Schumacher’s Monaco penalty will stand after Mercedes withdraw appeal

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Mercedes canned their appeal but called Schumacher's penalty 'disproportionate'

Mercedes have withdrawn their appeal against Michael Schumacher’s penalty in the Monaco Grand Prix.

However they described Schumacher’s penalty as “disproportionate” and said the FIA has agreed to discuss the terms of article 40.13 under which Schumacher was punished.

They added they were supportive of drivers having a role on the stewards’ panel. Damon Hill, who served as the drivers’ representative to the stewards last weekend, received hate mail after Schumacher was punished.

A statement from the team said:

On the final lap of the 2010 Monaco Grand Prix, Mercedes instructed our drivers, Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg, to race from safety car line one until the finish line as permitted under articles 40.7 and 40.11.

Mercedes were fully aware of article 40.13 which states that no overtaking is permitted if the race finishes under safety car conditions. However we believed that the combination of the race control messages ‘Safety Car in this lap’ and ‘Track Clear’ and the green flags and lights shown by the marshals after safety car line one indicated
that the race was not finishing under the safety car and all drivers were free to race.

This opinion appears to have been shared by the majority of the teams with cars in the top ten positions who also gave their drivers instructions to race to the finish line.

It was clear from our discussions with the stewards after the race that they understood the reasons for our interpretation and acknowledged that this was a new and previously untested situation but ultimately disagreed with our interpretation.

Mercedes would like to emphasise that we fully support the inclusion of past drivers on the stewards panel and are completely satisfied that the Monaco Grand Prix stewards acted professionally, impartially and properly in this matter.

The FIA has agreed to include article 40.13 on the agenda of the next Sporting Working Group for discussion and to consider the scale of post race penalties. We believe that the 20 second penalty imposed on Michael to be disproportionate in the circumstances.

Whilst we cannot be happy with the outcome, we are pleased that the FIA has recognised the reasons for our interpretation. Therefore in the best interests of the sport, Mercedes will not be submitting an appeal.

It’s interesting that Mercedes’ claim their view racing was permitted after the safety car went in “appears to have been shared by the majority of the teams with cars in the top ten positions.”

We already know Ferrari and McLaren instructed their drivers not to race at this moment. Presumably Mercedes is referring to Red Bull, Renault and Force India when it speak of the “majority” – these were the only other teams with cars in the top ten at this point.

Appeals against drive-through penalties (which is essentially what Schumacher got) have been deemed inadmissible in the past, most famously when Lewis Hamilton was stripped of his win in the 2008 Belgian Grand Prix. So it’s no great surprise to see Mercedes drop their attempt to have Schumacher’s sixth place restored.

Schumacher’s Monaco penalty

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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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143 comments on “Schumacher’s Monaco penalty will stand after Mercedes withdraw appeal”

  1. That’s a shame. Schumacher pulled off a fantastic pass, and gets penalised for it.

    1. Fantastic pass?? Alonso wasn’t even aware that they were racing?

      But then again I guess thats the only way Schumi can get by Alonso. I would love to have seen that proud smile on Schumi’s face just after he pulled this move, and then his reaction after he found out he was relegated to last of all the finishers. PRICELESS!

      1. Nah, Alonso was caught napping.
        The move was epic and clever. The team, however, mis-advised Michael.

        Nonetheless, this doesn’t ditract from the move itself.

        1. Alonso coming sideways out of Rascasse didn’t look like the action of a guy who wasn’t racing.

          1. Well to me, Alonso going sideways at Rascasse looked to me like he was trying to defend his position.

          2. As much as Ferrari will deny it, there can be no doubt that Alonso was sideways because he was racing.

            And Schumacher’s move wasn’t any less fair than Alonso passing Massa into the pit lane.

            Scribe described Mercedes perfectly below me
            “Mercedes argument did sound supiciously like an attempt at simultaneous possesion and consumption of cake.”

          3. Looked like a guy on cold, worn tyres slipping a little, didn’t look very racey to me, UNTIL Schumi went for it, at which point Alonso probably wondered if his team had advised him incorrectly, as McLaren did with Lewis last year when they told him to let Trulli back past.

      2. If Alonso wasn’t racing and fully aware of this rule, why didn’t he let Rosberg, who was already beside him, through as well???

        1. Alonso comming sideways out of Rascasse was clearly a case of a man sliding on cold and presumably knackered tyres. Probably not a case of him napping, regardless Schumacher pass was a wonderful bit of oppourtunism. Shame about the result of all this but Mercedes argument did sound supiciously like an attempt at simultaneous possesion and consumption of cake.

          1. Absolutely with you on this Scribe. A great Schumi moment.
            Even if he would not make any impressions in the rest of the season this is a much better Monaco moment to remember than the last one. Good for him trying, good for Ross to have a go in an unclear situation.

            OK, in the end it was ruled to be illegal, but a great moment all the same. Keep going for every chance on track, thats the Michael we need.

      3. Oh no! Alonso was pretty aware. When exiting rascasse Alonso pushed too hard the gas pedal, the rear of his sliped towards the barriers.

      4. Hang in there Todbod , ’cause soon you will see his smile on the top step of the podium , and that will be the first of many more to come.

        1. The majority of overtaking MS has done in his carrier is in the pit lane, I doubt he will be able to overtake on the track, which is the reason for his lack lustre races this year. Thus, you are probably going to be waiting for a long time, to see MS smiling from the top step of the podium, besides if he is thrown out next season, your wait is going to be till eternity, mate.

  2. “Mercedes would like to emphasise that we fully support the inclusion of past drivers on the stewards panel and are completely satisfied that the Monaco Grand Prix stewards acted professionally, impartially and properly in this matter.” What is that all about?

    1. Damon Hill. They want to distance themselves from the simple-minded and venemous criticism some people have levelled at him.

      1. Quite right too. No real F1 fan would hold a grudge against DH. He’s there to advise and assist, not interpret FIA rules and he’s said as much on Autosport.

        1. Actually, Hill has said that he had to interpret the rules in Schumi case

          ” “It was a fascinating experience but I wonder whether it is right that drivers are put in the position of interpreting the regulations,” he said. “I imagined I would be there as a consultant providing driver insight to the stewards, who would then make the decisions. My expertise is as a driver rather than a lawmaker or interpreter of regulations.

