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McLaren Confirm: Appeal Lodged With FIA

McLaren Confirm: Appeal Lodged With FIA

McLaren have confirmed, after much discussion, that they have now lodged an appeal with the FIA over the decision to penalise Lewis Hamilton with a post-race drive-thru following the Belgian Grand Prix. The penalty, which followed an on-track skirmish between the McLaren driver and Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, has left many fans feeling annoyed at the steward’s inconsistency and of course, the actually ambiguity of the incident itself.

Following our decision to register our intention to appeal the penalty handed out to Lewis Hamilton by the FIA Stewards at the 2008 Belgian Grand Prix, we hereby confirm that we have now lodged notice of appeal. From the pit wall, we then asked Race Control to confirm that they were comfortable that Lewis had allowed Kimi to repass, and they confirmed twice that they believed that the position had been given back in a manner that was ‘OK’. If Race Control had instead expressed any concern regarding Lewis’s actions at that time, we would have instructed Lewis to allow Kimi to repass for a second time. Martin Whitmarsh.

McLaren are annoyed because they felt they had done everything to comply with the rules, and even spoke to Race Director Charlie Whiting for his opinion. Unfortunately for the team, Whiting can only offer his opinion, for his role is not to adjudicate the actual incident. However, Charlie’s opinion is worth respecting, and the fact that McLaren sought advice implies they were trying to play fair in the battle with Kimi Raikkonen.

Lewis Hamilton also gave his side of the story, saying that he felt he had satisfactorily handed the position back to Raikkonen, even before the team had made their request via the radio.

In the closing stages of the race I was catching Kimi consistently, lap by lap, and with three laps remaining I got close enough to attempt to overtake him on the entry to the last chicane. I managed to get slightly ahead of him in the braking area for the first apex of the chicane. He fought back approaching the second apex – but, in doing so, he left no room for me on the inside line. The only way for me to avoid a collision was therefore to cut inside the second apex. I came out of the second apex in front of Kimi and so I momentarily lifted-off on the straight, to ensure that Kimi got back in front. The team also came on the radio and instructed me to allow Kimi to repass, which I had already done. As a result, Kimi crossed the start/finish line ahead of me and 6.7km/h quicker than me. After allowing Kimi to completely repass, I crossed from the left side of the track to the right side of the track, passing behind Kimi in the process. I then attacked Kimi on the inside of the first corner, and successfully outbraked him. Lewis Hamilton.

The FIA will now schedule a meeting where those involved will be given chance to speak, and any new evidence will be assessed. However, it isn’t uncommon for the FIA, should the penalty stand, to hand out a larger punishment, possibly docking McLaren and/or Lewis Hamilton championship points. Although given the backlash the stewards have received through the worldwide media and from the fans, I suspect that if the hearing falls to Ferrari’s favour, a monetary punishment might be handed out instead. Of course, these are just my thoughts, but this issue looks set to run and run, once again blurring and tarnishing what so far, has been a vintage year for Formula One.

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Oliver White

24 comments

  • “once again blurring and tarnishing what so far, has been a vintage year for Formula One.”

    Your quite right, this year has been very good with little political interruptions compared to last year. It’s a shame that as end of the championship nears, politics are getting in the way of great racing and rivalry.

    I hope the decision to penalise Lewis is over turned quickly and that all this hoohaa is forgotten.

  • What happens to the credibility of the sport?

    The credibility of the sport died some years ago and until Max retires or dies it cannot be recovered.

    I am pleased that McLaren have appealed although I am not sure how much good it will do in the championship. Where they may gain is in press coverage because should they be further penalised it will be portrayed as victimisation and fixing the championship rather than last year where they were portrayed as cheats for being accused of something every other team in F1 history has done.

  • As someone who doesn’t really like Hamilton, I was screaming at the television that he hadn’t given the place back “properly” at the time, but honestly thought that the stewards would “let him off”, seeing as they had done the same for Massa one race previously.

