Felipe Massa, Williams, Interlagos, 2015

Williams drops Massa appeal on cost grounds

2015 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Williams has decided not to appeal against Felipe Massa’s disqualification from the Brazilian Grand Prix.

The team said on Thursday it will not continue with its appeal as the team does not stand to gain or lose in terms of its final constructors’ championship position – which determines how much revenue it receives from Formula One Management – whether or not the appeal is successful. Williams also said the time need for an appeal to be heard was also a factor in their decision.

“Following detailed consideration the team has concluded that despite not agreeing with the exclusion and believing it has sufficient evidence with which to successfully contest the ruling it will not formally appeal the decision as a hearing date is unlikely to be available until after the end of the season impacting a time when the team wishes to turn its attention to its 2016 campaign,” said the team in a statement.

“Given the financial climate of the sport, and the fact that the decision does not impact the team’s constructors’ championship position, it has been decided that this would be an unnecessary cost to endure.”

Williams noted that the stewards’ point of dispute over the legality of Massa’s car in his home race concerned only the temperature of one of his tyres and not its pressure.

“Felipe Massa was excluded from the results of the Brazilian GP having been found by the FIA to be in Breach of article 12.5.1 of the FIA Formula One tchnical regulations, article 3.2. of the FIA Formula One sporting regulations and Article 12.1.1.i of the FIA international sporting code,” said the statement.

“According to the FIA’s measurement on the grid, the right rear tyre on Felipe’s car did not comply with the maximum tread temperature as specified by Pirelli, the official tyre supplier, after the “5-minutes” signal was given.”

“The temperature measured on the tread of the right hand side rear tyre was reported to be 137 °C, 27 °C above the maximum tread temperature of 110 °C allowed by the official tyre supplier. The corresponding tyre pressure at 137 °C was 20.6 psi, 0.1 psi above the minimum starting pressure therefore the only point in question is the tyre temperature.”

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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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Posted on Categories 2015 Brazilian Grand Prix, 2015 F1 season, Felipe Massa, Williams

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  • 29 comments on “Williams drops Massa appeal on cost grounds”

    1. Hm, to me it feels too much like a team rather not going aginst the federation, are we in that state of mind again, sigh. I sure hope that the procedures will be fixed non the less, because this seems like a crazy reason to hand a DSQ.

      1. I doubt it’s that really; it seems more likely to me to simply be a case of them deciding it’s just not worth the time.

        1. I agree that it’s a bit rubbish, but realistically, those 4 points were not worth the trouble, even if it wouldn’t have been much trouble.
          What I find disappointing is that we’ll never know for sure what was going on. They rightfully pointed out that they had nothing to gain from overheating a tyre by that much. But can it really be that there was a faulty measurement, as Williams claimed? If so, why did the FIA measure a tyre pressure that was high enough to comply with the rules even when the tyre was mathematically cooled down to 11O°C?
          I find it easy to believe that the tyre was overheated by accident / due to a technical issue. But they insisted that their data show that the tyre really wasn’t that hot. So that leaves me wondering about the tyre pressure, as I find it hard to believe that the FIA both produced a bad temperature AND pressure measurement.

    2. “The temperature measured on the tread of the right hand side rear tyre was reported to be 137 °C, 27 °C above the maximum tread temperature of 110 °C allowed by the official tyre supplier. The corresponding tyre pressure at 137 °C was 20.6 psi, 0.1 psi above the minimum starting pressure therefore the only point in question is the tyre temperature.”

      But surely if the tyre temperature cooled the PSI would be under the minimum by quite some margin… or is that an accepted loophole?

      1. But surely if the tyre temperature cooled the PSI would be under the minimum by quite some margin

        That doesn’t matter. The regulation they broke was that the tyres were above the maximum starting temperature. It doesn’t matter what the pressures would be when the tyres cooled, just as it wouldn’t matter if the tyres were much colder and the pressure would be above the minimum at the maximum temperature.

      2. @ziltoid

        But surely if the tyre temperature cooled the PSI would be under the minimum by quite some margin…

        Just read that sentence again… Notice how it says “minimum”, not “maximum”.

        Yes, being under the minimum by quite some margin would be a problem. :)

    3. “The temperature measured on the tread of the right hand side rear tyre was reported to be 137 °C, 27 °C above the maximum tread temperature of 110 °C allowed by the official tyre supplier. The corresponding tyre pressure at 137 °C was 20.6 psi, 0.1 psi above the minimum starting pressure therefore the only point in question is the tyre temperature.”

      No, it wasn’t that the only point in contention is the tire temperature. Tire pressure varies directly with tire temperature. Massa’s tires were inflated to bare minimum pressure at the too-hot temperature. If the tires cool, then pressure decreases, and now Massa’s tire is under-inflated.