          “Partly, of course, my discomfort was because I was called to make a ruling on an incident involving Michael,” Hill said. “I acted entirely properly but I have already received some stinging e-mails accusing me of prejudice.” ”

          I’m not saying accusing Hill is rightful, but this is the kind of problem we get when FIA lets people who have grudges with current driver(s) be a steward.

          Many spectators will think this was Hill’s revenge and Hill can never prove them wrong. F1 looks stupid. Everbody loses.

          1. I’m not saying accusing Hill is rightful, but this is the kind of problem we get when FIA lets people who have grudges with current driver(s) be a steward.

            Many spectators will think this was Hill’s revenge and Hill can never prove them wrong. F1 looks stupid. Everbody loses.

            And everybody will just have to get over it. It’s more important that we have people who can bring experience of racing these cars into the stewarding process. It was widely known before the weekend began that Hill would be a steward, none of the teams complained and we should take that as a sign they were confident in his impartiality.

          2. There are lots of drivers who have enough experience of racing and even if the driver steward is different in every race you’ll only need less than 20 of them. If it’s possible to pick Damon Hill or another as experienced driver, who doesn’t have grudges with other drivers, to consult the stewards, I’d pick the other driver any day.

            I’m just saying this all looks silly. Bad luck that Hill had to make decision concerning Schumacher, but this all could’ve easily been avoided.

            In any other “legal” procedure judges/stewards/whatever would be disqualified if they had grudges with the defendant. Why should F1 be an exception?

            And yet again, I’m not accusing Hill of anything. It’s just that this all looks unfair even if it wasn’t, which is bad for F1. I’m pretty sure Hill would’ve turned down the chance to be a steward, if he had seen this coming.

          3. You want to pick an F1 driver with a grudge against someone else? (or a perceived one)

            Good luck.

            Keep in mind the driver steward doesn’t have a vote, he is just there to shout his opinion.
            If the race stewards can’t handle that, and use the advise with caution, they probably won’t make great stewards anyway…

      2. It’s obvious that DH and others took right decision. It’s race control’s fault who left the “truck clear” and green flags that misguided teams.

        1. Team, singular. Only Mercedes read the rule wrong, everyone else understood there was to be no overtaking.

  3. As Alonso was not defending his position it wasn´t what I´d rate as fantastic, but at least it was a better move than Trulli´s.

    1. Hi, I think Alonso tried to defend his position, he looks like we wanted to close the line for a moment, not sure though….

      1. Next time Alonso could put Schumi into the wall(NASCAR style)and the track would have been blocked…but really Trulli is the one that needs to be slapped up side the head for his bone head move.

        1. Lol! I don’t think Schumacher would like that, he got in trouble last time he blocked the track in that spot!

    2. I’m no Schumacher fan but Alonso was certainly defending his position and all of the top 10 seemed to think they might be racing as they all floored the throttle after the safety car line. Why do that if not racing? It was just that Alonso got bogged down a bit. I know McLaren had instructed Hamilton not to overtake, but even he floored it so there must have been doubt there.

      Very interesting of Mercedes not to apeal in the interest of the sport. I thought they had very good grounds to do so. Also I can remember most of the established teams over the years agreeing to things “in the interest of the sport” but can’t remember that from Ferrari…. but may be that is selective memory.

      1. The FIA may have told them not appeal and in return they will make it up for them next year WHEN YOU REALLY NEED IT :)
        Now this is what is meant by the “interest of the sport” opps I mean the show :)

        1. Looks like there are gonna be some bans onparts/upgrades of competitors. Schumi cant make himself faster.. so .. i guess we have to slow down the field for him.

          1. Actually in this case it seems to be Schumacher is making himself faster so FIA has to do its best to slow him down.

          2. @Todfod

            bla bla bla… zzZZzzzZZzzz

  4. That’s in reference to comments regarding Damon Hill’s influence upon the decision, which, was absolute rubbish in the first place.

  5. Sush Meerkat
    18th May 2010, 14:43

    Is this to do with however the appeal goes even if its in Mercedes’ favour, the penalty ITSELF cannot be rescinded?.

    Also the websites RSS feeds and general front page news seems to now be filled with articles related to Mercedes F1 whether its this appeal, Schumacher or how Merc now feel about the updated car (according to them, they thinks its a positive step).

    Call a huge cynic but I smell the hand of a marketing department knowing the dull week we tend to have straight after the Monaco GP.

    1. Good point, everyone is talking about Mercedes an not about Red bull.

    2. I am with you in that. The move itself got Mercedes and Michael in the headlights and on the front pages. The appeal made it continue for a few days.
      In the end they can present to have been right at not too great a cost (with Schumi not fighting for WDC this year)

      Good PR for them, nice for Schumi to have some posetive engery going towards him.

  6. There’s a simple solution that the FIA can do with this.

    “If you’re not allowed to pass, do not show the drivers a green flag”

    I think almost all the viewers thought the pass was legitimate and most were annoyed at the ruling. Things like this make F1 look bad and they need to make it easier for the F1 viewers to understand without having to refer to the rulebook.
    Yellow Flag – No passing.
    Green Flag – You can race and pass other cars.
    Exceptions should not be allowed.

    1. Chalky is correct here. The only issue for me is the green flag.

    2. Actually if you look at the FIA regs, that’s basically what it says, although in a far more complex way. The green flags seem to have been the real issue. If they had still been yellow then the race would definitely have been finishing under the safety car. But as they were green all the conditions in the regs that the race was restarting at the safety car line seem to have been met, so the way I read it they should have been racing.

      Here is the relevant bit, draw your own conclusions:

      40.11 When the clerk of the course decides it is safe to call in the safety car the message “SAFETY CAR IN THIS LAP” will be displayed on the timing monitors and the car’s orange lights will be extinguished This will be the signal to the teams and drivers that it will be entering the pit lane at the end of that lap.
      At this point the first car in line behind the safety car may dictate the pace and, if necessary, fall more than ten car lengths behind it.
      In order to avoid the likelihood of accidents before the safety car returns to the pits, from the point at which the lights on the car are turned out drivers must proceed at a pace which involves no erratic acceleration or braking nor any other manoeuvre which is likely to endanger other drivers or impede the restart.
      As the safety car is approaching the pit entry the yellow flags and SC boards will be withdrawn and replaced by waved green flags with green lights at the Line. These will be displayed until the last car crosses the Line.

