

  41. Keith. I think also the FIA has to cut down on all use of extra track space. Not just only when a driver over takes. Because running off track can also be used to make up ground on cars ahead. This is something Kimi is known to do very much. If you have the video of last years race at Fuji. Kimi was able to overtake Coulthard, by running off track repeatedly and gaining ground. And that is cheating. And he keeps getting away with it.

  42. FIA”T” keeping the rules muddy is in the best interest of FIArrari. ’nuff said.

  43. Oliver

    By Keith’s chronology of events;
    Move no. 4 = Alonso passing Klein at Turn 1, Suzuka. This WAS wrong. Thus, step 5 : Instructing Alonso to let Klein re-pass him is totally justified.

    However, the step 7. canceling the instruction, this WAS a mistake by stewards. You can’t re-take a place in the next corner; its just unfair.

    Did the stewards ask Lewis to return the place after La Source ( Like Alonso-Klein)?? We will never know. Why?? Since he returned it fairly soon by spinning.

    Also, the ‘2 Charlie Whiting okays’ refer to Lewis’s letting pass of Kimi at the chicane. And they do not refer to the pass of Lewis at La Source. Read that part carefully, since I think you are confused about what exactly Charlie Whiting was okay with.

    Oliver, relax: I also like Lewis, but his pass was wrong. We both want him to be off the hook; except our reasons are totally different :-)


  45. @Sumedh

    “Also, the ‘2 Charlie Whiting okays’ refer to Lewis’s letting pass of Kimi at the chicane. And they do not refer to the pass of Lewis at La Source. Read that part carefully, since I think you are confused about what exactly Charlie Whiting was okay with.”

    So are you saying that in between Lewis abandoning the pass at the chicane and overtaking into La Source, McLaren asked CW twice if the chicane move was ok?

    All this talk of ‘unfair’ and ‘cheating’ etc just doesn’t wash with me. It either complies with the rules or it doesn’t. In this case, Hamilton’s move did comply with the law in it’s previous state. Just about! The rule did need clarification and hopefully we shouldn’t be robbed of an exciting finish again.

    I think it’s worth asking the question, would there have been hundreds of comments on this site complaining about the stewards if there had been no investigation and no penalty?

  46. The jury is out on this whole saga, I must say. And no matter what the Court of Appeal decides, later this month, it will not stop discussions and disappoint people one way or an other.

    However, I would like to emphasise two point already mentioned above:

    1) Charlie Whiting is NOT the stewards — McLaren said to themselves. Whiting might have said that Hamtilton’s move was OK twice, but the stewards make the calls, not Whiting. By the way, Jonahtan noble says something interesting in this week’s Autosport Journal: “McLaren were certainly in enough doubt about the legality of the situation by asking FIA race director Charlie Whiting twice for confirmation that it was okay.”

    2) Hamilton effectively DID give back the position which he won during the doubtful move into La Source, namely when he went off the track in the Rosberg incident. This is what actually makes it comparable to the Alonso-Klien incident at Suzuka ’05.

    An other interestion observation: Hamilton moved off his line several times to defend his position from Räikkönen on Kemmel straight. He was on the right of the track coming out of Radillion, swered left with Räikkönen on his tail, then right again, and finally left to make the corner. Maybe he should be penalised for that? ;)

  47. That Lewis should have waited till the next corner is exactly what the Ferrari pilot Marc Gene said in his blog (I did post that here when the storm started). Since that apparently was discussed in pilots meetings that makes sense. Lewis might not know about that, the team should. Again, an example of how to mess a beatiful race.

  48. @Juan H, exactly, most of the drives know the rules more than the weekend f1 watchers in here, they are all briefed on the rules and things to watch for before every race weekend and the team was in enough doubt to confirm 2 times about the situation, if they were in so much doubt they should have told him to wait the extra corner.

  49. Supposing there was no wrong thing done, and I say supposing (as there was), saying that Charlie gave the clearance is like telling a referee didn’t say a penalty but finally it was.

    Things live look far different that those things once you can see when you have some seconds to think about this.

    But hey! let’s continue with the fanboyism forever!

    btw, what about a report on Lewis last words about their colleagues?