      If Massa’s tires were inflated significantly above the minimum pressures with the significantly-over-limit tire temperature, then the only question would be the temperature. As it stands, Massa’s tires only met the minimum-inflation rule because of the increased temperatures, and that means it’s not just the heat that was the matter.

      1. You can’t expect lawyers to understand high-school physics. With that in mind, Charlie Whiting’s instruction after the Singapore GP explicitly covered tyre temperature in the blankets, so that’s the regulation under which they were charged.

    4. With Massa’s penalty Lotus took 5 points instead of 2 and Toro Rosso 2 instead of 1. That extra 2 points, depending on the outcome of the last race, this could influence the fight for 6th position.

    5. I do agree with the penalty because of previous cases.

    6. I recall reading once the cost of to a team to enter the championship each season is dependent on the number of points they score.

      Isn’t this just a clever way to pay less as they have secured the best finish position for prize money already. It’s cost effective not to appeal rather than the cost of the appeal itself :).

      1. That is actually a very good point. Except a bit of goodwill towards the team (I don’t think most people think that Williams was trying to cheat) they have nothing to gain. But the cost in legal fees, associates fees (e.g. travel costs), time, possibly bonuses to Massa and extra fees to FIA will be in the tens of thousands (possibly more than a 100 thousand). Really no point in doing it.

        1. @milkboy Pat Symonds… Just saying…

          1. Is it tinfoil hat time again? If Pat Symonds really is the devil and out there to deceive us, then why was only Massa’s car manipulated, but not Bottas’s? The Finn was predictably going to score more points, after all …

      2. It’s basically, “The FIA have saved us over $20,000 through their incompetence, oh well” :)

    7. The temperature measured on the tread of the right hand side rear tyre was reported to be 137 °C, 27 °C above the maximum tread temperature of 110 °C allowed by the official tyre supplier.

      I looked at the official reports, but there is almost no additional detail. We don’t know if just one reading was taken for the tyre or multiple readings with an average that said the same thing were taken, if multiple readings were taken and just one of them showed this temperature, nor if the reading has to be taken in such a way as to exclude the possibility of some “background radiation” affecting the result.
      It would seem to me that considering the ease with which a temperature can be taken with an infra-red “gun”, that it wouldn’t be hard to have included a few extra measurements from multiple angles to show the result wasn’t because of something other than the tyre. For all we know this one result could have been because of something entirely irrelevant to the tyre, e.g. an engine pre-start heating device.
      I would have expected a bit more evidence to have been forthcoming considering Williams were disqualified.

    8. Williams is being a bit disingenuous here.

      “The corresponding tyre pressure at 137 °C was 20.6 psi, 0.1 psi above the minimum starting pressure therefore the only point in question is the tyre temperature.”

      Yes, the pressure was legal at the 137°C temperature, but using the gas laws, at 110°C the corresponding pressure would be 19.24 psi and that is clearly way under the minimum. So, Williams can say that the pressure was legal, but at the legal temperature maximum the pressure was not. If the tire was actually at that temperature then Williams was playing with below minimum pressure. I’d be curious to know what the temperature of the other tires; if they were also too high and on the edge with pressure then Williams was trying to be a bit loose with the rules.

      Having said that, I think there are too many rules.

      1. @SteveR I think you have missed the point. Williams is claiming the FIA temperature sensor was faulty and the actual temperature of the tyre was lower than the FIA’s reading. They stated that they had three other measurements of their own, one of which uses the same make and model of sensor as the FIA, all of which showed the tyre had the correct temperature. So this isn’t about heating up tyres too high. This is about a faulty reading that didn’t match up with reality. So, no, they are not being disingenuous IMO. Rather the FIA should double-check it’s own equipment before throwing disqualifications around.

        1. This is about a faulty reading that didn’t match up with reality.

          And this is why you should always measure these things twice, ideally with two separate probes.

        2. Andy, please note what I said:

          “If the tire was actually at that temperature ………” I have my doubts also. But IF it was they were playing pretty loose.

    9. Can anyone share me how much it gonna cost a team for an appeal?

      1. I don’t know the appeals cost but by not having the 4 points massa scored it will save them $20644 on next years entry fee alone as each point scored this year adds $5161 to your entry fee next next season

        1. Thanks, Matt! That really cleared thing up.
          I’ve been curious why would any team not defending their own driver after claiming they had hard evidence that the decision was injustice.

        2. On second thought, what about prize money William will get from constructor standing? If it’s not significant compared to point base entry fee cost, William should sabotage both driver to ensure they not score anything in the last race…

        3. it will save them $20644 on next years entry fee alone as each point scored this year adds $5161 to your entry fee next next season

          Yep that’s right.

        4. How big a difference will that make in the long run though? In a world where a wheel nut is ~$750, $20k is pocket change.

    10. On my phone, I just saw the first three words of the headline…

        1. His record this year vs. Bottas is actually pretty good; they both have two podiums, and if it wasn’t for the DSQ, they’d have both scored points in the same number of races.

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