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Schumacher punished by Hill and stewards for illegal overtake
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Schumacher punished by Hill and stewards for illegal overtake
Posted By: James Allen  |  16 May 2010   |  7:03 pm GMT  |  570 comments

Michael Schumacher’s cheeky attempt to steal sixth place from Fernando Alonso in the Rascasse corner in today’s Monaco Grand Prix has been deemed illegal by the race stewards, of whom Schumacher’s former rival Damon Hill was a member.

Meanwhile his former Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali described the move as “really dangerous.”

The safety car had been deployed for the fourth time during the final laps when Jarno Trulli and Karun Chandhok collided at Rascasse corner.

Schumacher’s move came on the final lap, as the safety car peeled into the pit lane to allow the cars to cross the finish line. Previously overtaking before the start finish line on a restart was not allowed but this year that rule has changed.

There is a new rule, which allows drivers to pass at a restart once they have passed the safety car line, which is located before the start line.

But there is an exception to that rule, which covers the closing stages of the race.

Article 40.13 of the FIA F1 Sporting Regulations states, “If the race ends while the safety car is deployed, it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.”

Hill, who had many controversial run ins with Schumacher during their battles from 1993 to 1996, along with the other stewards decided that Schumacher’s move clearly breached this rule and so gave him the appropriate penalty, which is a drive through penalty.

But as it occurred in the last five laps, 20 seconds is added to the elapsed race time. This takes Schumacher out of the points and hands Alonso back his sixth place.

Mercedes has announced its intention to appeal the decision.

Ferrari’s Stefano Domenicali pointed out that to make matters worse, Schumacher’s overtake happened at the very place where the accident had occurred, namely Rascasse.

“Our reading of the regulation was that the safety car had frozen the race conditions, also because there was still a lot of debris in the last corner. Any kind of overtaking manoeuvre was really dangerous, ” said Domenicali.

Ironically this corner is indelibly attached to the Schumacher legend already, due to the incident in 2006 where he blocked the track there in qualifying.

It is the first time since his switch from Ferrari consultant to Mercedes driver that Ferrari has been on the receiving end of some of Schumacher’s competitive spirit and it was interesting this evening to observe Domenicali talking about “Schumacher” as a rival, rather than “Michael” as one of the family, as he was until last December.

* This piece has received a lot of comment. I was not suggesting that Hill alone punished Schumacher, but merely pointing out the irony of the situation that these two old rivals should find themselves in this position. Hill was one of four stewards in Monaco who reached this decision. I have amended the headline to make it clearer.

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  1. Steve Arnott says:

    Green means ‘go’.

    1. Paul says:

      Apparently it only means go under certain conditions.

      1. neil m says:

        Unfortunately it seems the race director / stewards have messed up.

        The rules can be read both ways so either decision can be justified. In such circumstances a sensible approach would be to issue a clarification for next time and either leave the result as per the race finish or reverse 6th / 7th. The reason for this is that the teams are in an impossible situation where the intent is unclear. Does green mean racing is on. Is the safety car deployed for last lap or in last lap? It is very probable the marshal’s were unclear on this point (hence green flags). If the marshal’s are unclear, how can you blame the teams for reflecting that confusion?
        To add to the mess, as I understand it, you can’t switch 6/7, as it isn’t an allowed option.
        Clearly in future if they don’t want a race to the line they should leave the yellows waving to the finish.

        So the stewards have finally started affecting race results, after heroically managing not to for the first five races. A shame. The one bit of good news is we are only talking of minor points. I hope they can issue a mea culpa and admit their role in the confusion, after all, I’m sure the teams will understand if the marshal’s say that they too can sometimes mess up. Minor points, no one hurt, shake hands, man up and get on with it.

        And shake head wryly at the thought of the stewards backing up Ferrari, I’m not saying conspiracy, even Ferrari can have the luck of the dice occasionally…

        And shake your head again at the fact that either Ferrari or Schumacher are in the wrong, its a win-win for everyone else :P

    2. charlotte konu says:

      Absolutely and green is green whatever language you speak. Appalling behaviour on behalf of the so called stewards

      1. Nick says:

        I completely agree. Article 40.13 states: “If the race ends while the safety car is deployed it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.” However, the race DID NOT end under the safety car, it came in at the end of lap 78, albeit the last lap. Therefore, once the cars are past the white line, green flags should be shown and overtaking is allowed. In this instance, the stewards are wrong and I hope Schumacher gets 6th back.

      2. Henry says:

        The race did finish after safety car conditions, that is the point of that regulation – the safety car came in at the end of the last lap. The issue is not the regulations, which expressly forbid overtaking in this situation, the issue is the green flags were out when they should have been yellow. Schumacher reacted to the green flags, which he shouldn’t be punished for – but technically it was an illegal overtake. So ideally they would just re-instate alonso to 6 and schumacher to 7, but they can’t because switching the places beck is not an option according to the rules, there has to be a punishment…

    3. Ryan says:

      Yes. It really is that simple. Green means ‘go’ , if article 40.13 was to enacted the stewards ballsed it up. Everyone one should have been informed and they should have taken the flag under YELLOW flags.

      1. rolocz says:

        I agree.

        And the penalty is simply too harsh. That’s where Hill’s hand shows.

    4. Thalasa says:

      Flags are deployed to inform the drivers about something which is within the regulations. Flags do not set the rules. What should prevail rules or flags?

      Art. 40.13 is quite clear, and Alonso was informed by his team. Mercedes should have done their homework too.

      1. john f says:

        IMO, not too clear. “if the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking”. But they said the saftey car was coming in this lap, so one could read it as if they get the message it will pit – the cars can race, if not it will pit anyway – but the cars must take the chequer without racing.
        For me the small nuance of declaring the SC will pit is a massive distinction. Obv green means go. Schumacher should not be penalised, as even the marshalls did not know the rule, it is conceivable that the positons should be switched , but wrong to do so, (again, only in my opinion)

      2. Aussie F1 Fan says:

        40.13 is not clear, it doesn’t cover the “Safety Car in this lap” message being displayed & green flags being displayed at the safety car overtaking line…

        40.13 implies the says the “Safety Car message” will not be displayed & the green flags will only show from the Start/Finish line…

        What Schu did was within the rules, as the Safety car was not deployed for the finish of the race.

      3. Robert says:

        Who changed the lights and flags? It was not any of the teams, but race control. They did not apply the rule, and if Damon want to punish, he must punish them.

      4. Paul Kirk says:

        I assume you mean punish race control, not drivers! If that’s what you mean, I totally agree!!!

      5. Ez says:

        The Safety car is meant to peel off and the race is meant to finish under YELLOW FLAGS, If GREEN FLAGS are waved then it is racing as normal. I am a FERRARI fan but MERCEDES will win the appeal, and have every right to do so as the rule 40.13 only applies if the YELLOW FLAGS are maintained to the end of the race. , which they were not.

      6. Luke says:

        I don’t want to be too testy, but the flags are there to save lives. What if someone would have ignored the yellows when that crash happened? I can imagine Chandock getting out of the cockpit, dazed after just being hit in the head by a car, and some yutz comes flying around a blind corner…

        If the drivers don’t put flags first, people could die. Of course, I wouldn’t put it past the FIA to allow a situation where there is confusion about the rules, or the flags appear to contradict the rules, and all the drivers stop their cars on track, call up the lawyers and have a deliberation over whether or not they should pay any attention to the flags.

    5. Meeklo says:

      agreed, just looking at the replays.

      All the flags and lights were yellow up until the safety car line. After that I saw specifically one green marker light and one manually waved green flag.

      If the rules meant for the whole lap to be safety, they should have remained yellow. What are the greens for otherwise, pretty pictures?

      1. Andy W says:

        Yup, green flag/light means go racing. The idea of having flags/lights is so that drivers know what the conditions are ahead and what rules are in play.

        Can understand why Schumi’s actions were dangerous and why its a good idea to effectively finish the race under yellow flag conditions, as it could result in a horrific accident(s) if 23 tightly packed cars were all trying banzai overtakes on the car(s) in front on the last corner of the race.

        However I don’t feel that decision was right in terms of the regulations, because the regulations were so badly written as to allow for vastly different and potentially dangerous misunderstandings.

        I can’t help but wonder if Damon put personal animosity to one side in judging this matter. I thought the idea of putting a racing driver on the stewards panel was to make these decisions a bit more realistic / less damaging to the idea of drivers actually racing.

        Personally I think the move should have stuck, but the stewards should have lodged a complaint/ request/ whatever with the FIA to have 40.13 rewritten in time for Turkey (or some temporary agreement reached with GPDA) to make it clear that in such circumstances the Safety car leaves the track at the last corner but the race is finished under yellow flag conditions.

    6. **Paul** says:

      Stupid rule, Schumachers move was brilliance, Alonso was asleep. Why did all of the cars boot it to the line if they weren’t racing I ask ?

      In these circumstances (where the rules say the move was illegal, but it looked legal to the rest of us) I think a sensible decision would have being to reverse their positions. A 20s pen is completely disproprtionate. They should also re-write the rules for the next race to include that no green flags/lights be shown during this period.

      FIA own goal again, not surprised at Hill jumping on Schumacher though.

    7. Thomas Pfaller says:

      Hey fellow F1 fans, no need to get upset because of the green flags beeing waved.
      I am quite sure that all drivers know that the green flag just means: “Track clear”.

      Of course under normal race conditions this implies that you are allowed to overtake. But the green flags alone don’t give you the right to overtake. Not in the installation lap and not whean Article 40.13 is applied.

      Correct me if I am wrong.

      Nervertheless, I enjoyed witnessing that Schumachers instinct is still there.


      1. Thalasa says:

        I’m with you, and it seems as if Ferrari were very sure about that point as well.

    8. Steve Arnott says:

      My comment was just a brief remark about a complex situation, and one which obviously doesn’t investigate all the nuances of the rules.

      My take on it is based on two observations:

      1) this season cars are allowed to race for position following the end of a Safety Car period from the Safety Car line, before the start/finish line. This is different from pervious years.

      2) this season’s rules define that the Safety Car can never cross the start/finish line on the final lap. There are two possibilities: a) the track is still dangerous, and the race must finish under SC conditions (i.e. Article 40.13) or b) the track is clear, and the SC pull off just like it would on any other lap, and cars are free to race.

      I won’t try to kid you: I haven’t read the rule book, but unless it states somewhere that in every instance Article 40.13 applies on the final lap of the race, all the messages coming from Race Control, the Stewards and the drivers clearly point to scenario 2b being in play, i.e. it’s a race between the SC line and the finish line on the final lap.

      Everyone: forget about history, opinions or assumed intentions of the rule. It’s the written words which are important here. In the absence of proof that my scenario 2a must happen in every instance of a last-lap Safety Car period, then my scenario 2b must be a possibility, and by definition was the scenario under which the Monaco race finished yesterday.

      And either way, Schumi will be smiling today. He taught a young upstart a lesson yesterday, and I feel like he’s starting to get his mojo back :)

    9. Phil C says:

      If the Safety Car had come in while the cars were two corners away, they’d still have received Green Flags. Does that mean they can overtake? No.

      Rules are rules. Race Control said the Safety Car was in this lap – it was, it always was going to be. But on the final lap, the race finishes behind the safety car. Rules are Rules.

      1. MarkA says:

        Except the race doesn’t finish behind the safety car, because the safety car has pulled into the pits.

      2. Kakashi says:

        Race ended behind the safety car!!!
        Safety car was deployed until lap 78 which was the last lap of the race and hence article 40.13
        It was a no brainer.
        The thing people are confusing is that race ends at lap 78 and there is no lap afterwards and hence the safety car had to come in at lap 78
        I m surprised as to y this is making such a fuss !!!

      3. Phil C says:

        But races never actually finish behind a safety car!
        Every time the race has finished behind the safety car – the safety car has pulled in on teh last lap, adn the leader takes the cars across the line
        The safety car has NEVER taken the chequred flag!

      4. Ez says:

        GREEN FLAGS do mean they can overtake, the GREEN FLAGS would only have been waved from the SAFETY CAR entry point and on, not 2 corners back as you suggested, So no, they could not start to overtake further back. To finish a race under a SAFETY CAR, the YELLOW FLAGS MUST be waved to the finish line to prevent overtaking otherwise it is a race restart when GREEN FLAGS are shown. I would love to see FERRARI get the points, but ultimately MERCEDES will win the appeal based on the STEWARDS stuff up with the FLAGS.

      5. Phil C says:

        The rules state that when the safety car pulls into the pits, Green Flags are waved from the Safety Car line onwards. So in that respect I was wrong in my talking about flags being waved further back.

        But the rules do not cover that by saying on the final lap, Yellows must be waved instead. So the Marshalls went on Article 40.11

        Let us not forget that in previous years, when races finished behind the safety car, there was no safety car line, so yellows would be waved until the start / finish line on EVERY occassion.

  2. Paul says:

    This is just typical of the decisions that f1 seems to constantly get wrong. I wonder why I bother watching.

    It seems like the organisers are determined to create the most sterile environment possible. One of the only overtaking moves of the race under a green flag and its not allowed!

    The decision makers always seem to lose sight of the bigger picture? (That is how things will appear to the viewing public) It reminds me of the recent political tv debates where there were so many rules that in the end the battles are sterile.

    Maybe it would be easier if the FIA listed a set of conditions under which you CAN overtake as I’m sure there will be far fewer! Think I’ll miss Turkey.

    1. Alen says:

      I totally agree!!!

    2. Phil says:

      I’d have to say I agree.

      It reminds me of the race at Spa where Hamilton was penalised for passing the obviously struggling Raikkonen.

      If Ross Brawn had the evidence to back up his claims on air at the end of TV coverage I find it difficult to understand the rationale for the penalty.

      It was an audacious move beautifully executed, which whilst taking Schumacher off Ferrari’s Christmas Card list made great viewing for spectators (unlike most of the rest of the race which was the usual Monaco procession).

      Another F1 home goal?

      1. TheEnd says:

        F1 is going to self impload… what a waste of time.

    3. charlotte konu says:

      This decision stinks of bias. How can a move made after the safety car has gone and Alonso aws over the safety line be demmed illegal and even more dangerous !! Ridiculous and appallingly anti-Schumacher. I am very dissapointed in Todt but not surprised by Hill. Why penalise him and demote him to 12th ,why?? How would it have been if it had been the other way round, I suppose we’d all be applauding Alonso. WRONG decision on all accounts.

      1. john f says:

        I’m sure Damon, even if he may not be my favourite guy for the arrogance and smarm he displays, would put personal dislike to one side. However I agree the decision was just plain wrong. The rule was unclear – at worst reverse the order between him and alonso – at best apply common sense, Schumacher did him, fair and square. I didn’t see Massa or Alonso coasting, even hit the gas so hard they both had wheelspin. Something is wrong, it is the rule however. Damon may have been happier than most to uphold this law, but I’m sure he was not out to get Michael. Further to this Jean Todt has little say, even then he would not favour ferrari

      2. Robert Higginbotham says:

        Massa was almost sideways coming out of Rascasse, and I thought that Hamilton might take him. Presumably Hamilton experienced similar difficulties negotiating the turn.

        I think that Damon Hill would have been conscious of the spotlight that he was under. How much input he had in the decision is questionable, as the issue didn’t really require a driver’s input…or wouldn’t have if something hadn’t gone wrong somewhere along the line.

        Strictly speaking, I think that Schumacher was wrong in passing Alonso, however based on the information that was available to him this may not have been apparent.

        All in all, a farce.

      3. Matthew H says:

        arrogance and swarm?? Damon Hill? He’s a classic gentleman. There’s no way he would make a biased decision. Plus it’s not he’s decision, he’s the adviser/consultant to the 3 other stewards.

      4. Andy says:

        I agree – what would Hill have to gain from going out to deliberately penalise Schumacher? I don’t know, but I imagine he gets paid regardless of how many decisions he makes.

        As Matthew H says, it’s not his decision alone and as Robert points out the situation is not really one where I would expect them to consult the former driver – I would think they’d mainly turn to the driver if they were investigating Trulli/Karun: “Did he leave the door open? Was Trulli overenthusiastic?”

        For me, the key point is the Race Control statement: Safety Car in this Lap, therefore as Merc will argue it was actually race conditions to the line and it was the stewards who didn’t follow 40.13 correctly.

        Morally I think Merc are right but I don’t think they’ll win their appeal. The correct action would be to simply reinstate Schumacher behind Alonso, but unfortunately that option isn’t open to the stewards, who would then be accused of inconsistent penalties.

    4. Michael says:

      Um, you’re not allowed to pass before the start-finish line after the safety car pulls in under ANY circumstances.

      1. Paul says:

        Um, have you not read James’ article?

      2. Michael says:

        Well, that’s interesting. How come nobody ever mentions a rule change like this until something controversial happens?

      3. James Allen says:

        Like many F1 rules it is hidden in the sporting regs until something happens

      4. Aussie F1 Fan says:

        Wrong, the rules have changed for this year & you are allowed to pass after crossing the “safety Car Line” which is the 1st white line on the pit entry. Schumacher did this legally, the other teams were just too cautious or asleep..

      5. Kakashi says:

        except when its the final lap of the race!!!
        all cars hold their positions

    5. adrian says:

      really? it’s quite simple and unbiased. the rule was there before the start of the race and it applies to everyone.

      Article 40.13 of the FIA F1 Sporting Regulations: If the race ends while the safety car is deployed, it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.

      1. Paul says:

        oh ok. I thought green flags meant go.

      2. Phil C says:

        No actually they don’t

        Green Flags mean – Track is clear

      3. Dan says:

        …but how to tell whether the SC just comes in because of 40.13 or it comes in to open the race again? One would assume that there are yellow flags in case 40.13 is applied. And green flags otherwise.
        So to me the situation is far from being clear ..

      4. adrian herrera says:

        If you start the LAST LAP of the race behind the safety car, you would assume the race is pretty much over.
        I have never seen a lap being 90% under SC and 10% under green. The safety car lap ends when you go over the start/finish line, so does the race.

      5. Trent says:

        Exactly what I was wondering. I assume the former, as the Lotus still had not been cleared.

        Also don’t agree with Domenicali – as I saw it Schumacher’s move was AFTER the accident scene, he was definitely clear of it.

      6. Andrew says:

        I’m in exactly the same boat, this is the point that I would like to see clarified too.

      7. elephino says:

        Where is the confusion over which lap is the final lap? Final lap, no overtaking. Flags are irrelevant.

        As for green flags mean go (from a few people here), what about if you cut a chicane to pass. It was a green flag so it must be ok?

        One of the few rules in F1 which is actually clear and people try to interpret them to death.

      8. Paul Kirk says:

        Green is green!!! When the traffic lights go green what do YOU do????

      9. elephino says:

        Green may be green, but that doesn’t mean you can overtake without an overtaking lane or unbroken lines. A green flag is not the only rule in place. I’ve seen signs at roadworks stating ‘No overtaking’ – do I ignore those if there’s a green light at the traffic lights in this zone?

      10. Geoff says:

        The race did not end while the safety car was deployed.

      11. Nick F says:

        The rule is the rule. …But its a new rule and the lights were green. It wasn’t dangerous in my opinion and Schumacher should have just been relegated back one place to where he was before. That would have been fair.

        Does anyone know why the punishment was so harsh? Were they forced into it by the rule book. Are they allowed to move a car back one place in the results, and what was minimum penalty? …James do you know?

      12. James Allen says:

        Should have been a drive through, but as it happened in last five laps they apply a time penalty

      13. john f says:

        How could it ever be a drive through though James as the rule covers the last lap only.
        I know you mean the standard penalty for an illegal overtake is a drive through, it’s just odd to give a 20s penalty when the race finished under safety car. Vettel would have finished 12th had he passed to win – not a fair punishment.

      14. Matthew Atkin says:

        That’s quite correct. But the Safety Car was no longer deployed. They called it in, leaving green flag conditions for the final corner and straight. Had it still been deployed, they would have finished behind it on track.

      15. Phil C says:

        Read the rule – A Formula 1 race will never finish actually behind the safety car – it never has. Most likely due to the image on TV, but the rule clearly states the car will pull into the pits on the final lap

      16. Jens says:

        Article 40.13 describes the procedure for completing a race under yellow. The rule does not preclude a restart of the race. The procedure in Melbourne 2009 was to stay under full yellow when the SC came in. In Monaco the track vent green so the natural conclusion is the race was restarted.

      17. Aussie F1 Fan says:

        But the race DIDN’T end under the safety car, the “Safety Car in this lap” message was diusplayed & the flags went green, read the rule carefully, not just at face value…

      18. SA Fan says:

        I completely agree….the two rules contradict each other, therefore Michael and Mercedes racing will definitely have a strong case to have the position returned to him.

      19. adrian herrera says:

        The race effectively ended under yellows. The safety car came in on the last corner to allow the cars to take the checkered flag by themselves. The reason cars are allowed to overtake before the start/finish line is to give them a “head start” for the next green flag lap. Since we didnt have any more laps left, the race was done. There were no green flags waved to Webber as he crossed the line. He got a checkered flag indicating “session over”.

      20. Phil C says:

        I believe that would have been a generic message to allow drivers to know that the car would be pulling into the pits and not staying out.

      21. David Jerromes says:

        I thought the safety car was not operating after it went into the pits, so how can it be argued with this rule that ‘if the race ends behind the safety car..’…..

        Load of old hog-wash.

        Respect both drivers and their respective teams, however this race should have ended under WAVED YELLOWS to be 100% clear.