  50. To Amy @ 5 and Keith @ 6… I disagree. The rule did not change, this clarification issued by the FIA was really to clarify things for the media & F1 fans / commentators, not the drivers. The drivers have briefings in which rules are discussed and they are fully aware of the rules. Hamilton and his team were aware of this “advantage” rule which is why they tried to give the advantage away, bottom line was that they did not do enough, Hamilton’s car had too much momentum. So agree with Juan and Todd, the drivers and teams are fully informed re the rules and didn’t really need the clarification. Hamilton took a gamble & lost.

  51. Mosley: “I think it’s a reflection, and I’m sorry to say this, of the stupidity of the people who say it”

    I’vce just been called stupid by a Nazi. Pot Kettle Black much?

  52. Although welcome, I think there are still some grey areas in this new rule. It says a driver has to wait for another corner if he wants to try a move again. But imagine driver X cuts the first chicane at Monza, gives the place back and retakes it at the second chicane. Not against the rules, since between those chicanes there’s Curva Grande, a very fast right-hander. That corner is taken as if it was a straight, but it’s a corner nonetheless. So a driver gives the place back, but still has an advantage because in the next “corner” it can get a slipstream. How to decide that?

  53. Kate – if the FIA are changing the rules of racing in private and only telling the drivers, its hardly surprising there’s going to be a public uproar when a driver loses a race because of one of these ‘phantom rules’.

    As I wrote in comment 20, obviously the best thing to do would be to have these rules written down but clearly even that basic level of transparency is beyond the FIA.

  54. It was contentious back then too but there have been many driver briefings since and most of the other drivers felt it was clear & support the fia. Alonso also fell back further and the straight looked longer. I think the stewards did their job. If its now the next corner all well and good, things evolve.

  55. @ Keith
    > … if the FIA are changing the rules of racing in private and only telling the
    > drivers, its hardly surprising there’s going to be a public uproar…
    Maybe they believe that all publicity is good publicity. Which, in case of F1, I might believe. I’d bet there’s more viewers this weekend because of Spa.

  56. having rules set in stone (writing them all down exactly) would be a damn huge book.

    and if they were all written down there would be no need for stewards, it would be a guy in a room checking what happened against what’s written down.

    and if it all was written down, all the teams would just spend their time working out what isn’t written down, and how to get around it.

    as much as i’m a schumi fan, that’s part of the reason they aren’t written down, cause he’d exploit them like he usually does.

    the idea behind having stewards and not set in stone rules is to keep racing ‘sportsman like’.

    common sense and respecting your fellow sportsman is a part of being in a sport.

    f1 isn’t your average sport, so to govern them and to take people to point (penalise them) it’s done by 3 impartial ‘judges’ who decide if the sporting incident in question was an acceptable move, and did the person in question be a good sport and give back what he gained?

    they look at more data then we have, more cameras than we have and decide better than we could.

    from there they give one of 3 penalites that ARE in the FIA rule book, a fine, a stop and go (25 seconds) or a 10 spot penalty – those are the 3 options in the FIA playbook and it’s up to the stewards to pick one.

    end of the day it’s too much to write down and govern, it’ll end up being more rules then is needed and people would get caught out on a rules that don’t apply to their situation – this is where common sense and good sportsmanship comes into play and if your not playing fair then the stewards are going to slap you.

  57. Todd – it’s a nice idea in theory but it all falls apart because no-one knows what ‘sportsmanlike’ is in this context. Take the Alonso video as an example – the stewards couldn’t decide if he’d done right or wrong. And again with the Hamilton penalty – Whiting thought it was fine, but then either changed his mind or the stewards overruled him.

    We need clear, transparent, consistent and fair rules to stop needless controversies like this.

  58. A new quote from Mosley this morning:

    The team should have decided on precedent, and from everything they know, what advice to give [Hamilton].

    As explained in the article I still think the precedent supports Hamilton.

  59. nice one from Max:

    “The worst thing is the possibility that you have a spin and a collision between two cars, which is a nightmare for us. That is something that none of our safety procedures can deal with.”
    Max? Valencia? Massa ? safety – ring the bell ?