      1. On re-reading the regs there should also never have been a “SAFETY CAR IN THIS LAP” message, if the race was not being restarted. The only provision in the regs for giving that message is if the race is being restarted at the end of the lap. It says nothing about giving such a message in any other circumstances e.g. when ending under the safety car.

  7. todt did talk with his old friend brown, i suppose. I think it is right what they are doing. They will look into the rule, and try to make it work better in the future, but right now, there is nothing that they can do. Todt is way much better than mosley already.

    1. I kind of agree. But why not check the rules are watertight before the season starts. Shutting the gate after the horse has bolted springs to mind…

      but I do agree that this is better than Mosely who just left the gate permanently open.

      1. Are we devising sporting regulations or legal legislation? What was at stake here were a couple of points, not life or death decisions.
        What is most important in a sporting code is the intent, and in that context 40.13 is unambiguous.

        Brawn, just as he did at silverstone in 98′, thought he could manipulate the system. He would have been fully aware of the intent of 40.13 and know it applied and would try to exploit the track condition signage but on this occasion rightly, ended up with egg all over his face.

        One last point, Schumacher in comparison to Hill is akin to something you’ed pick up on the sole of your boots and best kept at arms length.

    2. When looking at the rule, they might have a look at the possibilities for the Stewards to give an appropriate penalty as well.

      Dropping a driver less than 20 seconds in this specific case, or just giving a little bit more room for judgment (say 5-20 seconds depending on circumstances), although that might be invite critisizm of lenience towards some drivers

    3. Well, as I understand it, even if Ross Brawn would get an upper hand in appealing Steward’s decision, Michael would still be 12th. That is also a some ridiculous piece of FIA legislation! Perhaps, that is a reason why they dropped the appeal in the first place.

  8. This is a shame. This means the FIA wants to have a “pretend” race to the finishing line once a safety car period is over.

    1. Yup! that’s the thing that annoys me most!

      I think either you say the track is not safe, and you have the safety car finish or not,

      Or you say, the track is safe, and they race.

      This is meant to be a sport and not a reality TV show….

    2. That is precisely the purpose of 40.13, it’s the show that matters especially at Monaco

  9. The funny thing is, if there was a chance to do so Charlie would have instructed Schumacher to let Alonso pass again and that would be sufficient.

    That’s the real problem. The written rules do not adequately reflect the real-time advice on the track whereby drivers usually get a warning and a call to ‘let him back through and you won’t get a penalty.’

    1. It’s exactly the sort of thing they can and should do. It happens in IndyCar and other forms of racing. We could have been spared the rows at Spa in ’08 and Melbourne in ’09 and others if race control took a consistent pro-active role.

      1. They did in Spa ’08. The only problem was that Hamilton immediately overtook Raikkonen after he let him pass and did not give it back, even though McLaren asked race control if it was okay.

        And in this case it was impossible, because the race finished seconds after the pass.

        But I agree it should be done more often after illegal overtaking (or blocking) manoeuvres.

        1. Well to be fair Hamilton let Raikkonen past twice. Once just after the start finish line and then again later in the lap when he went off the track because of the water and to avoid another car. ha. ….then of course Raikkonen let Hamilton by because he span. ..and finally Raikkonen crashed into a wall.


      2. I don’t understanding the reasoning, partly because Brawn would not have been ignorant of the rule relating to the final lap under a SC.

        In any event ignorance isn’t a defence and Brawn/Schumacher’s history suggests opportunistic and cynical exploitation in every possible situation.

        In such circumstances such as Monaco it’s hardly appropriate to revert to the previous order, it requires a punitive response.

        1. … please … the rule is about when the safety car period is going to stay in place until the chequered flag, it’s been around a while, and EVERYBODY has known of it for a long while now. It says that the SC won’t take cross finish line but instead pull into the pits, while the cars complete the race (without overtaking, obviously, ‘cos it is still SC conditions).
          End of.

          Have you ANY proof, going by the actions of Race Control and the regulations as written, that the safety car condition was still in place when it pulled it?

    2. @John H

      good point

  10. Is anyone bothered by the fact that Hill received hate male? Pretty soon we’ll see riots in the stands and drivers protected by security guards with automatic weapons to keep the rabid fans under control. Next will come Tonya Harding-style attacks where some fan breaks Hamilton’s wrist at some nightclub so that he can’t compete. Let’s try to maintain that thin veneer of civilized behavior as long as we can. People are crazy.

    1. Heheh, what have you been drinking? Perhaps all spectators should be put through the xray scanners before they are let inside for the race. Or spectators should be randomly detained for 3 hours and put in a dimly lit room. The Middle Eastern spectators should be waterboarded too, right?

      1. I wouldn’t fancy a male full of hate being sent to me! :-P

  11. If Alonso didn’t think he was racing – why was he sideways getting the power down lol!?

    1. Trying to save his position, just in case the move was legal?

      1. Yep I guess that could still be it but if he was so sure you’d have to wonder why he’s bother nearly cracking the barrier. Easy to say sat here calmly at my desk I guess.

        Interesting though, watch the timing of it – it’s the sideways action I think that triggers Schumi’s move in the first place.

    2. Probably because he’d done 77 laps on the same set of tyres!

      1. Hmmm, again I couldn’t be sure but even if he was down to the canvas, surely a man of Alonso’s caliber could handle applying the power for what he would have perceived as a formation finish. He looked like he was racing to me.

        1. the tyres were cold however and as he did not expect to be racing after the instruction from his team, he did not work as hard on getting temperature in them before this SC line.

    3. He spotted MSC starting to overtake Him and put the power down, in racing conditions it is virtually impossible to overtake there.

      1. Yeah absolutely, that moves not on in racing conditions – I’m off to take another look! I’m sure his moment happened before Schumi tried anything…perhaps Fernando’s reactions are just that quick!

        1. If you watch MSC line through Tabac its the same as Mansell chasing Senna in 92, in racing conditions you dont stand a chance if the driver in front is on the ball.

          1. Years later I learnt He was taking a `slow in fast out` line through the corner hopeing to take Him on the straight. This is excactly the reason why Monaco should stay on the race calender.

          2. Yep I’m agreeing with you Gusto – I think actually Fernando saw MSC looming and was just covering it off. Just interesting that Micheal hadn’t accelerated when Alonso’s car got all out of shape.