        Very unlike Ross Brawn to read the rule so wrong though.

        A nice idea that Hill got some kind of revenge there, but I think it highly unlikely as it was the rule-book that decided the outcome.

        Think Merc GP won’t win the appeal, but might get Schumi re-instated to the place he occupied before he made his move under what he considered legitimate green flag racing conditions!

        So is green now always go????

        How long was it James before you actually got the official answer of the stewards decision?

      22. James Allen says:

        It was about 7pm Monaco time, so about 3 hours after race finish

      23. Phil C says:

        Agreed as a future thing, they should end under waved yellows.

        Schumacher won’t get his place back, look what happened when Hamilton appealed. A Drive Through Penalty cannot be reversed, however it is applied.

      24. Pushkar says:

        I suggest they give each driver a copy of the manual so they can read the fine-print and decide in the car, as it happens. This was Damon taking revenge. The only person who did anything dangerous at that corner was Jarno Trulli.

      25. Robert says:

        James, maybe you can make it clearer to us. Why did the marshals investigate the overtake? If race control new Damon’s rule, they would not change the race to green. On the other hand, if race control made a mistake,no team/driver can be punished and they will most certainly not investigate if they knew it were there mistake.
        It is my opinion that it is common practice in the world that you are allowed to “break” rules if you are authorised by the controlling body of that applicable rules. For example, if a traffic light is red and a traffic officer give you way, you can break that rule. If the marshals gives you a green flag, it is racing, and according to me, that is the bottom line. It took Damon quite a while to get a rule to use against Michael though.

        James can you please give us more info?

    6. BiggusJimmus says:

      I don’t agree. Everyone races under rules which are open to interpretation; however this bit of the rule is clear, “If the race ends while the safety car is deployed, it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap, and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.” In this case the safety car entered the pit at the end of the last lap, so no overtaking was allowed. There would be no point having this rule if it was intended that the safety car should enter the pits at the end of the last lap + 1.

      1. Paul Kirk says:

        Yeah but they showed the green flags and green lights!! Maybe it was a mistake, but the flags said “GO”, they can’t go back on that after the incident. Green is “GO” doesn’t matter how you look at it!!!

      2. Dave says:

        Yes, at face value, that part of the rule is clear, until you add in the green flags/lights.

        What I think most of us are saying is that there is a contradiction here. If the SC comes in but no overtaking is allowed, there should be yellow flags. Either that or they should just let the SC finish the race.

        Bringing it in and waving greens, you must admit, is confusing and gives the drivers mixed messages.

      3. BiggusJimmus says:

        Yeah, you’re right about the contradiction. There may well be a hierarchy among regulations that gives precedence to 40.13 over the flags – maybe the stewards needed help in working out this aspect of things. Might explain the delay. James would probably know.

  3. Nick says:

    This is a stupid ruling. If they did not want the cars to race, why not leave
    the lights and flags yellow. When the safety car went in, they were changed
    to green!

  4. Martin P says:

    This absolutely has to be overturned on appeal. It’s a farce.

    If the rule began with “If the safety car is still on track at the start of the final lap” it would be a different matter, but it doesn’t.

    It surely hinges on the car simply being deployed at THE END, not the start of the lap. Unless Ross Brawn was making up his evidence the SC conditions had been removed so I really can’t fathom this.

    Disappointing decision that’s undermined the previous improved status of stewarding this year.

    James, do they release fuller details of their judgement so we can see their rationale?

    1. Phil C says:

      The car was deployed at THE END. When has a grand prix finished with the safety car crossing the line first?

      If a Grand Prix is to end under the safety car, the safety car will enter the pits on the FINAL LAP – that was the final lap

      1. bleh says:

        No, it wasn’t, that’s the point.

        The safety car being deployed (i.e. safety car conditions) is independent of the actual safety car driving in front of the field.

        The stewards could have kept the safety car out to the end of the race. That would have meant the safety car pulls into the pits at the end of the last lap but there’s still yellow flags and SC signs and the race ends “while the safety car is deployed.” Read the rule again – It clearly makes a distinction between the “safety car being deployed”, as it talks about how the race is gonna end if it is, and the actual safety-car car, which pulls into the pits:
        “If the race ends while the safety car is deployed, it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.”

        Instead the stewards sent out the “safety car in this lap” message and waved green flags, therefore ending the safety car phase with lap 78 and due to the new rules that means normal racing between the safety car line and the end of the race at the finish line.

      2. Phil C says:

        There is no provision in the rules at all for Yellow Flags to remain out when the safety car pulls into the pits.

        Article 40.11 states that when the safety car pulls into the pit lane, Green Flags shall be deployed at the line.

        In previous years, this has meant the start finish line – so while the safety car pulls into the pitlane, there are still yellows around to the chequered flag

        This year however, it means the safety car line. So the marshalls were following the rule – the safety car came in, the green flags went out.

        That needs to be amended, but it explains why they had to put green flags out – the safety car had pulled into the pit lane.

  5. Alan Zechter says:

    Forget who is involved, it’s just a dilly rule. If
    you can’t overtake then why bring the safety car in first?

    Could you imagine if it was for the lead of the race?

    Silly rule and harsh penalty; can’t we introduce common sense and just swap the positions? We
    want to see moves like this rewarded, NOT punished.

    1. Trent says:

      Not that I agree with it – but I assume the rule was introduced so the spectators could see the winner take the flag as racing speed rather than behind the safety car.

      1. Phil C says:

        Possibly, although I believe it was introduced so the TV Images would not show the safety car taking the flag, and also as the field would be so bunched up at the final corner, anyone trying a do or die overtake could cause a major accident.

      2. "for sure" says:

        Utterly theoretical of course but I would love to have seen Webber just trundle to the finish whilst half the pack sreamed past, what chaos that would have created!

    2. Hutch says:

      Dropping Schumacher to 12th is absolutely ridiculous!! You’re supposed to be encouraging daring overtaking moves! This makes me so angry! Even if there is some obscure BS rule about green flags not meaning go in this case, just reverse the positions back!

  6. knoxploration says:

    Yet another bad decision from the stewards. Initially I felt Ferrari were in the right, but looking at the rules, Charlie’s actions in stating that the safety car would be called in, the fact that green flags were being waved, and that Schumacher was past the safety car line, I’m sorry but I couldn’t disagree more with the stewards. The move was clearly legitimate, and even though I dislike him personally — he deserves whatever he gets, for the times he’s cheated in the past — Schumacher should be reinstated.

  7. Bob Stiff says:

    The safety car had come in before the race finished, having signalled it’s intention to do so. Also the marshals were showing green flags at the last corner, not yellow and ‘SC’ boards. Therwfore the race finished under racing conditions. Any mistake made was made by race direction, not the drivers.
    Also, how come Alonso was the only driver not to ‘go for it’ at the end?
    The discision stinks!

    1. Oliver Neilson says:

      I think Alonso was going for it, Schumacher saw his opportunity after Alonso got a bit of a slide after he buried the throttle. If he only had to go 300 yards, and his team said nobody was allowed to overtake, why was he accelerating to that degree?

  8. Stephen says:

    Its a pity but the rules are there for all to see,this is a shady area though that needs to be cleared up for the future though,flashing green lights and the new line have caused confusion so the FIA need to address it.

    On a side note,nice to see Schumi taking the opportunities,he hasnt lost a thing and I still think he will win a race this year.

    1. Nick F says:

      …And he was excited by it at the end of the race which is good to see. I’m hoping he can recover some form to spice up the season.

  9. Nazdakka says:

    Bit of a puzzler this one. I thought they were racing from the SC line to the flag, but now suddenly they aren’t?

  10. dkfone says:

    James, what is your personal opinion on
    schumachers move and,
    the penalty.
    Leaving aside the fact that the penalty was unfair, lets assume the stewards were correct. So why were green flags waving at the last corner? Why are the rules unclear? Why was Alonso obviously pushing if he had been told not to overtake? Why did Brundle tell us there was still a race on.
    I have been impressed by the stewarding this year, devoid of the nonsense we witnessed in 08. And now we revert back to this. Schumacher forever!

    1. Knuckles says:

      Someone remarked on the Autosport forums that green flags mean “clear track”, not “go racing”, and that there are green flags on the installation lap, too – which is true and important to note, even if I have no clue about what it means in the end :)

      1. Gerry Satrapa says:

        no way. The Green flag means “return to racing conditions” – not “clear ahead” (which presumably would be covered by the absence of yellow flag). Green is always used to return to normal racing conditions following any period of change – usually a yellow flag at a flag point in the track or a full course green leading the leader around the track after SC.

        I’m not sure if the BBC commentators got the “safety car in this lap” call wrong or not, but it certainly appeared to me that the lights were off on the safety car, thus having crossed the line, and returned to racing conditions, the move was valid. If not – they certainly have to clarify the procedure (use the yellow flags guys!), and Schumacher should get his position back on the technicality.

      2. Phil C says:

        From the BBC Flag Guide

        GREEN FLAG
        A hazard has been cleared up and the cars can proceed at racing speed.

        Proceed at racing speed, doesn’t say – overtake or continue to race, or go, or go racing. It just says Proceed at Racing Speed

        FIA Rules – Green flag:

        This should be used to indicate that the track is clear and should be waved at the observation post immediately after the incident that necessitated the use of one or more yellow flags.

        - It may also be used, if deemed necessary by the Clerk of the Course, to signal the start of a warm-up lap or the start of a practice session.

        Doesn’t mean – ok to pass

      3. Knuckles says:

        I fully agree with that Phil C says in the sibling reply.

        On the other hand I think that the FIA should finally clean up its rules and procedures, and that it is ridiculous to let MS suffer for FIA’s mistake, which I do believe it was, quite obviously.

      4. Steve says:

        Regarding Phil C’s reply…

        The Formula 1 website has a slightly different description of the use of green flags:

        Green flag
        All clear. The driver has passed the potential danger point and prohibitions imposed by yellow flags have been lifted.

        The yellow flag prohibitions are slow down and no overtaking. The green flag cancels all of these prohibitions.

        Remember that the last time that the race ended with a safety car, the yellow flags and SC boards were STILL being shown after the safety car had pulled into the pits. Because these were NOT being shown and green flags were, the FIA will have no option but to overturn the stewards’ decision, as otherwise they will face legal action. It is like someone who is caught by a speed camera, but it transpires that the speed limit sign before that speed camera had been stolen!!!

  11. Howard says:

    Wrong call. This is a problem created by a poorly thought out sporting regualation. If teams are told the safety car is coming in, and green flags are waved, the race is be on – except when it’s not? I knew something like this would happen ever since this change was brought in a couple of years ago (I think I first saw A1GP in Zandvoort 2008 do a ‘race to the line’ after a safety car near the end of the race). By all means get the safety car out of the way so the leading car can take the flag, but the race should still be under yellow flag conditions with no driver needing to do anything other than hold station at a sensible speed. Someone did not think through a proper procedure for this situation as the teams being told ‘safety car in this lap’, green flags being waved and the new rule about overtaking after the safety car line clearly have led to confusion that should not have come about!

    1. David Jerromes says:


  12. Harry Buckingham says:

    If the race ended under SC conditions then why were there green flags displayed and the SC boards withdrawn by the marshalls. In the ’09 OzGP the safety car pulled in BUT SC boards and yellow flags were still waved to show the race was still under SC conditions and the safety car only pulled in due to 40.13 (which is not new for 2010). If the race did end when the safety car was deployed then why werent SC boards along with yellow flags shown to indicate this like in 2009? Another seemingly bad decision by the stewards and one that will hang over Hill.

  13. azac21 says:

    I think it was fair to give 6th to Alonso, 7th to Shumi but no need for the 20 secs penalty. Overtaking was not allowed but green flags were waving.

  14. Andrew says:

    Domenicali argues that this move was dangerous as it took place at the same corner as the Trulli-Chandhok accident, but it didn’t. That accident was at Rascasse, but Schumacher barely began to make his move until he was through that corner. It was through the next corner that Schumacher passed Alonso, which I think is an important distinction. I can’t see anything dangerous about his move. If we follow Domenicali’s logic, then all overtaking is dangerous. There may be a case to answer about a misunderstanding of the rules, but I can’t see that it was especially dangerous.

    1. Nick F says:

      …And Alonso’s car had stepped out. That enabled the move, and not a wild lunge like in the Trulli Chandhok crash.

    2. Julian Tavora says:

      In the interest of safety we should just skip the racing and award final positions as qualification.

  15. Nenad says:

    How many times we had a mess with safety car periods last years? It seems to me that there are too many SC rules and it confuses everyone. The rules also change frequently and it doesn’t help.

    Its a shame that last lap pass is disallowed, although I believe the rule about SC in last lap was broken by MSC. But why there were green flags? I mean it’s either go or no-go. You can’t show a green flag and expect drivers of F1 cars not to race…

    1. Andy says:

      Can someone explain what the indication would have been if the stewards DID want racing to continue from the SC line to flag?

      What would they have done to indicate RACING AND OVERTAKING?

      This is the other way to try and work it out. The answer is – NOTHING. Since they did everything THE SAME as the previous safety car restarts.

      In 2009 Melbourne, they set the precident, and applied the rule correctly, which was to continue Yellow flags.

      That’s the key, to ask them what differentiation they would have made had the WANTED overtaking to occur.

      The article doesn’t say “if the safety car starts the last lap” does it???

      1. Gerry Satrapa says:

        I think the Green Flags displayed were a stuff up, and that as a result, Schumacher should be cleared on a technicality. Yellow Flags should have covered the final 400m from Safety Car in to Finish line.

  16. BeenDun says:

    The rules seem to be unclear. According to article 40.13 the safety car should have waited until the end of the last lap to pit? Since the SC pitted before the end of the last lap then does that mean overtaking is then allowed? F1 is becoming mired in contradictory rules that end up creating endless controversies. It’s really becoming ridiculous. Domenicalli’s claim that Schumacher’s move was dangerous is silly. Anyone who watched it clearly can see that it wasn’t an excessively dangerous pass. This new stewarding regime is not doing much better than the old system. Ex-driver’s with grudges against current driver’s making decisions that effect the outcome of the race is hardly a good thing. Hill and Schumi have a history and it’s not a good one.

    1. Knuckles says:

      It *was* the end of the last lap though.

      1. Simon G says:

        Doesn’t the lap finish at the Finish line and not the Pit entry ? So technically the SC pitted BEFORE the end of the lap.

        I think I understand the purpose of the regulation in question . . . but the regulation as written doesn’t regulate and enforce it’s purpose. It’s just plainly badly written and could be made so much clearer.

  17. Fausto Cunha says:

    Alonso got a lot of wheelspin on the re-start and Michael took the oportunity, it seems that the rule of the safety car line doesn´t aply to the last lap so i think the punishment is fair.

    Alonso almost went over the kerb trying to defend , cleary both drivers weren´t aware of the rule.

    1. fausta says:

      Alonso had already spoken to his team and new he couldn’t try and pass Hamilton, I think his attempt at blocking was more out of surprise that MS was doing it to him.

      1. Fausto Cunha says:

        Maybe he knew, i don´t know. Maybe his racing instincts lead him to try to defend MS move.

        We never no what´s inside these guys head.

    2. Kevin says:

      The punishment is not fair because the race ended under normal racing conditions. Race control indicated that the safety car would be coming in on the final lap and initiated the procedure to end the safety car period i.e lights off. Also, all off the lights and flags after the safety car line were green, meaning that the drivers could race.

      1. Fausto Cunha says:

        The rules says no overtaking under the safety -car in last lap.
        I think it´s fair. I don´t agree with the rule but that´s a different story!!

      2. Steve says:

        No they don’t.

        The rules say “If the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.”

        Notice, no mention of last lap. This rule suggests that the race needs to end under safety car conditions. The SC boards were taken in and green flags hung out. Therefore the race did NOT end under the safety car, the safety car was merely brought in on the last lap.

  18. ant0ine says:

    Mercedes team is the one to blame here, all other drivers were warned about it. Ross simply messed up here. BUT the rule was not as clear and the lights/flags WERE green.

    In addition Alonso did a serious mistake so the overtake was not as dangerous as Domenically states. The door was open…

    I used to like Hill, i still do, but pls Damon get over it…

    However, “thanks” to this desicion we ll see a MSC more determined in the races to come… From my point of view its still amazing to see him fighting as he was 18 years ago, thats why he is 7 times WDC.

  19. Tommy K. says:

    This penalty is completely rubbish! After the SC went in the pitlane, everybody just exploded! Should we think that nobody knows the rules? Should we think that no other teams radioed the rule to their drivers? Isn’t it dangerous that Alonso was on the same set of tyres for a whole race and at the final restart he had SUCH a BAD wheelspin which could cause a collision again? What should MSC do? See Alonso whellspinning and just lift and wait until he finds grip again?? I’m not a MSC fan but what Damon Hill did is just pathetic. F1 again makes a fool of itself with all those ultra-detailed stupid rules. After all, if they wanted the race to finish with the safety car, why didn’t it finish with the safety car?? Is there another ridiculous rule saying that safety car must come in the pits just 400metres before the end?

  20. Helen says:

    so, does this mean that the wrong flags were waved and should have been yellow not green? is this the first instance of a driver being penalised for obeying the flags??

  21. Michael says:

    One of the most ridiculous decisions I’ve seen for a long time, the safety car came in, the green lights came on, every driver (including Alonso who was sliding all over the place) went for it to get into that final corner and Schumacher managed to get by. He should be praised not punished.

    Mercedes will win on appeal.

  22. Nick says:

    F1 needs a “Green-White-Checker” rule like NASCAR, whereby the race is allowed to be completed under green flag conditions if the Safety Car comes out in the final laps.

    Finishing a race under the Safety Car is a terrible rule.

  23. Marc says:

    My question is was the safety car coming into the pits because of Regulation 40.13 or was it because the track was ready for the race to be resumed?

    If as all the Green Flags would seem to suggest it was to resume racing then IMO Schumacher and Mercedes was in the right. I say good on them anyway.

    Also how come all the Marshals put the SC boards down despite the Stewards argument surely been based around it still be deployed at that point?

    FIA/Stewards/Marshalls EPIC FAIL

    1. Andy says:


  24. Eric says:

    Noone’s going to try overtaking if they get penalised for it!

    Is it clearly stated in the rules that overtaking after the safety car line doesn’t apply if 40.13 applies? If not then there’s contradiction in the rules. Furthermore, the conditions in this Monaco race were different from previous races where a safety car finish occurred. Sometimes the safety car leads everyone across the line, and this time it was ‘in this lap’, indicating racing as normal, as Ross Brawn said. You cannot apply the letter of the rules if there is any ambiguity there, as there is in this case.

    1. Knuckles says:

      Well 40.13 explicitly says “finish without overtaking”, so IF 40.13 applied, then yeah, MS was wrong. The question is whether this was the case and how FIA handled the communications to teams, IMO

  25. Chris H says:

    As I read it the safety car has entered the pits merely so the press photographers will receive a clear picture of the race winner.

    It’s unfortunate, to my mind at least, and Alonso has benefitted from this rule after a small mistake.

    Stoopid rule

    1. fausta says:

      No mistake by Alonso, his team had told him there was no passing before the finish.

      1. Chris H says:

        fausta, the mistake I was referring to was the excessive wheelspin he generated.

        If he was told he wouldn’t be passed legally by anyone, I don’t understand why he needed to do this, but that’s not my point.

        Whatever way you look at it, the excessive wheelspin is a mistake.

  26. Nick says:

    I’m not saying the regulation is right but like it or not, Schumacher’s move does seem to be a very clear breach of it. On what grounds will Mercedes’ appeal be based?

    1. F1fan says:

      on the basis that all sane people thought the race was back on! No Safety Car, Green Flags, and he passed after the safety car line. I could understand if they slated him back to seventh but 20 second penalty WTF?

      on a totally unrelated subject, Hill move on with your life!

      1. Phil C says:

        There are three other Stewards, Hill is more like an advisor. I seriously doubt it was his decision, and I doubt even further that he made any decision based on his history with Schumacher.
        If anyone needs to move on, it’s those suggesting Hill did this on purpose because of his history with Schumacher. I think Damon has more important things to think about now!

    2. Rocky says:

      If you’re not sure if the regulation is right, how do you ascertain Schumi’s move to be a ‘clear’ breach?

      Kool-Aid much?

      1. Nick says:

        Because regardless of how I feel about it, it’s a regulation and he clearly breached it. Whether a rule exists or not isn’t based on whether I agree with it or not. Frankly your statement makes no sense whatsoever.

        I think the irony here is that ultimately this regulation was presumably introduced in order to prevent the rather sorry image of the cars taking the chequered flag behind the safety car. However, the first time it’s actually been necessary to apply it to a race, there’s no doubt it was poorly communicated by race control, who could have at least made it clear to the teams that there was to be no overtaking once the safety car had entered the pitlane.

  27. Umer says:

    I personally think it was a legitimate move even under that regulation. The whole rule is under the clause that the safety cause must be deployed – well it wasn’t – because it was brought in. Therefore the rule is not applicable.

  28. bones says:

    I am not a lawyer but when are they going to make rules clear? It is always the same,there is always room for 2 teams to read the rules different way.

    1. Rich C says:

      SC rules are always causing trouble.
      Some years ago Scott Goodyear had the Indy 500 in the bag but blew a restart with one lap to go and was DQ. He got on the gas before the SC was completely off the track – it was on the shoulder as I recall but not in the pits yet – and just blasted on by, thinking he’d won. The number 2 guy in line held back and then was declared the winner. It was one of the biggest brain failures in sport.

