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Whitmarsh – we didn't lie about Trulli incident
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Whitmarsh – we didn't lie about Trulli incident
Posted By:   |  02 Apr 2009   |  10:23 am GMT  |  0 comments

New McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has just come out into the Sepang paddock to speak to the media after the news that Lewis Hamilton and the team have been thrown out of the results of the Australian Grand Prix for ‘deliberately misleading’ the stewards over the incident with Jarno Trulli, involving overtaking behind the safety car.

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“Lewis was instructed to give the place back to Trulli, “said Whitmarsh. “The team thought, having not seen the incident, that it was the safest thing to do. That instruction was given to Lewis and he didn’t agree. Before that discussion was finished, Trulli had been passed. If we look at the speed traces and compare it to other periods, he didn’t do anything abnormal and it’s quite clear that Lewis shouldn’t have passed him. As soon as that happened we spoke to race control to ask if we could retake the place. race control was busy and couldn’t answer us.”

He added that the team then thought when they met the stewards that they were aware of the radio conversations. This turned out not to be the case.

He went on: “The stewards now believe that we weren’t explicit enough about that radio conversation and thought that was prejudicial to the decision that they reached. We regret that and it was a mistake by the team.

“There is not implication that Lewis lied to the stewards. I don’t know what they meant by (deliberately misleading), you’d have to ask them. They clearly feel that the team didn’t give enough information about the radio conversation.

“They believe that the omission of the information about the radio conversation between the team and Lewis was withheld and that is what they believe was misleading.”

The suggestion being voiced here is that the FIA considers this matter so serously that it is considering taking this matter to the World Motor Sport Council where further sanctions might be applied.

Coming less than two years after McLaren was fined a record $100 million for the Ferrari spying scandal, the team is trying very hard to deflect the impression that it has acted dishonestly again.

Hamilton and McLaren being thrown out for misleading the stewards means that Trulli gets his third place back. Ironically he and his Toyota team had been thrown out of qualifying for having rear wings which were overly flexible and therefore illegal. Which of the two crimes is the worse?

These two incidents certainly make two of the big manufacturer-backed teams in F1, appear less than honest..and this is only the first race of the season.

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  1. Red Andy says:

    Not a great start to the year from McLaren, then. Lying to the stewards is very silly indeed, especially when your lead driver comes out and tells the press exactly what you were trying to keep from the authorities.

  2. David Hodge says:

    Lucky that McLaren don’t have a fancy diffuser as well….

  3. Andy M says:

    James – All McLaren had to do was say “Yes we waved Trulli back past” and they would have their 4th place (If not 3rd) – why did they not just do this?

    Ok if McLaren did not lie to the stewards, perhaps they didn’t, but they didn’t exactly hold up their hands and tell the stewards the truth of the situation. The truth of “Yes we waved Trulli by” is all they needed to say.

  4. john says:

    Well, what do you expect from a liar? He wasn’t going to come out and say ‘yes we are a bunch of liars and cheats and, unfortunately, we got caught this time’

  5. James M says:

    So let me get this straight… at first Trulli was 3rd and Hamilton 4th. Then it was Hamilton 3rd and Trulli 12th, and now it is Trulli back to 3rd and Hamilton DSQ. It seems there is more overtaking done after the races than during them!

    F1 looks bad again due to some poor stewarding. At the latest this should have been solved last Sunday. Why has it taken so long to get hold of the team radio? Surely it should have been available after the race.

    Still, McLaren knew what they were doing.

  6. Matthew says:

    Some teams make it hard to love them.. None more so than McLaren

  7. Peter Freeman says:

    Only ONE organisation was at fault here and that was the FIA! The stewards did NOT do their job on Sunday, they did NOT clear up, DURING THE RACE the confusion that had gone on for third under the safety car!

    Despite all the cameras and information in the world, as well as mountains of time, a simple answer to a simple query was not given! Can one expect anything less really when the stewards are useless bunch casual passes by, with little or no knowledge and its seem even interest in the sport!

    So who came third? Does anyone from the stewards or the FIA know or even care? Do the fans matter at all? The fans came to see a race and want to know the results OF THE RACE!!!

    THIS WAS THE RESULT FAILURE OF THE UTTERLY INCOMPETENT STEWARDS AND THE FIA!

  8. Tim says:

    Sorry but why does this make Toyota look less than honest??

  9. Ben G says:

    Do you (or MW) mean “that Trulli shouldn’t have passed him”?

    But oh dear, this is going to run and run. Mclaren and Lewis need to clear it up quickly, or it could turn into a defining moment for both their reputations.

    I can’t quite believe that they would be deliberately misleading; after all, they would have known beforehand that the stewards could litsen to the radio messages whenever they liked.

  10. Luciano says:

    I don’t really understand what Whitmarsh is saying here, particularly this passage:

    “Before that discussion was finished, Trulli had been passed. If we look at the speed traces and compare it to other periods, he didn’t do anything abnormal and it’s quite clear that Lewis shouldn’t have passed him.”

    Does he mean Trulli ‘went pass’ rather than ‘had been passed’?