          3. I like the way Alonso takes the last corner on the curb trying to take the place back.

          4. If Alonso took the place back, that would be Illegal was well right? I mean, two wrongs doesn’t make a right. Would Alonso get a 20 second penalty as well?

    4. Also the fact that a couple fire extinguishers had just been sprayed across the Lotus and I’m sure the corner wasn’t the stickiest place on the track anymore.

  12. Don Speekingleesh
    18th May 2010, 15:31

    According to the BBC article on the subject: “This interpretation was shared by all the team managers bar that of Mercedes – I understand that upon seeing Schumacher’s move every single one of them got in touch with race director Charlie Whiting to say it was not allowed.”

    1. Well, someone’s telling porkies…

    2. Lets see. The team in the top 10 were

      1.RedBull – we don’t know, but the BBC would have probably asked and mentioned it if they would have thought about racing.
      2.Renault – we don’t know for sure, but unlikely to be racing like Red Bull
      3.Ferrari – no racing
      4.McLaren – no racing
      5.Mercedes – racing allowed
      6.Force India – we don’t know
      7.Torro Rosso – we don’t know (included, because they might be taken as top ten finishers after the penalty).

      So for Mercedes to be right, they would have had to get “support” for their interpretation from 3 of the teams we are not sure about. Not sure about that, but we might be learn about this from those teams.

      1. From what Adam Cooper writes here, it seems STR and probably FI certainly did not agree with Mercedes as they had a lot to gain by the decision, while he indicates Renault and RedBull were supportive of Ross having a good case, as they had nothing to loose by it (indeed rather gainging as Alonso would be a further 2 points behind RBRs drivers).
        As always, that is more about their own interests as about the rules.

        here’s the complete blog:

  13. So it’s no great surprise to see Mercedes drop their attempt to have Schumacher’s sixth place restored.

    Essentially they got what they wanted, since the penalty can not be appealed.

    The rule 40.13 as well as after-race penalties are on the agenda of the next FIA meeting, so there was no use to continue the appeal (it would only be a waste of money).

  14. A couple of interesting Tweets from Jonathan Legard add a little more detail:

    Hearing that Schumacher told in FIA meeting in Spain to obey lights/flags after confusion in Barcelona FP3. System needs clarifying.

    Suggestion by two team managers that fairer punishment would have been to switch Alonso and Schumacher because of green light/new SC rule

    The second point makes a lot of sense to me – I said much the same here: The FIA’s badly-written rules leave Formula 1 looking stupid once again

    1. As the rules were confusing MSC should of had the positions reversed and draw a line under it, ammend the rules so as to avoid confusion, but the FIA being the FIA coundn`t resist making a mountain out of a mole hill.

      1. When things happened earlier this year with Hamilton weaving, wasn’t the answer to let it go, but not let it happen again?

        Swapping them back, would have achieved this and been consistent.

    2. It’s good to know they at least acknowledge the rules are somewhat ambiguous and need looking at.

      Do you know what the available options are to the FIA in this case? I know you have written articles before Keith on the unwritten rules and such, do they need a full review and complete agreement by the teams to change anything?

    3. Exactly Keith, even in football the referee is allowed to consult with 4th offical looking at different angels if a penalty is justified or not.

      I haven’t watched footy for long time so I hope such rules still exist???

      OK then the world cup is near and I am rooting for Scotland :)

      1. No Scotland then, well Cardiff boys then agaist England what a wonderful match that would be. Did I say anything about Rugby?

    4. What does that first line mean? Did Schumacher have problems with the lights in FP3 in Barcelona too?

      1. I’m really not sure about that one. Any thoughts? I’ll dig out a video of Barcelona FP3 later.

        1. I think that in Barcelona FP3 there were a couple of issues with drivers setting “green” sector times during a yellow flag period – initially there were some questions over whether five or six drivers might receive a grid penalty. Presumably Schumacher was one of those involved and warned not to do it again.

      2. For me it seems to mean, that Schumacher was warned to pay more attention to yellow flags being out.

        So now he payed attention to the greens and they were wrong? Or should it mean, that he already got warned and this was taken to be a clue of him not respecting the rules repeatedly?

  15. Really don’t understand the reason why the withdraw their appeal? Is this what Schuamcher wants that his comeback be without any trouble? But I am feeling very bad about this he did nothing wrong it was an awesome pass & still he gets no reward for that.

    1. I agree with you to 100%. Terrible news.

    2. They agrred a deal under tha carpet for next year wasF1 willF1 :)

    3. Mercedes probably just thought that any appeal would be unsuccessful.

      1. They had all the evidence to proof that the move was not illegal under the circumstance that they did.It’s the FIA that made the mistake not Schumi.

        1. I think there was not much to gain for Mercedes by putting in the appeal.

          1. the penaly would not have been reversed, even if they won their appeal.
          Therefore the only reasons to appeal would be 2. being morally right (PR) and
          3. having the rules improved to avoid such unclear situations in the future.

          With the press statement they get pretty far on the 2nd point and from the comments by FIA the uproar has allready resulted in getting point 3 on.

          Not much reason go on with appealing. This is good, the FIA admits, that the situation is not as it should be and moves to improve the rules and procedures.

          1. They knew there was no hope of a reversal, they also knew they were totally in the wrong.

            Interesting to see Brawn’s blustering on sunday, wonder what the humble tastes like on wednesday.

          2. JamesR – “they also knew they were totally in the wrong” …

            I’ve yet to see any attempt to prove – by you or anyone else, using the regs as they stand – that they were in the wrong.

            If it is so blindingly obvious to you, please could you help me out, showing me why – by quoting the relevant sections of the regulations – rule 40.13 was enforcable?

            And please don’t just go on about what *you* think the ‘intent’ of 40.13 is – remember, it is an old rule that has been used before, for when the race is to end under the SC, it won’t take the line but instead go into the pits, but the race cars must keep order and not overtake on their way to the line, as per standard SC rules (ref. 40.7). If you think it has any other ‘intent’, then please bear in mind that it was written before the SC line was written in to the rules…

  16. Keith,

    When you say: “So it’s no great surprise to see Mercedes drop their attempt to have Schumacher’s sixth place restored.”

    I think that Mercedes where merely going through their “appeal motions” to prove a point.