  29. mvi says:

    This was the correct decision under rule 40.13. If they would have decided otherwise, I wonder when this rule could ever apply.

    I do think that for this one case, it would have been enough to just revert to the positions before the safety car turned off, as several rules have to be looked at and considered at the same time. Mercedes looked at the other rules and ignored 40.13, while Ferrari and McLaren did look at this one and instruct their drivers not to overtake.

  30. Dave says:

    I guess rules are rules, but the very fact that no one at the time was aware this rule existed suggests that it was an innocent mistake. Surely it makes more sense to just give Alonso 6th back and reduce Schumacher to 7th.

    A 20 second penalty, especially considering all cars finished within 9 seconds of the leader, seems ludicrous considering the circumstances. Alonso certainly didn’t know of the rule, considering how out of shape he got exiting the corner (which ultimately opened the door for Schumacher in the first place!).

    If no overtaking is allowed between the safety car going in and the race ending, why bother bringing the safety car in, waving green flags, and confusing things. Just end the race under the safety car so everything is clear!

    1. ATRP says:

      On the McLaren website (where you get pit radio snippets) they clearly told Lewis there was NO overtaking. So it appears as if they knew of and thought they were following 40.13.

      Guess the appeal will hang on the green flags/lights.

    2. Phil C says:

      Most, if not all, the teams informed their drivers there was no overtaking, so they knew about the rule just fine…

      Why bother bringing the safety car in – so the car that wins crosses the line first, and the shots don’t show the safety car. Bad for the show otherwise

      20 second penalty is in place of a drive through, which is the miimum penalty for Overtaking under the Safety Car. They can’t choose the penalty that applies, they only have a minimum penalty allowed if a driver breaks the rules

  31. Aderac says:

    They’ve got this one wrong

  32. mo says:

    …..The race didn’t finish behind the safety car – did it?

    There were green flags showing just after the rascasse – were there not?

    Whether it was dangerous or not is another matter (though why would it be dangerous? The track was declared clear, it was in a green flag zone, and as far as I’m aware you’re allowed to overtake someone anywhere at monaco??)

    This is shocking, and I’m not surprised that Mercedes are appealing.

    The race didn’t end whilst the safety car was deployed. It ended at the chequered flag. And I’m pretty sure Mark webber wasn’t following a safety car as he crossed the line at the time.

    Does anyone agree or disagree with whether this is clear cut, and if not, why?

  33. Martin P says:

    As an aside…. and I say this with a very heavy heart as it’s not something I expected to see or say, I’d have much preferred this article to be entitled something like “Schumacher punished by the Stewards”.

    To put it squarely at Damon Hill’s door, when he is just one of four (and his role is only advisory?) is inflammatory, sensationalist and worthy of Planet F1. Even if there was a grain of truth in it it still smacks of tabloid gossip and this blog is usually way above that. Sorry James.

  34. James Bond says:

    Disaster! Stupid decision.
    Great move! Happy to see Schumi pulling something like this…

  35. JoTorrent says:

    Next time drivers should take a dictionary on regulations and how to apply them and till which lap of the race they are usable.
    After Hamilton’s waving & Hamilton’s and Vettel’s it lane incident going without penalties, how on earth could they penalise someone for being competetive on the track under green flags !

    Second thought, how on earth could Damon HILL be allowed to work as a steward while Schumi’s driving ?

  36. Rob Edgar says:

    Firstly if “there was still a lot of debris in the last corner” then the lights should not have gone to green, which is supposed to indicate “Track clear, free to race”.

    On to the real issue.

    The lights are to me the critical point here, if the race was finishing “under the SC” then they should have stayed yellow even after the SC peeled off, they didn’t which to my mind seems to indicate the race was on.

    Another way to look at this is that were two ways the race could have ended, first under the SC which would have resulted in the SC peeling off and they cars proceeding to the finish without overtaking, the second would be to have ended the deployment of the SC on the last lap, which would have resulted in the SC peeling off and the cars racing from the SC line to the finish.

    How do you distinguish between the two?

    Surely the answer is with the lights staying yellow or a clear instruction from the FIA that the finish will be assumed to be ‘under the SC’, neither happened.

    At best the situation is ambiguous if not it looks clear green means clear to race. The failing, if there is any, seems to be with the FIA once again introducing poorly thought through rules.

    The punishment in the circumstances seems unduly harsh, though I am sure that Hill won’t have taken the opportunity to inflict some ‘payback’ he would be only human if his past experiences with MS would have led him to not to give him the benefit of the doubt.

  37. drums says:

    “If the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.”

    This wording is most confusing but “…it will enter the pit lana at the end of the last lap.” Should the the SC ride an extra lap after the checked flag? By no means. In the Monaco last lap the SC entered the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars should have taken the chequered flag as normal without overtaking. Schumi overtook and was penalyzed. As ruled. I can understand Schumi throwing the draw as I unthersatand the stewards telling him “not so”. He and Ross Brawn know better.

    1. Geoff says:

      If the race were to finish under the safety car, the safety car lights would have remained on, and there would have been no communication from race control that the safety car was in this lap.

      How come the fans know the rules better than the stewards?

      Maybe we should have phone-in voting for F1 decisions. It would raise some money and could hardly make the decisions worse.

      1. Rhi says:

        Maybe it’s time to also have fans on the board of stewards if we can make more sense than they do.

      2. drums says:

        How is that McLaren, Renault and Ferrari were coincident on their understanding of the rules and therefore adviced by radio to their pilots (Hamilton*, Kubica, Massa, Alonso) not to overtake? May be Brawn and Schumacher were trhowing the dices just in case, the latter being in addition happily casting shadow on Alonso getting from the back of the grid to take the sixth position. I honestly think that was what happened. *For instance, reported radio recording shows clearly Hamilton’s voice saying to his engineer “How is that you said me I could not overtake and Schumacher did to over Alonso?” (in this or similar wording with the same meaning—I’m quoting by hart)

      3. Phil C says:

        Yes, so the safety car dives into the pits unexpectedly and the drivers wonder what was going on…
        Safety Car in this lap means just that – The safety Car is coming in at the end of this lap. It doesn’t say – Safety Car is coming in, you’re clear to race…

        And Green flags mean – Track is clear, proceed at racing speed! Doesn’t mean – Ok to Overtake…

      4. Luffer says:

        So on that basis how can ANY team know when the Safety Car period has ended?

        For example, on lap 20 the SC comes in after an incident is cleared and green flags are waved… but hold on, according to your definition it’s not okay to race…? When is it okay?

        No, sorry, “Safety car in this lap”, “Track clear” and Green flags means RACE!

  38. Robert McKay says:

    I don’t think he would have been right to get 6th but equally the penalty to make him 12th seems a bit unfair.

    But Domenicali’s comments about it being dangerous are just a bit silly, grow up man. The debris was on the outside of the middle of Rascasse, the overtake was in Anthony Noghes.

  39. Volney says:

    Fantastic move by Schumacher; hope the appeal is successful.

    1. Phil C says:

      It won’t be – A drive through penalty cannot be recinded, we know that after Hamilton’s appeal for Belgium 2008

  40. Steph2009 says:

    I don’t really see anything wrong with the ruling as Schmacher clearly broke Article 40.13.

    It quite clearly states that the Safety Car will pull in at the end of the last lap & that no passing is allowed. The safety Car in F1 never actually crosses the finish line, it always comes in at the end of the final lap.

    The race has always been deemed to have finished under a safety car if the safety car starts the final lap which is where Article 40.13 kicks in.

    the 20 second part of the penalty may be a little harsh but it was the only penalty avaliable to the stewards under the regulations.

    1. Michael says:

      In case you or anyone else has forgotten what a safety car finish looks like:


      1. Alias J says:

        Yup. How Inconsistent and How Unprofessional they are. What a farce! (The FIA).

      2. Lalit says:

        Yeah – exactly.

        I have so many posts on so many forums trying to understand why were the green flags out if it was still to be a safety car / no racing situation.

        I really hope Hill and the stewards get punished for reckless behavior for showing green flags and lights when itwas safety car situation.

      3. Eric says:


        All Mercedes have to do to successfully appeal the penalty is to show this, tbh.

  41. k2san says:

    What a mess this is. Why not a simple message to all teams; race will end under SC. Why green flags and not yellow flags. Why not finish BEHIND the SC so all is perfectly clear…
    For me it’s so messed up that in a case like this either it should go unpunished with an immediate update of the rules after the event; or a switch of places with the same clarification of the rules. It’s unforgiven for racers to get punished for overtakings if green flags are shown!

  42. CL says:

    Rule was broke, but don’t throw the green flag and expect people not to race. They should have put Schumi back to 7th and called it a day. Green means race, not sit behind somebody who is cruising.

  43. JD says:

    Everyone but Mercedes knew that the field order was frozen. You have to remember that if passing were actually allowed, all Alonso needed to do was keep his car in the middle of the track heading into Rascasse in order to prevent the pass.

    And why complain about a lack of passing at Monaco? There is 67 years of history to show that passing is a premium at this circuit. It’s a little late to be whinging about it now.

    1. Tommy K. says:

      Alonso actually stepped on the throttle as well!! and he got a terrible wheelspin, becuase he was on the same tyres for the whole race! believe me, he tried to keep his position….and when he lost it, Ferrari thought it was good for them to fully agree with the stewards. what a mess, anyway!

    2. Tom says:

      That is not true. Many of the teams were told to race to the chequered flag. Robert Kubica said this in an interview after the race. In fact, this is what was announced on F1′s official live commentary, “safety car will come in this lap, meaning Webber will be racing as he heads to the line to take the chequered flag”.

      1. JD says:

        Interesting. In the USA, the commentators alluded to the sporting regulations halfway around the last lap when notice was made that the safety car was coming in. It was easy to understand.

        After the provisional results were posted, the commentators specifically cited rule 40.13. They then had a laugh and said, “I have no idea how Michael is going to argue his way out of that one,” followed by, “Will he not only lose just that position, but will he lose all the points because of the penalties?”

  44. Carl Brooks says:

    A 25 second penalty is far too harsh in my opinion and again shows the poor rule making in formula one. I appreciate the stewards are bound by the rules, but in such a unusual circumstances it would have been fairer to give Alonso the place back and demote Schu back to seventh with a warning.

    The 25 second peantly need to be rethought, its effects are far to variable depending on the conditions of the finish.

    Perhaps F1 needs to give its officials more freedom to punish based on the circumstances of the offence rather than dealing in absolutes?

    1. ChrisK says:

      Earlier in the race, one assumes, a drive-through penalty would have been given. However, it cannot be given when the race will have finished by the time the penalty is given and is intended to be the equivalent penalty as a drive-through. Obviously, under a period of safety car running, the effect is worse than under normal running but a similar thing would happen for a drive-through under the safety car at any stage of the race, when it is served before the cars have spread out again. Does anyone else remember when MSC served a drive-through after the race had finished as he did it on the last lap and to get to his pit, he had to pass the start/finish line? Surely we don’t want to go back to that!

  45. Andrew says:

    That rule is very clearly ambiguous since the rule change.

    I’m not a Schumacher fan, but I don’t think it is right to punish him for this.

  46. Peter says:

    Why Hamilton`s and Alonso`s move at the pit entry in China were completely fine and this is punished? From sporting point of view that was a much cleaner move in my opinion. Sharp move from the old fox. Blame ridiculuos rule changes and not Schumi.

  47. Andrew says:

    Do the rules contain a clear definition of when the safety car ceases to be “deployed”. I mean, the rule change says they can overtake once past the safety car line, instead of, as previously, the start finish line. Does the rule relating to that line, and the rule relating to safety cars state that overtaking is allowed once the safety car is no longer deployed, or does it say that the safety car is no longer deployed once the start finish straight has past but that overtaking is permitted when the safety car is still deplyed provided the cars have passed the line?

  48. Jeroen says:

    I don’t think Schumacher really cares whether he gets the points or not. More importantly, the message to Alonso and the others is becoming clearer: Schumi is back and he means business.

    1. Feb says:

      couldn’t agree more :)

    2. Jomy John says:

      Threes cheers to you on that mate. I dont think schumi cares a damn about 6th place. The championship is gone for this year. He is here to enjoy and stick one on the others. The move was one of the highlights of the year. You dont get anything better than this.

    3. Anne says:

      I totally agree. As a Ferrari fan, I’m happy that they’ve got the points even though it was Alonso who I didn’t want at Ferrari and (still don’t to be honest). But that was a smart bit of driving from Schumacher and the highlight of the race.

      What a message to send after certain drivers were laughing after the Chinese grand prix (not funny after Barcelona Mr Button). Of course, he won’t be a championship contender, but the criticism he got after the first four races was way over the top.

      In the last two races we’ve seen that there’s life in the old dog yet. He’s responsible for the best overtaking moves in both Barcelona and Monaco. And, after all the fuss made about the upgrades and how they favour Schumacher, it was interesting to see that even after Mercedes reverted to the old car, he still beat Nico (pre penalty).

  49. Mustapha says:

    This is very annoying indeed! Schumi drove a solid race and was given information that the race was back on. If the stripping of his 6th place wasnt bad enough, the scandalous penalty beggars belief. We’re all keeping our fingers crossed that the court of appeal does the right thing and reflects what right thinking fans think of the decision/penalty.

  50. John Snow says:

    Agreed green means go. They were past the debris. If Alonso wasn’t then he wouldn’t have got tail happy out of Rascasse.

  51. Jey says:

    Dangerous you said Stefano?You mean like more dangerous that fighting for position whilst entering the pitlane and overtaking??!!??!

  52. Robert S says:

    i’m really disappointed with damon hill, i wonder if any other steward would have punished schumacher.

    1. Robert S says:

      Also why not just swap the postions back??

      james what would you have done???

      1. “I’m sorry for robbing the bank, here’s the money back, I’ll just be off”.
        The punishment has to *more than compensate* for the advantage gained.

      2. rv says:

        uhmmm…. more like:

        “sorry for depositing extra money in your account, please give it back”

        “sorry for calling in the SC, turning off the SC yellow signs, waving the green-clear-to-race-flags… *OUR* bad, not yours, please give back the position you gained”

        If the stewards are honest enough, they would admit their fault and let the pass stand or put MSC back to 7th… you don’t penalize a driver for an error from race control… if it was an error… maybe it was supposed to be green-to-race after all?


    2. Knuckles says:

      Dude there were either three stewards plus Hill as an advisor, or Hill was one of four stewards; the FIA is unclear on this. But in any case Hill did not decide this alone (if he did vote at all, so far FIA said the ex-drivers just advise on the driver perspective). So let’s wait before accusing, I’d say.

      1. Robert S says:

        true, i say just swap back the positions

      2. Knuckles says:

        Agreed to that. I could understand FA 6th, MS 7th or vice versa, both can be argued somehow. Penalizing MS for unclear FIA procedures is a joke (and I’m not an MS fan at all).

  53. Sangeen Khan says:

    And i was beginning to think the stewards were better this year.If im not mistaken Damon Hill himself said he was prejudicial towards Schumacher earlier in the weekend.F1 shoots itself in the foot again.

  54. PaulF says:

    Unless I missed something the safety car did ‘enter the pitlane at the end of the last lap’ so the breach could not have been clearer. I suppose to avoid any possible ambiguity should the rule be re-written so it starts, ‘if the last lap is run under safety car conditions……’ Maybe a fair outcome would be to restore Alonso to 6th but waive the penalty for Schumacher. On the other hand it is MS and he’s not exactly without form!

    1. Tommy K. says:

      It’s a mistake on behalf of FIA and the Marshals! it was wrong to wave green flags and not yellow and the race should finish with the signs “SC” still up!

      1. kenny says:

        The race race finished behind safety car or it didnt…..

        All official information and marshal’s flags suggested that the safety car was in —race on.

        And perhaps Alonso was referring to rule book as he got out of shape in last corners…..

        You will not catch a real champion asleep during a race!!

  55. Stephen says:

    James slighty of topic, When the drivers recieve their trophies do you conduct the interview?

  56. Roger Carballo AKA Architrion says:

    I can’t understand what is the argument supporting Brawn-Schu. So Kubica is said “no overtaking”…. Massa is said “no overtaking”…. Hamilton is said “no overtaking” for god’s sake. And Schu-Brawn believe they can “rethink” the rule and then make everybody look like a clown.

    Why three teams see the rule one way and Brawn sees the rule the opposite? The spirit of 40.13 is so clear that it makes an offence the Brawn’s explanation.

    I sometimes feel a little bit tired of those controversy “after facts”. Honest behaviour is to act “before”, not to take vantage of the grey areas of the rules book, which, as we should know, will always be imperfect.

    1. Rocky says:

      That is what F1 is all about. To interpret the rules to give their team the maximum benefit. I love it- makes F1 more interesting on who outsmarts whom!

    2. drums says:

      And Alonso, as well as Massa, was said “no overtaking”, which explains his apparently sleepiness.

    3. kenny says:

      As Monaco is a dangerous place, perhaps there should be a gentleman’s agreement that the cars will finish the race in the order in which they start…

  57. gre says:

    Good old Schumi! This is why we need profiles like him. You either love him or you hate him and he makes the sport more interesting.

    He had 6 points in his pocket. But when an opportunity finally presented itself at the very end of the race he decided in a split-second to gamble; 8 points or nothing at all.

  58. Ahmed Usman says:

    This is a sad day for F1. Schumacher overtook under green flags, green lights, clear signal from race control, and after the safety car white line. If this isn’t legal then I do not know what it.

    FIA also conveniently forgets the overtaking Alonso did under YELLOW FLAGS & SAFETY CAR in LAP 2 when he overtook HRT.

  59. Prof Bolshaviks says:

    You can’t have drivers as stewards. They all have favourites, and rivals.
    The opening races have demonstrated horribly inconsistent judgements.
    I understand they add a dimension of a driver’s perspective, but they are demonstrating that they judge from emotions rather than the letter if the law.
    I doubt Schumacher broke a rule, watching it back green flags all around, safety car in this lap. They got this wrong, if it had been lewis passing Alonso instead would Damon have penalised him?
    I know there is more than one steward, but the change in penalties this year suggests the non driver stewards are not arguing too much.

  60. Mohammad says:

    The problem is not whether the rule applies or not (because it does). The problem is that the green lights were shown. In Australia 2009, the race ended under SC conditions but they properly displayed yellow flags and SC signs.

    In short, Schumacher gets punished for the marshalls’ mistake.

  61. mithil says:

    safety car line, Start line…. they are making it all the more complicated. Why cant there be just one line.

    1. Because it looks bad on TV to have the safety car be the first one over the finish line.

      1. Ged says:

        And it looks better to have the official outcome of the result postponed & a decision reached which I’m sure is overwhelmingly considered wrong/harsh/unfair.

  62. Elliot says:

    Looking at the rule itself:

    “If the race ends while the safety car is deployed, it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.”

    The wording is ridiculous and makes no sense.

    If the “race ends while the safety car is deployed” then the safety car must cross the finish line – ending the race – with the trail of F1 cars behind it.

    And if a race has already ended, there can be no further “last lap” for the cars to “take the chequered flag… without overtaking” – the race is over.

    The scenario in the rule can, therefore, never happen by definition – ruling Schumacher’s overtake legal.

    1. elephino says:

      A safety car lap is one where the safety car is on the track. It doesn’t actually have to be on the track for it to be deployed. So the race still ended under safety car even though it wasn’t there. It’s timing (as in those people measuring it) issue and Brawn should know this, he’s just trying to get out of it.

    2. David Jerromes says:

      100% agree!!

  63. Chris R says:

    Not surprised Ferrari won the decision, but it leaves me very unimpressed.

    Such opportunistic moves are seen as both ruthless and that of a ‘winner’. Did Stefan say anything about Alonso’s move on Massa previously as being ‘dangerous’?

    Of course, different situations, but both opportunistic. I really dont see how Schumacher’s move was dangerous, I really dont.

    Alonso’s move on Massa was championed as a sign of strength and hunger. Schumacher does similar and he’s deducted points, and dubbed dangerous.

    Article 40.13 wins the day I guess, for me everyone else involved in this comes out as a loser.

  64. Frederik says:

    Another little Fiarri gate…
    Fernando won’t complain about it now.

  65. Kalle says:

    So, “Safety Car in this lap” and the green flags/lights means that SC is still deployed? What the… If the SC was still deployed, then surely the yellow flags would still be waved, like in last years Australian GP.

  66. Spencer says:

    Wrong wrong wrong! If this was the case then why did they not leave the safety car out and allow it to cross the line. Ross Brawn put a really compelling case forward on BBC as to why Michael was in the clear.

    As much as I like Damon, you can’t help bit fear some sour grapes here. This was a really grey area.

    1. Because the safety car can’t take the flag. Duh.

      1. Howard Hughes says:

        Duh?! Duh yourself mate. It can and HAS BEFORE.

  67. Chris says:

    Clearly just a misunderstanding or lack of communication between race control and the teams.

    As is usual with new rules or rule changes, an incident has to happen and scrutinised before everyone fully understands what is allowed and what isn’t.

    Seems to me that Domenicali had read his rulebook more thouroughly and that race control had forgot to inform the teams (and the stewards for that matter, who were happily waving green flags), that it was still yellow flag conditions even though the safety car had peeled in.

    Imho, Schumacher should go back to 7th as a penalty and that should be the end of it.