    Why is he saying Lewis shouldn’t have passed Trulli in the first place? I thought everbody agreed Lewis was correct to pass Trulli when Trulli left the track.

    The chronology in his statement doesn’t make any sense and despit my name, English is my first language!

  11. Kirk says:

    What a mess… fits nicely with the F1 ethos under Bernie and Mad Max then!

  12. davidmacphee says:

    James, who do I vent my anger at?

    Seriously, who exactly do I and others that feel equally embarrassed about the sport we support and defend complain to.

    Who is likely to listen?

    This sport is in meltdown and has little to do with actual racing and more about politics and lawyers playing about with results after the race.

    Have the powers that be actually taken time to involve themselves with the fans? They should read the comments from the fan based forums that scatter the internet. I’ve yet to read a single comment of support for the actions taken after a race that change the result having a positive impact on the sport they love.

    I actually care little about this incident itself. What I do care about is that the race result is chopped and changed days after the race.

    The fact that the first two race’s results will still be questionable until the 14th of April due to diffuser issues is making a farce of my sport.

    Who do I shout loudly to?

    Many thanks
    David

    PS…top blog! Keep up the excellent work.

  13. Darren M says:

    This is yet another example of F1 not so much shooting itself in the foot but sawing it off and feeding it to the lions.

    Perhaps this was the right decision. But surely it is more than a coincidence that virtually every single time a big penalty is handed out in F1 it costs Mclaren.

    I’d almost be happy to see the manafacturer’s pull out of F1 and start a new series. There may be a few years of turbulence, but it would all be worth it if it meant the end of the biased dictatorship that is Mosely’s FIA and Bernie Ecclestones’s profiteering.

  14. Stephen Hill says:

    The compromising thing to do would be to set the results back to what they were on the last lap with Truli 3rd and Hamilton 4th.

    I don’t think either team meant to do anything wrong. Both were confused about where and when the overtaking occurred and which driver was rightfully in 3rd place.

    I would like to thank the FIA and their stewards for making a mockery of the sport. This is Obviously what the fans want!

  15. Mat says:

    This is becoming a joke. As a disaffected long time F1 fan, I had been looking forward to this season and the return to racing that the almost return-to-scratch inducing rule changes would hopefully bring about. While the hoped for unpredictability on the grid has occured, it seems the meddling, favouritism and blatant fixing is still prevelant and the joy of F1 is still a long way from what it should and used to be.

    This seems to have been a simple mistake, the sensible result of which would of been to reinstate Trulli to 3rd and drop Lewis to 4th and hey ho, they score as they finished. Instead the sport is being made a mockery of and the fans will quickly turn away again.

    On a better note, BTCC is back on Sunday..

  16. John says:

    This sport has become an absolute embarrassment. What is the point of watching the race when the results mean nothing these days. This is supposed to be a sport where results are decided on the track, instead we have to wait a week before the results are clarified. The stewards should have to make all their decisions during the race. If they didn’t see or hear what happened between Hamilton and Trulli, then they shouldn’t be able to act upon it. I can’t imagine a referee in football not being able to properly see if someone deserved to be sent off, but after watching the highlights on match of the day realised he made a mistake, then changes the results of the match. Honestly, Formula 1 recently makes me sick. Its all about the courtroom. And its not just the Hamilton penalty. Theres been so many cases where results have been changed after the race. Embarrassing.

  17. Kamran Tunio says:

    With drivers “forced” to communicate with the media this season, I see a lot of “No comment” responses from now onwards from the drivers.

    A shame.

  18. Al27 says:

    Sick of this.

    We have to have an enquiry after everything now.

    You never know the result of anything for sure until weeks afterwards.

  19. Chris says:

    F1 races used to be won on the track.
    Then, F1 races were won/lost in the pits.
    Now, F1 races are won/lost in the stewards room and FIA court of appeals days/weeks after the race.

    Cost Cutting Advice for the teams – Forget the car and all the costs involved and invest in some good lawyers.

    Question for me to answer: Why do I still watch every F1 race after over 15 years? Correction 25. Not sure anymore!

  20. JP says:

    Sorry James but I don’t quite understand that second paragraph?
    As for which was the worst crime? Having a flexible wing is just pushing design too far surely? Unless they knew it was illegal and tried to cover up the fact, or somehow “modified” it before the scrutineers got at it, then it was just pushing the envelope surely. But deliberately misleading the stewards, or worse, is surely unforgiveable?

  21. Peter says:

    I am bored with all of the different explanations from McLaren. Did Hamilton say that he was busy with the display and therfore let Trulli pass or didn’t? Was it truth or not. Clearly FIA want to avoid that everyone can come up with different stories if somethig happens…. Remember couple weeks ago Macca was just analyising the car with the 2008 spec wing and did not have any problems at all with the car, we all know now that that was not the case. It is not the same, but shows how the team communicate.