    “Because when that rain came down on one of the fastest circuits in the world and most of the cars are on dry tyres, it is a very dangerous situation.”
    There a lot of people think that Hamilton cut chicane to avoid collision in first place…

    “I think there were two mistakes made there,” said Mosley about the exchange between McLaren and Whiting. “One is that McLaren should not have asked Charlie. The second is that he should not have answered.”
    nice … nice … Max is always full of surprises

  60. Alianora La Canta
    13th September 2008, 11:44

    The “clarification” ends up supporting Hamilton – he did wait until the next corner to pass Raikkonen, albeit the braking zone rather than the apex. So in fact the FIA has contradicted itself again.

    If a regulation is deemed important enough to tell the drivers, it’s important enough to tell everyone else. If that makes the book too big, then maybe some of the rules need weeding out or combining. It’ll be a big messy job, but it needs doing.

  61. Alianora La Canta
    13th September 2008, 11:46

    Also, if contacting Charlie Whiting is a mistake, why is a two-way connection in place, and why have the teams recently been asked to pay for it (among other things)?

  62. Alianora – LOL! Good point.

  63. It’s good that the FIA has finally given a clear cut instruction on how to go about, and i see this as very logical.

    However, i watched on board footage from Hamilton’s car, and i can tell you one thing, i didnt hear him lift off. McLaren can show and state all the telemetry in the world, but you should be able to hear the lift, the engine revs were screaming all the way up since he got off the brakes while cutting the chicane.
    i’m not gonna go out and say he cheated, because in the heat of the moment, things happen. but he never actually meant to cross the finish line after Kimi, that’s just how it panned out.

    In the case he wants to let him by he should completely lift off and let him by, and had hamilton done that he wouldnt be in the mess today. his car was more supperior on the damp tarmac than the Ferrari and that was obvious to all, he could of passed him later.

    so please live with the fact that he made a big gaff, and got penalized.

    as for the penalty, it was harch, i would of personally given him a 10 spot grid demotion at monza maybe more (since Kimi DNF’d), however his subsequent reaction is not what i expected of him. he doesnt have enough experience in F1 to go telling Kimi he hasnt got balls (The guy’s got ice cubes instead ;)).

    And when taking in retrospect what happened in Suzuka 05, i dont think the FIA is cataloguing each racing incident and making a constitution out of it.
    when they do that, and i think they should, then i completely agree with them not being consistent.

    but to be consistent you need to set standards, and that is not the case as i see it.

    what in my opinion should be done, is that all the penalties handed out in F1 be catalogued, the events leading to them disected, and specific clear cut rules made out that dont allow for dissambiguities, (did i spell that right?).

    in hamilton’s case then it would read, drive through, not applicable, add 25 seconds to next round qualifying time. then he will start last. that will create more spectacle and less controversy (just what the FIA and We want).

    How can one be a race marshal?

  64. David Coulthard claims that Adrian Sutil cut the Radillion corner at the top of Eau Rouge and passed him down the following straight but went unpunished: more here. I haven’t seen the move on video, and according to Coulthard Sutil went unpunished because there was no footage available.

    Ron – “but to be consistent you need to set standards, and that is not the case as i see it. ” Looking at Mosley’s quote about looking at precedent I think the FIA do use past instances to set standards, they just didn’t adhere to them properly in this case.

  65. @Lustigson #47
    The rules allow a driver ahead, one move to block, then another to regain the racing line, and I believe Lewis complied with that.

    @ Kate #51
    Speaking on the clarification, Red Bull Racing driver Mark Webber said: “It is pretty clear for people to probably not attack immediately again, which wasn’t mega, mega clear in the past.”

    So Kate if Mark Webber who has been in F1 for some good number of years now, didn’t know about it, I then wonder what rule book you are using.

  66. Keith, you’re fighting a losing battle trying to convince some people of Hamiltons injustice at Spa. What you’re failing to grasp is that there is a definite prejudice against the guy. Why this is, heavens only knows, I cant fathom it out.