    I also don’t believe that Damon is vindictive enough to seek retribution for past scuffles with Schumacher, he’s too wise and too highly regarded to be that childish. I’m not so sure about it if the roles were reversed and it was Schumacher in the stewards box though ;)

    1. Prof Bolshaviks says:

      Honestly, I think Schumacher doesn’t even rate Damon enough to hold a grudge.
      That is what upset Damon in the first place. Schumacher’s arrogance.
      So I doubt he has the same axe to grind as Hill, Schumacher won the title in 94 after all.

  68. Phil E says:

    If nothing else, it shows a desperate need for the FIA’s marshalling procedures to be overhauled in this circumstance.

    Since it appears rule 40.13 has been enforced, it should be made crystal clear to the teams & drivers that overtaking is not allowed when the Safety Car leaves the track immediately before the chequered flag.

    However, the footage clearly shows the green lights & flags showing after the Safety Car left the track, which would normally indicate a resumption of racing conditions.

    I guess one could argue it is up to the competitors to make sure they are well acquainted with the rules – but the issue is not helped by apparently telling everyone they can race when in fact they cannot.

  69. Wingers says:

    I can only imagine the idea of this rule, is so the F1 race ends minus a safety car in the front, and gives the fans a racing finish rather than slowly behind a safety car?

    But its pretty strange that some teams were saying go ahead and race, and others said no…

    Ironic how we got through practice, quali, 77 laps of racing, before the controversy of Schumacher + Alonso + Monaco = Trouble… And throw Hill in… yikes.

    Whats more ironic, is that I was a fan of Hills back in the day, and am a fan of Alonso now!

    But even as a fan, I thought the Schumacher pass was fair, and if there was a penalty to be handed, maybe just reverting their positions back to what they were at the last timing section would have been more befitting of the ‘crime (whcih is racing today sadly)’…?

  70. Pablo says:

    James, can you clarify the exact role played by the ex-drivers? Are the stewards or advisers to the stewards?

  71. Christopher Snowdon says:

    The stewards had no choice but to issue a penalty, but I’m glad Michael did it, great move from a great driver, punished by poor FIA rules – joke!!

  72. senzo says:

    Even under this SHAM of a decision alonso failed to better Schumachers’result of 2006
    Damon Hill’s name should change to Demon Hill

    What a farce!!!

    1. drums says:

      How is it that Alonso failed?
      2010: Alonso from 24th to 6th (or 7th): 18 (17) positions; with a car built overnight and untested.
      2006: Schumacher from 22th to 6th: 16 positions.
      And, some posters here saying yesterday in Monaco it was no overtaking except the illegal of Michael on Alonso!
      When SC car was out at the end of the final lap, was Ferrari adviced Massa and Alonso not to overtake, Renault did the same to Kubica and McLaren to Hamilton. Only the Kaiser didn’t know the rule or was not adviced properly? I dont buy that. Michael knew better and wanted to play a role in the show, casting ridicule on Alonso.

  73. eric weinraub says:

    I always love James’ unbiased equal reporting… except when the driver happens to be German. Had it been Button or Hamilton it would have been bold, brilliant, and exciting. Give it a rest James. You can bet Mercedes told Michael to, dare i use that forbidden word, race to the finish.

    1. Albevo says:

      “Had it been Button or Hamilton it would have been bold, brilliant, and exciting”

      Utter rubbish! James says both positive AND negative things about all drivers when necessary.

      1. James Allen says:

        Exactly. Some people don’t get it though – don’t see how you can be balanced when talking about racing drivers. I admire passion but not one-eyed analysis

  74. Luke says:

    Come on James, that’s a bit of a sensationalist headline. Hill didn’t punish Schumacher, he is advising the stewards from a drivers perspective. You don’t know what input Hill had in the decision. If it was any other former driver it wouldn’t have been an issue. For the previous commenter’s, the rules are pretty clear cut:
    Article 40.13 of the Formula 1 sporting regulations states: “If the race ends while the safety car is deployed it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.”

  75. Sharp_Saw says:

    The waving of the green flag and illumination of the green lights is the argument of those who feel that the penalty was wrong and that the overtake was legal. But, even in past seasons, the green flag is waived on the start and finish straight (with the green light illuminated)after the safety car has entered the pit lane–but the cars aren’t allowed to overtake until they cross the start/finish line.

    Therefore, I’m convinced that its not a plausible argument that the green track status made it legal for Schumacher to overtake Alonso at the end of the final lap of the race. This is because Article 40.13 is absolutely clear about the obligations of the drivers in this regard.

    1. Ambient Sheep says:

      “But, even in past seasons, the green flag is waived on the start and finish straight (with the green light illuminated)after the safety car has entered the pit lane–but the cars aren’t allowed to overtake until they cross the start/finish line.”

      Not true: look at the photo that a poster called “Michael” put in reply to comment #40 above:


    2. Luffer says:

      You are confusing the rules about where you can overtake though. In previous years you couldn’t overtake before the start/finish line. This year there is a separate SC line to indicate where drivers can overtake.

      Also, in previous races when the race has finished under the SC the yellow flags and SC boards where shown all the time. They did NOT as you say have Green flags/lights.

      In this instance Schumacher had passed the SC line, there were Green lights and according to the rules overtaking is allowed.

      Rule 40.13 is irrelevant as it is only applicable when the SC is deployed. As there were Green lights/flags the SC was NOT deployed. You can’t have both!

  76. JimmiC says:

    I don’t understand what the problem is with this decision? It states, clearly, if the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed, it will pull in at the end of the last lap and the racers will cruise to the flag. The safety car started the last lap, so it was to be run under safety car conditions and the race was effectively over. If it had said in the regulations ‘in the event of the safety car leading the final lap and the obstruction being cleared, it will pull into the pits for the cars to sprint to the line’, I would understand. Brawn’s argument that the safety car had pulled in therefore making the race live again is ridiculous. Whoever made the call at Mercedes simply out-thought themselves at the risk of a few points, and have lost the lot.

    1. Ged says:

      Yes but RC control gave out the exact same instructions/communication as when the SC comes in and is no longer considered as ‘deployed’. Quite simply they should have informed the teams that ‘Race will finish under SC’ or similar.

    2. Luffer says:

      That’s a stupid thing to say, the race isn’t over at the START of the last lap! The race finishes at the Chequered flag!

      The Safety Car was not deployed because there were Green flags. You cannot have Green flags AND a Safety Car at the same time. This is ludicrous, they were racing from the SC line to the finish! The overtake was good.

      1. JD says:

        I do have a problem with the green flags being waved. However, there is no doubt the safety car was deployed on the 78th (and last) lap because it was on the track controlling the race at the start of the 78th lap.

        The only way green flag conditions would have been restored according to the rules is if there had been a 79th lap.

        Given how the green flags were shown, the rightful thing to do would be to put Schumi back into 7th place, consider the race neutralized, and return the field back to the order it was at the end of lap 77. No harm, no foul.

      2. Luffer says:

        I don’t disagree that “the safety car was deployed on the 78th (and last) lap”. However it was NOT as rule 40.13 states deployed at the END of the race. For that to be true rule 40.4 had to be in effect:

        “ALL marshal’s posts will display waved yellow flags and “SC” boards for the duration of the intervention [of the safety car]“

  77. Thebe says:

    What is interesting about this , is that there was a message that said safety car in on this lap ,and immediately after that everyone went for it,the question is why was everyone racing so hard to the finish line includiing Webber.That’s just Damon Hill trying to get back a M.S.Well we know how this one is gonna play out,the press will be all over him.

    1. Dario says:

      Why didn’t everyone just cruise to the finish, if they all knew there is no passing? All stepped on it as soon as they crossed the so called safety line, including Alonso. Even the BBC commentators stated that a pass in the last corner might occur??? Now that it did, the person gets slammed with a ridiculous penalty!

  78. samir says:

    I am trully appalled by the stewards deicision. F1 is becoming boring day after day. if they do not want racers, why they dont jyst get some taxu drivers, and that’s it!!!!!!

  79. Tom says:

    I think the F1 tabloids (you all know the sites I mean) have got this badly wrong.

    The decision was wholly correct; it’s the rules that are at fault. They contradict one another.

    One states that you can race on the safety car in-lap from the safety car line onwards, whilst another clearly implies that if the safety car is on track in the final lap, cars continue at full racing speed from the safety car line onwards but overtaking is not permitted.

    Mercedes and Schumacher would do well to accept an infringement of the rules, saved the sport yet more bad press and instead seek to have the rules clarified in future.

    Incidentally James, is there even a procedure that checks the rulebook for consistency? There seems to be daft ‘controversy’ every few races.

  80. Lenty says:

    I just don’t understand the argument that they have used against this overtake. They can quote Article 40.13 but from the understanding of the viewing public, and the data that Ross took to the stewards (i.e. Green flags, Safety Car coming in messages) that doesn’t apply since the race did not finish under the Safety Car.
    Now if they want to say: “we orchestrated the end to make it look like it didn’t finish under the safety car..but really it did”, at least I could understand that.

  81. Neil Kenward says:

    No, I don’t agree. The safety car was no longer deployed, it had returned to the pits because the track was now clear, as indicated to all the teams by Charlie Whiting, as Ross Brawn showed us via the BBC.
    This was evident by the flashing green lights visible on the television coverage.
    Schumi’s pass was therefore legitimate and should stand.
    If article 40.13 applied, then the SC boards should still have been visible, the lights and flags should have been yellow.
    What do you think James?

    1. Ambient Sheep says:

      Absolutely agreed, Neil, that’s the way I read it as well.

      I’m no defender of some of Schumacher’s horrendous actions in the past, but this wasn’t one of them — it was a canny move and he shouldn’t have been punished for it.

      If the FIA felt that such a situation was undesirable in future, Schumacher and Alonso should have had their places swapped back, and a clarification of the rules issued for next time round. The 20-second penalty was unnecessary.

  82. Ali Unal says:

    I wonder how the FIA will explain green flags waving. Rule stands for itself, so Schumacher shouldn’t have overtaken Alonso. Fair enough. However, after safety car came in, flags then should have been yellow, not green. It was a mistake of stewards and Michael should have not been punished that harsh. He could have been given his 7th place.

  83. Sethu says:

    If the race finished under safety car, why were green flags (and lights) shown at the last corner? In Australia last year, we could still see the “SC” boards and the yellow flags after the safety car went in and Button crossed the finish line. Today, green light was shown. = race! (IMHO).

  84. JamesF1 says:

    I’m not a Schumacher fan (or an Alonso fan for that matter). But, as stated above, green flags mean the track is clear, and not under Safety Car conditions. Damon and the others have got this badly wrong.

  85. VV says:

    Ridiculous decision. If the cars were supposed to go in single file, why were they racing? Why was Alonso sideways out of the last turn? Why was the green flag being waved? Why didn’t the race literally finish under the safety car – as opposed to it peeling off into the pits, leaving the drivers to “race” for an anticlimactic couple of hundred metres – at least then there would be no confusion whatsoever?

    Good ol’ FIA decision making.

  86. CH1UNDA says:

    as much as i disagree with the steward’s ruling i would advice mercedes to accept it and move on. they should take some lessons from mclaren – there is no way winning against ferrari when fia has decided in its favor

  87. Mike says:

    Wrong interpretation of the rules in my opinion. Ross Brawn’s explanation on the BBC seemed perfectly reasonable to me.

    I don’t understand why the last lap of the race is any different to any other. So in China we had cars crossing the safety car line and going three abreast into the final turn, before crossing the start/finish line, yet if its the last lap cars cannot overtake despite crossing the safety car line.

    Its the equivalent of disallowing any goals that are scored in the last minute of a football match.

    The safety car came in and the green flags were waved. Racing is allowed during the green flag periods and the race finishes when the black and white chequered flag is waved. If there was safety risk why were the yellow flags not being waved and the race finished under caution?

    Article 40.13 appears to be a left over rule from last years regulations, when the safety car line was the start finish line, which the FIA failed to address with the new safety car line regulations.

    1. Luffer says:

      I have to question the existence of rule 40.13. Why was it needed before this year? Overtaking was always banned before the Start/Finish line in previous years so it had no relevance then.

      Now it does make sense (sort of), but clearly it didn’t apply because it was Green flag and NOT Yellow SC conditions!

      Seems the FIA want their cake and eat it too. Have the race appear to finish normally with Green flag etc.. but in reality be a SC finish. Looks better in the photos and video footage…

      Trouble is you can’t have Green flags and SC conditions. It makes a mockery of the flag system if you do.

  88. Jon says:

    The problem comes with the fact that the race director’s actions undermined the rule book in this case.

    It would’ve been Charlie Whiting’s decision to deploy the green flags after La Rasscasse. As someone points out above, green flags in F1 mean only one thing: that the danger is cleared and normal racing should resume. Mercedes claim that they were only given word that the safety car was coming in that lap; not that the race was finishing under safety car restrictions. Ferrari say otherwise, but their claim is undermined by the actions of Alonso who, quite clearly, was still racing going into the last corner (in fact, you can see him attempting to close the door on Schumacher and failing).

    Personally, I believe it is one of those occasions in the sport whereby a grey area in the rules has been revealed, rather than a breach of them by a team or driver. The result should therefore stand and the rule in question addressed and clarified before the next race. When a team is found to have a technical advantage due to a loophole in the rules, which is then deemed illegal, all previous results aren’t re-written; the rule book is addressed and all teams go forward with a clearer understanding of the law. That same logic should be applied here.

    If the rule was too unclear for the race director, the marshalls, the teams, the drivers, the media and the fans, then the problem lies with the law itself, not with those who may misinterpret it.

    1. Hutch says:

      Well said! Here, here!

  89. ben hardman says:

    what a farse isnt it called racing think sour grapes from damon hill me thinks was never any good on the track either!!!

  90. Gilles says:

    What nonsense; it was a good move, Alonso blew it and left the door open.
    Not a Schumi fan, but the move should stick.

  91. Steve McGill says:

    This ruling of the safety car peeling in on a final lap but cars still being under SC conditions seems to have caught everyone out?

    There’s no precedent is there? Can’t remember what happened when Button finished under safety car at beginning of last year

    1. Luffer says:

      It wouldn’t have mattered since last year you couldn’t overtake before the start/finish line.

      But for clarification, in previous races the Yellow flags and SC boards were left out. In this race it was clearly a Green flag situation!

  92. m de p says:

    if there is a rule, the penalty is right, but we have to recognize that michael’s fighting spirit is back, and alonso was napping. The real michael schumacher please stand up!! From spain on, he has. You are welcome back.

    1. Thebe says:

      I couldnt agree with you more,michael is defenitely starting to come to terms with the car, you could see it in his driving this weekend and the move he pulled on Alonso,good stuff indeed, he looks like a man who really wants to win.wouldnt it annoy his critics if he all of sudden became a contender?

  93. Guru F1 says:

    I don’t know how the stewards came to this conclusion- The green flags/lights at the end clearly overrode 40.13 declarations. It was highly debatable as evident by the contrasting views and at worst case, the 20second penalty should not have been applied. Speedtv in the US said it was illegal as soon as it happened whereas BBC’s coverage indicated that Schumi/Brawn made the right call. Looks like Damon Hill leveled an old score

    1. If the flags overrule the rules, someone could bring their own chequered flag and end the race on the 2nd lap :-)

      1. Michael says:

        The flags are the fisr and most important way of communicating with drivers. You can’t expect them to drive around with a rulebook or learn it word for word, they must follow basic principles and always obey the flags.

        Imagine a red flag comes out and the driver ignores it citing a little known rule that might contradict the red flag.

        No, the flags are what drivers follow, not the rulebook. Indeed the flags should at all times be in line with the rules and it’s not the driver’s fault if they are not.

      2. Guru F1 says:

        Cool idea! Too bad Ferrari cannot use this one now :)

  94. Drooper says:

    Totally agree. A brilliant opportunistic move where the only question on everyones lips was ‘Did he wait for the line?’

    Alas the question should have been ‘Is there any technicality we can punish this unexpected move on?’

    Come on F1. This is the stuff we love and want to encourage.

  95. Knuckles says:

    Just a cheap headline James, or do you have facts that (1) Hill even has a vote (so far we have been led to believe that the drivers are there to advise the 3 stewards), and that (2) Hill was opposed to MS’s move at all? There is much speculation right now, I’d love to learn more.

    On the decision as such, IMHO the FIA messed up and failed to consider the effect of the SC line rule change on last lap SCs. It’s stupid to let MS suffer for this. Brawn’s interpretation is cheeky, but nothing in the written rules really seems to contradict it. They could have put FA 6th and MS 7th or vice versa, and clarify it for next time.

  96. Glider says:

    Green means ‘go’!!!

  97. Olivier says:

    Very dangerous? Domenicali truly is a funny guy, isn’t he?! What about the Alonso/Massa pitlane move?!

    Mercedes GP should appeal as the green flags were VERY misleading.

    It is like waving blue flags when the yellow flags are out.

    1. Knuckles says:

      The pitlane move was in racing conditions, Domenicali is of the opinion that MS raced at an accident site when no racing was allowed. Whether you agree is a different question, but it is obvious that from Domenicalis point of view it’s two very different situations.

  98. Andy says:

    Like Steve indicated in the first comment, green flags were waived at the drivers once the safety car pulled out. To me, this clearly means “you are free to race”. It doesn’t make any sense to punish Schumacher for this. If overtaking is not allowed, the track status should remain yellow. I hope the decision will be reversed, that was a brilliant show of racing ability.

  99. MTP says:

    Could you clarify the responsibilities of the ‘ex driver steward’ my understanding is that they are there to ‘advise the stewards on racing incidents’ yet we see so many headlines like yours where you give hill the power to penalise a driver over points of F1 law, someting that a driver is not an expert in. Surely in this case DH’s imput would be not required.

  100. Bob Q says:

    The regulations are quite clear, as are the updates sent to the teams, adn the pictures of the lights. I’d expect the WMSC to not only overturn the decision, but to chide the stewards for not following the rules.

    But really, the entire thing is the FIAs fault for
    A. Not being able to write a decent regulation to save its life.
    B. Not having a single set of prefessional referees that steward every race. What other major professional sport would put up with such inconsistent and clownish decisions?

    Really now- the green flag was waving and race control said the track was clear. The FIA needs to stand up and take responsibilty for its egregious error.

    BTW- I am a Ferrari fan, but this makes my blood boil.

  101. Tarzaan says:

    This punishment like some kind of bad joke. There was green light/flag fromk the SC line and we also see “Safety Car in this lap” message. Merc should do everything to protest against this verdict. If the FIA don’t change it, MGP should go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport…

  102. Brace says:

    I think this is a bit of a non-story.
    Be it Hill or whomever, this wasn’t arbitrary decision. It’s a clear rule that says you can’t overtake on the last lap even after SC pulls in. SC pulls in at the end of the last lap just to avoid the unpleasant view of having that car passing the checkered flag first instead of the actual winner.

    It’s a clear rule and he broke it.
    No arguing.

    1. Mightyquin says:

      Sorry – it’s not clear, as witnessed by the mass of comments here, so I’d still like to argue!

      The rule does not say you can’t overtake on the last lap if it starts behind a safety car, it says if the final lap “finishes” under safety car conditions you can’t overtake between the SC line and the start/finish, even though the SC itself will pull into the pits.

      In previous years the SC line and start/finish were the same thing, so starting the final lap under the SC would imply no overtaking on the last lap – regardless of whether the SC was in that lap or not.

      Here though, the accident was cleared, and race control clearly issued notification that the Safety Car was “in this lap” on the final lap, so the race did not finish under SC conditions. Therefore cars were racing from the SC line until the start/finish line – the picture earlier of the Oz GP finishing under SC conditions last year without the car being on the track was at definite odds with the lights/flags/boards being displayed (or not) at the end of the race yesterday.

      However, that’s just my opinion and interpretation, so is a bit like a broken pencil as far as the FIA is concerned … pointless!

    2. Rasco says:

      Apart from the fact that it said ‘Saftey Car In This Lap’ and there were green flags waving after the saftey car line.

  103. Jonathan says:

    I find it interesting that the stewards deemed the punishment a “drive through penalty” the correct one under the circumstances (being the last lap..) and then converting it to a 20 second timed penalty instead.

    and BTW, Damon Hill could easily have been voted out of any decision made by the other stewards………………

  104. Komalan Domenighetti says:

    The facts speak clearly: the green light turn on and the safety car is in the box; Schumacher then overtakes Alonso legally as the spaniard passes the line in question…

    The FIA made a huge mistake; simply put.

    This situation could of been interpreted in the debated ways above, however, because they FIA made the lights green and the safety car went into the box, then it means that the rule interpreted by Mercedes GP was right.

    There you go FIA, dodge what I just said!

  105. William says:

    Wrong decision:
    1. Race Control did not state the race would finish under the Safety Car, and
    2. The lights and flags were GREEN.

  106. Malcolm46 says:

    I thought this was Schumi back to his best, but unfortunatly the rules are the rules….

    And before anyone starts going on about Hill getting revenge, as someone who was a Damon Hill supporter, he has far to much credibility to lose.

  107. Matt W says:

    I think the stewards/race director/marshalls messed up here. The flags and lights clearly showed green and for all intents and purposes it seemed it was a race to the line. Do they seriously expect drivers to study article 40.13 to find out whether a green flag means overtaking is legal or that there is a loophole that makes it illegal.

    If, as the stewards claims, the race was technically ending under the safety car then why were the green flags shown? To me it looks like F1 was trying to make it look like the jewel in the crown race would finish at full speed rather than under the safety car.

