Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2016

Hamilton reprimanded by stewards for pit lane reversing

2016 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton has been reprimanded by the stewards after being found to have reversed his car at the end of qualifying.

Hamilton, who took pole position for Sunday’s race, was summoned for an “alleged breach of Article 28.3 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations, reversing in the pit lane at the end of qualifying”. Article 28.3 of the regulations states “at no time may a car be reversed in the pit lane under its own power.”

The Mercedes was seen rolling backwards shortly after Hamilton pulled into the pits after setting his quickest lap at the end of Q3.

The stewards subsequently announced Hamilton had been given a reprimand “due to the fact that no clear instruction was given to the driver on where he should park the car after qualifying”.

2016 Bahrain Grand Prix

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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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  • 66 comments on “Hamilton reprimanded by stewards for pit lane reversing”

    1. Isn’t reversing at any point in the pitlane or on the circuit = instant disqualification?

      1. I wonder if he was low on fuel? I can’t see another reason but surely he wouldn’t have run out on a one lap run.

      2. Not on the circuit, but I sure do remember it’s DSQ if doing so in the pit lane no matter the reason.

      3. @kingshark, normally a driver is not permitted to drive against the direction of the traffic around the circuit, but it is permitted if it is necessary to do so in order to remove the car from a dangerous position on track.

        1. I first read this as into the pitlane, not just reversing in the pit lane. Hopefully no penalties for this, much as I would like to see him race from the back.

          1. In most circumstances, reversing on the pit lane is grounds for disqualification. The reasoning for this is because the pit lane is the place that puts the most people in danger, so I don’t understand how this is just a reprimand.

            1. He reversed a distance between 30-50cm. He also took about 2s to do it. Infact when i saw it i thought the car was rolling back. Perhaps they cant prove it was under power. Either way I’m surprised Lewis got away without a grid penalty.

            2. RaceProUK (@)
              3rd April 2016, 14:56

              It’s only reversing if it’s under power; without power, it’s simply rolling

      4. Fudge Ahmed (@)
        3rd April 2016, 0:58

        He reversed about half a metre once the cars had pulled into the parc ferme area with no incoming traffic and photographers were safely gathered around behind barriers. Any sort of penalty for this would have been the dumbest thing, but you never know with F1 these days. Glad it is only a reprimand.

      5. Usually, yes. However, the FIA appears to be accepting some culpability for contributing to the situation, when arguably they had less influence here than with the Palmer infraction that still stands at full strength. I am really, really glad that I didn’t watch qualifying.

    2. Bernie’s determined to get his reverse grid.

      Though to be fair, this probably has nothing to do with him.

      1. Reverse grids: fastest car to lap the track in reverse gear.

      2. Ha, excellent reply.

    3. Hm, so in the end Bernie might get his reverse grid then? Well, given that Bahrain is a good track if you need to do some overtaking that might just give us an epic drive through the field after an epic pole lap.

      Would be a bit daft to do that after setting a record time, but I guess its his own mistake if he did.

    4. Not “alleged”. He clearly reversed on the cars own power as in he engaged the reverse gear in pit lane, nobody touched the car and it was a level surface. Don’t worry, the black box will reveal everything. DSQ, start from the back of the grid or pit lane behind Magnussen.

      1. You must be so disappointed.

      2. Fudge Ahmed (@)
        3rd April 2016, 0:59

        Except the news story already states it is only a reprimand… i.e, no penalty. Good reading skills there mate.

        1. @offdutyrockstar I believe this article was updated between Alexi’s comment and yours – the URL says “hamilton-summoned-stewards-pit-lane-reversing”, so the first version of this was before the stewards had made their decision. (Keith invariably puts “This article will be updated” for this sort of thing, so that it’s clear it’s not intended to be the full story, and then notes what happened. That the message is still up means the article could change again if further relevant information is revealed).

    5. Black n Blue
      2nd April 2016, 19:01

      The FIA’s stance is rules are rules. Magnussen got sent to the back of the grid for breaking one, why shouldn’t anyone else?

      1. Black n Blue
        2nd April 2016, 19:07

        It probably doesn’t help that the session was still ongoing either.

      2. Rules should be rules and the rule book states that under no circumstances may a car be reversed in the pit lane.

        Hamilton is incredibly lucky on this one, and I saw some people on Twitter actually complaining about how unfair it was.

