McLaren claims the FIA mis-represented its own steward in Lewis Hamilton trial

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Vitantonio Liuzzi's appeal last year set a problematic precedent for the FIA

The Times’ Ed Gorman reported a very surprising development during today’s hearing into Lewis Hamilton’s controversial Spa penalty.

According to Gorman, McLaren produced a document claiming the FIA tried to undermine McLaren’s argument about the admissibility of the appeal by mis-representing the position of one of its own stewards.

The question of admissibility

A crucial part of the hearing concerns whether McLaren actually can appeal Hamilton’s penalty. Hamilton was given a 25-second penalty because there was no time to make him serve a drive-through penalty. As drive-through penalties can’t be appealed against, therefore Hamilton cannot appeal his penalty.

However, one driver has already had an appeal heard in exactly the same circumstances. Vitantonio Liuzzi was given a 25-second penalty after last year’s Japanese Grand Prix, but took the matter to appeal. The appeal was heard, and although Liuzzi didn’t win, it must have been considered admissible.

FIA claims a change of mind

McLaren had informed the FIA what arguments they were going to make in the Hamilton trial (which I believe they are required to do – it’s not a case of them mistakenly ‘showing their hand’). This included reference to the Liuzzi appeal.

However the FIA responded to McLaren claiming that the chief steward at the Japanese Grand Prix, Tony Scott Andrews, had since changed his mind about the incident, and believed it should have been a drive-through penalty. Therefore, Liuzzi would not have been able to appeal, leaving McLaren with no precedent.

The FIA claimed Scott Andrews had informed Charlie Whiting of his opinion via telephone. McLaren were contacted by the FIA by email to inform them of Scott Andrews’ change of opinion.

“Grossly inaccurate and misleading”

Wanting to be sure of the facts, McLaren contacted Scott Andrews. He told them the FIA’s email was “grossly inaccurate and misleading.”

McLaren’s lawyer Mark Phillips read out a statement from Scott Andrews which said that Whiting had not asked him if he’d changed his mind about the decision he made regarding Liuzzi in Japan and said: “Had he done so, the answer would have been ‘no'”

Ed Gorman’s opinion is:

What on earth was the FIA up to? Why did they make such a big effort to discredit McLaren’s precedent, even misrepresenting Scott Andrews in the process, when their lawyer could have dealt with it in court? It certainly smells fishy but I suspect it will be no more than a sideshow and will not affect the overall findings.

Are the FIA going to ram home a verdict of “appeal not admissible” against Hamilton and McLaren having apparently made an attempt at changing their own former stewards’ viewpoint without having consulted him?

Or is there more to this than meets the eye?

Tony Scott Andrews is no longer the FIA permanent steward. That role is now filled by Alan Donnelly, who has played a prominent role in this case, and was the only steward to interview Hamilton in the enquiries at the track, despite his name not appearing on the stewards’ decision.

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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47 comments on “McLaren claims the FIA mis-represented its own steward in Lewis Hamilton trial”

  1. I really don’t believe how blatant the FIA are.

    Alan Donnelly is not a qualified steward so how he can conduct the interview is beyond me. I want to know what the three appointed stewards have to say about signing a penalty notice when they have not interviewed the drivers involved. The FIA is making them look like mugs. I hope they are being well paid for giving away their credibility.

  2. “Or is there more to this than meets the eye?”

    is it not possible that tony might hold a grudge against the fia in some respect? or alternatively that mclaren might be misrepresenting him, rather than the fia.

    it’s a long shot i guess.

  3. This “sport” is bent.

  4. Better article on:

    Also, thread over on f1insight.


    “Scott Andrews wrote in a lengthy submission which was read to the court by Phillips.”

    Whiting reported an uncorroborated telephone call.

    I know which I think leaves more scope for misrepresentation, and that the more than meets the eye lies with the FIA depostion.

    A key witness, judge in the “lower” court,instigator of the stewards inquiry after (on tape) entraping Mclaren with his judgement that they had done enough to cede, is (after later clarifying the rules to back himself up) now found preparing misrepresentative evidence on admissibility for the higher court.

    If this were real law and not a sporting body, the “witness” would have removed from the preparation, presentation, and further judgement of the FIA case
    other than as a witness.

  5. Sidepodcast, I think that McLaren would be foolish to the extreme to try and misrepresent any thing here, but it doesn’t matter. Max will never allow this to go ahead.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the most biased court in the world.

    It really is time this nasty little man was shown the door.

  6. A question- if the stewards are the people who imposed this penalty why is Ferrari’s lawyer- Nigel Tozzi- conducting the cross examination?

    Does this sound more one sided by the day?

  7. Where was the hearing held, the Karl Lagerfeld bondage rooms?

  8. “Sidepodcast, I think that McLaren would be foolish to the extreme to try and misrepresent any thing here, but it doesn’t matter.”
    good point, can’t argue with that.

