Lewis - The Big debate


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I am suprised to see that their isn't a thread to debate this weekends results so draw the battle lines, dig the trenchs and put on your tin hats and let the bun fight commence.

Ok so this will now doubt cop me some stick but in MY opinion, Lewis DID gain a benifit from cutting that corner. I think he would not have been that close to Kimi had he followed the normal line through the chicane. Ok so Lewis may have given the place back within the spirit of the regs but he was carrying far more momentum than he would have had had he not cut the chicane.

The bit I strongly disagree with was the penalty that was then applied. Once again F1 leaves itself open to accusations of bias and corruption. If there was a strong case in the stewards minds at the time then the decision should have been made at the time. Given the length of the laps in spa there was more than enough time to issue a drive through penalty or some other sanction.

If the race stewards felt that Lewis had gained an advantage and the penalty could not be applied during the race then why was he penalised by two places. Surely at the time Lewis was fighting for 1st with Kimi. Any penalty applied should reflect that he gained an advantage from second to first. In what way did Lewis's actions effect Heidfeld. BMW-Sauber weren't even in third place at the time of the incident, Massa was.

There would probalby have been no action at all if it wasn't for the fact that Kimi nerfed Lewis in the hairpin and knocked his wing off. That was the last thing he needed in a situation where the track was getting wetter and wetter and it was pretty clear that with that damage he would either have to pit or end up in a wall.

Once again the rules and regulations in F1 are being applied in an ad hoc and inconsistant way. (Massa fined after the race for a dangerous pit stop, Kimi not called in in France when his car quite clearly was in a mechanically unsound condition). The FIA really needs to clean it's act up because these decisions are tainting what used to be considered a sport.

Any thoughts ??

Although Lewis was handed a 25 second time penalty, the actual penalty was a drive through.
As I understand it, a team is not permitted to appeal a drive through penalty.

Perhaps that is why the stewards took so long coming to their decision?
They were trying to work out a way to apply a penalty which could not be reversed in the court?
Morning all,

I'm pretty sure McLaren's appeal is inadmissable. Drive-through and stop-go penalties cannot be appealed (not least because, normally, you only have three laps in which to serve them).

As for the incident itself, well, I think it's an(other) incorrect decision.

Hamilton is alongside Raikkonen, slightly behind, going into the chicane. Raikkonen leaves him a choice of a collision or taking to the runoff.

The rules state that Hamilton cannot gain an advantage. Custom and practice in this area has always been for the driver ahead to surrender the place. Hamilton does that, and in doing so advantages Raikkonen, who is now clearly ahead of Hamilton, not alongside him. Furthermore the Ferrari has the greater momentum and is travelling faster than the McLaren.

Approaching La Source Kimi moves left in front of Hamilton (proving his advantage beyond doubt) and brakes very early for La Source. Hamilton is able to get him on the inside.

One wonders what more Hamilton could do, to be honest. He only did what everyone has always done in the past.

More inconsistent decision-making from the stewards. With the Rettifilio and Roggia chicanes at Monza I don't know whether it's worth watching next weekend - the race results there are going to be provisional for a long time I suspect.
Fully agree with you GM.

Going into the chicane, KR is at most half a car length ahead of LH.
On the straight, LH concedes the place and passes behind KR thereby giving him at least a full car length advantage.

Another dreadful decision by the stewards and a sad day for F1 and its fans.

Is it any wonder the conspiracy theories abound with regards to Ferrari, McLaren and the FIA?
Niki Lauda has just been on Radio 5 calling the result "Bullshit" he said it was the worst decision in the history of F1. His opinion was that Lewis did not draft Kimi which is the crux of the issue but just simply outbraked him into La Source. He didn't think that an appeal would be allowed but said that Mclaren certainly should appeal. He also said that he had denied for some time that there seemed to be any bias towards Ferrari but in the wake of this latest decision he thought there probably was.

Also a drive through penalty was apparently not given because there was less than 3 laps to go. The 25 second penalty was in place of it. This was brought in because teams have 3 laps to take a penalty and a certain M Schumacher ended a race by taking his stop go penalty on the final lap thus ending the race by crossing the finishing line in the pits. Now that's Ironic. !!

All pundits and commentators on Radio 5 and Niki Lauda has said that this decision has caused a huge amount of damage to the sport.
When someone like Niki Lauda starts claiming there is bias in favour of Ferrari then surely the FIA, teams and the rest of the F1 circus need to sit up and take a long hard look?

As usual though, there will be a lot said and nothing done.
The image of the sport will continue to be damaged and the conspiracy theories and perception of bias will grow and grow.
Likewise, slickskid.