    Obviously then, I’m all in favour of the penalty standing. However, its wholly unnacceptable that the teams’ “Ask Charlie” method of clarifying things such as this needs revising, given that his opinion is in no way binding, or indicative of the stewards’ opinion.

    I think that the most important aspect of the appeal, however, is whether the FIA even get as far as offering a judgement on the stewards’ decision. The worst possible outcome would be for the FIA court of appeal to decline juristiction based on there being no right of appeal on a drive-through (even on a retrospective one). This would essentially avoid giving a message that the stewards were either right or wrong, and leave the arguments raging for the rest of the season.

  • The worst possible outcome would be for the FIA court of appeal to decline juristiction based on there being no right of appeal on a drive-through (even on a retrospective one).

    I think, based on the fact that McLaren are pushing ahead, that they can indeed appeal the decision. In fact, I think Alianora has since told us (somewhere, among the comments) that it is okay to appeal the penalty because it wasn’t like the damage had been done (like with a real drive-thru, mid-race), thus rendering any appeal moot. In this case, the time added can be undone, therefore an appeal is possible.

    I await the FIA statement though, assuming they can be bothered to be transparent enough to make one.

  • You mean against McLaren , a little politically incorrect

    Does it matter which round it is worded? It didn’t enter my mind while writing, only other than the article contained many McLarens and a Ferrari helps break it up a bit. 🙂

  • How long does it usually take for the FIA to schedule a hearing? Could this run past the end of the season?

    I did know something about this, but it escapes me at the moment. Just researching…

  • Gah, I can’t find it. The International Sporting Code just says…

    Once the appeal has been notified and the appeal fee

    paid, the Secretary General of the ICA will issue a

    convening notice to the parties that will confirm the

    time and place of the hearing.

    I’ll keep looking though.

  • I have not said much about this subject until I heard this!!!

    Whitmarsh said: “From the pit wall, we then asked Race Control to confirm that they were comfortable that Lewis had allowed Kimi to repass, and they confirmed twice that they believed that the position had been given back in a manner that was ‘okay’.

    “If Race Control had instead expressed any concern regarding Lewis’s actions at that time, we would have instructed Lewis to allow Kimi to repass for a second time.”

    Now if someone can explain this penalty, I would appreciate it. That is like telling a child he can have ice cream and then beat his ass because he got into the freezer. The FIA has lost its mind and from what I read alot of fans.

  • Oliver,

    I was reading in grand Prix dot com and Autosport the report of the petition online and it is getting stronger at any minute.

    I´m noting that Lewis´ fans are morphing in Alonso´s ones as we saw last year and this is absolutely good in my view.

    Another good thing in all this mess is that FIA has done, at least, a great favor to the McLaren and Lewis fans around the world and to the sport in general: they´re turning Lewis in a hero and transforming him in the most famous driver of the Formula 1 right now. Everybody, even people who don’t care about F1 are discovering on this moment what mean fight against Ferrari and FIA…

    I was talking with my brother in law, telling him all the history, and showing him the repercussion around F1 community. In the same moment the he understood the matter, the guy became a Lewis supporter!

    Here in Brazil, the majority of the insiders were vocal in accusing FIA at least of incompetence… There are some polarization in the F1 fans opinion, but I´m really impressed with the support that Lewis are receiving from a good number of Brazilian Formula fans.

  • Had Hamilton lifted and stayed on course, as he could have, he would have lost considerably more speed than he lost by cutting across the corner and would not have been able to pass Kimi at the next corner. By cutting across he did gain a significant advantage and I have no doubt he knew that. I believe the stewards took that as the deciding factor, and consequently believed that Lewis deserved the penalty.

    That said, speaking from the point of view of the racing driver, Hamilton did nothing that any other driver would not have done. I am no Lewis Hamilton fan, but it’s difficult for me to say that, looking at common practice, he deserved the penalty. But rules are rules, and it is pretty clear that Lewis did gain an advantage by cutting the corner instead of backing off. And one other thing, Lewis claims to have been ahead of Kimi in the corner, but looking at the tape at the time he began to cut the corner he was almost completely behind Kimi.