    On autosport ( they claimed the following:
    “Mercedes, however, has appealed the decision, which will now be handled by the FIA’s Court of Appeal.”

    “The FIA said the appeal is strictly against the decision, not the penalty itself as drive-throughs cannot be appealed.”

    So they probably knew already that they wouldn’t get that penalty reversed, but they would have their name cleared and the stupidity removed from the rules (or race control)

    I guess they won that battle already.

    1. Oh excellent news that is even if only to serve the FIA an egg on their face for not being so stubborn.

  17. Andrew Benson on his BBC blog makes a good point that the idea behind the rule was to stop the safety car being visible when the winner crossed the line i.e. make it look better for TV.

    1. I think it pulls in anyway at the end of the last lap – even if the race is still under SC conditions (although without overtaking at all of course)

      I was kind of hoping the safety car would continue and not come in at all, Mayländer opting instead to park in the P1 spot in front of Prince Albert.

  18. After Spa 08 we all know you cannot appeal a stewards decision, its obvious that it was a illegal move, according to a ambigious FIA ruling, He was guilty, What concerns me is a football mentality emerging from this situation, for Hill to recieve abuse over this is digusting an I for one would like to say that the vast majority of F1 followers would like to distance themselves from these comments and say that its not whether you win lose or draw its how you play the game.

  19. If Shcumi could overtake Alonso there is because Alonso wasn´t racing. It would be imposible in any other situation to get by him. And the way Alonso reacted is correct, as he could have lost the position because of going no fast enough or maybe it was allowed to overtake.

    puxa Nano!!

    1. FelipeBabyStayCool
      18th May 2010, 19:10

      Exactly my point. I’ve heard too many times he was napping. If he had been told it would be back to racing, he would have been trying to make a move on Lewis, but would have failed because Lewis would be trying his move on Massa, and so on. You can’t pass there in racing conditions

  20. Nathan Bradley
    18th May 2010, 18:38


    I have a simple but elegant solution that I believe works, so here goes:

    Why not borrow something from our NASCAR friends in America and in cases such as this i.e. last lap safety car, how about finishing under the green-white-checker rule?

    It would allow drivers to race for 2 more laps and remove any controversy. I don’t forsee any problems with fuel consumption, as you save fuel under a safety car anyway.

    Nor do I see a problem with tyre wear, as as Fernando Alonso just proved, the Bridgestone tyres can easily last a little longer.

    I know this wouldn’t happen too often in F1 but at least it would be there if they needed it.


    P.S. This may already have been mooted, so sorry if I’m repeating :)

  21. Like I said yesterday, even if this did break the rules, the rule should be canned.

    This makes F1 a laughing stock again, penalising a great move at the end of a largely processional race, for no good reason.

  22. There is nothing ambiguous and the rules shouldn’t be changed. They finished the race under racing conditions and Schumi overtook legally.

    Ferrari and McLaren team bosses should be made to write out a thousand times, “When you see the green flag you can race.”

    And the FIA officials should be fined ten grid positions at the next set of traffic lights for not understanding their own rules.

    Mercedes probably decided that it wasn’t worth the aggro to go through with the appeal. They won’t gain any points or anything.

    But a clarification of rule 40.13 and a bigger range of penalties might be very positive things to come out of this.

  23. The only that has come of this all is that the FIA have acknoweldge the fact that the rules as written leave a gigantic gray area and room for interpretation. I guess the fact that they write the regulations on car design they are accustom to writing rules with a variance of interpretation. However the rules regarding Racing on track itself should not be so gray. They should be black and white, with zero room for interpretation.

    1. the only “good”

  24. Let us vote on the Schumacher issue.
    I think its disgraceful.

  25. PRess, press and more press..what better way to get free advert for F1 in these tough economic times? To get MS’s name back out there even though he’s been taking awhile to get used to the merc…Have a controversy..and what better stage? Monaco….the fia couldnt have asked for better advertising.

  26. The funny thing is,this rule is there because of the bone head moves Schumacher did in the past…if this rule was not in forced Alonso would just RAM(Schumi NASCAR style) into Schumacher . It’s clear in the video replay Alonso gave room to Schumi ,when he could have just taken him out.

  27. The more I look at the regs, the more I think that they are not in the least bit ambiguous and that the stewards decision was simply factually wrong.

    Quoting clause 40.13 “If the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.” Is a red herring. Of course if Schumacher overtook while the safety car was deployed then he was guilty. The real question is WAS THE SAFETY CAR DEPLOYED or HAD THE RACE RESTARTED. And the rules on that are quite clear.

    The relevant rules are 40.4 and 40.6 which essentially say when the safety car is deployed it’s orange lights will be on, yellow flags and SC boards will be used

    So when Schumacher overtook Alonso were the safety cars orange lights on – No, Were yellow flags out – No, were SC boards out – No. ….. not much case there for the safety car being deployed

    On the other hand the procedure for restarting the race is also clear in 40.11,

    “the message “SAFETY CAR IN THIS LAP” will be displayed on the timing monitors and the car’s orange lights will be extinguished” and “As the safety car is approaching the pit entry the yellow flags and SC boards will be withdrawn and replaced by waved green flags with green lights at the Line.”

    So had the message “SAFETY CAR IN THIS LAP” been displayed – Yes, Had the cars orange lights been extinguished – Yes although a bit late, but they were off before the line. Had the yellow flags and SC boards been withdrawn – Yes, Had they been replaced by waved green flags – Yes

    That’s pretty conclusive to me.

    The big question must be to the stewards – ON WHAT GROUNDS given the above facts did you deem that the safety car was still deployed when the race ended….. because I can see no grounds what so ever…. but of course with a drive through type penalty there is no appeal allowed no matter what the facts AND the stewards do not have to justify their decision…..

    If you want to see the relevant regs in detail look here:

    1. I think its pretty simple: the race was not restarted because there were no more laps to run. A restart for race from the SC line to the S/F line is expressly ruled out by the same rule. And the reason it has to rule it out is because the SC is not out for that stretch, and the on track lights and flags indicating its presence are also not showing. The rule clearly and fully accounts for the situation and its purpose is clear. So the entire discussion of what lights were or were not on or what flags were waving tends to undermine Brawn’s point.