  9. Without doubt the best example of how arrogant & unaccountable the FIA is. So much for due process, “don’t mention the Luizzi case, we have changed it retrospectively”

    Third world dictactors normally go through the charade of having an opponent “shot while trying to escape”; not the FIA, no they just shoot whoever, whenever the whim takes them..

    The real problem is that there is no foothold for reformers in the organisation, it has become the ultimate old boys club. Mosley’s vote of confidence proved the majority are interestyed in maintaining the status quo.

  10. What in the bloody hell?? I can’t beleive this!! Let’s just donate the championship to Ferrari .FIA , you destroying the sport -STOP FIA!!!-

  11. PlanetF1 writes this about yesterday:

    “Following an adjournment, Hamilton then stood up to the test of effectively being put on the stand, with the 23-year-old holding firm under cross-examination from Ferrari’s counsel, Nigel Tozzi QC.”

    Anyone know why on earth a Ferrari counsel is involved? Isn’t the hearing McLaren vs. FIA?

  12. @saab – Keith pointed great article:

    “Activities in the courtroom, however, got quite heated up in what amounted to a very clear battle pitting McLaren against both the FIA and Ferrari.”

  13. I am speechless – what business did a Ferrari Lawyer have in a FIA case? Why was FIA changing the precedent?

  14. Saab ,Saab ,Saab …Ferrari-Fia Where is the difference ?Possibly the Fia’s lawyer had a meeting and they asked their dudes to send one, that simple!

    FIA = Ferrari International Assistance

    F1 = Ferrari is no.1(formula…? not a chance)

    I can say no more I am tired accusing FIA for conspiracies , It’s obvious that The championship is’t fair and squere .I only hope Max will have a heart attack in his next meeting with the six girls next door…

  15. The comments from Max that you reported yesterday show that the FIA are already treating McLaren unfairly.
    Is this more that the FIA don’t like being shown to be in the wrong? Are they really so desparate that they have to change their statements and try to wrong foot the opposition (and do it so blatently)?
    I’m beginning to see Jackie Stewart’s point, the sport should be run by professionals, and accountable ones at that!

  16. mail123456, thanks. I just get more and more absurd every week. Despite the last two races being great, I’m losing more and more interest in F1 as a championship. And remember, Kimi is a favorite of mine, so I’m not just into this “hate Ferrari – hate McLaren” thing…

  17. Regarding the Ferrari lawyer, I think any team that wants to make representations at an appeal can do. Given the championship situation (not just the drivers’ title – if McLaren wins the appeal, they will be ahead in the constructors’ championship), and the fact the original incident involved Kimi Raikkonen, I’m not surprised Ferrari wishes to state its case.

  18. Given that Stefano Domenicali claimed the penalty was all the FIA’s doing and Ferrari had not lodged a complaint about the maneuver I am confused as to why Hamilton is being cross examined by a Ferrari lawyer and not an FIA lawyer.

  19. Keith at post 16, that makes sense then I suppose. I’d edit my post 17 but don’t appear to have the option.

  20. Diseased rat – afraid the edit plugin has been giving some MySQL problems and with the site likely to be very busy today I’ve temporarily disabled it. Will hopefully be back later in the week.

  21. The worst thing about this is that I am not surprised about it. I, and I think many F1 fans, feel like battered wives – F1 keeps telling us that it will get better, and then repeatedly knocks us for six.

    The worst thing about it all is Max Moseley’s attitude: he feels vindicated by the confidence vote, and his comments yesterday just show his contempt for us fans: the verdict was decided before the appeal began.

  22. When should we expect verdict???

  23. McM – probably today, possibly tomorrow

  24. Ferrari are classed as an interested party which entitles them to participate. I always assumed that meant that they could present evidence not that they could set up a second front for the prosecution.

    I can’t imagine another organisation on the face of the planet that would not be calling for Charlie Whiting’s resignation now. He said that he called Tony Scott-Andrews and that TSA had changed his mind about the Liuzzi penalty. TSA says not only did he not say that but the conversation never took place. Utterly incredible.

    Quite why TSA changing his mind would have affected anyting is beyond me becasue the appeal was heard presumably before his change of mind.

    I guess this trial is going to save you the trouble of writing a piece to prove Ferrari and the FIA are in cahoots Keith. Not even the blindest Ferrari fan or Hamilton hater can read those columns and not think something is rotten in the FIA.

  25. PlanetF1 (,18954,3213_4183805,00.html) states:

    ‘Scott Andrews told the court in Paris: “I have seen the email and I’m extremely surprised by its content. In short, it is grossly inaccurate and misleading.”‘

    Is this true? If so, precisely what integrity does FIA have left? If the email was offered as evidence, isn’t this perjury?

  26. I presume it would only be perjury in an actual civil court, and not some kangaroo-court.

  27. does anybody know something new about the time the verdict will be announced?