  22. Pete Jackson says:

    Another absolute travesty dished out by the stewards. It doesn’t make any sense to me, and I doubt anyone else, why Lewis has been disqualified from this race, a race in which he drove in an exemplary fashion.
    This whole scenario between Lewis and Jarno was instigated by Jarno’s off track excursion, and all the trouble seems to stem from ignorance regarding the regs relating to overtaking whilst driving behind the safety car. It seems both were erring on the side of caution, and both had been punished separately, and unnecessarily.

    I am truly sick and tired of the stewards lack of common sense and perspective on these matters. They seem hell bent on ruining everything good about F1.

  23. Finn says:


    “Lewis was instructed to give the place back to Trulli, “said Whitmarsh. “The team thought, having not seen the incident, that it was the safest thing to do. That instruction was given to Lewis and he didn’t agree. Before that discussion was finished, Trulli had been passed. If we look at the speed traces and compare it to other periods, he didn’t do anything abnormal and it’s quite clear that Lewis shouldn’t have passed him. As soon as that happened we spoke to race control to ask if we could retake the place. race control was busy and couldn’t answer us.”

    I don’t understand that. Before the discussion was finished (about giving the place back) Trulli had been passed. They started the discussion before Lewis had overtaken Trulli? How can you have a discussion about giving back a place before you’ve actually taken the place? If it is clear Lewis shouldn’t have passed him, why the need to ask about giving the place back and why accept third place when it was given to you? Sounds like they knew Lewis was wrong all along. But then he says they wanted to “retake” the place – if they knew Lewis was wrong, why retake the place? Seems very muddily to me. HELP.

  24. Dan Taylor says:

    What ever happened to results simply being decided by he who crosses the line first!

  25. gazzap says:

    you can bet if Ferrari had asked race control what was right during the race they would have got an answer straight away. The FIA will always do everything to punish Mclaren as harshly as possible. I am not sure Maclaren should be in a sport which is so clearly biased.
    whether you want Hamilton DQd or not, you have to admit, the FIA and their meddling with results is destroying the sport we all love(d).
    If it wasn’t so political it would be fun.

  26. Grabyrdy says:

    Do I understand correctly that it was McL who protested Trulli’s 3rd place ? That’s what I remember reading. Given that they knew damn well they had instructed Lewis to move over, this was deeply dishonest of them, and they have got what they deserve. As Luciano says, Whitmarse’s statement is less than clear – clearly he’s trying to fog up the whole thing.
    (Oops, I’ve misspelt his name, O well, let it stand).

    I actually feel a bit sorry for Lewis here – it seems to me he’s been put in an impossible position by his team, that is if the protest decision was taken over his head – if he was involved, then he too deserves exactly what he’s got.

    As Peter F also says, the stewards should have cleared all this up in Melbourne.

    QUESTION : Given that apparently only stewards can sort out their rubbish decisions, even at the next race (Toyota withdrew their appeal because they knew it wouldn’t be heard), what happens if such a balls-up happens at the last race, and the Championship turns on it ? There needs to be procedural changes all round.

  27. Martin P says:

    It’s very simple to me, you go to the Stewards after the race and say “look, this is what happened, we really don’t deserve third place as it was all a cock-up”.

    There’s a sporting code that has to be more important than winning by any means fair or foul. The day it isn’t is the day you’re not a sportsman.

    Honesty would have secured them fourth place and, more importantly, their reputations. As it stands, for the first time ever I’m revisiting my opinions on the “spygate” saga. I never imagined McLaren were truly engaged in that and thought they were caught up in the actions of rogue individuals. I’m not so sure now I have the same faith in their integrity.

  28. richard says:

    A few years ago I was totally against a breakaway series. Over the last few years I’ve really changed my mind. There’s nothing wrong with the racing, the biggest problem is the FIA and stewards messing about with the results during and after the race. It’s just a joke!

    It’s time to get rid of the FIA and all their lawyers. Can’t we have a organisation to oversee the grand prixs made up of racing drivers who actually know something about RACING?

    I really enjoyed the race on Sunday, but after all this I’m not even sure I can be bothered to watch it this weekend.

  29. F1 Scoop says:

    “Ironically he and his Toyota team had been thrown out of qualifying for having rear wings which were overly flexible and therefore illegal. Which of the two crimes is the worse?”

    I would say that lying to stewards in order to deliberately penalise another driver is morally far, far worse an offense.

  30. Ace says:

    You’re right Luciano, that paragraph makes no sense. I read it a few times trying to make sense of it. Hardly an explanation.

    James, in answer to your question “which of the two crimes is the worse” (Toyota flexi wings or Mcl/Ham misleading) – I put them both in the same basket. Somehow though, Mcl/Ham misleading the stewards seems dirtier. Guess it’s cause we expect teams to bend the rules (pardon the pun) when it comes to car design.

    I had a feeling we’d see Hamilton’s true character this year as he struggled with a weak car. Please tell me this isn’t it!

  31. Jay says:

    The internet is just filled with crazy, tin foil hatted people screaming about conspiracy theories, result fixing, racism in the FIA, can’t let a black driver get anywhere in the sport, anti-McLaren stance, Trulli changing his evidence to win his place back, stewards had all the evidence Sunday and have been told to change their ruling.