    Shortly after the disputed pass, Kimi regained the lead when Lewis went off course, again, as they both dueled through backmarker traffic. Kimi won that battle but spun as he came out of the backmarker traffic. Would any of that happened had Kimi been leading as lapped traffic appeared? Kimi might well have been able to hang on to win the race especially as Lewis went deeply off course onto wet grass while navigating the backmarkers less successfully than did Kimi.

    The real Kimi seems to have surfaced at Spa. If he remains so for the rest of the season, he could still win the championship.

  • ABSOLUTLY wrong to punish Hamilton, fianlly we get a bit of excitement in an F1 race, the win was Fair & Square and should stay.

    On top of that Kimi fell off on his OWN accord ( nothing to do with Hamilton ). I am completely unbiased and love fair racing my self and do feel that there is far too much control over the racing anyway. Let these guys get on and RACE. Bring back the old days when thay actually used to Race each other. Amen!!

  • Ollie, I think the appeal schedule is simply done for the first day that it’s convenient to get all the necessary people in and a room of the appropriate size booked. Depending on who’s involved and when in the season it is, this can vary from a couple of weeks to a few months. The only major limit is that the appeal has to happen before the FIA General Assembly meeting in late November or December is convened, otherwise the results of the season will be sealed before the appeal goes through.

    However, there are certain things that have to happen before the appeal is heard. The defendant has eight days to submit their side of the story via their respective ASNs (Article 19 of the ICA regulations). This includes a record of all items of evidence the defendent intends to call upon during the appeal. Until the grounds are received, the appeal cannot be held in case a summary dismissal due to a lack of evidence proves appropriate. This assumes that the default time limit to respond is in use.

    Sometimes, appeals from multiple incidents can be done together, and maybe dealt with on the same day as other discussions and/or judgements. So if something appeal-worthy happens in Monza, don’t be surprised if the FIA decides that this incident and that one get done on the same day.

  • Obviously what Hamilton brang in the way of entertainment to that race is always going to make the penalty seem harsher.

    I have a burning hatred for Hamilton however so I am actually biased.

  • As a McLaren fan, I give my full support to their appeal to the FIA, even though I do worry that they may very well be hit with a further fine and/or docked points in the championship. With the FIA these days, there’s no telling how it will turn out, but it would not suprise me one bit if the boys in red came away for the better after it’s said and done…

  • I think McLaren should appeal – after all isn’t the right to appeal supposed to be the cornerstone of democracy (although I am aware that S&Max’s FIA is far from democratic).

    However, I do have some apprehension in them doing so, after the events of last year.

  • Has anyone checked to see if the three race stewards hold valid super FIA licenses?

    My understanding is they can drive a GP car if they do hold such a document.

    I recommend they take part in a GP in the wet, they perhaps will have a better understanding of what LH had to do to allow KR to pass after the bus stop incident.

    if Race Control confirmed they were happy with LH rectifying the supposed advantage by allowing KR through, that should be the end of the matter.

    Where is the rule or reference to “Slip streaming is forbidden” in the FIA regulations when yielding a position when an unfair advantage is gained?

  • Is there any fallout if McLaren is not successful in their appeal? What happens to the credibility of the sport?

    Sadly the people governing the sport have had no credibility for many many years. The sport’s history is littered with decisions that would have appeared to favour in particular Ferrari (including 2 world championships won by deliberately ramming another car). And sadly, it is we the fans who condone the corruptness of the decisions by continuing to attend the race meetings or watch it on TV, and while we continue to do so there is no need for the governing body to behave any differently.
    I will probably continue to do so, as I enjoy the racing whether or not I am supporting a particular driver, but maybe we need to consider boycotting the meetings/TV to give the governing body a message that we are tired of their inconsistent decisions.
    Power to the people!

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