    Once again F1 proves itself incapable of officiating. 20 seconds penalty under those circumstances is just obscene.

  108. PeteJ says:

    Brilliant. Well done stewards.

  109. Richard says:

    I think it’s a case of bad drafting. The new rule about the “first safety car line” was added quite late in the day, not long before the start of the season, and I suspect that the FIA simply forgot about 40.13, or at least didn’t realise the contradictory effect of the two rules.

  110. Kyle Flanigan says:

    Article 40 stipulates “If the race ends while the safety car is deployed …” The safety car had been called in on that lap, and pictures supplied by Ross Brawn illustrated a green flag being waved. The safety car line is painted before the chequered flag line, meaning once the safety car has passed that position the drivers are good to go as the safety car is no longer deployed.

    Bad call.

  111. Nilesh says:


    It might be said that the decision is, although harsh, a technically correct one. But then if the stewards have to play by the rules to the letter, there have been other decisions in this season where drivers were let off with a warning when they should have been penalized. The fans would like to see a consistency of decisions and this sort of a ruling just prevents drivers from taking the rules to the very limit of the wording. Do you foresee stringent decisions for the rest of the season?

  112. Peter says:

    Perhaps the stewards and race control should punish themselves for allowing the green flag to be waved the moment the cars past Rascasse. It’s another shocking example of the joke which F1 has become. If F1 rules equivalents were applied to football, you probably wouldn’t be allowed to kick the ball further than 3 yards.

    I do wonder why I bother watching if we aren’t allowed to see overtaking and racing. It’s become such a cautious sport these days where one harmless movement across the track will be deemed illegal by a fellow driver, team or steward. If it causes no harm – let it be.

    1. Tommy K. says:

      Unfortunately that’s the case. And in my opinion, since this is the case, why on earth do the drivers get paid these ridiculous amounts of money? At least, in the past they could claim that they are risking their lives. But now??? it’s a safe sport and apparently overtaking is not allowed….

  113. Val from Montreal says:

    F1 is a joke

  114. Dave P says:

    I see the apeal is only against the decision.. meaning that the penalty is not going be be removed even if the decision was incorect… How ridiculous is that… the FIA constantly makes a joke of itself…

    How unfair that they can apply a penalty that cannot be removed even if they were wrong… it means they can penalise anyone if they choose and nothing can be done to change it.

  115. steve says:

    Sounds like the rule is pretty straightforward.

    Last lap, pace car is out, no passing.

    1. rv says:

      yup… rules pretty simple:

      yellow -> don’t pass
      green -> race

    2. Kuroneko says:

      Except that the pace car wasn’t out. It had already gone into the pits, and the green flags were being waved.

  116. Ron Williams says:

    What Schumacher did was excellent and he showed that it isn’t over till it’s over.

    All of the cars gave it max throttle as soon as the safety car line was negotiated.

    The race was on and Schumi capitalised.

    The biggest loser in this is the FiA.

    This shows how they CLEARLY haven’t constructed the rule book properly and that in their desperation to NOT have the race finish under the safety car, they opened up a contradiction.

    I think it goes to show, that even with accidents and safety cars, Monaco is a boring procession of a race kept on the calendar as a ‘place to be’ for celebs and yacht owners.

    And if they don’t give Michael the points, it compounds the ‘procession-esque’ race.

  117. tank says:

    Yet another own-goal by the F1 rules. Why should it matter whether its the last lap or not? To the viewing audience (at least, if that was not the impression given to the teams), the sc was to come in because the broken cars were off the track. “A lot of debris on the last corner”? in fact the accident happened before that.

    I thought it was a magic piece of opportunism, not dissimilar or any less dangerous than Alonso’s move on Massa. To hear Domenicali choke over Schumacher’s “really dangerous” move is just funny. His red car got beat in the last corner and the toys start flying out the cot.

    In general, Ferrari should decide whether they want to be sentimental or cut-throat. Right now they just seem hypocritical.

  118. Salman Bahadur says:

    Hmmm even if Micheal and the team have got this one wrong, the penalty should have been a bit less harsh.
    Micheal will strike back in the coming races because now the fun is over and the real battle has started.
    Go Micheal Go.

  119. Rufus says:

    This is just silly. One driver gets slaps on the wrists for repeatedly breaking rules almost every race and another is punished for overtaking when the flags say that he was allowed to do it.

    “Domenicalli: [...] also because there was still a lot of debris in the last corner [...]”

    Pfft, that’s incompetence at its best, if true. They should have not shown the green flags if that was the case.

  120. Henry says:

    I like the title; “Schumacher punished by Hill” in no way is it trying to twist controversy into what should have been a fairly simple decision! Stoking the fires by any chance?

    I do agree that it is rather odd and very amusing seeing Schumacher being criticized by Domenicali, just imagine what he would have been saying if Schumacher was in the red car!

  121. Adam says:

    I agree I’m not schumi’s biggest fan but in the spirit of racing I cant believe he was given a penalty for overtaking after the safety car had entered the pits not to mention he had passed the safety car line and green flags were waving, F1 never learns from the ridiculous decisions the stewards seem to continue to make, it will just turn fans off the sport.

  122. Chris Anderson says:

    There should of been a race control message saying saftey car in this lap but no overtaking.

    Even the BBC commentators did not have a clue about this rule.

    We as viewrs were lead to think that it was race conditions.

    It was in my opinion a race control mistake to wave greens and Schumacher has unfairly in my view paied the price for the situation not beeing clear enough.

  123. addison says:

    If “the safety car had frozen the race conditions” there would have been no reason for race control to order the track to green light status. They would have remained under yellow until the finish line.

    Also, it is quite clear from Alonso’s driving–wheelspin-induced oversteer–he did not believe the situation was “frozen”. Had he, he would have proceeded in a leisurely fashion to the line.

    If the regulation is to mean no passing can occur on the last lap if a safety car were deployed, then Charlie Whiting and his crew made the mistake by flying green flags, not Michael Schumacher. But they cannot very well admit to being in err. Better to have the eternally-bitter Damon Hill help hand down punishment on Schumacher for reacting to a green flag as every race car driver should: that is, by driving competitively.

    1. TM says:

      Pretty silly to blame Hill for this – unless you know something the rest of us don’t – that Hill was pushing for a penalty when the rest of the stewards were saying not to?

      The ex-drivers are there to give advice from a driver’s POV, not to have the final say on rules which seem pretty clear cut in this case (stupid rule – but clear cut), or to “hand down punishment”.

      Moreover, what Alonso did or believed isn’t evidence of what the rule actually is.

      Stupid rule? IMHO yes.
      But called correctly by the stewards according to the rules as they’re written that they are there to enforce? Yes.
      Hill’s taking revenge? Definitely not unless someone can present some facts to prove otherwise.

      1. James Allen says:

        Nowhere does the piece say anything about revenge, I’m merely pointing out the irony

      2. TM says:

        James – I didn’t say your piece did mention revenge.
        Addison’s post refers to an “eternally-bitter Damon Hill” handing down punishment on Schumacher. If that isn’t suggesting revenge then I’m not sure what would be.

        In other words, my post here was a reply to Addision, not to your report. However, to me (and some others by looking through the comments), the report did suggest more than just irony, although I am glad that you have been good enough to amend the headline and put a note at the bottom of the report to clarify.

        Perhaps you’ve spoken to Hill since the race and know more than the rest of us. But your report isn’t clear on this, and should really give Hill the opportunity to give his POV. For all I, and anyone else who hasn’t spoken to Hill know, he might think the rule is ridiculous, and may have been pushing for no penalty at all and the other stewards overruled him. The point is we just don’t know.

        This website is fantastic, I just didn’t like this report. Sorry :o)

  124. Stefanos says:

    James, you seem to also have a clear position on this. Which is understandable, had the race finished under a safety car. But it did not, as the SC pulled into the pits BEFORE the finish line, the drivers got a “track clear” message and a green light was flashing.

    The race would have finished under a SC if the safety car led the cars to the finish. I see these two situations as being quite disticnt.

    Great to see that the old fighting spirit is alive and well. A real shame, however, to see that the ex-drivers being used as consultants to the stewards may come with caveats. The very thing they were meant to add (credibility) is what Hill removed.

    1. Knuckles says:

      40.13 states that the SC pulls in even if the race ends under the SC. It’s a badly written rule, with two possible interpretations of what happened, nothing more.

      1. JD says:

        However, rule 40.13 does clarify by stating, “and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.”

      2. Knuckles says:

        Yes, but to me it is unclear if 40.13 was in effect, and therefore the race ended under SC conditions, with no overtaking allowed. Or if the SC conditions ended when the SC entered the pits, and therefore the last few hundred meters between SC line and S/F line were open to racing. Race control *did* tell the teams that “SC in this lap”.

        40.13 AFAICT does not say “if last lap begins under SC conditions, then it always also ends under SC conditions”.

        this is why I think it is unclear.

      3. Luffer says:

        However is also says:

        “If the race ends while the safety car is deployed”

        The argument is that the safety car WASN’T deployed!

      4. JD says:

        The safety car was deployed. At the beginning of lap 78, the safety car was leading the field. If there were a theoretical 79th lap, then the safety car would not have been deployed for the 79th lap.

        As it was, the safety car was deployed on the final lap (the 78th lap), and according to the rule, it “enter[ed] the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.”

      5. Knuckles says:

        I know that this is a common interpretation, and I agree that it has its merits. However, it seems that it comes down to semantics, which is why it is a badly written rule:

        “If the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed …”

        *If* it ends. The argument that opposes yours is that when the race ended the SC was not deployed (because race control showed green flags and told the teams “SC in this lap”) and ergo 40.13 was not in effect. Which has its merits, too.

        If the FIA prefers that the last lap must end under SC when it started under SC, then they should say so. To me it seems that they simply forgot to take into account that moving the safety car line away from the start/finish line has an effect on last laps under the SC.

  125. AlexD says:

    Good point with the idea on where you CAN overtake. I am rooting for Ferrari, so I should be happy, but…..I am not clear why it was not OK to overtake. Did the race finish under the safety car? I do not think so….

  126. Ahmed says:

    What a silly rule! More suited to a game of snakes and ladders!

  127. GektorS says:

    James the headline is probably too harsh on Hill and their colleagues decisions. The rule is clear, for sure not right but like it or not is fair to punish Schumi thoughit is not fair for that type of clever driving. Let’s change the rules or at least make them 100% crystal clear.

    Appreciate your job James

  128. Andrew says:

    Such a shame the best overtake of the race has been tainted and the result taken away from Schumi. Rules and regulations ruin what is meant to be a ‘RACE’ to the finish line. It reminded me of the last corner Rossi overtake on Lorenzo at Catalunya…come on FIA…green flags..common sense please!

  129. david z says:

    Can’t help but agree with you James, Hill was in a position to use a bit of common sense – and didn’t. I’m no Schumacher fan, it’s a shocking decision for ‘racing’!

    1. Knuckles says:

      How do you know he wasn’t against the penalty and was overruled by the three (other) stewards? Just asking.

  130. ronmon says:

    Schumacher’s “competitive spirit”? That’s an interesting euphemism for “blatant cheating”, you’re quite the diplomat James. Typical Schumi move, nothing new.

  131. jenson marks says:

    Alonso’s race was just STUNNING!

  132. Nick H says:

    Karma for Adelaide 1994

  133. Mike Dawson says:

    C’mon the green lights, flags and all were visible to all. It was a great move, let it stick.

  134. Euan says:

    never thought i’d defend schumacher but the green flags were out which means normal racing conditions. why bother with the green flags if overtaking isnt allowed?

  135. Mark says:

    So much for the former drivers having a say, surely Hill could have seen sense for everyone in F1. As for the Hill Schumacher thing, i can`t see that coming into it , i hope not anyway! Or else he`ll tarnish his rep in the eyes of fans.
    As for Schumacher , he has had things like this in the past and he always came back stronger, so who knows maybe a podium in Turkey!!!!

  136. Richard M says:

    I can’t understand why there is ambiguity over this, the rule clearly states that if it is the last lap (which it was) then the saftey car will go into the pits and the cars will go over the finish line in formation. However stupid the rule is it does not mean the ruling is wrong, take umbridge with the rule and not the ruling, Schumacher’s penalty should remain in place.

    1. Andy says:

      The problem (as far as I can see) is that the rule doesn’t say “if the SC is on during the last lap” but “if the race ends under SC”.

      Did the race end under SC? Maybe the SC was coming away on that lap regardless of the fact that it was the last lap. In that case, the last corners are open for racing under the present rules, which allow for racing after the SC line. That is the only reason I can see for the green lights. If the race was ending under SC, certainly yellow flags would have been still out.

      1. Richard M says:

        The rules quite clearly state that if the race finsishes under a saftey car then it will come into the pits and there will be no overtaking. The race clearly was finishing under the SC seeing as it was the last lap, so it went into the pits and there should of been no overtaking, it is that simple. Can’t see the logic of the appeal becasue the case seems cut and dry, Schumacher broke a rule = 20 sec penalty.

      2. Andy says:

        where does it say that if the SC starts the last lap then the race FINISHES under the safety car? THAT’S the issue – THAT’S the interpretation. Those words are not written, so therefore your opinion and the opposite opinion can be reasonably held given the SAME facts.

      3. Richard M says:

        Surely then it is a simple matter of if the SC was going to come in regardless of it being the last lap or if it was still going to carry on but as it was the last lap went into the pits as the rules say to allow the winning car to go over the line not in front of a SC, which can easily be confirmed which one it was be the FIA who has obviously stated that the SC would of carried on if it was not the last lap otherwise they would of ruled in Schumacher’s favour.

  137. aweb says:

    The rule seems quite clear to me, as it is written…no overtaking allowed on the last lap when the safety car comes in “at the end of the last lap”. That was the circumstance, end of story. I don’t see a lot of room for interpretation (and I don’t favour either driver or team).

    “Article 40.13 of the FIA F1 Sporting Regulations states, “If the race ends while the safety car is deployed, it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.”

    To have one team, well before the “green flag”, advise their driver to pass while most others advise their driver to not pass is bizarre. “good idea” rule or not – it seems pretty straight forward as written.

    How can one driver be “going racing” and the others “holding position” be fair, or make any sense?

    Like it or not, the rule is clear. What I don’t get, is how these decisions take 4 hours to come to, that looks bad. The FIA rules, decision delays and penalties have been embarrassing for years.

    1. Tommy K. says:

      you seem to forget that in the cockpits, all the drivers have to obey is signs and flags, because they are supposed to have good faith on the marshals. Obviously here, the marshals fucked up. They should wave yellow flags and the “SC” signs should be up!! Article 40.13 has to come together with these actions by the marshals. FIA fucked up YET AGAIN!

  138. CB4 says:

    Article 40.13 of the FIA F1 Sporting Regulations states, “If the race ends while the safety car is deployed, it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.”

    The end of the last lap is the start/finish line. Not the SC first line

    If it is clear cut as they say it is… why are the stewards not telling us where the end of the last lap is. The interpretation is the safety car will cross the line with all the cars behind it and there will be no overtaking thereon.

    For the SC to peel into the pits, Then green flags are waved followed by green lights coming on…and race control signalling the track was clear

    As for stefano I am surprised he deemed it dangerous after race control informed him the track was clear and the SC car will be in that lap. His argument is equally moot because if Alonso knew what he says he did, why did he block Rosberg? Why did all the other cars speed up to the finish line?

    Damon has just shown why williams fired him after winning a wdc with them. Very narrow minded interpretation of the rules while driving

  139. Luca says:

    I’m a huge Ferrari fan – but going by what Ross Brawn showed on BBC after the race, this seems a massively bad judgement against Michael.

    From what i can see its fair game, just like a few years ago when michael caught Rubens (and possibly Ralf Schumacher as well) sleeping and managed to nip down the inside on the Monaco start/finish straight to make a couple of positions up in the last 75 meters.

    What this does show, once again, is that the FIA need to take all the ambiguity out of the rule book…… if you change one rule then you need ensure that all the subsequent rules make sense in light of the change surely!!

    1. Luca says:

      I see Mercedes are to appeal (according to pitpass.com)

      To right.

  140. Ash says:

    What a crass, provocative comment claiming ‘Hill punished Schumacher. You are aware Hill was an advisor and not a steward. How do you know Hill didn’t come down on Schumacher’s side when it was clear that the lights were green, the safety car boards had been retracted and the yellow flags had gone? Wouldn’t Hill, as a race driver, know that usually means that drivers are free to race? You think Hill knew about 40.13 off the top of his head? or wouldn’t it be more likely that the stewards on investigation found that 40.13 might apply. Until Hill comes out and says ‘I advised them to penalise’ I’ll take your headline as provocative trolling.

    1. TM says:

      I agree Ash – I’m not impressed by this report.
      Sorry James.

  141. John O'Neill says:

    I have exactly the same opinion as Ross Brawn, and hope the appeal is a success.

    Indeed, my Dad and I were discussing how careful Webber needed to be during the last lap because he could still be overtaken on the start-finish straight – the safety car was being brought in because the track was cleared during the final lap, which is a subtle but important difference to the race finishing under a safety car with the track still blocked, given the new rules for this year.

    It was just that Schumacher managed to make made the move stick, rather than Vettel on Webber.

    Good luck with the appeal.


  142. Alias J says:

    Wow, so great to see for once in a while where Schumacher wins the majority popular vote but loses the election.

    lol, James, please be honest, all these years did you not miss all this Schumacher excitement? The Schumacher brilliance and controversy?

    1. Jomy John says:

      One thing you got to agree with James, with Michael back in the sport, racing has become even more edgier. really looking forward for michael to be more competitive. The politics involved whilst he is at the back of the wheel is just mindboggling.

  143. Martin P says:

    This ruling has incensed me even more than “Bahrain bore-gate”.

    Clearly the FIA don’t want photo’s and TV footage of a race finish ruined by a safety car in shot so they devised this poorly worded rule with the intention of allowing the safety car to leave the track so all cars can cross the line in formation and everyone gets their media moment. I can fully understand the reasons for that.

    But the rule they’ve written doesn’t actually say this to anyone with a command of the english language.

    The wording as I understand it is; “if the race ends whilst the Safety Car is deployed it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.”

    For it to mean the sentiment they’ve now expressed it would need to say something along the lines of; “If the Safety Car is deployed at the start of the final lap it will enter the pit lane at the end of that lap etc etc”.

    That would make sense to me – especially if they followed that up by maintaining the yellow flag status to the end of the race. But that isn’t what they did.

    They took the safety car off track before the end of the race (and thereby ending the SC deployment referred to in the rule) AND set the flags to green. That surely means “go racing”?

    The wording of the rule isn’t ambiguous to me. It’s actually very clear. It simply does not say what the FIA intended it to. But had they kept the yellow flag conditions none of this would be relevant. They’ve failed on both counts (the rule definition and the flag conditions) and then compounded those errors by ruling against a driver and team who followed their own rule wording to the letter.

    A poor rule and an even poorer ruling. Here’s hoping the appeal succeeds because I gave up a VERY sunny afternoon to watch this race which I’ve been very reluctant to do based on the potential for good racing this year. Decisions like this just push me further and further to being increasingly nonchalant about watching the races live.

    1. TM says:

      Sorry Martin P, usually I agree with what you write but here I (respectfully) differ from you.

      The rule saying that the safety car will come in at the end of the last lap and no more overtaking is allowed is pretty clear to me, and it’s exactly how the stewards called it.

      However! – I completely agree that it’s a TOTALLY stupid rule! It needs to be changed. But as far as the stewards decision goes; they called it as the rules state it.

      1. Martin P says:

        How dare you?!!! ;o)

        To fuel the debate though, surely it’s all down to the phrasing of the regulation?

        I absolutely agree with the rule as they intended it to be. It makes perfect sense. But to me they muffed it by linking it to the safety car being deployed at the END of the race.

        If Trulli’s double-decker had still been on track and the yellow flags still out then kick the bugger out for passing. That would be exactly as the rule was written to me as the SC conditions still applied and it would therefore still be “deployed”.

        I also agree with your interpretation of the rule itself.

        BUT if we agree to disagree about the ambiguity of the start/end of the last lap thing, the actual debate comes down to whether the SC was still deployed at the end of the race. Then and only then does the rule become “live”.

        As I understand the indications of a Safety Car being on active deployment are;

        1. A standing”SC Deployed” instruction from race control
        2. Yellow flag conditions around the track
        3. SC Boards displayed at all marshall posts
        4. A tin top merc bouncing off its door handles as it tries to keep pace

        NONE of these four criteria were actually in place.

        Now my understanding of how a safety car deployment is revoked is;

        1. An instruction from race control saying “SC in this lap”
        2. Yellow flags replaced with green flags
        3. SC Boards removed from all marshal posts
        4. The tin top merc going into the pit-lane

        ALL FOUR of these happened.

        So how are the drivers supposed to know the difference between the safety car going in on the last lap because it’s the last lap or it going in on the last lap because the need for it to be out has now ended?

        Before you say it, I know that last bit is weak – it’s their job to know. But as with the technical regulations, the teams have to look for leverage in the wording of the rule, exploit it to the maximum and then to counter that the FIA tighten the rule or issue a clarification where they feel they need to.

        That’s all Mercedes did here… they highlighted a gap in the rules, just as double diffusers, F ducts, outboard mirrors and wheel covers did. That deserves a rule clarification, not a penalty.

        Yours respectfully.