I've always argued the stewards are misguided, not malevolent. But it gets harder and harder to make that argument somehow.

Unfortunately I don't think Niki Lauda's opinion carries any more weight than JYS or Paul Stoddart.
Well, I've looked at various footage and LH was actually two wheels and a nosecone in front of KR coming up to the chicane. KR then 'straightlined' it, in effect cutting out any chance whatsoever of LH passing and forcing him to decide 'crash into him or cut it'. LH did the right thing, he avoided a collision, his vehicle was under control, he hadn't outbraked himself but had no choice but to take evasive action.

I agree that LH did take letting KR back past 'to the limit' in terms of quite how much he lifted off, however he did let him back past, KR had more momentum and they continued to race.

KR brakes heinously early into the next turn which actually made it look like LH was an AWFUL lot faster than him, which he wasn't. LH took the place and went on to a great victory.

The farcical and somewhat cynical decision to apply the 25 second penalty is outrageous. It's one of the only penalties that cannot be appealed and therefore VMM and LH have been, well and truly, right and royally, shafted in the balloon knot!

P.S. I'm actually surprised by the 'support' of the Ferrari fans in this. They're realising that this debacle is actually reflecting very badly on their team even though it's claimed that Ferrari made no approaches to the stewards. I hold my hand out to those fans that realise that this decision is wrong and actually the worst decision that could have been debated, let alone left to stand, for the sport.
Ok so the plot thickens.

Martin Whitmarsh has claimed that VMM asked race control (presumably Charlie Whiting) twice to confirm if they were comfortable with the way Lewis had given up the position and recieved the reply that it was deemed "Okay". (this is according to Whitmarsh on Autosport.com).

From the same publication, Steffano Domocelio (Can't spell in Italian) was asked if Ferrari had protested the incident to the stewards and his reply was "absolutely not, Absolutely not". He claims the only contact that Ferrari had with the stewards was when the team was called to give their data in connection with the incident.

So the question is, If no team protested and if Race Control had cleared the incident then on what basis did the stewards take their action?
Thicker and thicker and thicker.

Ok so this is from the FIA Formula one regulations themselves.

Article 16.1. "Incident" means any occurance of series of occurances involving one or more drivers or any action by any driver which is reported to the stewards by the race director (or noted by the stewards and reffered to the race director for investigation).

It shall be the discretion of the stewards to decide upon a report or a request by the race director if a driver or drivers involved in an incident shall be penalised.

A few sub para's later.

If an incident is under investigation by the stewards a message informing all teams which driver or drivers are involved will be displayed on the timing monitors. Provided the message is displayed no later than 5 minutes after the race has finished the driver or drivers concerned may not leave the circuit without the consent of the stewards.


If the race director told Mclaren that it wasn't a problem and there was no protest from Ferrari. Then given that the stewards have to ask the Race director to investigate and given that no message was indicated to the teams (in the nearly 6 minutes after the incident before the checkered flag) that Lewis Hamilton was under investigation for the incident then how did this come about ????

It would appear that the penalty was applied by the stewards without consulting the race director in clear breach of the FIA regulations and therefore is not a valid penalty.
And breathe.......:D

It's all a bit odd, isn't it?

It will be interesting to see what happens at the appeal, if it is permitted that is.
I have a feeling they'll drag everyone to Paris again just to tell them the appeal is invalid
Breaking News!

This apparently is a transcript of an interview Kimi gave to Gazetto dello Sport today...

World Champion Kimi Räikkonen is prepared to testify on behalf of arch rival Lewis Hamilton at the FIA hearing that will result from Vodafone McLaren Mercedes' protest of the penalty imposed on Hamilton after the Belgian Grand Prix. "I don't care what the stewards said, as far as I was concerned, Hamilton let me by as we passed the pits", said Raikkonen in Geneva today. "I got ahead, I tried to defend the position and the race was on again. My car was for sure very difficult on the prime tyres in the rain and Lewis got by me into the hairpin. That was that."

Räikkonen went on, "For sure, I don't like to lose but I don't like to win through stupid decisions. People say I have lost the love (for F1) but yesterday I showed that second was not what I wanted. There are five races to go and I plan to win them all. I'm not the sort to give up that easily."

Asked if he was prepared to testify to that effect if the McLaren protest goes to the FIA, Raikkonen simply said, "Yes, why not."

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali declined to comment on Räikkonen's statement but technical director Aldo Costa admitted the Scuderia was not pleased. "Our driver has a view but the team believes the stewards and the FIA have all the information they need. We will be talking to our driver during the week," Costa told Gazzetta dello Sport.