        1. @strontium Rules are rules in this case. Hamilton found guilty and get the penalty. He was found guilty of article 28.3 and punished according to the article 38.3. Why people crying foul about this?

          If you want to compare it to Magnussed, he breached article 29.1.iv specifically which has specific penalty described on it thus he not getting penalty listed under article 38.3. Also the problem with Magnussen is he failed the second part of the article. If the car was immediately submitted to FIA for weight check, he too, will only get a reprimand.

          1. Because the standard penalty for reversing is disqualification. As such, a reprimand is inconsistent, even if I can sort of see why this was done. What you can’t do, and appears to have happened, is part-excuse one incident fuelled by FIA error and not part-excuse another (and completely excuse a third rule breach with no such wriggle room available, if the lack of penalty, let alone disqualification, for being underweight in FP2 is anything to go by).

            I’d suggest retraining for the stewards with enhanced emphasis on how to use the consistency/precedent chart all F1 stewards have been issued since the start of 2008, but at least two of them are experienced enough to know better (I recognise Paul Gudjutar’s name from late-1990s stewarding reports, and I think Adam Paert’s been doing this at F1 level for at least a decade, if infrequently).

            1. Because the standard penalty for reversing is disqualification.

              @alianora-la-canta Then please show me the rules where this is stated then.

            2. Article 2.3 of the FIA Statutes (that’s the primary document the entire FIA organisation is required to follow when creating any other regulations, and the prism through which it is required to interpret any existing regulations) requires the FIA, among other things, to promote “the fair and equitable running of motor sport competitions”. If different drivers get different penalties for the same offence, then by definition this is broken.

              Some some drivers have been disqualified for reversing in the pitlane (Nigel Mansell’s mid-1980s exclusions for reversing in the pitlane are notorious among those who supported F1 back then). You may say this is old, but rules apply until changed.

              The only change to the regulation in question since those days is the number the rule was assigned (it’s now 28.3, “At no time may a car be reversed in the pit lane under its own power”).

              “At no time” does not admit exceptions (hence, the excuse given by the FIA does not work if the regulations are read as written). So with that combination of regulations and past precedent, exclusion is the only option.

              Cars must be homologated to the technical regulations – that is, they must be proven compatible with whatever design/construction rules are applicable to F1 – under Article 10.3 of the International Sporting Code. A car being below the minimum weight of the regulations would count as being no longer homologated to the technical regulations.

              Article 29.1 c) of the Sporting Regulations specifies that cars may be excluded for being underweight… …but thanks to Article 2.3 of the FIA Statutes, it is necessary for all exclusions for being underweight to be treated equally unless an extenuating circumstance can be identified.

              Precedent here: Paul di Resta was excluded from qualifying for being 1.5 kg too light in Britain 2013. (There are other, less recent instances of underweight cars/drivers).

              As such, to follow precedent, either exclusion is necessary or a good reason to justify differential treatment. No reason (good or otherwise) was provided for Magnussen’s receipt of a reprimand in place of exclusion.

              Failing to stop at a weighbridge (and not immediately returning) is treated as the same as failing the weighbridge test, since there is no reliable way to prove that a car that didn’t immediately return hasn’t had weight added for the purpose of circumventing the test. This is covered under Article 28.4 d) of the Sporting Regulations.

              The only way to make all three cases consistent (i.e. in accordance with Article 2.3 of the FIA Statutes) is for all 3 of the above-listed instances to result in exclusion. This did not happen.

              So it’s not so much that one single rule demands disqualification, but that a combination of several rules and multiple precedents causes the “standard penalty for reversing is disqualification”.

      3. Keith has spoken strongly against, that the stewards would have acted otherwise if it was Hamilton, which did the offense, for which Magnussen was relegated to the pitlane. Remember that there where also a special situation in Magnussens case, because he thought that the red light was for Kvyat, which was in front of him. For Magnussen rules are rules, but for Hamilton an excuse can be found. People always talk about Ecclestone as the rotten personality of F1, but is goes a lot deeper than him.

    6. Make up call for putting all 4 off on his 1st run in Q3?

    7. I don’t get why, if it’s so clearly, unequivocally and ubiquitously illegal, he does it? Hardly seemed necessary?

    8. Well, my interests would be well served if Hamilton was disqualified, but surely that’ll be bad for the sport, especially after a great record lap. Surely it should be a reprimand looking at the video…

      ..So that means it’ll be a disqualification, right?