      2. TM says:

        Thanks for the mutual respect! Lol ;o)

        Ok so initially I thought all your points made sense, except that what we seemed to learn yesterday (along with Brawn, Brundle, Leggard, Alonso, Schumacher, etc.) was that the fact that it’s the final lap trumps all the other requirements of a SC period (i.e. as you say; SC boards, yellows, etc.).

        I had nothing else to do over my lunch break so have been checking the rules at:

        I now totally agree with you, it’s ambiguous… in fact, if anything, the rules probably read in FAVOUR of MSC.

        Rule 40.13 does indeed state that if the race ends with the SC deployed then it will drive into the pits at the end of the final lap, and drivers should complete the race without overtaking. That’s fine so far, and confirms why MSC was penalised; i.e. it is saying that for the final lap only, despite the fact that the SC pulls into the pit, IF the SC is still otherwise ‘deployed’ then the drivers should behave as such.

        However, regulation 40.4 states that for the DURATION of the “intervention” (i.e. a SC period):
        1) “SAFETY CAR DEPLOYED” will be displayed on the timing screens.
        2) All marshals post shall display waved yellows and “SC” boards.

        It’s says “duration” and nowhere does it say this is on condition of it not being the final lap.

        In other words, regulation 40.13 only changes the physical position of the safety car itself if the stewards wish to end the race under safety car. But the regulations do not say that anything else regarding a SC period should be changed (i.e. all items in points 1 and 2 above should still be displayed).

        Since items in points 1 and 2 above were both withdrawn, by the FIA’s definition, the SC is no longer ‘deployed’, which indicated that they were free to race after the SC line. If points 1 and 2 had not been withdrawn, then even though the SC pulls into the pit, the SC rules still apply because it was the final lap…. but as we saw, they WERE withdrawn.

        So basically Martin P, I’m back to agreeing with you! Lol!
        I don’t even think it’s all that ambiguous anymore – the ruling was just plain wrong!

      3. BiggusJimmus says:

        Although I think you correctly point out the ambiguity in the wording of the rule, Martin, the intention of it is clearly that there should be no overtaking if the safety car is deployed on the last lap. It wouldn’t make any sense at all to mean that the safety car should have to go around again on the victory lap to prevent overtaking. Now that would be a poor rule.

  144. Craig says:

    What an absolute farse. It was a great opportunistic move and he is being punished for it. The safety car came in on the last lap, the race did not finish under a safety car, the track status was green and he didn’t overtake ’til past the safety car line. What is wrong with that? Everyone was racing to the finsh line. I hope mercedes win their appeal.

  145. TM says:

    James, usually your reports are great but the tone of this one and the headline are a bit ‘tabloid’ really; as if Hill was taking revenge pent up for 16 years. I imagine it wasn’t even Hill knowing or looking up the exact rule, but one of the other stewards. Alonso clearly wasn’t aware of the rule, so I doubt Hill was.

    It sounds as though the stewards applied the rule properly – it’s a totally stupid rule, but if it’s the rule then it’s the rule. It’s not for Hill or any of other stewards to re-write rules during an event, however stupid they are.

    This was a clear cut breaking of a (dumb) rule, not one of those where an ex-driver can give a view one way or the other.

  146. Toby says:

    This decision was wrong. Article 40.13 states “If the race ends while the safety car is deployed it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.”

    However, this does not imply that the converse is true – that if the safety car enters the pits at the end of the last lap then the race is deemed to have finished under the safety car. You might think that it is obvious that this is the case, but it is not specified and there is a difference between the safety car coming in simply because it’s the end of the last lap where it would otherwise have carried on, and the safety car coming in at the end of the last lap because that’s when it would have come in anyway. Indeed, this is where today’s race seems to differ from Australia in 2009. To quote Ross Brawn:

    “With regard to the penalty given to Michael, we believed that the track had gone green and the race was not finishing under a safety car when article 40.13 clearly would have applied. The reason for the safety car had been removed, the FIA had announced ‘Safety Car in this lap’ early on lap 78 and the track had been declared clear by race control. This was further endorsed when the marshals showed green flags and lights after safety car line one. On previous occasions when it has been necessary to complete a race under a safety car, full course yellows are maintained, as in Melbourne 2009. On the last lap, we therefore advised our drivers that they should race to the line and Michael made his move on Fernando for sixth place. We have appealed the decision of the stewards.”

    On top of this, if the race was still under safety car conditions, then all the drivers should have been penalised for going at racing speed, even if only Schumacher actually overtook anyone.

    Mercedes are appealing the decision, but apparently cannot appeal the penalty itself because it was issued as a “drive through”. This was the problem for Hamilton at Spa in 2008 when his appeal was thrown out for this reason. So even if Mercedes win the appeal, it seems that Schumacher won’t regain his position (in the same way that someone who is incorrectly given an actual drive through wouldn’t be able to get their rightful place back).

    However, there is a precedent that should enable Schumacher to get his place back anyway. At Australia in 2009, Jarno Trulli was penalised for overtaking Hamilton under safety car conditions at the end of the race. He was given a “drive through” which translated into a time penalty because it was issued after the race. This should have been irreversable. However, when it transpired that Trulli was innocent, the penalty was quashed anyway.

    Similarly, although Mercedes can’t appeal the penalty, if they successfully appeal the decision, then the FIA should quash the penalty, based on this precedent.

    1. Jamie Mac says:

      Agree totally… racing is racing.

      Alonso needs to accept he was asleep on the restart, and his chummy boss.

      The stewards are being sad and over important here – its a race of cars going fast and should be decided by track position.

    2. BiggusJimmus says:

      I respect your ideas, Toby, but under your interpretation for the race to end under the safety car, the safety car would have to do an extra lap ie the victory lap, lap 79 in this case and then go in. That would be ridiculous. For the race to end under the safety car means that the safety car goes in at the end of the final lap, which it did. I think the real fault lies with the marshaling – they should have maintained orange flags.

      1. Toby says:

        That’s not implied by my interpretation at all. The safety car will always come in at the end of the last lap if it is still out and I’ve not said anything different. That is not in question. This is a matter of how we distinguish between:

        1. The safety car coming in at the end of the last lap because the race is deemed to be finishing under the safety car.


        2. The safety car coming in at the end of the last lap because that’s the lap it would have come in anyway.

        But how can we distinguish between them? First of all, it’s not up to the teams and drivers to guess. If there is doubt, it has been caused by the stewards/FIA. But in any case there was a way of distinguishing between this case and Australia 2009. In Australia, yellow flags were waving until the end, and the safety car boards were still up. At Monaco, green flags were waving and there was no indication that safety car conditions apply. There was also a note to say that the safety car was coming in, whereas I believe that previous notes have said that the race would finish under the safety car.

        Based on this, it is reasonable to conclude that in the race at Monaco, the race did not finish under the safety car.

      2. BiggusJimmus says:

        My apologies. I think there is a level of understanding somewhere which we are all not privy to, at least for the moment. I am not inclined to accept that vengeance was the motive for the penalty – that would just make a laughing stock of the new system. The decision took three hours to come through so there must have been extensive deliberation about something. What that was (I’m sure it includes your argument) should be made clear so that the decision can be seen to be just.

  147. Did The Sun start writing your headlines ? Hill was *one of four* stewards. In no way can it be constructed that ‘Hill punished’ anyone !

  148. Tom Gilmartin says:

    Even though Damon and Michael had issues in the past I think Damon would have read it as a driver, green flag race on. I think it was a brilliant move, Alonso got out of shape and Schumacher took advantage. Lets see what comes out of the appeal

  149. GektorS says:

    You know what? Thanks to this webpage and others and the comments of the fans the F1 rules are better as years go by, let’s put our opinion and I’m sure FIA will listen to us and the rules will focus on racing.

    Let’s make some noise out there folks!!!

  150. Carl says:

    Got to feel a little sorry for the FIA.

    They clearly devised this rule so that the fans can enjoy the sight of the cars crossing the line at racing speeds, but it has instead backfired and actually caused more upset!

    1. Feb says:

      it’s an ok motive but i don’t get this: if they reversed the rule of not overtaking after the SC is in, until the start-finish line, and they care about the audience, why is the final lap “overtaking-free”? and if so, what’s with waving green flags? it’s all so contradictory in itself…

      Looking for more challenges in races and so more audience, and yet devising rules so that they make racing more boring and sterile..

      and the statements of “dangerous move” are just ridiculous

  151. Frankie Allen says:

    The stewards made a rickets of this one. You had the coincidence of the track being cleared on the final lap. What should have happened is that the safety car signs and yellow flags should have been kept on until the end of the race. Some teams got confused between the new and old rules and the possible interpretation, magnified by the green light coming on.

  152. TM says:

    I just thought of something…
    Remember the British GP 1998 when Schumacher had to take a penalty in the final couple of laps of a GP, and he drove into the pits to take that penalty at the END of the last lap? He crossed the start/finish line in the pits, before the penalty line, so took the win. Well maybe the safety car does the same; it crosses the start-finish line in the pits on the final lap, and that’s why even though it’s not out on track, the cars must still adhere to SC rules on the final lap.

    If this is true then it must happen because it doesn’t look good to end the race under SC. The rule for the last lap that we saw today must have been written when the SC/overtaking line was moved to before the start/finish line.

    Just a theory! It doesn’t get away from the fact that it’s a stupid rule though! In my view, either the SC should be in or out, not half and half. But I think the stewards called it as the rules state it.

    IF this theory is correct, then it’s pretty ironic that it was Schumacher that benefited from driving over the start/finish in the pits in 98, and Schumacher who’s penalised because the SC can do the same today!

    1. olly says:

      Well maybe the safety car does the same; it crosses the start-finish line in the pits …

      interesting point.however, given that the SC pulled into the pits at 40mph or so, had it (the SC) actually already crossed the finish line before MW, SV, RK etc crossed the line on track , or did they all overtake the SC illegally ? :)

    2. Spyros says:

      Aside from the fact that the rules have changed – what happened at that race, was another mistake by the stewards.

      I can’t remember why he was being penalised, but under the rules that we had then, since the penalty was issued in the last 5 (I think) laps, the stewards should NOT have given him a drive-through penalty or a 10 second pit-stop penalty (not sure about the term, please correct me), instead he should have received an added-time penalty, like today.

      Schumi chose to serve his penalty at the end of the last lap, as he was entitled to… and since the decision had been made, the stewards could not (or would not) convert the penalty retrospectively, to a time penalty…

      So the stewardship standards haven’t changed much.

  153. mo says:

    Article 40.13 of the FIA F1 Sporting Regulations states, “If the race ends while the safety car is deployed, it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.”

    Did the safety car enter the pitlane at the end of the last lap BECAUSE it was declared the race will end????

    Now if this is the case – which is why the penalty was given – if the race ends in safety car conditions, arent there meant to be yellow flags waving to signify this?

    If this is not the case i.e. the safety car came in because the track was clear and they were free to race the last corner – then between the safety car line, and the start finish line – that section of track was all part of the green flag race, to the end of the race – signified by the start/finish line. This is the area where schumacher made his move.

    THe stewards have to make it clear whether they brought in the safety car BECAUSE It was the last lap, BUT the race had been deemed as over, because it was the last lap. If this isn’t the case, schumacher should not have been given any penalty.

  154. Jamie Mac says:

    He is a racer and was racing when the light was green…

    Stupid choice by the stewards…

    But it looks like his competitive edge and ruthless spirit to win and gain as much is back.

    Bring on the next races with a charged up Shumi.

  155. zxzxz says:

    the issue is whether the SC came in because the race was over, or because the SC period was called off.

    pretend there is one more lap in the race:

    if that lap was going to be a SC lap then the pass is in violation of the rule listed.

    if that extra lap was going to be a green flag lap, then the track from the SC line to the Finish line is a green, and is a pass area.

    1. James Allen says:

      Exactly right. I think it was the former

      1. Ged says:

        But shouldn’t Race Control communicate that then? Didn’t they just give the same messages they do for every other SC in? It’s a farce of their making & Schumacher/Merc shouldn’t be he ones getting punished because of it.

      2. Ambient Sheep says:

        In which case, James, why was the green light shown and the green flags waved? Surely that makes it the latter?

        If it had been the former, as the stewards and yourself seem to think, then surely the race would have ended under flashing yellows and “SC” boards, as at another race in the photo posted by someone called “Michael” in reply to comment 40:


      3. James Allen says:

        That seems to be the cause of the confusion, you are right

      4. Martin P says:

        Spot on.

        I think they intended it to be the former, but the wording of the rule leaves the latter open to interpretation. The FIA compounded this potential by screwing up the flags and taking in the SC boards.

        I’ll never accept there’s confusion. Mercedes interpreted the english literal meaning of the rule as it was written. It’s just that the FIA didn’t mean it to imply that and this is the first time it’s been tested (and found severely wanting!). They shouldn’t punish anyone for that, they should simply clarify the rule just as they do with technical rules.

      5. monktonnik says:

        I was quite sanguine about the whole thing, even as a long term fan of MSC. Rules are rules after all.

        However that picture (Australia ’09) does seem to suggest that there is a precedent here and that there is a bit of room for interpretation. I vaguely remember that during the commentary of that race it was mentioned that the SC was coming in, but they were still under SC conditions, as the yellow flags and boards dictate. So the precedent is, that when you are under safety car conditions you have the SC boards out and the yellow flags waving, irrespective of the presence of the safety car.

        They were clearly waving green flags in Monaco and the pass was after the safety car line, so you could suggest that whatever the intention of the FIA and the Race Director, the teams had been told safety car was in, and the drivers were given the OK to race.

        Tenuous I know, but worth an appeal.

      6. Adrian says:

        Then why were the marshalls waving green flags?
        The former scenario may have been what was intended, but that wasn’t indicated to the drivers.

        And wasn’t the safety car called in? Surely there is no need to do this if rule states that it comes into the pits at the end of the last lap.

      7. mo says:

        Already raised this point in my post no. 153.

        If it was the former…then there should have been yellow flags waving, and an SC board – as per Jenson Button in Aussie 2009.

        There wasn’t, there were green flags. Which as a lot of people have pointed out…means go.

      8. Aussie F1 Fan says:

        I really think it was the latter, & my decision is based on the “Safety Car In this lap” message.

        If 40.13 was in effect, this message should never have been displayed. Then safety car would have simply pulled in to the pits & the yellows continue to be displayed whilst the cars got to the start finish line, where a chequered flag & the green flags would have been displayed.

        The FIA messed up, they should wear the blame, not Mercedes & Schumacher.

      9. Z says:

        So…everyone on track knew about 40.13 and still went full-bull under green flags? Sure, that’s believable!

      10. tank says:

        but the green flags were waving, so I think it was the latter

  156. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

    James, could you ask Max M what he thinks the next time you speak to him?

    1. James Allen says:

      About what exactly?

    2. Martin P says:

      That would be a very long conversation!

  157. John F says:

    James, can you clarify what Damon’s Hill role is precisely (or in general the additional driver steward’s role)?

    Is it advisory only or is he an equal part of a 4-people team?

    And I find your blog headline rather unfortunate. Why not say “Schumacher punished by Stewards” instead of pointing out Hill? Or did HE really made that decision alone (I doubt it)/

    Come on, James, you are better than this and don’t need to go down to Tabloid level.

    1. James Allen says:

      He is one of the four stewards and there is nothing tabloid about my headline. It’s a fact

      1. James,
        Forgive me but I can see where John is coming from.

        I don’t know what system is in operation with the stewards (perhaps you do) but I would assume that the stewards debate then vote and the majority decision is carried forwards. On that basis it is possible that Hill as driver’s representative might actually have been sympathetic to the racers instinct and may have been over-ruled by the “by the book” element of the stewards.

        Also, and again I’m sure you know Damon much better than I do, I’d be very surprised if he was vindictive. Rather, I would expect he would see this as his worst nightmare and may have been more lenient that he might otherwise be for fear of accusations of bias. I know I would be in that situation.

        As I said, you are much closer to F1 and will obviously have greater insight than me but I thought your headline was a bit unfair until such time as we know more about the process the Stewards went through and any personal opinion which might be expressed by Damon Hill.

        A difficult decision for all concerned but in my opinion the correct decision was reached.


      2. Knuckles says:

        In today’s FIA ruling he is indeed listed as one of four stewards, but as I wrote in my earlier reply, so far we have been told by FIA that ex-drivers have an advisory role to the three stewards. Do you have more information on this? Is FIA being sloppy again? (After today’s new revelation about sloppy rule writing, everything is possible!)

      3. Daika says:

        What did Damon Hill thought of Barichello? Sometimes you read stories in the newspaper about stupid kids throwing a stones under a bridge where cars pass. Did the stewards not seen Barichello throwing away his steering wheel?

      4. Adrian says:

        How do you know it’s a fact? Does the stewards decision have to be unanimous? Perhaps Hill disagreed with the decision. Have you spoken to him?

      5. Knuckles says:

        Interesting: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/83714

        You may remember my and others’ repeated requests to clarify this if you find the time, since the ex-drivers’ role seems unclear: at the start of the year FIA talked about advisory roles, and suddenly Hill is listed as one of four stewards, like you also wrote.

        And indeed the FIA seems to be confused itself. Can’t they get anything right?

  158. Lalit says:


    I struggle to understand the new rule. If they have a new green line *before* the start-finish line, then why is there exception if it was on last lap or not?

    Also, why is Stefano D complaining about debris making it dangerous? Isn’t that Charlie’s call an he made it by calling the safety car in… indicating its safe now (i assume).

    You probably won’t answer this – but do you think Hill is still sour?

    1. James Allen says:

      I don;t think that the safety car would have come in if it were not the last lap. It did so for nice pictures across the finish line, but had ther been 10 laps to go I thing it would have stayed out. I do not think Damon was settling old scores, no

      1. Luffer says:


        You haven’t said if you agree with the decision, do you think it was correct?

        In your article you neglected to mention that it was Green Flag conditions after the SC line indicating that the SC was not deployed. How do you see this situation? Can the Safety Car be deployed and for there to be Green flags at the same time? What rules apply?

        If this was a SC finish why are the other drivers not being penalised for driving at racing speeds at the finish?

        Finally, do you have any proof that Damon Hill actually decided in favour of the penalty? If not how can you substantiate your headline? If a jury finds a defendant guilty not ALL jurors need to reach that decision. The F1 Stewards (to my understanding) don’t need to reach a unanimous verdict.

      2. James Allen says:

        My understanding at the time was that the track wasn’t ready to race on, they just brought the safety car in. I’m in transit on long drive back to UK but will go into this to get the answer

      3. Lalit says:

        Thanks for a quick reply James.

        As I understand the rule is pretty clear about the last lap and saftey car line and evertaking etc. (I atually like the idea of the safety car line before the start line)…

        However, would the Monacco stewards be punished now for showing Green flags when there was supposed to be ‘no overtaking’ or ‘racing’?

      4. Sethu says:

        Then why show the green flags? Why not finish under yellow/”SC” boards like in Australia ’09?

      5. James Allen says:

        New rule for this year, but it seems that the plan of execution is vague. My understanding is that the track wasn’t clear at that point, it was just that they brought the SCar in for the finish. I will look into this in more depth if I ever get back to the UK

      6. Matt W says:

        James if that is the case then F1 is guilty of manufacturing a fake finish for the cameras. They are trying to decieve the fans into thinking they are getting a racing finish when they are not. I hope this ruling is overturned for racing’s sake. Sometimes I wonder why I bother with this farce.

      7. Aussie F1 Fan says:

        Has marketing really become that desperate? Do they think that if they have a nice picture without the safety car we will all forget the race ended under SC conditions? Pathetic, & really shows their lack of respect for the level of intelligence of the average F1 Fan…

        Money, Money, Money & they wonder why they struggle to maintain interest in the sport. Its not the rules, its the rule makers that cause the problems in this sport!

      8. Kuroneko says:


        So you agree with the FIA and the stewards’ decision.

        In that case, could you explain why the green flags were waved and why all the drivers (including Alonso) put their feet down on the charge to the finish line?

  159. Sam R says:

    Well done Michael for a classic bit of racing action.

    Shame on the FIA for calling in the safety car, restarting the race waving green flags and then pretending everything was still under yellow flag conditions. They should be rewarding Schumacher for racing and punishing themselves for an ambiguous set of rules.

    The rest of the season looks processional enough without penalizing drivers for showing a bit of racing spirit.

  160. Carlm21 says:

    Was a great piece of overtaking from the legend Michael Schumacher. I hope he gets this decision over turned.

    I remember in qualifying at the French grand prix 2006. They were side by side in the pit lane waiting for the red light to change to green. Alonso gets infront just, speeds off followed by Schumacher. Then Schumacher overtook Alonso down at turn 3. And the way Schumacher defended his lead, it was like watching the race but we were only in qualifying!

    Never the less its great to watch.

  161. Paul Mc says:

    Personally the rule is idiotic. Why not have the safety car complete the last lap then? It came in so it’s safe to race.

    I’d say Hill was loving it.

  162. TP says:

    There is only one rule in F1.

    Whatever Ferrari say goes.

  163. Tim Lamkin says:

    Typical MS …BS…they should have thrown him out for the next race…..damn soft rules….and MS always getting his way a very soft punishment…

  164. PaulL says:

    James, has the rule changed on appealing a drive through since Hamilton at Spa 2008?

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes. Look at Sporting Regs on FIA website

      1. Paul Webster says:

        International Sporting Code 15.01.2010 says in clause 152:
        “Penalties of driving through or stopping in pit lanes together with certain penalties specified in FIA Championship regulations where this is expressly stated, are not susceptible to appeal.”