    It’s hilarious. Well, it would be if it wasn’t so unbelievably unhinged and stupid.

  32. What would McLaren seeked to have gained by deliberately misleading the stewards. It’s not as if they are in a championship battle.

  33. Doug says:

    Does anyone not think McLaren have really put Lewis in this position? Video footage from youtube would suggest that he slowed but had no choice but to overtake Trulli. That shouldn’t really be up for debate but McLaren are still sticking to the “he didn’t do anything abnormal and it’s quite clear that Lewis shouldn’t have passed him.”

    So much for trusting your WDC Winning driver.

    If they had just let Lewis run the race as he saw it and not used what is evidently weak to completely irrelivant data to decide what was or was not a fair pass Lewis would have 3rd now and it would likely be hailed as one of the drives of the season a few months from now. Not anymore.

    It is all completely dependant on how the later events transpired. Was Lewis told to present a different version of events to the stewards by McLaren or was it his own initiative? Given the alleged comments he made about letting Trulli past and not appearing to be in any doubt about his final classification after the race it would surely be very hard to rule out Hamilton being given a serious ‘pre match briefing’ by McLaren before being sent into the stewards office.

    You win and lose as a team, but when you start lying, cheating… deflecting the blame like this… it is completely unfair. Lying/Cheating Hamilton will be the headlines. His name is the one that will be put through the mud with the general public…

    Good start for Whitmarsh anyway. A dog of a car and guilty of cheating after only one race.

  34. GregC says:

    Amazes me how a stewards’ decision like this is reversed within a week, during an informal trackside meeting, whereas during last year’s Spa debacle, McLaren had to go to Paris to have an official hearing with the FIA! Where’s the consistency here?!

  35. Matt says:

    An extraordinary start to the season. After just one race we’ve had three teams racing under appeal, flexi wings, a driver given a 10 place grid penalty because his car had no grip and now the stewards taking it upon themselves to appeal their own decisions.

    It’s shocking to learn that the stewards weren’t thorough enough to get this right the first time and put McLaren in a position to not be “explicit.”

    Once again, I and many others can only guess why no permanent stewards have been installed to prevent this kind of situation.

  36. gazzap says:

    If Mclaren DID appeal against toyota knowing full well that it was they themselves who let Trulli through then I have to say they have been unbelievably stupid.
    However, I dont know that it was Mclaren that appealed Trulli’s 3rd place. Hope not.

    the letting through of Trulli is neither good or bad – the rules simply aren’t clear. But trying to get a competitor disqualified is what is wrong.

    I still think FIA meddle too much. I Am sure 10 years ago hardly any results were affected after the race. would love to know the stats on this.

  37. Spike says:

    Of course Whitmarsh is trying to hide the fact that Lewis lied. But Lewis said that he was busy watching SC instructions on his display. Not true! Busted. For shame.

  38. falmouth says:

    It all seems to be pretty clear to me

    (1) What actually happened was that Mclaren told Lewis to give the place back to Lewis and Lewis did so.
    (2) Lewis told Speed TV that this is what happened.
    (3) Then Lewis – presumably primed by McLaren, realising that they had not needed to give the place back and that Trulli would probably hang on to the third place because Lewis had slowed down – told the stewards some guff about being distracted by a yellow light in the cockpit (i.e. that he had not given the place back to Trulli).

    Ergo Lewis has been caught with his pants down. Dishonesty is rightly taken very seriously, therefore the punishment is totally justifiable.

    No grounds whatsoever to criticise the stewards or the FIA. They are entitled to expect teams and drivers to tell the truth.

    Presumably a full reasoned decision will become available from the FIA and this will all be set out in black and white.

  39. Andy Fov says:

    In any form of justice, isn’t it the role of the accused to present their side of the story?

    McLaren can’t be condemned for presenting a version of events that supports their best interest… It’s what all teams do.

  40. Dylan says:

    From what I understand, the way the events played out was as below

    1) Trulli ran off the track
    2) Hamilton passed trulli while he was off the track (perfectly legal)
    3) Hamilton & Mclaren were unsure as to whether it was legal, and Mclaren informed lewis to back off and let trulli pass
    4) Trulli saw the slowing mclaren and assumed hamilton was giving him the place back
    5) Mclaren then, after the race, found out that hamiltons pass on trulli was perfectly legal, and felt that they should have 3rd rather then 4th
    6) Stewards hearing

    Now in the stewards hearing, it seems like trulli told the story exactly how he saw it, however hamilton & mclaren told the stewards that he had not slowed down to let trulli pass and trulli had taken it back illegally. There we go, case closed.

    During the week, it seems the FIA have listened to the recordings from both teams radio transmission and found out that hamilton WAS told to slow down by his team to let trulli pass, and he followed their orders. This ‘new information’ is what allowed the FIA to reconvene the stewards hearing and investigate the issue further. Because of the new information, trulli was reinstated to 3rd place, and hamilton was reinstated to 4th place. Case closed for the second time.