      Anyway, your interpretation forces 40.13 into nonsense. How does the race end while the safety car is deployed and its coming in on the last lap occur other than as happened in Monaco? It was the last lap, the safety car was deployed on that lap,and it came in. Brawn’s interpretion requires the SC to come in the proscribed situation, but have its lights and associated track indicators blazing anyway, in a silly and confusing formality. A formality already addressed and obviated by the clear command that there is no passing to the S/F line, which would otherwise be possible without this express exception.

      The fundamental issue here is that if the alternative interpretaiton of the rule makes it nonsensical, or superfluous, you lose. You cannot annihilate or contort into oblivion parts of the regulation simply because it is poorly drafted or unclear. You have to give it its most logical interpretation consistent with the rest of the rules and the situation it is intended to address. Brawns attempted interpretation is so grindingly formalistic that accepting it would likely destroy half of the sporting regs. This is not the BGB, after all. Its some rules made up for a sport. Picking it apart with tweezers will end in tears.

      1. There are two situations where the safety car can come in on the last lap:
        A) The track is clear and racing can re-commence, even if it is just a short distance.
        B) The race will run to the finish under safety car conditions.

        Assume there’s a driver far back who can’t see the safety car and his pit radio is broken. How does he know when it’s “Safety car in” i.e. “Start racing?” When he sees the waved green flags.

        By your interpretation of the rules, once the last lap commences under safety car conditions, it must finish under safety car conditions, and that is wrong.

        1. There’s a third possibility:
          C)The safety car itself has an engine problem/running out of petrol/whatever and needs to come in.

          The problem is the same: How do you indicate to the drivers whether they are now racing or still under safety car conditions?

          Answer: Via green or yellow flags.

      2. “A restart for race from the SC line to the S/F line is expressly ruled out by the same rule.” – where? I’ve looked agin at the regs and can’t see such a rule. And the race can easily end with the safety car out other than in monaco. E.g. if the safety car is out but has not yet picked up the leader and the leader takes the chequered flag. That fits the rule far better because then the race ends “whilst the safety car is deployed” not the race ends “with the safety car sat in the pits with its lights off”

        1. Well, let me quote what you cited:

          Quoting clause 40.13 “If the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.”

          This expressly rules out overtaking when the SC enters the pit lane at the end of the last lap. In Monaco, the SC entered the pits on the last lap. The one thing that specifically would not be allowed in this case is overtaking. It’s there in black and white. Do the rules on lights on SC boards say otherwise? No. 40.13 is what is known as an exception, set out by specific limiting conditions. Anyway, pointing to 40.11 as somehow trumping 40.13 in this situation necessarily wipes out 40.13—or it requires that the signals are showing when the SC is in fact not out, which is even sillier. The entire point of 40.13, second clause, is to make clear that there is no passing when the usual signals of that condition are not present, for the limit period of the lead car passing between the SC line and the S/F line.

          Regarding your hypo, sorry, but why on earth would the SC come out on the last lap— behind the leader? It would not be possible to “pick up the leader” until after the race was over. And even if it did, what would be the point of it then coming in at the end of that lap—triggering a situation where there would be no passing from that point forward? Again, your interpretation annihilates 40.13 all together, or at least its second half. A rational interpretation is always preferrable to striking out a rule completely.

          I get it that the rule makes a minor hash in stating the triggering condition as the race ending “whilst” the SC is deployed. And that this is your sole basis for claiming that the rule must be talking about some other unknown situation, or something. But, again, there is one and only one situation consistent with that rule: the SC is out on the last lap, and then it comes in on that lap, and when it does, no passing to the line. That’s what it says. It does not say, unless some lights are showing. Maybe it should say, “for the avoidance of doubt and notwithstanding 40.11 or any other otherwise inconsisent provision.” But these are the FIA sporting regs, not the Companies Act.

          And this is the problem with MSC again isn’t it? The man can’t get his advantage without actually erasing some segment of the regulations, but no matter. If they need a personal touch up, post-hoc, then so be it. Because he is bigger than the sport.

          1. Ruleset:
            40.4 ”
            When the order is given to deploy the safety car the message “SAFETY CAR DEPLOYED” will be displayed on the timing monitors and all marshal’s posts will display waved yellow flags and “SC” boards for the duration of the intervention.”

            Yellow flags and SC for the DURATION of the intervention. As there were no more yellow flags and no more SC boards the intervention, the safety car period, was over.

            END OF STORY.

          2. Dave, you seem to be missing my main point, which is, was the safety car deployed at the end of the race? If it was, then most of what you say and the penalty is correct. But my whole argument was to work out if it was deployed. Your assumption and I presume the stewards seems to be that because the safety car was deployed at the end of the penultimate lap then it was automatically deployed at the end of the last lap…. but that certainly doesn’t apply to any other lap, and the rules don’t say that or imply it in any way. I thought it was clear, and still do, but you obviously strongly think otherwise, so it can’t be.

            I’m no Schumacher fan, I’d be arguing the same if it was Alonso that had passed Schumacher, but I am a fan of racing and opportunistic driving.

    2. Jim, you’ve hit the nail on the head there!

      I have not yet seen even an *attempt* to justify the Steward’s decision using the regs … what can the Stewards have read into 40.13 that makes them think it was relevant in spite of 40.11, which was obviously followed to the full by Race Control?

      I just can’t put in words how fed up with the FIA I feel, for how they are letting F1 and all of its supporters down.

      1. Gary is right.The FIA are tainting the sport with their petty rules.
        Michael has brought so many fans back into the sport this year.
        Reubens acted like a child,throwing his wheel onto the track in temper,but no one writes much about that act!! I give up.

        1. “Michael has brought so many fans back into the sport this year”

          Well, I guess we should excuse Schumi from all the rules, and just give him the title on a platter.

          Think Schumi has gotten enough preferential treatment over the last ten years, I think its high time we had a level playing field, and see what the seven time world chump is actually made of.

  28. What does what Alonso did in La Racasse have to do with anything? This whole line of talk is like a mugger complaining that his victim was warily clutching her purse in the moment before his attack.

  29. Rule 40.13 only comes into effect if the race is actually ENDING under a Safety Car – it’s the same rule as has been around for a while, nothing complicated, nothing ambiguous, and nothing to do with the new SC line …

    Many races have ended in the past under a Safety Car, nothing new there either : no overtaking, there are waved yellow flags, and the SC boards are shown, and the Safety Car itself pulls into the pits instead of crossing the Finish line on the track, all as per 40.13.