  165. As has been said above, giving credit to one of four decision makers who was reportedly an ‘advisor’ to boot does seem a wee bit tabloid in nature. Only an opinion there. Bet Bernie is loving this one – no such thing as bad publicity – as they say in the entertainment world! Seems there is a lot of emotion in many of the comments, and F-1 is, after all fan-based so that is to be expected. Seems that if the last lap was a comedy of errors between the rule book and the Race Director/Marshalls, drivers and teams (well at least one)that the widespread practice of reverting to the order of the last completed lap could have been an option…

  166. Peter says:

    Hmm barrichello throws his steering wheel into the path of a HRT car and gets no penalty. What does a steering wheel weigh, more than 800 grams I bet! Anyone see where this is going?

    1. James Allen says:

      I agree that should have been looked at

      1. monktonnik says:

        I’m surprised that HRT didn’t complain sinc both their cars dragged it round for a while.

  167. A few things I’d like to add to this discussion:

    1. To those who say that Alonso was not aware of Ferrari’s view of the rules due to the fact he didn’t cruise to the end I would disagree. Alonso had been enquiring on the radio about the possibility of attacking Hamilton at the restart and was told it was not permitted. I believe he heard Schumacher’s engine accelerating and reacted by jumping on his own throttle and thus provoking wheelspin. Instinct would simply have kicked in. Ferrari also tweeted on twitter that they believed the race was over before the end.

    2. I agree with the idea that the cars should cross the finish without the safety car for photographic reasons but I also think that yellow flags should have remained to make it clear to the drivers that they cannot overtake.

    3. I don’t believe that Damon Hill would be trying to settle old scores. If anything he would probably represent the drivers point of view and may well have defended Schumacher. I don’t know if we will ever find out his personal opinion, especially if he disagreed with the decision.

    4. I think that a fairer outcome would have simply been to reverse the overtake and leave Schumacher in 7th but this is not a punishment open to the stewards.

    5. Alonso did a great job to get from 24th to 6th and didn’t deserve his position to be taken away from him in this way. Mercedes dropped the ball by not bringing Schumacher in, like McLaren did with Hamilton, to cover off Alonso as he charged through the field. The vagueness in the rules should be fixed but on this occasion Alonso should retain 6th and Schumacher 7th ( or if the penalty must stand then 12th).

    All in my humble opinion of course!

  168. meohmy says:

    This looks like the only infraction of the rules were Damon Hill and the rest of the Stewards complete misinterpretation of them. All empriical evidence shows that the saftey car was being taken out on the final lap. Further, even if it were the case the SC conditions were remaining until race end, the rules do not allow for SC line lght to turn green.

    All evidence is against the stewards’ ruling in this case, none of which should ever be allowed to work as stewards again if they agreed with this decision. Including Hill, of course.

  169. Blanchimont says:


    A few points:

    1. The drafting of Article 40 is poor and Ross Brawn’s argument is in my opinion absolutely correct. I do not see how the Safety Car could still be said to be “deployed” within the meaning of Article 40.13 when all the steps to recall the Safety Car in accordance with Article 40.11 had been complied with. If it was the intention to still have the Safety Car deployed, none of those steps in Article 40.11 should have been taken.

    The drafting genesis of Article 40.13 is I suspect thus: you can now overtake past the Safety Car line, but if a race is going to finish behind the Safety Car, must we really go to the bother of having the Safety Car actually lead the cars across the finish line, or can we not instead just say “this race will finish behind the Safety Car, but the Safety Car will come in on the final lap and park itself up whilst you lot complete the slow-down lap and wave at a few fans, but that doesn’t mean you can overtake past the Safety Car line in these circumstances as you would otherwise be allowed to do under Article 40.7″. If this was the intended effect, the wording could be a lot clearer.

    2. I think it was unwise for Hill to be a part of a stewards panel investigating Schumacher. I do not question his impartiality or suggest he was biased, but it is very apparent that given their history there could be grounds to suspect it – why else, for example, would journalists even be mentioning it? And that suspicion alone should be enough such that Hill not be part of the panel at all, or instead play no part in any deliberations of the panel concerning Schumacher. If it were a court of law and not just a stewards’ room I don’t think there is a chance Hill would have been able to sit on the panel. As I say, no suggestion he actually was biased, but the possible appearance of bias is enough. It will be interesting to see if this point is raised further – it would of course be a very aggressive argument for Mercedes to run on appeal.

    3. Domenicali’s comments are somewhat misleading; the crash that caused the Safety Car deployment was at Rascasse, to suggest there was debris at the point Schumacher went past Alonso into Anthony Noghes (by which point there were no yellow flags and green flags indicating the track was clear) is stretching credibility; Alonso is out of shape coming out of Rascasse without the involvement of Schumacher.

  170. AussieGrot says:

    Rule 40.13 effectively means that if the final lap commences under SC conditions, then the entire final lap operates under those conditions, even though the SC will enter the pits before the finish line. It is the responsibility Race Control to flag this appropriately to avoid confusion, as it is the only situation where the race is under SC, but the SC is not on the circuit. This was done correctly in the Australian GP 2009.
    The cause for the confusion is not the rule 40.13, but the actions of Race Control to “go green” instead of keeping out the SC signs and yellow flags.
    Schumacher actions clearly contravened 40.13, for which he has been penalised. However, on appeal, he has a case regarding racing according to the flags. If Race Control hadn’t created the confusing situation with the flags, there would be no course of appeal.
    Maybe it’s Race Control who should be penalised with a Stop/Go.

  171. Franck says:

    Now a driver overtakes a car under the GREEN FLAG gets a penalty…

    The track was green, MS was right to pass Alonso. If the race was neutralized until the end, we would have seen that :


    But, we had seen that :



    As you can see from these pictures, the race was restarted and MS pass Alonso after the SC line. So Alonso has made a big mistake.

    Schumacher sees green flags, Alonso in trouble, MS pass Alonso, it’s simple.

    If the race director made a mistake putting green flags, Schumacher should not be punished for it.

    1. Craig Chamberlain says:

      I believe that Alonso reacted instinctively to the sound of MS’s car accelerating aggressively beside him. Martin Brundle has often mentioned that drivers respond to the sound of cars around them rather than from visual cues. Alonso had enquired with his team about passing Hamilton and was told that it was illegal and that the run to the finish line would be in frozen sequence. I believe that is why he was not on the perfect defensive line and was somewhat startled by MS’s actions. He was certainly not asleep as Brawn suggested.

      As I have said elsewhere, Ferrari even sent a tweet via Twitter to indicate that the race was over before the end of the last lap. It said:

      “FInal lap with safety car. The race will finish with this classification& webber, Vettel, Kubica, Felipe, Hamilton, Fernando, Schumacher”

      Then 31 seconds later they said:

      “Michael overtook Fernando at the last gasp…”

      Then 49 seconds later:

      “Let’s see what the stewards will say”

  172. Phil says:

    I find it difficult to understand why in 2010 the safety car line is always placed in a braking zone. So long as this continues we will have contentious augments over who is in the right. I would’ve thought that the place for this line is at the exit apex of the last corner, or the middle of the corner. It seems by placing it at the beginning of the braking zone for the last corner the racing then effectively starts one corner before this area. This was the same in China and now Monaco. Admittedly more random, but seemingly not particularly fair.

  173. Rasczak says:

    To those saying the rule is clear that if the safety car starts the last lap then no overtaking at any point on that lap, read the rule again, is says no such thing.

    “If the race ends while the safety car is deployed, it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.”

    It makes no mention of the start of the lap, just the end. It may be that the FIA intended it to mean if the safety car starts the last lap the race will end under the safety car, it may not, but, as Martin P says, it doesn’t explicitly say that, just that there is no overtaking if it is still deployed at the end of the lap.

    The crux of the argument is whether the safety car was still deployed or not. For me, the message on the timing screens, “safety car in this lap” and the flags and lights going green, indicate it was not deployed at the end of the lap. If it were to be still deployed then there would be no need to place any message on the screens, as rule 40.13 states it will come in anyway, and the lights and flags would have stayed yellow.

    There is no ambiguity in the rules, safety car deployed then no overtaking, safety car not deployed, overtaking permitted from the first safety car line. There is ambiguity in the track status, was the safety car deployed or not ?

  174. AlexBookoo says:

    James – could it be that the FIA simply forgot to update the last lap rule when it changed the safety car regulations this year?

    Because the rule that says drivers can’t overtake before the chequered flag if a safety car is out on the last lap makes perfect sense in last year’s system, when they couldn’t make a move before the start finnish line anyway. But it makes no sense this year, now drivers can overtake from the safety car line.

    The rule is now illogical, which makes me wonder whether they just forgot to update 40.13. I don’t know how to go about checking this – perhaps you have a copy of last year’s rules and can see if it’s in there?

    Anyway this illogicality caused the confusion that resulted in green flags being shown. You’re either under safety car conditions or green flag conditions, you can’t be under both, but that’s what is suggested by the rules because they contradict each other.

    From Schumacher’s point of view, he can say he thought he was racing because he was shown green flags. Mercedes should win the appeal, because there are only two explanations – either the rules are contradictory or race control showed the wrong flag. After all, the last thing the FIA would want is for drivers to second-guess race control based on their own understanding of the rules. If you’re in a race and you see a green flag or a yellow flag, at that moment you have to take it at face value, you can’t assume they’ve got it wrong.

    Domenicali’s safety argument is contemptible. The last corner was no less safe on lap 78 than any previous lap. This is racing, spectators want to watch cars race, especially at the last corner.

    Or on second thoughts maybe they should run all 78 laps under the safety car. We don’t want drivers to try anything dangerous after all.

  175. Spyros says:


    1) The green flags were out
    2) There was no instruction (i.e. by radio, to the teams) that the race was going to finish under the safety car. Instead, the teams were told “safety car in this lap” – which is consistent with getting the yellow flags and ‘SC’ markers out of sight, and waving the green flags…

    I’d say Brawn and Schumi have pretty good grounds for appeal. I never liked Hill much, and now I like him even less.

  176. Dan says:


    Ross has produced printouts from Mercedes’ telemetry screens showing the race director’s notifications saying the SC would be “in this lap” as opposed to finishing under the SC. It would appear this rule about running under formation to the finish cannot apply as the race was technically allowed to resume between the SC line and the finish line.

    If this is a wrong decision on Charlie Whiting’s part, it’s up to him to apologise, not to the stewards to punish the drivers who took the initiative and followed the rules to a T. Poor old Michael can’t win no matter what side of the law he’s on! :)

  177. Zeus says:


    I think a lot of fans are oblivious to the procedure under which a races ends behind a safety car. Safety car coming in on the last lap didn’t automatically mean that race ended up behind a safety car! The track had green signal being shown and it was within regulations to overtake from the SC line (at La Raccasse) to the start/finish line.

    For a change, I would like to believe that Hill did not make this decision out of any personal bias. He just wanted to avoid a controversial decision and face the wrath of Ferrari. I would not be surprised if the decision gets overturned in the FIA court of appeal.

  178. Mark says:

    I went straight to the rulebook as soon as I heard about this. The main problem with the rule is that it’s badly worded.

    “40.13: If the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.”

    You can interpret it two ways:

    “If the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed…”
    Well the race didn’t end while the safety car was deployed; the car had come in by the end of the race; however,

    “it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.”
    Which is what happened.

    It seems obvious after a bit of thought that the rule is intended to get the safety car off the circuit, at the end of the last lap, before the leading car takes the flag, ie so TV replays don’t show the race finishing under the SC.

    I doubt Damon Hill could do anything here – it’s not down to his decision of a driving matter as a former driver, it’s an interpretation of the rule, which are badly written.

    What it should say, and probably will from now on, is:

    “If the FINAL LAP BEGINS with the safety car deployed it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.”

    If it said this in the rulebook this morning then nobody would have any argument about today’s decision. The green flags merely indicate that the circuit is clear – not that all other rules in the book can be disregarded.

  179. AlexBookoo says:

    By the way it made perfect sense to bring the safety car in on the last lap, because the safety car line was beyond where the crash happened. Since they are never going to go past the incident again at racing speed, there’s no reason not to let them race to the finish. For the remaining race distance the track was clear. That would have been the case even if the Lotus and HRT had still been on the track.

  180. Tony Postmayer says:

    First, the safety car is always going to come off the track when it is still out on the last lap. This is for the photographers to take a better picture ?

  181. jbstans says:

    As I’ve been saying on Twitter, I think MSC falls foul of the rules as written. However, it’s a very confusing rule that none of the experienced drivers seem to be aware of. Brundle, DC both okayed it on the BBC, MSC clearly thought he was fine or he wouldn’t have done it. I think the places should have been reversed and that should have been that.

    And I knew some nutjobs would bring Damon Hill in to this, accusing old wounds of clouding him. He wasn’t the only steward and I think he’d be above this.

  182. Fausto Cunha says:

    This is not Hill against Schumacher, it´s stewards applying a rule.
    If the rule is bad that´s a diferent story and in my opinion should be changed.

  183. Tony Postmayer says:

    First, the safety car is always going to come off the track when it is still out on the last lap. This is for the photographers to take a better picture as the leaders cross the finish line?

    Second, the line where the cars can resume racing is not the start finish line at this track. It is at the pit in. Earlier in the race we saw Webber jump on it and pass the safety car just as it was turning into the pit lane and apparently that was okay. He didn’t get penalized.

    The reason rule 40.13 exists is to tell the drivers not to pass just because the safety car has come in. This assumes that the race is ending under the safety car. If that was the intent, then all of the warning flags and signs should have remained active. They did not.

    The fact that the safety car line is before the start/finish line opens the possibility of the track going green for the remainder of the final lap. That is what appeared to happen.

    The penalty is ridiculous and must be overturned on appeal.

    In future, the simplest thing to do is have the safety car stay out and lead the race cars across the finish line. Then there can be no confusion.

    Alternatively, make the safety car line and the start/finish line the same.

  184. Steph2009 says:

    Ruling seems pretty clear to me & as soon as I read article 40.13 I knew Schumacher would get a penalty having initially felt the move was fair.

    The safety car came in at the end of the last lap as 40.13 stipulates & there should have been no overtaking as per the rules.

    The Safety Car will never & has never actually ended a race by crossing the line, it will always pit at the end of the last lap.

    The Safety car in this lap messages are all procedural so Ross Brawn can’t really use them as an argument against the ruling, Even if that message hadn’t come up the Safety car still would have pitted.

    The race stewards made a ruling based on the working od article 40.13 which clearly states no passing allowed when the SC pits at the end of the last lap. Had they applied no penalty they would have been ignoring there own regulations.

    1. Luffer says:

      No, no, no! 40.13 only applies IF the SC is deployed at the end of the race. In this case the SC was announced to be coming in and the track was declared clear. Green flags were waving means racing resumed!

      In other words, the SC was NOT deployed at the end of the race. You can’t have Green flags & a SC situation. The whole thing is madness!

  185. Chtcjh says:

    Any contention that Ferrari let their drivers know that the race was finishing under safety car and that they couldn’t be overtaken is bullsnot. Alonso lost control under hard acceleration, but why accelerate like that when you know that all you need to do is cruise over the line? Alonso screwed up – again – he should wear the consequences.

  186. Andrew Myers says:

    It looks pretty hard to argue a case for Schumacher, based on what you say about Article 40.13.

    But all that aside, it is good to see Schumacher having a real go again. I hope they get the Merc up to speed before the end of the season. I’d love to see him go hammer and tongs with Alonso and Hamilton on a regular basis (with Hamilton getting the upper hand of course :).

  187. Matthew says:

    James, you did not make clear YOUR thoughts about the penalty and if what Brawn is saying has merit. Because I for one completely agree with Brawn. The rule quoted by the stewards was not in effect as the race did not finish under the safety car (the course was not under full yellows as racing resumed). The safety car ‘came in,’ an indication that the course was now green. This is a different situation from the safety car coming in which the course is still under safety car conditions so that the runners can have a photo finish. As such, Schumacher was within his right to pass after the safety car line.

    The race finished under green flag conditions, not a safety car. I was hoping you would have responded directly to this claim by Brawn in your post.

  188. Derek says:

    What a lot of ignorant hot air from most people. Has any one of you who posted opinions even read the Articles concerned – 40.11 and 40.13? They happen to be incompatible but apart from that most of what is being complained about is actually covered by clear black and white rules. I agree in hindsight they are not good ones but they are still the current rules.

    1. Tommy K. says:

      Derek, look at the picture Mo has uploaded in comment 190…..that says all, really! it was the marshals fault for waving the wrong flags….the drivers are supposed to have good faith to the marshals regardless of what they might hear to the radio!

  189. Floyd says:

    These rules are just stupid. Why can’t they make just one rule regarding the safety car instead of having an exception.
    I guess all drivers in future should car a rule book in the car when driving.
    FIA is making it more difficult for the casual fan to follow the sport.

  190. mo says:

    If THIS was given a penalty, why wasn’t Rubens giving penalty for his absolutely SHOCKING move of throwing a chunky hunk of steering wheel directly onto the racing line, which is bigger than most pieces of normal debris, resulting in a car actually running over it!

    i thought this was shocking and yet he gets away scot free!

    and incase anyone needs reminding, this pic posted above of what a safety car finish actually looks like really puts the nail in the coffin for me – Brawn should show this picture at the appeal -

    1. Andrew Myers says:

      Interesting indeed. Is the difference that the track was still not deemed safe by this point on the race on question?

      It doesn’t change the rule though. 40.13 is still pretty clear on what happens if the SC enters the pits on the final lap.

    2. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

      Rubens should be more aware than anyone about the dangers of debris hitting drivers after Massa’s incident last year.

      Heat of the moment stuff. I don’t think that Rubens had any intention of endangering anyone. The steering wheel bounced on one of its corners and skipped across the track.

  191. Joao says:

    Stupid rule!

    F1 has baned overtaking

  192. Guru F1 says:

    It is said (and proven) that a consensus decision easily beats an educated one. Based on the feedback generated on this forum, one can conclude that Schumacher got a raw deal.

  193. Peter Jones says:

    Vintage Schu here folks. just take a cheap shot wherever and whenever possible. what’s that old saying? payback’s a ?

  194. Tom says:

    what a joke…

    hamilton weaving on the straight = ok
    hamilton driving through grass into the pitlane and overtaking at the same time = ok
    hamilton unsafe release against vettel in china = ok
    vettel pushing hamilton against the wall, leaving him no room in the pits (china) = ok
    alonso overtaking massa with 4 wheels off the track in the pit entrance = ok
    alonsos unsafe release in the barcelona pits = ok

    schumacher overtaking alonso while the whole world can see the green flag = penalty

    oh I forgot the following things:

    buttons breaking under safety car (china) = ok
    massa destroying buttons qualifying lap in monaco = ok
    massa crossing the yellow line after leaving the pits = ok

    the last one is ridiculous.

    1. Tommy K. says:

      The first two examples are a bit inapplicable. In the first one, it was Petrov who was following Hamiltonand not Hamilton blocking Petrov, and in the second one, Hamilton took a huge risk anyway by coming in the pits from the rough way, where he could easily have damaged his car….so, actually common sense would suggest that no harm was done to the sport or to other drivers by any of the two cases. I agree, though, in all other examples!

  195. Hugo Boss says:

    If a regulation is a regulation then the stewards have no option but to enforce it. Anyone who even suspects this was Hill settling an old score is doing Damon a grave disservice. Surely James, he remains one of the least affected and fair minded champions we’ve seen?

    Two things will come from this incident:

    Firstly, we will get a clarification or revision of this ridiculous anti-racing regulation;

    secondly, Alonso knows first hand and all the other drivers will have seen from the replays, that any hopes the elderly Schumacher might have lost his mojo have been dashed. The most memorable passes in F1 have been the ones we didn’t expect and that one was a stunner.

    1. James Allen says:

      It must have been strange for Damon to be in that situation – his life has moved on so much since he raced Schumacher and yet there he was with Schuey in overalls, still racing and Damon sitting with his tie on and grey hair among the stewards

      1. Howard Hughes says:

        Haha great observation – I thought that too. It’s like time’s somehow stood still for MS, whilst the likes of Hill, Hakkinen etc have bounded towards middle age…

  196. Daniel Dinu says:

    Schumacher’s move would have been OK under any other circumstances, but not for the LAST lap. That was the difference between legal and not legal.

    Alonso took a wide line into that corner to avoid the debris on the track. Easy to understand why, probably been advise that there was the last lap and the safety car went in, AS P ER THE REGULATIONS.

    Ross Brawn and Schumacher thought of pulling another fast one, like when they look a drive through penalty in the last lap of the race… – Silverstone I guess it was.

    Stewards decision is legal, fair and square.

    1. Hutch says:

      So far arguments sake, how are the drivers supposed to know that it’s the LAST lap and therefore different rules apply?
      Radio transmissions are treated as a bonus. The flags are the official form of communication. Drivers aren’t expected to count their laps. Officially only the checkered flag tells them that the race has finished (unless there’s an OFFICIAL in-car system I’m not aware of).

      In this case the safety car lights were off and the green flags out. The penalty is ridiculous!

      1. Daniel Dinu says:

        The drivers know which lap of the race it is. They have a lap counter in the car and are in constant contact with the pit wall.

        They knew it was the last lap,and as per the NEW rule the safety car has to come in (as it did) and they should have followed the leader in formation to the finish line. Everybody did but not MS.

        Had not been the last lap, then MS move would have been legal. But it was the last lap, so it wasn’t.