    But wait, hamilton/mclaren’s original statement doesnt match up with this new information. He said that he didnt slow down intentionally, however (although i havent listened to it) it sounds like the radio communication can be understood that he clearly did slow down on purpose to let trulli through. This means that hamilton/mclaren lied/deliberately misled the stewards which is VERY bad, and hence he was excluded from the race.

    If the events played out how I have described them above, then clearly Hamilton/mclaren deserve to penalized in some fashion… and the stewards felt that exclusion from the round was a fitting punishment.

    Every single point counts in this championship, as shown by the EXTREMELY close results of the last 2 championships, so clearly Hamilton/McLaren and Trulli/Toyota desperately wanted the third place. It just seems to me that Hamilton/McLaren realized that they had made a mistake and tried to make up for it by misleading the FIA.

    Think about poor Trulli/Toyota in this situation. They didn’t do anything wrong, but due to the incorrect outcome of the original hearing they were demoted to 12th place and out of the points. Is that really fair?

  41. MightyQuin says:

    I think part of the problem was the lack of options the Stewards had after the initial appeal. The only penalty they could impose on Trulli was a 10 second stop / go , or, as it was inside the last few laps, a 25 second time penalty – both of which seem harsh for what was an incident caused by confusion over the rules by both drivers.

    Had they just been able to apply common sense and simply say “Hamilton was OK to overtake under the yellow flag as Trulli ran wide and off the circuit, he should not have given the position back to Trulli, sorry we didn’t communicate this at the time, and the results is Hamilton 3rd, Trulli 4th”, within 2 mins of the race finishing, this would have blown over.

    Instead we have had more overtaking since the race than most of last season … and even more worryingly, first and second could still be reclassified in a weeks time at another appeal as well!

  42. alex m says:

    Max Moseley is continuing his vendetta against McLaren and Lewis Hamilton via his ‘stewards’ as he did last year, as he will do untill he is stopped.

    It is perectly clear that the teams, expecially McLaren and their talented star, Lewis Hamilton have a great deal to worry about, the rules are kept deliberately unclear and both Toyota and McLaren are doing their utmost to avoid any questionable situations as it precipitates bizarre ‘steward’ interventions.

    Any further action against McLaren will result in the stopping of a race by fans, Bernie is very sensitive about his TV schedules and it would be very siimple for protesters to affect this when you really think about it…..

  43. Luciano says:

    You can listen to Whitmarsh on the BBC:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/7978935.stm

    Lots of Ronspeak, and avoiding the real issue – did Lewis tell the stewards at the first hearing that he slowed to let Trulli take back the place?

  44. Grabyrdy says:

    McL protest: Looking back over different sites, all I can find for the moment is :
    “Trulli’s podium remains in some doubt, with McLaren believing that he re-passed Lewis Hamilton under the safety car after making an error.”

    This is what it said on ITV’s F1 site. (I thought I’d read it on Planet f1, but their news stories don’t seem to go back that far). That to me implies that they entered a protest. James, can you confirm or deny please ?

  45. beflox says:

    Got to laugh at all these people saying F1 has become a joke … if you think it is being perceived as a joke, you have McLaren, your hero Hamilton, and the bias of the English press to thank for that. Maybe you should consider that there was F1 before Hamilton came along, and then realize that there were punishments, enquiries and penalties handed out to drivers race by race for years and years. It’s not football, you cant have a referee running around beside every car on the track, watching what they are doing. You have to trust the integrity of those involved, and in this situation Lewis (perhaps by instruction of the team, we’ll never know) abused that trust.

    The confusing thing for me is … why are you people watching a sport that you A. clearly don’t understand and B. upsets you so much (and don’t say it is because you are passionate about it … if you were you would make a point of understanding it more.)

  46. Ace Best says:

    Things like these would make F1 less interesting to new viewer.Scandals are not what we need in F1….The stewards NEED to have more consistancy in their decisions…You can’t just decide one thing on the spot at the race track,then changed it to the opposite direction,and then change back to the old one (plus,black sheeping someone to “misleading” as a reason to their previous action).

    And this is not the first time something like this happens.And it should not happen again.It’s not what I want to see in a sporting event,and I don’t think anyone want F1 to go to that direction…

  47. Spenny says:

    It seems to me that one of the sporting gestures that is missing is that Trulli misled his team and complained that Hamilton had unfairly overtaken him in the first place. I note in the press that Trulli has changed his tune and now claims McLaren’s first pass was fair and square when his radio shows that he instigated the whole confusion. I suspect that a review of the decision will not touch on whether Toyota changed their position on that and were also unsporting, albeit unwittingly at the hands of their driver who doth protest too much.

    There was clearly a dispute on this and McLaren were paranoid about how this would be handled.

    I think that they have been rightly banned for trying to gain back under the stewards what they felt that they had been misled into conceding.

    Fundamentally though, this all comes down to a fatal breakdown in trust between the stewards and the teams. There is zero confidence that the stewards will come up with a reasonable decision (25 seconds with a safety car situation was clearly disproportionate when it was clear that there was no racing going on under yellows). McLaren are fools for letting the stewards off the hook, and a WMSC inquiry would never investigate this for the good of the sport and admit that it has all got out of hand, it will just be more ritual humiliation for McLaren.