  67. From the fair-minded (we hope) tifosi:
    agree or disagree with anything at any stage of all this, the FIA “clarification” following a penalty is still an ex post facto ruling, which in all but the most autocratic definitions of “justice” is disallowed.

  68. Ron, #64-
    If Kimi can overtake Lewis at the start finish line, despite Lewis being forced to cut across the chicane, then it follows having the cars go straight on would be slower than taking the chicane properly. So why have the chicane there in the first place. Or why penalize the driver if he is slower cutting across the chicane.
    There is no doubt Lewis was accelerating, that happens every time u press the throttle pedal, what is important is if he was actually accelerating hard.

    Personnel from other teams who have seen the telemetry, confirm Lewis was traveling slower than Kimi at the line. I can only conclude you will only believe what you want to, despite the opinion of professionals.

  69. ….Mosley about the exchange between McLaren and Whiting. “One is that McLaren should not have asked Charlie.”…

    Perhaps that is a clue to understand that quote
    “Anything that you say ,may be, and will be used against you”

    If Whiting told to the stewards about Mclaren´s doubt, anyone, (put your self the stewards place) would thing something like this “if even Mclaren have some doubts about Hamilton´s manouver, I should doubt too for more reason either.”

  70. Brar, given how poor the general understanding of the regulations is (ITV interviewed a bunch of paddock people in the pre-qualifying show and none of them had figured out that the article the stewards punished Hamilton on has no scope for mitigative action), McLaren were bound to have to ask.

  71. and something which backup Alianora:

    last paragraph is interesting:
    “It is understood that Whiting made clear his information was simply a clarification, rather than a new interpretation of the existing rule, or a new rule altogether.”
    it is about:
    “In the regular pre-race drivers’ briefing at Monza, scene of Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix, Whiting told the gathering that, if a driver negotiates a corner illegally and gains a place, he should wait at least one more corner after giving back the position before launching another overtaking move.”

    When it is just a clarification how exactly he give McLaren OK twice ?

    big big mess …

  72. @ mail123456
    “Max? Valencia? Massa ? safety – ring the bell ?”

    Mate, i think he was talking about two drivers in Spa. Valencia by any stretch is not one of the fastest circuits(which he mentions in the previous line).

    @ Keith
    “Looking at Mosley’s quote about looking at precedent I think the FIA do use past instances to set standards, they just didn’t adhere to them properly in this case.”

    Hmm, are you trying to say that as yesterday someone escaped a penalty for an infringement due to anything, we shouldn’t punish the same in the future???

    Think about it, this is the first time i believe that a penalty has been handed out under that specific rule. May be stewards know more than we do, about the whole incident.

  73. //offtopic
    @Sri – Max is mostly known as man who cares about safety. And he is talking about safety there. But when it comes to safety we see a new penalty – 10,000 for incident caused by Massa in pits in Valencia – that was my point when I write this. (off: this time we see stewards to say that they have no other choice but to apply known penalties, but in Massa’s case they just inventing one :) )
    And also some people think (including me) that Hamilton avoid collision with Kimi in first place when he cut that chicane (I already say that).

    My point always was that if you broke the rule you have to be punished. But we have too many unclear areas in this case. Unwriten rules, penalty imposed on paragraphs in rules that have nothing to do with advantage, race control which says OK, then change his decision and on next round clarify!? rule and insist that this is just a clarification not a new rule, and we have Max who says that Whiting make a mistake when he talks to McLaren … may be Max need to arrange first of all meeting of all people which are responsible and then try to cover all this mess up … or better fix it for ever.

  74. Alianora:
    I read the article now and found interesting Max point in that autosport interview:

    “But the primary mistake in my view was the team’s. The team should have decided on precedent, and from everything they know, what advice to give him (Hamilton). I’m not going to express an opinion but the correct procedure was for the team to decide what to tell their driver. Charlie’s responsibility is to see that nobody gets killed.”

    It seems like Max is saying that the teams must know what they are doing, and take decisions based on precedent. In other hand, in an ethical way, the teams could say to Max the same thing: if he, Max, knows what he is doing (based on precedents)

  75. I have no intention in commenting on this thread again as I think the argument has been done to death but one thing needs to be clarified. Never has a driver been required to give back the advantage. He has only ever been required to give back the position and that has always been taken to mean dropping behind the car he had passed so that there is some (any) (even an inch) daylight between them.