    Rule 40.13 has not changed, and is not new, so why are people thinking that the addition this year of a Safety Car line changes it?

    The end of a race is when the cars cross the finish line and the chequered flag is waved – not at the start of the last lap, nor half-way through the last lap, nor when they cross a SC line … but when the cars cross the Finish line. Everyone knows that … don’t they?

    And, rule 40.13 very clearly states ‘END’ – so it is *only* relevant if the cars are to cross the finish line and take the chequered flag under Safety Car conditions, as has often happened in the past.

    But – all of the regs had been followed by Race Control to signal that the Safety Car period was finishing *during* the last lap at the SC line, so 40.13 was moot, and that therefore racing could continue from the SC line – remember, according the rules (not assumptions or personal preferences), the SC period ended when the Safety Car crossed the SC line after the teams had been informed it was coming in, the SC boards were removed and the green flags were waved (all as per 40.4 and 40.11) … whereas if 40.13 was in effect , as so many claim, then instead yellow flags and the SC boards would still have been shown (as per 40.4) after the Safety Car pulled in.

    Stop and think, go read the regs again, and see if there is ANY way you can show *by* *the* *rules* that the Safety Car period was still in effect at the end – I haven’t yet seen anyone even attempt to!

    So, do we all enjoy watching a sport where the people competing have to guess what the rules mean?

    1. very good points gary, that is how i feel, but i would have taken far far longer to come to those points :)

      It is simple really. You don’t want to allienate fans, or people new to the sport by reg 40.13 blah blah blah. Green should mean go, end of. If that is not appropriate, wave the yellows or red.

  30. Nathan damn good idea, last 2 laps shootout!! Poss Kabashi win??

  31. Keith, the penalty was always going to stand no matter what.

  32. Commendable approach from mercedes, as their logic is impeccable, “track clear” and green flags, sounds like racing conditions to me. The rule book is a mess.

    3/5 is a majority btw.

    1. You are right, 3 out of 5 is a mayority (Mercedes, Renault, Red Bull), but from the top ten finishers we had 6 teams (or 7 with STR picking up a point after the penalty).

      2 of those have already stated that they fully agree with the stewards and STR as well as FI would hardly agree with bot handing in their points for the places gained.
      That makes it 3/6 or 3/7 after the penalty, not really a majority!

  33. Paul Graham
    19th May 2010, 9:29

    Clearly the real cock up was the FIA’s. If they had kept yellow flags out then there could have been no misinterpretation. For me Schumacher’s move was a wonderful bit of opportunism albeit made due to a mistaken belief that the green flags indicated that the race was back on from the safety car line. What the FIA should have done to be fair is say sorry guys you did get it wrong, but we can see why you throught that way, but as we contrubuted to the mistake we will simply reverse Schumacher and Alonso’s finishing results. That to me would have been fair.

  34. So Mercedes and the FIA agreed to “tidy up the rules”. In my mind though, there is nothing wrong with the rules. Articles 40.11 and 40.13 are perfectly clear.

    Where things went wrong is in how race control applied these rules.

    If race control had not sent the article 40.11 triggering “SAFETY CAR IN THIS LAP” catch phrase and at the very least kept the SC signs and yellow flags out, there wouldn’t have been an issue.

    Of course it would be nice if the rules allowed less severe penalties to be given after a race.

    Although that is likely to open a whole new can of worms on another occasion. Imagine the stewards getting the power to move a driver back as many places as they deem fit for the “crime”. The debates could be endless …

    1. The rules of the International Sporting Code already give them ability to hand out one of a rather large range of penalties, including a time penalty to be expressed in minutes and/or seconds.

  35. heres the view of another F1 hero on Schumis move.

    Moss would have done exactly the same seeing the green flags being waved.

  36. Ohh poor Damon.

    He thought he was there to advise, and ended up being the decision maker, which makes you think how organised this people are.

    I mean a driver is meant to be there as an experienced racer that would help avoid harsh and unfair penalties, not to decide the fate of fellow drivers.

    No driver will want the role of lawmaker/interpreter, is like betrayal form them.

    All that money and power and tecnology, yet the rules seem to be written by monkeys.

    BTW, well done Michael, you are as sharp as ever.

    1. Its not like damon decided the fate of Schumi, there were three others on that panel, and all went with the rule book and penalised him. If Schumi doesnt like the rules, then he should join another sport.

      “Michael as sharp as ever”

      Yeah right! Overtaking a driver who doesnt even know that they were racing. Great job Schumi, thats the last time you overtook Alonso in your career… too bad you got penalised for it.

  37. Schumacher pushed his luck a bit too far, the situation was pretty clear to everyone, even to the TV commentator. So far Schumacher seemed to be the only one that tried a overtaking move. Yes, there might have been the green flag, but some times people/marshals make mistakes, I have seen F1 race marshal waving blue flag to a slower car when he was actually on the same lap with the much faster car behind him, but if that happend to schumi he would have made room, wouldn’t he?

    The penalty may be harsh, but Schumacher is not be defended, got to use your head more often if you are already familiar with the rulebook.

  38. damon hill legend he really hates schumy why damon cant back in f1 what rivaly between them been in 90 s

  39. The more I think about it, the more I get p-ed off. The stewards have decided the race has apparently ended under 40.13, yet Race Control was then in clear breach of the FIA regulations.

    As viewers (and spenders on merchandise, race tickets, etc.) we are stakeholders in this as well. If we cannot judge the condition and regulations based on the information that is provided on our screens (no yellow lap counter, green flags at all outposts, green lights, and green status indicator at the timing monitors), at the track (flags and lights), how are we supposed to understand wtf is going on? By this decision of the stewards not only MGP is made to look stupid, so are we. They are pretending we massively misinterpreted the rules, whilst covering up the fact that they were in clear breach of their own regulations and the fact that in their stupidity they altered 40.7 without considering the effect this had on 40.13.