  48. MartinWR says:

    McLaren apparently are incapable of learning from their mistakes or ever admitting they are in the wrong.
    First they were heavily punished for cheating by copying the Ferrari, using data that had been supplied by an informant in that organisation. Now they have disgraced themselves again by lying to the stewards over the way they snatched third place from Trulli in Melbourne.
    But now they have been found out they still can’t making fools of themselves. Apparently “deliberately misleading” someone isn’t lying in the McLaren cannon. Well if that isn’t lying God knows what they think it is.
    I think it goes deeper than that though. In the past a world champion was someone you looked up to, someone who had something going for them more than simply driving a car fast. A prime example of this was Nigel Mansell, a guy who doggedly overcame all kinds of obstacles, not least of which was breaking his neck twice, pursuing his dream.
    Now a world champion can be someone who is manufactured by having millions spent in sponsorship to train him up from childhood. Is it any wonder such a character comes across as one-dimensional non-entity lacking any scruples when it comes to getting to the top.
    How different to Sebastian Vettel’s contrite behaviour when he was wiped out by Kubica.
    I am surprised that Mercedes still appear not to mind having their good name dragged through the mud by this organisation. It says a lot about them.

  49. Phil Jones says:

    Come on, I was hugely against some of the things the FIA did to Hamilton and Mclaren, but some of you people are being completely blind to this situation now. Removed from the recent historical context, the punishment would and should be exactly the same.

    It doesn’t take a brilliant mind to work out that Hamilton/Mclaren were not telling the full truth. Straight after the race, when interviewed by Lee Mckenzie, Hamilton said (referring to his finishing position of 4th rather than the 3rd) ‘Yeah I take it you heard the radio stuff, I’m delighted with 4th anyway etc’. Well no, we didn’t hear the radio stuff or see it on the track, but that clearly suggests he was told by Mclaren to let Trulli back passed. I think everyone would forgive Mclaren for being cautious when it comes to the FIA.

    Yet it transpires that Mclaren denied that they allowed Trulli passed to the FIA immediately after the race.

    Why did they lie to the FIA? For a measly point which they themselves couldn’t have expected to get, and in fairness is not at all likely to improve their (very slim it seems) chances of retaing the WDC.

  50. koord says:

    Hello Brits,

    Now I don’t want to sound offending, but I just had to comment seeing the fanaticism surrounding Hamilton here.

    I understand that you can argue about things like Spa 2008 for eternity, but this incident here is so clearly printed in black and white that I don’t see how you can find any excuses to it anymore.

    I mean, just read this:
    http://www.fia.com/en-GB/mediacentre/pressreleases/f1releases/2009/Pages/f1_stewards_decision.aspx

    So it is very, 100% clear, that Hamilton and McLaren lied to the FIA and thus Hamilton was punished as it is justified. How can you defend their actions? What can you say to that?

    Hamilton can cheat because he is a Brit? Hamilton has different rules than everyone else? Because it’s a couple of days after the race they shouldn’t change the result? Well, they’ve done it many times before too so I’m not falling into that.

    I’m just saying that had that been ANYBODY else than Hamilton or another British driver, you would not care absolutely at all.

    If you don’t like it, then feel free to create your own series where you can cheat as much as you want to. F1 is an international sport and there are regulations that you have to adhere to. FIA tries to ensure that the sport is fair and thus cheaters will be punished.

  51. Dave Walker says:

    Once again we have seen a great race, only for the result to be changed after the race. I carnt help but seeing this damage the sport for the “new fans” who maybey dont have the privelage of seeing stewards and the FIA, destroying the credibility and image of the sport over the years with many rulings which have the avid and loyal fan thinking “what the hells going on”, sure we dont have the transcipt in our hand after the race but the stewards do and so do the FIA, which means they are in a better position to enforce the rules on the DAY, there is nothing more damaging to the sport than for the average/new fan turning there T.V off after the race thinking that was a great race. Then turning it back on a week later to see the whole storm in the tea cup brewing and wonder “what the hell went on in the week” then the T.V stations have to explane everything to us again wasting time from what really matters.THE RACING thats what all we get up early for anyway. I LOVE THE RACING AND HATE THE POLITICS in our sport.

    Rant over.

  52. Philip North says:

    The officials in F1 are a joke. I don’t know why no one is talking about the fishy behavior with the safety car. Did anyone else notice how it waited for the race leader to pit and exit the pits before deploying? What was that about. It took 3 race laps for the safety car to come out after the crash… Is this normal in F1?

  53. Jodum says:

    I think Toyota’s penalty for using flexible wings during qualifying was just because it was limited to the period in which the offending parts were used. I presume during the race they corrected the flexing wings.

    Hamilton’s and McLaren’s penalty were justified as well because if they provided honest information to the FIA Jarno wouldn’t have gotten such a harsh penalty if any at all. Their actions (not indicating that they had initially told Lewis to let him by and then told him he could stay ahead until they heard from Race control – though he had already passed Trulli) made the stewards take an action that was not necessary and actually made them look foolish.