From what I recall, that wasn't what he seemed to be saying on TV during the post-race interviews.
Perhaps he has realised his best chance of beating Massa is to get him demoted back to 2[sup]nd[/sup] place...

This hasn't yet been confirmed as there's no mention of it on the website so it's best taken with a large pinch of salt for now.
So it was bogus after all.
Someone posted it on PlanetF1 and linked to a bogus Italian site.

Still, it made for an interesting twist to the story :D
So it turns out the stewards didn't actually penalise Lewis for "gaining an advantage" but instead for going off circuit.

30.3 a) During practice and the race, drivers may use only the track and must at all times observe the provisions of the Code relating to driving behaviour on circuits

2g) The race track alone shall be used by the drivers during the race.

Just like this....

Maybe he should have just smacked into the back of Kimi and got done for causing an avoidable accident.

I've always thought that that is a stupid statement as well. An Accident is by it's very nature just that. I don't think anyone (well ok maybe senna/prost, Schumacher,Hill and Schumacher,Villenauve but we won't talk about that here) sets out to have an accident. Also every accident is avoidable in some way. If I handn't left my toast on the edge of the kitchen table this morning I wouldn't have knocked it off the table with the paper and end up making myself another slice. (before there's a stewards enquiry, on the way to work this morning I clearly let two cars out of a side turning by way of a penalty.

As usual the rules of formula one are conveluted and open to interpretation. I suppose the track rule was designed to prevent people taking short cuts. I have posted on the 606 thread there is a rule in the technical regulations that states that no more than two wheels on a car should be able to be re-aligned. Now I guess this rule was brought in to prevent 4 wheel steering but you could make a case that given the steering wheel is a wheel by definition and that it is re-alignable then all F1 car steering systems are illegal because they allow for the re-alignment of 3 wheels.

Some people on 606 have also pointed out that there is no specific rule that allows for the driver to give back the place gained after cutting the chicane. It's just a practice that has developed. A very similar situation occured in a cup football match between Sheffield Wednesday and Arsenal. It is custom in football to kick the ball out of play to allow for an injured player to recieve treatment. When play is restarted if a member of the injured players team kicked the ball out then the throw in is given to the opposition. Normally the opposition would return the ball to the team who kicked it out in the first place (usually by kicking the ball back to a defender or the goal keeper) and play conitnues. In the Arsenal/Sheff Weds game, Sheffield kicked the ball out, Arsenal took the throw in and then went on to score a goal while Sheffield expected the ball to be returned to them. Now Arsenal had done nothing wrong as there was no law saying that they had to return the ball to Sheffield. The game ended a draw and in a gesture of sportsmanship Arsenal replaid the game (thumping Sheffield in the replay) in order to right the wrong. The FA at the time initially refused to sanction a replay and then changed their minds once they realised that it would be good for the image of the game. The did stress that it wouldn't set a precedent.

A bit of a long winded explenation I know but It just goes to show that sporting law is an absolute mine field.

The most concerning question that has to be asked is "why was Lewis the only one penalised for breaching this law". Unfotunatly the answer is perhaps one that formula one dosn't want to consider or hear.
Paraphrasing FIA Regs

16.1 "Incident" means any occurrence ... which:
- ...
- constituted a breach of these Sporting Regulations or the Code;
- ...
- forced a driver off the track;
- illegitimately impeded another driver during overtaking.
- ...

Unless it was completely clear that a driver was in breach of any of the above, any incidents involving more than one car will normally be investigated after the race.

Now my contention is that there were alleged breaches on both sides and on balance the 'Incident' should have been investigated after the race. So what was the result of the investigation into Kimi's forcing Hamilton off the track - or his weaving down to La Source. I thought that as he did not finish the race he could not be expected to serve a drive through penalty, but it seems that he could have suffered a 10 place penalty at the next race.
Agree with all of the above.

Further to what you have written it also states that the investigation is carried out by the race director who reports to the stewards with his findings. The stewards then judge on what penalty if any is required. Well we have all ready seen from Mclaren's comments (all though I admit it hasn't been confirmed by the FIA) that race control had already Ok'd what had taken place.

Could someone answer me a question? On several sites it is stated that the F1 race stewards have to have a "Super Licence" when in fact what they have is a "Stewards' Super Licence". (I thought it a bit strange that there were a load of F1 qualified drivers who I had never heard of.) The rules on the requirements for a Super Licence are clear and very rigorous. I have not found a site that defines the Stewards' qualifications - surely there must be some.
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