      1. And as I type that, he’s been given a reprimand. Sense has prevailed..

          1. This article. (It has been updated)

    9. I’ve just watched it again and he 100% reverses back a tiny bit. It does look a bit of a mess to be fair. He pulls in and it looks like there’s a cameraman blocking his path although there doesn’t look to be the usual fenced off space to pull into as other teams are walking around it with tyre stacks. The FIA guy in looks to shrug is shoulders and look at Hamilton who then reverses back around 30cm before stopping where he eventually leaves the car. It would seem very harsh to throw him to the back of the grid for that and I think having him start up front will make for a better race so I hope it’s just a reprimand, however, the stewards have already been harsh on k-Mag ( rules are rules ) so it looks like a pit-lane start for Hamilton.

      1. I was looking through the regs, it would have very unlikely been a serious penalty. Just to be clear, in regards to the Magnussen weigh bridge error, there is a specific provision for that under 29.1.iv) that clearly states the required penalty that was given.

        For this incident there is nothing in the regs that indicates any specific penalty, it is just a generic infraction.

        1. 28.3 of the FIA F1 Sporting Regulations “At no time may a car be reversed in the pit lane under its own power” is just as clear as 29.1.iv “… will be required to start the race from the pit lane.”

          The first concerns safety — Hamilton is not penalized for the race; the second is bureaucracy during free practice — Magnussen has his race badly spoiled.

          I have rarely seen such an unfair, discriminatory, arbitrary use of the stewards’ discretion. F1 is in free-fall, how much worse can it get?

          1. Dennis Christensen
            2nd April 2016, 22:19

            With Bernie and Jean Todt behind, it can still get a lot worse.

          2. Common sense is a good thing! MAG penalty doesn’t affect his general outcome/team outcome/championship much/at all. For HAM it does. So although on paper the 2 punishment may look equal, in real world they are not. Plus, as per snippet from the Rule book that you have put above, there is a clear consequence for MAG’s mistake in the rules, However for HAM’s there is no clear punishment. So it is open to interpretation, and on this case the stewards decided that reprimand is enough. I am glad that they used their common sense.

          3. I haven’t quite forgiven the stewards for that time they gave Sebastien Bourdais a penalty for Felipe Massa crashing into him in Germany 2008. Believe me, it can and may get worse…

            1. In Fuji it was and yes it was a horrible decision.

          4. Did Alonso get a penalty for ending the Haas race in Australia? It was clearly Alonso’s fault.
            The FIA is inconsistent and thus is probably the only time they’ve been lenient on Hamilton, but only because they share blame.

          5. RaceProUK (@)
            3rd April 2016, 15:03

            28.3 of the FIA F1 Sporting Regulations “At no time may a car be reversed in the pit lane under its own power” is just as clear as 29.1.iv “… will be required to start the race from the pit lane.”

            Now prove Hamilton reversed under power.

    10. Mansell black flag. Reverse in pit Lane ..?

      1. That was during a race though…

        I think this is due to the Mercedes appendix in the rule book…

      2. Nigel had no valid extenuating circumstances. How Hamilton’s were deemed valid, I do not fully understand.

    11. Adam (@rocketpanda)
      2nd April 2016, 20:21

      I feel quite bad for Magnussen then who was punished harshly for infringing the rules.

      Surely by the same application of the rules, Hamilton should be joining him in the pits, no?

      1. Yes, double standards of its worst kind.
        Especially considering the weight/control that FIA called Magnussen into can never have any penalty for grid start position as the weight/control was in the Free Practice session. A reprimand would have been right. And I equally think that the reprimand for Hamilton was the right thing. Anything harder would also have been out of proportions, but sensitive also as he just posted a fabulous pole lap.

    12. Ung driver – penalized
      Championship driver – warning

      Actually beginning to dislike f1 more and more. Just want racing. Not 1 mio rules, no kers, no up side qualifying, no fuel limit and so on – just racing. 20 cars against each other. Best driver/car wins.

      1. Yep, penalties only applicable for drivers like Haryanto ..but not Hamilton.

        1. Have to agree, same counts for crashes. Why no penalty for Alonso after crashing hus car into Perez? Apparenently rules only apply to non-former champions.