    I don’t think further action should be taken against the team, but they are reaping what they sowed.

  54. rpaco says:

    To clear this all up for the future, a new rule will be applied to satisfy all of, the FIA, Max, Bernie and Uncle Tom Cobley in fact everyone except McLaren

    Excerpt from New Sporting regs
    THE RACE
    39.3 If a McLaren is in the top 5 places during the last 5 laps of any race a penalty will be applied. ;-)

    Both Whitmarsh and Lewis were incredibly stupid and deserved the penalty for incompetence if nothing else. Not impressed with Whitmarsh’s first major media event. Ron will be fuming!

    I say all this as a Lewis fan, he has dropped in my estimation by displaying a blind loyalty and obedience which has cost both him and the team dearly. Next time Lewis tell the truth as it happened not as Martin tells you.

  55. Ian says:

    Do you know something – I love F1 but I would really like the end of the race to be the actual result – its becoming a farce!

  56. knoxploration says:

    Couldn’t agree more. Whitmarsh is trying to hide behind words here, and not doing a very good job. McLaren as a team were well aware of the impression that the stewards must have received, based on the penalty they handed out to Trulli.

    It will have been blindingly obvious to those at McLaren, given they knew Trulli was intentionally let past by their driver, that it was an unjust exclusion of Trulli from the points. Unfortunately, McLaren placed more value on their own gain of a couple of points (and advantage against a competitor) than they did in sporting fairness. They chose to remain quiet in the hope that the error would not be corrected, and now they receive a penalty that rewards them for their behaviour.

    Sporting fairness should come first and foremost – and it is really about time McLaren learned that lesson.

  57. Peter Freeman says:

    A far greater truth here is that no ‘hearing’ was necessary at all if the steward had just done their job.

    It is unbelievable that the stewards did not all all the time and information in the world to be able to advise the two team how to reposition themselves on track. Both teams were clearly simply trying to avoid a penalty and not gain an unfair advantage.

    This was the result of the failure of the FIA and the stewards to do a very simple job.

  58. Lauren says:

    I think it’s maybe meant to say “past”? Had to think about it for a while myself, just shows how poor grasp of English can completely change the meaning of a statement :)

  59. Peter Freeman says:

    You are SO right! We DESPERATELY need a new series!

  60. imola09 says:

    McLaren are right to take this one on the chin. They have no-one to blame but themselves. But you would have to be a pretty recent fan of F1 to think the treatment McLaren gets is unique or that the sport has only recently “become” political. I can’t count the number of points Ferrari have lost off the track over the years, but I suspect that added together they might add up to an extra title. By the way, has anyone ever seen a tally of those odd stats – how many points each team has lost to the stewards/FIA over the years? My bet is Ferrari would top this league table too, and some might say it’s because they are the ones who have “tested the rules” most often … I would not feel qualified to comment on that.

  61. PaulL says:

    Freeman, that all seems like a diversion you’re creating to relieve Hamilton and McLaren from responsibility.

    You might argue that there’s such a precedent for steward incompetence, but just as many could argue that there’s a precedent for both a) Hamilton’s contempt for fair play (5 driving-based penalties last year) and b) McLaren’s dishonesty (2007 spy scandal, Dennis @ China 07 “we weren’t racing Kimi, we were racing Fernando”, 2007 Hungary Qual explanation from Dennis).

    Either way, for you having a cheap dig at Alonso, I’m pretty happy he’s now 4 points ahead of Hamilton.

  62. Andy M says:

    I fully agree that the stewards should have taken the full evidence into consideration (Team radio, car data, etc.) before making any decision in the first place.

    However, I think we have come to the correct decision. McLaren could see what was going on – Trulli was getting penalised for doing nothing wrong on his part – all the McLaren team had to do was give the stewards a quick nudge on the shoulder and mention “Oh, by the way… we waved Trulli past” – I am sure any team would be quite happy to inherit those ‘free points’, but to not give evidence towards the case, to sit in silence quite happy to take 3rd and watch another driver suffer as a result, is not keeping with the spirit and fairness of the sport.

    It is great that the stewards have taken another look at the situation – otherwise you’d have poor old Jarno Trulli sitting on zero points and wondering what on earth he’d done wrong.

  63. Peter Freeman says:

    Andy M you are not getting the point! There was NO NEED for a hearing, or any evidence to be looked at! All they stewards needed to do was tell Toyota and McLaren which of them should have been in third place, during the race.

    There were 3 whole slow laps to make the simplest of all calls! Did Hamilton go past Truli while he was off the track? yes; stay in third, no; drop back!

    Do we the fans NOT have the right to see the results of the actual race?

  64. John Kilmartin says:

    Of course they are. The championship is 17(?) races. At the end of the year these 6 points may not be significant but for all you know they could make the difference between 1st and 5th.

    This was about not being penalised as much as correcting the placings.

  65. gp-lounge.com says:

    I guess McLaren were very cautious not to be annoyed by the stewards again (Spa 2008 ie), and no instruction was given to the drivers from the ATC.