    Is there any way we, as stakeholders, can request or demand clarification of the FIA on the following mysteries:

    – The fact that the SC can be deployed when its not actually deployed;
    – The fact that green flags and track clear status can be used at the time the safety car is deployed;
    – Why 40.4 offers no exceptions on the yellow flags and SC boards if the above is true;
    [40.4 When the order is given to deploy the safety car the message “SAFETY CAR DEPLOYED” will be displayed on the timing monitors and all marshal’s posts will display waved yellow flags and “SC” boards for the duration of the intervention.]
    – How teams, drivers and viewers are supposed to know the current applicable regulations if ISC Appendix H, 2.4.1 is not used or superseded (by non-existent regulations?)
    2.4.1 General
    In the supervision of the road, the Clerk of the Course (or his
    deputy) and the marshal posts rely largely on the use of signals to
    contribute to the drivers’ safety and enforce the regulations.]
    – Why, with the leniancy (reprimand or no penalty at all) in case of other breaches of regulations in hindsight, for instance the following:
    * Hamilton’s weaving – clear breach of ISC appendix L, chapter IV rule 2b
    [2b) Overtaking, according to the circumstances, may be carried
    out on either the right or the left.
    However, manoeuvres liable to hinder other drivers, such
    more than one change of direction to defend a position,
    deliberate crowding of a car beyond the edge of the track or
    any other abnormal change of direction, are strictly prohibited.
    Any driver who appears guilty of any of the above offences will
    be reported to the stewards of the meeting.]
    * Rubens’ throwing of the steering wheel onto the racing line – in the very least a clear breach of rule 30.5 but must be in against the spirit of any safety regulations and general sanity;
    [30.5 A driver who abandons a car must leave it in neutral or with the clutch disengaged, with the KERS shut down and with the steering wheel in place.]
    * Lewis’ and Fernando’s overtaking with all 4 wheels over the pit entry – a clear breach of ISC appendix L, chapter IV rule 4
    [4. Entrance to the pit lane
    a) The section of track leading to the pit lane shall be referred to
    as the “pit entry”.
    b) During competition access to the pit lane is allowed only
    through the pit entry.
    c) Any driver intending to leave the track or to enter the pit lane
    should make sure that it is safe to do so.
    d) Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the
    Stewards of the Meeting), the crossing, in any direction, of the
    line separating the pit entry and the track is prohibited.
    e) Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the
    Stewards of the Meeting), any line painted on the track at the
    pit exit for the purpose of separating cars leaving the pits from
    those on the track must not be crossed by any part of a car
    leaving the pits.]
    * unsafe release of cars after pit stops throughout the races before Monaco – clear breach of rule 23.1j of the F1 sporting regulations
    [23.1j) It is the responsibility of the competitor to release his car after a pit stop only when it is safe to do so.]
    * and so on.

    – such a draconic penalty was handed out whilst the stewards had a wide range of more suitable penalties at their disposal due to the ISC;
    – Why an ex-driver, who is supposed to be an advisor on driving ethics and experience, is consulted for the interpretation of regulations;
    – Why 40.13 was not amended this year, as its effect is clearly changed by the change in 40.7;
    – Why the strict procedure of 40.11 (indicating the SC leaving the track because the obstruction was cleared) was followed whilst actually 40.13 [Which in the absense of any defined procedure must solely rely on 40.4 (to indicate the deployment of the safety car), 40.1, 40.3, 40.5, 40.6, 40.7, 40.8, 40.9, 40.10, 40.12 (general safety car prescriptions)] was in effect;
    – Why a driver, a team (and the audience – changing the results after the race has finished) has to pay for the general mess created by the contradiction between the procedure followed by RC and the apparently executed regulations as defined in the FIA F1 sporting regulations;
    – Why the appealability of the penalty inflicted (when inflicted after the race) is at the sole discretion of the Stewards of the meeting.

    Is there any way to make them explain themselves?

    1. Why, with the leniancy (reprimand or no penalty at all) in case of other breaches of regulations in hindsight […] such a draconic penalty was handed out whilst the stewards had a wide range of more suitable penalties at their disposal due to the ISC

      I’m not clear what alternatives you think they had under the International Sporting Code. Certainly under the Sporting Regulations they could only give a drive-through/time penalty or grid drop.

      I agree they should have given a more lenient penalty and I’m glad of the less severe punishments we’ve seen this year. But I don’t see how it was possible in this instance.

      1. The Sporting Regulations are in addition to the International Sporting Code.

        In the International Sporting Code, 152, a whole range of possible penalties is described:

        − reprimand (blame);
        − fines;
        − time penalty;
        − exclusion;
        − suspension;
        − disqualification.

        It is under these regulations penalties such as speeding fines, or a fine for not putting the steering wheel back in place after a crash, or in Hamiltons case a reprimand are handed out to drivers or teams.

        1. In addition: this is part of the code (penalties is 152 and 153):

          Time penalty means a penalty expressed in minutes and/or
          Any one of the above penalties can only be inflicted after an
          enquiry has been held and, in case of one of the last three, the
          concerned party must be summoned to give them the opportunity
          of presenting their defence.

          So, as you can see a time penalty of even just enough to swap back the places was an option they have not used.

  40. most comments on the topics with Schumacher.absolutely amazing is this man.GO SCHUMI !!!

  41. I REALLY would like to see if all this comments had been risen this way if Shumy was over a Ferrari and Alonso over A Macca……I know that the “if” and “but” world is a world of idiots, but…

  42. I wonder what they think of all of this in SuperKarts, where they had overtaking allowed from the SC line at the end of an SC period for a couple of years … and the same equivalent to rule 40.13 … seems strange that the FIA are only now learning the problems with it …

    Oh, yes, it seems that the current 2010 regs do NOT state in 40.11 that at the end of a Safety Car period, the flags and lights go GREEN at the safety car line!!! Instead, they say it is to happen at the ‘Line’ – that’s the Control/Finish line (see para 5.3)

    “As the safety car is approaching the pit entry the yellow flags and SC boards will be withdrawn and replaced by waved green flags with green lights at the Line. These will be displayed until the last car crosses the Line”

    So, the waving of green flags at the SC line was NOT as per the regs, nor was the removal of the SC car board at the SC line … they should instead have been removed at the ‘Line’ !! So, the Race director got it wrong by the regs, and for all 4 restarts!

    For the first 3, by para 40.7 the cars could overtake once they’d crossed the SC line, but they would have to do it under yellow flags & lights and SC boards deployed until they reached the Control line …

    And for the 4th? Well, who knows, it’s still unclear what the were reading as regs for that …;-)

    What a mess.

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