    This latest interpretation is a knee jerk reaction to one incident and like most knee jerk clarifications in Max’s time it is a long term solution to a short term problem. Anyone who thinks it is a good idea is only considering it in relation to this one incident. Believe me there are implications which have not been considered which one day soon will have this ruling turned on its head. You don’t have to believe me just run a few alternative scenarios through your head and it is blindingly obvious that the new rule as written or spoken is not what was really intended. Tomorrow we have a circuit with chicanes which have been shortcut many times this weekend already and will be shortcut again during the race. I reckon there is an extremely good chance that something will happen which will make this rule look utterly ridiculous.

  76. Over the course of the last week, I have heard many people make the argument that Hamilton was too impatient to pass Raikkonen at La Source, after jumping the chicane. With the benefit of hindsight, they are absolutely right, and I can imagine Lewis himself rues not doing that now.
    However, what everybody must realise, is what happened after Lewis’ La Source pass for the lead, and that is that Raikkonen had one of his most disastrous laps of his entire career. You would not have put money on the current world champion spinning twice on the same lap, the second of which cost him dearly. In Hamilton’s defence, he didn’t know that that was going to happen, no one did!
    Also, Hamilton maybe extremely talented, but he is still relatively inexperienced in Formula One, and at times his youthfull eagerness gets the better of him. It did at Magny Cours, it did at Montreal, and low and behold it did at Spa. It is in his makeup to go for the position whenever the position or opportunity arises, and that is exactly what he did going into La Source.
    Michael Schumacher, with all of his experience and craftyness, maywell have waited until the Kemmel straight before attempting the pass, knowing full well that passing at La Source ‘may’ incure a penalty. At the end of the day, experience counts, no matter how talented an individual maybe.
    Everybody must remember, that the vast majority of race going fans who complained about the penalty this week were not necessarily Lewis Hamilton fans. They were complaining because they had just finished watching one of the most exciting grands prix finishes of the last ten years, only to be told three hours later that what they had witnessed would not count. That is what angered fans like myself, along with millions of others, not the fact that it was Lewis Hamilton who was penalised. Far from it!!

  77. http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/70473

    Drivers seem to agree Lewis was in the wrong.

    But of course it’s all a FIA/Ferrari conspiracy :rolls eyes:

  78. Taking directions post facto from the race director in this matter begs the questions: what are the Stewards’ qualifications? what training has prepared them for their role? What experience do they have?

    In this regard the FIA’s reaction has been shockingly mismanaged. No surprise to me that in fact Mosley’s reaction to the scandal was simply patroninising, accusing those who percieve bias of being “stupid”.

    In his position (as I would expect anyone with management experience to know) he should be ensuring that his organisation’s decision making process is seen to be crystal clear, and that he is in a position to emphasise the expertise, training and experience of his stewards.

    In other words to put the professional integrity and judgement of his officials beyond question

    He doesn’t of of course, because the idea that this might be important is not taken seriously. F! teams are highly professional outfits, it is my submission that the FIA is not. It is in fact little more than a network of “influential”and connected people with little practical relevant experience.

    FI teams and management should immediately pressure the FIA for greater transparency in the training, expertise, selection and decisions of stewards as a matter of utmost urgency, if the FIA does not get it’s house in order and become transparent and accountable, no new agreements (concorde or otherwise) should be signed

    The credibility of the sport demands it

  79. “Kieth, yes, I think he should have been punished anyway, cut the corner, gained an advantage, did not properly relinquish it. What happened with Alonso is not important for Hamilton’s decision simply because it was a different situation, different stuards, etc. You cannot compare 2 incidents where the same rule was broken from different years and different situations because it always amounts in a different result.”


    I simply cannot follow your logic. The two situations are nearly identical fundamentally.

    Furthermore, you referred above to the clarification of how the FIA interprets the yielding of position, and how someone Hamilton should be held to this standard. The FIA didn’t issue this interpretation in an official statement until AFTER this weekend’s GP. It is simply and positively unfair to punish drivers for breaking a rule or an interpretation of a rule before said rule/interpretation was officially issued.