    That doesnt excuse them though.

  66. BillG says:

    I think it’s the way it has been written – if the quote was “Trulli had been PAST’ then it’s clear and makes sense.

    It’s a transcription error

  67. gp-lounge.com says:

    True, however the Toyota rear wings were very very flexible. Not by a millimeter or two, but by several inches.

  68. Peter Freeman says:

    Also note that the telemetry that was given to the FIA actually showed that Hamilton did not slow down at all, so there is evidence that Trulli and Toyota may lying as well.

  69. Martin P says:

    Couldn’t agree more. Toyota made an honest mistake, McLaren made a dishonest one. I know which I consider the worst.

  70. VonSpeeX says:

    ‘It seems there is more overtaking done after the races than during them!’lmso (:laughing my socks off :)

  71. Chris says:

    We get good television coverage of nearly all critical parts of the race weekend from qualifying and the race.

    To ensure that we get the full picture we should demand that the stewards meetings are also televised to add to/increase the entertainment factor.

  72. gp-lounge.com says:

    No one cheated there. McLaren lied but they didn’t cheat. Hamilton was perfectly allowed to pass Trulli when the Italian went off-track. Unfortunately he didn’t admit that he had given the position back to Trulli, following instructions given by his team.

    As for a dog of a car, I’m aware that the ex-third place earned by Hamilton was lucky but the car wasn’t that crap. Look at the results of the non-protested diffuser teams at Melbourne.

  73. Cliff says:

    I agree with David. The result of the ace means very little to me when considering the “Big Picture” What I mean is that I have given up trying to convince others that F1 is not fixed, contrived or biased. The FIA and FOTA need to consider the fans and quickly. Failure to listen to the fans will result in sponsors leaving due to the lack of TV coverage. The only advanage for me is that I get to whatch the the races without being disturbed!

  74. Peter Freeman says:

    Well I am glad you are happy for Alonso, but I find it disturbing that you are not more concerned about our sport.

    Say what you like about McLaren, but what is going on with the stewards and the FIA is not good in any way for F1.

  75. MarkA says:

    You do have one – it’s called GP2, and it’s highly competitive and entertaining to watch.

    I know ITV was telecasting GP2 last year during the race weekends – is it being telecast anywhere this year?

  76. F1 Scoop says:

    If so, why weren’t they discovered in scrutineering?

  77. F1 Scoop says:

    Trulli hasn’t changed his evidence whatsoever. He, unlike others, has repeated the same story since Sunday.

  78. Peter Freeman says:

    Well the telemetry given to the FIA actually shows that Hamilton did not slow at all, so Trulli could also be lying as well…

  79. Darren M says:

    But it’s not as though this is a one off. It certainly wasn’t the first significant penalty Hamilton has received, and I’d be suprised if he doesn’t get any more this season.

    As far as I’m concerned at least, the problem with this situation is not that Lewis Hamilton has been docked 6 points. Arguably, it was the right decision. The problem is that this is just the latest in a line of extreme stewarding punishments which have been handed out over the last 18 months or so, each of which further destroys the credibility of this ‘sport’.

  80. F1 Scoop says:

    “I’m just saying that had that been ANYBODY else than Hamilton or another British driver, you would not care absolutely at all.”

    This is easily proven as there was nowhere near the same amount of outcry on Sunday evening when Trulli was given a 25s penalty and lost his podium.

  81. George says:

    You should know that not all Brits are Hamilton fans, I could just as easily say I bet they’re all laughing their heads off in Spain, but I’m sure there are people there able to view this objectively too (haha who am I kidding?).

    Sorry, it just rankles a bit to be lumped together with those “I’LL NEVER WATCH ANOTHER RACE” idiots just because we’re stuck on the same island. I was disappointed about the penalty given to Trulli after the race, especially after they were disqualified from qualifying, but the facts weren’t as clear then as they are now.

    I’m not sure why I’m even bothering to reply to this as you’re obviously just trying to bait them into another bout of CRUISE CONTROL and pathetic internet threats.

  82. George says:

    I agree to an extent, giving McLaren a penalty for Malaysia (grid penalty for example) would likely have cost them nothing, they were very lucky to even get into the points in Australia, unless by some miracle they can make use of the (possible) rain in Malaysia it would cost them nothing.

    I think a fine would have served better in this case though, the offence occured after the race and was instigated by the team rather than the driver. The FIA could have shifted blame for Jarno’s penalty on to McLaren, reinstated him in third and everything would be a lot simpler, after all Hamilton did earn that place in Aus, he drove a solid race and a combination of unfortunate events, stewards being unavailable and a greedy team cancelled out what was a terrific drive from last place.

    I think the FIA are making a mountain out of a molehill here to try and disguise the fact that they messed up both during the race and immediately after it when they gave Trulli the penalty, which in the end inconviniences us fans who just want common sense to prevail. The vast majority of fans dont visit f1 websites and only think about it during the weekend, I dont envy the BBC trying to explain this mess, they only have an hour before the race!

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