  28. Jeez, what a shambles… The FIA are so corrupt, it beggars belief.

  29. F1 for me is a dead dog. It is being ruined by the governing bodies, run by a bunch of cheating scum bags just like most countries political parties.

  30. the verdict will come when Ferrari get around to writing it.. ooops sorry that sounds glib.. but reading the media coverage it really does sound odd that the FIA and Ferrari are cross-examining Hamliton and McLaren – where is Kimi?! I must agree with many many posts; I was an F1 fan who enjoyed watching Kimi and Fernando do battle with old enemy; the clearly brilliant, but master of rule bending, Schumacher.. now the sport seems to being played out by Max Mosley and the FIA off the track..

  31. Sky News are saying the appeal has been rejected for being inadmissable!

  32. The fact that it took 2+ hours after the podium ceremony to make a decision, weeks more to start an appeal hearing, and now additional days to announce the outcome is just ridiculous. The FIA is a corrupt organization of perverted old white men who still think it’s 1900. This case was closed and their decision was made long before the proceedings began in Paris yesterday.

  33. The appeal has just been judged inadmissable.
    Read it and weep.

  34. As much as I was in support of Mclaren in this case, and I am amazed at the same time I find it entirely predictable. I just hope they just put it behind them, and get on with this weekends race and the championship.

  35. Oh the surprise….

  36. I heard Pat Simmons say he had to believe that the FIA were unbiased. Well Pat may want to believe it but obviously in his heart doesn’t. The long and short of the story is that if looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck than chances are it’s a duck – and F1 is Ferrari biased end of. What can we do about it? Not much – except perhaps find the emails of member countries of the FIA and email everyone and anyone. It’s easy just go to the f1 website then contact us page and to the bottom to find the FIA website. Then look up members and email them. Perhaps if they’re inundated they’ll think twice next time.

  37. This is a little bit fun honestly. Since Hamilton did arrive to F1 is has been more problems and complains than was even time of Schumacher. And Schumi was real trouble makers sometimes. Seems that what ever Lewis do he include in some kind of arguing. If you do not know what i mean just go back to last season and look what was there. That time Ferrari fans was blaiming FIA to be Lewis side all the time and now McLaren fans are blaiming FIA being Ferrari side. And middle of all this is “normal” F1 fans who do not know which side they should be.

    Like i said last year : I do not need watch soap operas anymore, F1 is better than ” Bold and Beautiful” LOL.

  38. Thats justice. Massa deserved the win in Belgium clearly. His pace was the best, and he is the best even if he does say ‘for sure’ far too often. and Hami cheated. Cheat cheat. FIA = justice. Mosley forever! Max you rock!

  39. @fooorza

    did you actually watch the belgium gp?
    and next time please post an informed comment, and not a fanboy jibe.

  40. WTH.

    yes i did see it. Massa was the most consistent and stayed out of trouble showing that he used his head while Kimi and Hamhead were going off all over the place very silly in those conditions so for sure Massa deserved the win. And he’s tall.

  41. foorza, i totally disagree!
    f1 is about racing, and racing is about coming first, no matter what the circumstances.
    and to be treated to watching 2 of the top drivers duke it out wheel to wheel is indeed a treat sorely missed. yet after watching the seasons best race (apart from monza) and have it marred by a legal wrangle (just or unjust) brings the sport into disrepute, imo.
    and where was massa? consistently a few seconds behind with no threat the kimi or lewis. i’m not sure how you ascertain his merit?

  42. I like to see racing. but fair race. lewis cheated then tried to hide by go back to 2nd but slipped in Kimi’s stream. Thats not fair. It was mclaren who went to the court.

    Massa took it deservingly after kimi couldn’t. I think Felipe is the greatest since the Great German – Schumacher. Massa is the saviour and future of F1. And he’s not short, in fact above average in height.

  43. hey each to his/her own, although i do shudder when people compare current drivers to schumi, its just not right.
    but you more than entitled to back which ever pony you choose.

    but one question, why the fixation with massa’s height? who cares if the wee man is vertically challenged? i would still think he’s a so-so driver if he was tall.

    o and hamilton technically did not cheat, unless you consider massa a cheat too? ;-)

  44. Hamilton is far too arrogant for his age. He’s not that good, Massa has far more class on the track. Hamilton is total over-rated and and despite what people say not tall, in fact i think he’s shorter than Massa and almost the whole grid for sure

  45. yeah, hamilton is arrogant, but so was schumacher and a plethora of other drivers. i reckon it’s thing you need to be a top f1 driver. modesty is not a trait many drivers follow…

    anyway, we’ll see at the end of the season who’s the better driver.

    btw, you crack me up. had a real good laugh :-D

  46. the tort bar and their enablers in the democrat party will eventually run out of victims. A young business person with ambition and a nifty idea should seriously consider pursuing those dreams outside the clutches of the looters in this nation.

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