      2. @melmgreen Nobody prevent you to leave F1 and watch GP3 instead…

    13. its like the tyre pressure from last year if the stewards or the people in the pit lane not giving a clear indication then you are always going to get away with it

    14. The stewards reasoning seems okay to me. It’s not Hamilton’s fault they did not have their act together.

      It also seems much less embarrassing then having Mercedes and lots of fans blaming the organizers for ruining his race. Not that hamilton is blameless, but some fans would focus on F1. And F1 has plenty to be embarrassed about already.

    15. Hamilton’s dropped a bloomer on this one and he must be well upset – sure its a bit petty but rules are rules 30cm or not – question is will the ‘black box’ reveal he pushed the button or the car rolled back on its own – but he can and will fight from the pit lane – should make for some interesting racing instead of ‘foregone conclusions’ of late – its all going your way so far Mr R – or Mr V – lets wait and see –

    16. I think things should be considered in their contexts, it will be mad to disqualify a record pole lap sitter just for a reverse, did he crash into someone doing it? No, did he put someone into risk? No, I really don’t see anything wrong with it, these drivers know very well how to reverse a car, end of matter in my opinion.

      1. Sorry….. are you suggesting that [any] rules only apply if there is a risk involved ?
        Just think a bit about that.
        Even if you limit that thought to F1 only, your seem to be suggesting ‘anything goes as long as nobody is put at risk’ !
        Rules are needed, yes they need to be precise and if ambiguous in anyway they need to be clarified/ammended, but at NO time should they be ignored.
        Or maybe we should totaly abandon the ‘rule book’ and replace it with a ‘guide book’ !

      2. Except that it’s against the rules, there are no exceptions permitted for that particular regulation and much less precise rules have been upheld in full force this weekend. What other regulations can’t we trust the FIA to uphold consistently and equally? It undermines the validity of the race, and if I wasn’t at my parents’ house and thus required to watch, I’d be boycotting this race for the second time in five years.

    17. I think FIA management of F1 races is a disgrace. This discrepancy in ruling – in one case a drivers race is ruined – in another case he only gets a warning, both cases where FIA signalling or guide was ambiguous to the driver. Why would a weigh bridge be of any importance in a training session, or at least so important that so harsh a punishment should be used? Not that it matters a lot to Mag for this race.
      And then this ridiculous qualifying format – why did they have to try it at all, when teams had simulated and predicted what the outcome would be? And even after the first apparent failure of the format, they keep going with it, ruining the qualifying of yet another race, it is so embarrassing.

    18. Shouldn’t Hamilton’s first time in Q3 be taken away as he went wide on last corner and exceeded track limits?
      If no time, then he would be knocked out in first phase of Q3?

    19. This is the clear reason why I don’t bother to watch f1 anymore

      1. But just loiter on forums, commenting on it?!

        1. That’s what forums are for though, right?

          That said I would like more of an explanation regarding what Alpha felt was wrong. Too harsh, to lenient, etc.

    20. If I were FI i would protest against HAM in first run of Q3… All four wheels off the track and he was allowed to have the lap timed…….. It shouldnt have counted meaning he would have been eliminated giving HUL a second run for it….. But yeah rules are rules for everybody else than the frontrunners…….. Its obvious that whenever you can bend them for the benefit of the before mentioned frontrunners its ok, they can excuse them out of everything……… So a frontrunner breaks rules twice and a reprimand, a backrunner!!!!!!!!!! NOOOOO WAY U WILL TAKE THE PENALTY AS WRITTEN….

      So to quote a text from a wellknown band ” AND JUSTICE FOR ALL”

      And yes im Danish but im not blue eyed or having flagcoloured glasses on. KEV will make his best, wonder if HAM would if he was under the same rules..

    21. RaceProUK (@)
      3rd April 2016, 15:07

      So much judgement being shown here, so many conclusions being jumped to, and on what info? All we know is the car moved backwards a tiny distance. We do not know whether it was done under power or not, so we cannot judge whether Hamilton should have been DSQd or not.

      1. The Mercedes metrics recorded in real-time would prove if Hamilton did not reverse by engine and gear engaged. As they did not protest to FIA investigation its clear Mercedes/Hamilton knew he was non-compliant.

        1. RaceProUK (@)
          4th April 2016, 14:01

          The punishment was a reprimand that had no effect on Hamilton’s qualifying or race; Mercedes had literally nothing to gain out of protesting, so they didn’t waste the effort.

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