    Also, Charlie Whiting himself during the race told McLaren that he was ok with what Hamilton did. This alone should exonerate Hamilton and McLaren, as Race Control gave the impression to them that they were conducting themselves within the sporting regulations. (Which, in my view, they were.) They acted based on the word of Charlie Whiting. Had Charlie Whiting said differently, McLaren and Hamilton would have acted differently. You cannot punish a team retroactively when the Race Director- the man who is responsible for interpreting situations like this- gives his seal of approval.

    What you’re essentially suggesting is that the FIA should act in a reactionary form with disregard for the rule of law. In other words, you are arguing that the FIA should be a fascist organization. When the FIA ignores the letter of the regulations and the in-race interpretation of the Race Director and imposes their never-before officially declared interpretation of constitutes a proper relinquishment of position, they are in fact acting as fascists. This is a very bad and dangerous way to run Formula One, and its something that should upset all fans. The FIA has acted similarly in past situations, one of which includes the asinine penalty against Alonso at Monza in 2006.

    Having read many of your posts, I have gradually come more and more to the conclusion that you are incapable of impartial analysis on any matter regarding Lewis Hamilton. I admire your passion as a Formula One fan, but you should allow passion to cloud reason. I am a Hamilton fan, but I will be the first to criticize him when he makes a mistake, as he has at Bahrain, Montreal, and Malaysia this year. (And I don’t even consider him to be the best right now, although I think he certainly can be.) If you want to have serious and informed discussions on topics like this, I would advise that you please check your biases at the front door, or at least acknowledge facts that establish validity for alternative points of view.

  80. Keith, my thoughts: On further reflection, that Alonso-Klien move in 2005 SHOULD’VE been penalized. Because it’s against the spirit of the same rule Lewis crossed. As Martin said in the vid:

    ‘you can actually say that he had a slight advantage by coming from up high there’

    Martin added a but clause after, but looking at it hard and fair, Alonso should’ve been penalized.

    Alianora, you said:

    ‘The “clarification” ends up supporting Hamilton – he did wait until the next corner to pass Raikkonen, albeit the braking zone rather than the apex. So in fact the FIA has contradicted itself again.’

    I think the FIA meant wait until the next corner before you start CHALLENGING again. Fundamental difference there. Which means Lewis shouldn’t have challenged at La Source, he should’ve challenged at Eau Rouge at the earliest.

    ‘Also, if contacting Charlie Whiting is a mistake, why is a two-way connection in place, and why have the teams recently been asked to pay for it (among other things)?’

    I think Max had in mind that Charlie can directly contact the drivers for whatever reason (not sure what these could be).

    Paige and Sumedh, I don’t for the life of me see how you think Keith can’t be objective with Lewis. Let’s remember that Keith has also criticized Lewis on a number of occasions, such as Bahrain, Montreal (https://www.racefans.net/2008/06/09/why-do-million-dollar-f1-drivers-keep-making-mistakes-at-red-lights/), and Magny-Cours (https://www.racefans.net/2008/06/22/video-hamilton-under-pressure-after-error/). Let’s also remember that making a call for this incident was VERY marginal. It could’ve gone one way or ther other. And while I do agree with the penalty, I also understand why many don’t agree with it – these folks have very valid points too.

  81. The Limit #77,
    Talking about Schumacher having the patience, I do not believe you have seen tuHhe video of M.Schumacher vs Pedro De Larosa, Hungary 2006

  82. The drivers especially, and a few fans, believe that Hamilton did gain an advantage, but the penalty was too harsh. For those who side with Hamilton and say the 25-second penalty should be reversed (Hamilton back to 1st, Massa 2nd, Heidfeld 3rd) how would you feel if Hamilton were given back the win at Spa, but then penalized 10 grid spots in Singapore?

  83. One last thing, and I believe it was brought up earlier in this thread, are we sure that it was the STEWARDS reversing their decision during the race in the Alonso case or was it race control? In the Hamilton case, all race communications were between McLaren and race control, not the stewards.

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