        I agree that the rule is stupid, but that was / is the rule. There is no argument really, if you take the emotions out of the whole mix.

  197. tom p says:

    Everyone is saying that Schumacher did no wrong and he didn’t. He did what Ross told him to do. Well it seems that all the other drivers didn’t try to overtake the cars in front of them including his teammate. Race control is to blame for most of this and 10% goes to Ross for not knowing the rules.

  198. Colin says:

    This is yet ANOTHER silly thing to happen in F1!! The F1 teams SHOULD have broken away from the FIA,we would have REAL racing and fair rules that EVERYONE agrees on
    Anyway congratulations Shumi,a well deserved 6th place,regardless of what the FIA says

  199. DSR says:

    Rule 40.13 needs to be considered in conjunction with rule 40.4, which states ‘…all marshal’s posts will display waved yellow flags and “SC” boards for the duration of the intervention.’

    Rule 40.13 states the Safety Car will enter the pits on the last lap. It does not explicitly state the intervention period is considered ended, nor that Rule 40.4 no longer applies with regards to the display of yellow flags and “SC” boards.

    Rule 40.4 Implies that waved green flags and removal of the “SC” boards is an indication that the invervention period has ended.

    As rule 40.13 does not contain an exception to 40.4, 40.4 MUST define whether 40.13 is in effect.

    1. Phil C says:

      Rule 40.11 – when the Safety car pulls into the pit lane, green flags will be shown at the line

      there is no addition to say – except for the last lap when yellow flags will be shown to the start / finish line

      So the marshalls did their job to the rules

      1. DSR says:

        You forget that 40.11 begins “When the clerk of the course decides it is safe to call in the safety car…”

        It is not in the ‘general case’ of the SC coming in, but specifically when it is safe for the race to continue.

        In any case, it hardly matters now. The rules are ambiguous but will (hopefully) be amended.

  200. darren says:

    Surely the problem here is the introduction of the safety car blend/restart line, combined with the incorrect flag display? If this were an earlier year, the cars wouldn’t be able to overtake until the finish line, thus negating this issue. Was it a case of the older rules not reflecting the new? And what advantage does the new restart line offer – what was wrong with the old system?

  201. K. Chandra Shekhar says:

    From now on Are the drivers to follow Lights or Rules?

  202. JohnBt says:

    The decision has been made. Merc Gp appeals. Let’s see the outcome. I felt the ‘green flags’ should not have been waved.
    I don’t think Damon was the principal steward to have made the final decision.

    La Rascasse seems to be Shumi’s bad luck corner.

    Don’t think the appeal will be favourable.

  203. MSD says:

    It is absurd to have given him a 20sec penalty….the lights were green. If however it was a stuff up by stewards by not leaving the lights yellow, then admit it and give Alonso back his place and leave it at that. To drop Schumi down to 12th is….well…very poor stewarding.

  204. jeremy says:

    20 second penalty??
    why cant common sense ever prevail in formula one?

    i disagree with the penalty, i disagree with the procedure of the safety car at the end of the race.

    taking into account all the evidence, (safety car in, safety car pass line, green flags)

    how can you award to a 20 second penalty when with all the controversy surrounding it?

    if shumi’s wrong fine. swap the places back but seriously.. 20second penalty, 6th to last? really?

    no respect for damon. he needed to be the bigger man and step up and tell the stewards the rules are ridiculous and the move stands.

    mights as well just get rid of the ex driver stewards, obviously the whole point of them being here just broke down.

    when do we get to hear your opinion James?

    1. Phil C says:

      because the minimum penalty for overtaking under the safety car is a drive through, unless the event occurs within the last five laps, then a penalty is added to the offending driver’s overall race time.

      Stewards have to follow the rules too

  205. BA says:

    “If the race ends while the safety car IS DEPLOYED, it will enter the pit lane at the END OF THE LAST LAP and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal WITHOUT OVERTAKING.”

    I think the regulation is clear, that the safety car should enter pitlane at last lap, not having it passed the finish line together with the racing cars, and certainly is – no overtaking allowed!

  206. Rob says:

    From what I could tell all the drivers went back to racing speed once the safety car went in, they all thought it was a restart, the gap that MS was handed was a result of Alonso sliding the back end as he hit the power on cold tyres. If it’s a safety car lap the safety car should stay out, it would be much better to just keep things simple

  207. Kedar says:

    I think an ex racing driver as a race steward could also mean an advantage to Schumacher, He can step over the line for some rules and claim that he is a victim of his former battles.
    6th Place or 7th it was a pretty stunning drive from Alonso to watch starting from the back of the grid.

    1. Pushkar says:

      Huh? How about a dis-advantage cause Schumacher has made so many so-called superstars leave the sport! Imagine if Montoya is a steward at some point. I wouldn’t be surprised if he black-flags Schumacher for driving straight.

  208. Syed Hasan says:

    Like it or not, personal vendetta by Damon Hill. If Michael whipped you to pieces when you were a driver, then it’s not his mistake, accept it pal, you weren’t good enough, he went on to become 7 times WDC. And then you get some power, you’re advising the stewards and you choose this to get some vengeance, I’m sorry, you’ve got to be shameless. But what a beautiful move by Schumi, that’s what we want, that’s racing, overtaking what we want, when we get it, FIA does this….

    1. Pushkar says:


      1. Nick Stewart says:

        Oh come on, Damon is an adult and an intelligent man. Do you really think that under the spotlight of the world media he would make a decision like this just to get even? Give me a break!!!!

  209. D. V. Bhatia says:

    It’s an open and shut case. The race did not end with the safety car deployed. The track was Green NOT yellow. Article 40.13 is INAPPLICABLE. Schumacher’s overtaking is completely legal. I rest my case.

  210. sixtenths says:

    After what Alonso did to his own Teammate last week, I am afraid I am still laughing too hard to have much of an opinion.

    Karma works in strange ways, I would love to have heard what was said in FA’s helmet when he realised he was now the victim of a sudden, unexpected, questionable overtake.

  211. Rob Greening says:

    The safety car was not deployed at the end of the race, by virtue of Regulation 40.4 “ALL marshal’s posts will display waved yellow flags and “SC” boards for the duration of the intervention [of the safety car]“.

    For the FIA stewards to invoke 40.13 against Schumacher, we now have a new rule for all F1 races – the end of the race is not when the leading car crosses the start/finish line but when it crosses the 1st safety car line! Of course, small problem – that contradicts Regulation 43.1….

  212. Pushkar says:

    I think the title says it all. “punished by Hill”. Hill just couldn’t resist an opportunity to take a swipe. Interestingly enough, Trulli almost parked on Chandok’s head and was allowed to go free! Fascinating!

    If this ruling goes through then the F1 rule book needs to be revised completely for more clarity. I’ve been following the sport for more than 10 years and this sort of interference from the stewards needs to stop.

    Schumacher saw a green flag. Punish the marshal by making him run 20 laps around Monaco or something…

  213. David Hodge says:

    So what it really comes down to is that somebody changed the flags/lights to green. If they had been yellow, the drivers would have stayed in line.

    James, I am sorry to say, but the way the headline reads, it sounds like it was Damon Hill who made the decision. I am sure you did not intend that – “Schumacher punished by the stewards” would be better? If I am being really pedantic, then it is not accurate either as the notice would have been issued by the FIA. I doubt the piece of paper says “Damon Hill, 23b Rich Person Towers, rue de la Wealthy, Monaco” as the title on top!

  214. monktonnik says:

    Well I thought it was a grat move and Schumi caught Alonso napping.

    What is interesting is that all of the BBC commentators seemed to be reasonably sure it was legal once it was established that the overtake happened after the safety car line. So this really is a relatively obscure rule, and it seems the only function it serves is to avoid finishing the race behind the safety car. To me that is a bit of a fig leaf.

    However, the sad fact is that according to the regulations it was illegal and therefore the stewards had no choice but to award Schumacher a penalty. 20 seconds added to the race time is their only option.

    I think this makes Schumi look good, and Alonso a little bit bad.

  215. Monkey says:

    The penalty given is a farce. Considering that race control made a mess of it by putting the race back under green. This is the dumbest thing since Spa 08.

  216. Rasco says:

    I’m livid! At the very worst he should have his 6th place finish demoted to 7th! He passed after the saftey car line with green flags waving! The marshalling & rules seem to contradict each other! I’m so angry about this!

  217. carretto says:

    MS should have been demoted to 7th position and call that a day.
    Race control made a mistake and and gave the wrong impression that the race was still on. MS was not the only driver who tried to accelerate ASAP the SC went in. He was the only one having given a great opportunity and he took it.
    I’m a Ferrari fan and I was gutted when I saw it, yet the move was somewhat legitimate from the driver point of view: SC signes were replaced by green flags, that means: racing.
    MS should have not been punished so harshly, but simply reinstated to his original position.

    On a different note.
    Is the FIA looking on Barrichello criminal act of throwing the steering wheel on the track while the race is on and cars are coming?

    1. Gerry Satrapa says:

      Barrichello’s act was hardly criminal, but certainly deserving of a penalty – as it is written in to the rules that the wheel must be reattached before the driver leaves the stricken car (enabling marshals to move the car sans driver). That and the fact that it became potentially dangerous when other cars subsequently hit and also relocated it…

      1. carretto says:

        So, throwing an object that weigh 1kilo on a race track were cars are passing by at more than 1km per hours is not criminal.

        People get jailed for throwing stones on the highways at passing by cars.
        What Barrichello did was about the same.

      2. carretto says:

        I meant more than 100km per hours…

  218. Robert says:

    The problem is that the rules don’t state that the race must end under the safety car if the safety car is deployed at the beginning of the last lap. This means that one scenario for the end of a race, would be to bring the safety car in at the end of the last lap and allow racing to the line. If race control had decided they wanted follow this scenario in any particular race, how should they indicate it?

    I believe the only way that they could indicate it would be by the exact procedure that they followed in Monaco. To differentiate from this scenario when ending the race under safety car conditions, it would make sense for race control to issue the instruction ‘The race will finish behind the safety car’ and for ‘SC’ boards / yellow flags to be waved to the finish. Whether the safety car then peels into the pits or remains on track is not relevant.

  219. Sharp_Saw says:

    Alright, I’m going to do a step by step analysis of Article 40.13 in the context of the race so that we can understand better as to where Schumacher erred.

    40.13 If the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.

    1. “If the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed ”

    The clause clearly states what will happen if the safety car is deployed at the end of the race.

    2. “it (the Safety Car) will enter the pitlane at the end of the last lap”

    Since it was the last lap, the safety car itself entered the pits as per the regulations.

    3. “and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal”

    Taking the chequered flag as normal could mean that the track status is green with the green flags beings waved and the green lights flashing as was the case after the Safety car line in the race.

    4. “without overtaking”

    This means that drivers are obliged NOT to overtake other cars. Schumacher breached this part of the regulation with his overtaking maneuver on Alonso’s Ferrari on the final lap of the race after the safety car had entered the pit-lane and thus is correctly penalised.

    Then again, if Ross Brawn and Schumacher are genuinely encountering difficulty in understanding this regulation, one can give them the benefit of the doubt with regards to the wording of the first part of this clause where it needs to be clarified if the end of the race means the final lap before the chequered flag is taken. The wording here needs to be amended for better clarity, because the end of the race, to my understanding means to take the chequered flag. But the remaining part of the clause is abundantly clear as to what obligations the drivers are under, i.e., no overtaking till the chequered flag is taken.

    1. Rocky says:

      2. “it (the Safety Car) will enter the pitlane at the end of the last lap”

      Since it was the last lap, the safety car itself entered the pits as per the regulations.


      Aha, but it wasn’t the end now, was it? A lap ‘ends’ whne you cross the start-finish line, not when you enter the pits BEFORE.

      1. mvi says:

        According to your logic, rule 40.13 can never apply.

    2. Luffer says:

      All you need to do is look at your part 1:

      1. “If the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed ”

      As Green flags were waved with “Safety Car in this lap” and “Track clear” messages relayed to teams. It is plainly obvious that the SC was NOT deployed at the end of the race.

      There is no ambiguity with the rules. They are fine and perfectly clear, there is no contradiction.

      However, if Race Control intended for the race to finish under SC conditions they screwed up. Yellow flags and SC boards should have been shown until the end. NOT Green flags, which means racing resumed!

  220. AdrianP says:

    Article 40.13
    “If the race ends while the safety car is deployed, it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.”

    The two crucially different scenarios can be contemplated under the rule:
    (1) The safety car remains ‘deployed’ when the race ends (although it would be in the pit lane);
    (2) The safety car is ‘deployed’ for the beginning of the last lap, but is no longer ‘deployed’ once it goes into the pit lane.

    In eventuality (1) overtaking is not permitted at all; in eventuality (2), overtaking is permitted after the safety car line.

    As to (2) this is no different from when the safety car is deployed and comes in say on Lap 7 – overtaking is permitted at any time after the safety car line – i.e. still on Lap 7 (the new rule). The teams would be notified of this by the message ‘Safety Car in this Lap’. There is no sensible reason why this new rule should not, at least potentially, equally apply to the last lap as any other lap – the position is exactly analogous, and the intention of the new rule is to allow racing for an extra fraction of a lap.

    How does one distinguish scenario (1) from scenario (2) in practice? One obvious way would be to use the flags – yellow meaning, safety car still ‘deployed’; green meaning ‘racing’. But apparently in their infinite wisdom, scenario (1) will also be shown with green flags. This is simply sheer stupidity on the part of the rule-makers etc.

    So the only way to distinguish scenario (1) from scenario (2) is by what was signalled to the teams – that was ‘Safety Car in this lap’ on the last lap: this can only sensibly be taken to mean that one is in scenario (2): because (a) this is exactly the same signal that is given if the SC comes in on e.g. Lap 7, allowing racing from the safety car line while still on Lap 7; and (b) any such signal is entirely redundant in scenario (1) (since everyone would know that the safety car would invariably come into the pits anyway during the last lap because of the operation of rule 40.13).

    The upshot of the above is that if the stewards had wanted the SC to continue to be treated as ‘deployed’ until the end of the race, they gave an incorrect signal, or at least a highly misleading one.

    There is a very strong case that Schumacher was perfectly entitled to overtake (i.e. we were in scenario 2). Even if he wasn’t, the fault is because the regulations are entirely unclear and permit this ambiguity, and the stewards did not signal their intentions clearly.

    1. Hutch says:

      This got me thinking: If this was a 2-hour time limited race, would the drivers necessarily know that this lap was going to be the last lap, and therefore the special safety car rules apply.

    2. drums says:

      But… there is or there is not this year a ruled exception of the general rule stating clearly that no overtaken has to be done if SC is deployed in the last lap? I think there is. SC then was going into the pit lane in order to not be the first car under the checkered flag. Said that, I agree green flags were misleading. Yet McLaren, Renault and Ferrari had adviced clearly their pilots not to overtake. Just a mere coincidence, or a shared interpretation of the rules?

      1. AdrianP says:

        Drums, if the rule provided that ‘no overtaking has to be done if SC is deployed in the last lap’ then the situation would be clear. But it doesn’t. Read Article 40.13 again and my post and you’ll see the point (I hope).

  221. Lee Gilbert says:


    I am sorry to say that the F1 rules situation is still clearly flawed.

    The rule 40.13 may state the cars must proceed to flag without overtaking but that rule is now at odds with the new rule for 2010 regarding Safety Car line 1. It looks like the rule was written for this year without understanding the impact across the rule book as a whole

    I think that the Monaco stewards may have been slightly “boxed in” by the contradictory nature of the rule book

    I imagine Mercedes will appeal – I would – and I think that under a legal challenge they will easily win

    What I find interesting is that Ferrari allegedly told their drivers they could not pass and just to proceed to the line. They are seemingly the ONLY team to have done this – I would like to see evidence of other teams communicating the same message as Ferrari. Moreover, Alonso did not look to me – giving his power slide and massive determination into the final corner – that his was proceeding the line!

    Either way – the F1 rule book has failed itself again and clearly needs rewriting.

    1. Roberto says:

      I don`t agree with wthat happen, but apparently Mclaren told Hamilton that they will be finishing the race under the SC, they give him orders to not overtake.

      1. mvi says:

        McLaren’s online live commentary from the race (see their website) shows clearly that they told Lewis not to overtake. And Lewis was surprised that Schumacher had done so on Alonso.

  222. Ian says:

    I think the decision to punish Schumacher is wrong, SC came in green flags etc the overtake should have been allowed and if necessary clarify the rules for the next race and remove any grey area.

    But to be fair to Damon I don’t think any personal agenda or past score to settle with Schumi came into it – this decision based on FIA regulations would have been taken by the stewarts who (we hope) have an indepth knowledge of all the rules/regulations.

    The role of the ex driver’s on the stewarts panel this season is to help bring a drivers perspective to any decision/incident, ie drivers who collide during overtakes, blocking during qualifying etc so all Damon could bring to the table from a drivers perspective is to say that Schumi was told by his team it was ok to pass & that it would be up to the stewarts to interpret the regulation against the race directors instruction issued to teams/marshals

  223. Maris Silis says:

    - Just a thought…

    …while everyone talks about the last lap incident – what about Alonso’s overtake in the tunnel on lap one?

    If you watch the footage, Alonso is setting about passing the Hispania just as the Williams crashes. You can see the yellow flashing lights come on, yet Alonso continues to complete the pass.

    If Alonso had been brought in for a penalty for passing under the yellow, we wouldn’t now all be talking about a last corner pass under the green.

    Thoughts James?

  224. Osama says:

    Hello everyone,

    Thank you so much for your amazing website Allen.

    Is it just me, or did anyone notice how Barrichello showed a lack of sportsmanship??!!

    after his high speed crash in monaco, his car was facing the wrong side of the track and everyone was passing by him, before he gets out of the car he threw his steering wheel on the road, few seconds later a mclaren ran over it!!! that could result in a huge accident!!

    now this deserves a severe penalty!

    i was waiting for anyone to talk about it, but strangley no one noticed it!! please watch the replay of the race, it was so clear and visible

    1. Roberto says:

      You are totally right, it was highly dangerous to throw the steering wheel to the road, i understand all drivers need to leave he steering attached once they are out of the car either by accident or after the race is finished.

      In this case i think he should be heavely penalised.

  225. Lu says:

    Aren’t we all missing an important point?
    Don’t the stewards review these incidents BECAUSE the rules can’t always take every possibility into account?!
    Surely it’s their job to say “Yes, the rule is clear (which it’s not, but that’s beside the point), but it doesn’t actually apply to this situation, for whatever reason”
    In other words, they’re there to apply common sense! That’s my understanding of it anyway.
    Because if they’re simply there to say “this is the law, you broke it. Case closed”, then why have them?
    Then all you need is one lawyer with a rule book travelling around from race to race.
    Seriously, what’s the point of the stewards panel if they’re not there to apply common sense.
    No offense, but most of the contributors on here are probably Brits, who, let’s be honest, don’t really like Schumi.
    Yet they can clearly see that this ruling’s stupid. How can the stewards not see it?
    Which brings me back to the question – what is their function? Is it to apply the laws in a mechanical fashion? Or is it to think about the laws and use common sense to see whether they’re appropriate to each situation as it occurs?

    1. johnpierre rivera says:

      well said…

  226. Ironically the issue here has little to do with Schumacher and more to do with the rules and their interpretations. I am no fan of Schumacher, but I can see what he tried to do here and in a way it was very clever. Yet again F1 implements a rule which is ambiguous and asinine, probably just to add some controversy so we keep talking about the race long after it finishes.

    I do wish the FIA would do things in a simpler way – why bother bringing the safety car in like they did and cause all of this confusion when they could just have finished it under a yellow flag? If they forbid overtaking, it’s crazy to drop a green flag like that.

  227. SA Fan says:

    I would like to know what happened to the speed of all the cars when that green light appeared. I am sure everyone accelerated!? Surely if they knew the race was done, why would they speed up?

    Maybe a silly question, but….

  228. Jimbo says:

    The decision to penalise Schumacher is a nothing but a disgrace to the sport.

    Your either racing or not racing. What a STUPID BLOODY RULE.

    Mr Todt do something about this.

  229. mvi says:

    I agree with Eddie Jordan that it was not correct for Ross Brawn to quickly come out and plead his case to the public in such detail before going in to see the stewards. Brawn himself is so compelling, confident and well-prepared that it is easy to agree with him about everything he says. Even when he presents only part of the picture and ignores the rest.

    It looks to me like Mercedes had already figured out in advance what to do if a safety car was deployed in the last lap. Brawn is pretty good at spotting loopholes and I suspect he saw some vagueness/contradictions in the rules and found a way to misread them. It’s quite an opportunity to overtake if you believe others are told not to overtake, as he could have predicted.

    Not only Ferrari respected rule 40.13 but also McLaren who I’m sure read the rules thoroughly after their experience last year in Melbourne. Their online commentary posted that Hamilton was told not to overtake (surely the Mercedes pitcrew were monitoring stuff like that) and he was surprised that Schumacher moved on Alonso.

    I admit to being cynical here. What better attention than Schumacher getting the better of Alonso with a “clever” move and taking the spotlight away from Webber in his moment of triumph? Tacky in my mind, but hey, it may sell some cars.

    And the FIA should clean up its rules.

  230. Nick4 says:

    I cannot see how, according to Article 40.13, Damon Hill etc could have ruled otherwise! The regs have clearly made a distinction/exception for a scenario just as what happened. As many as who have criticised Hill (and its not Hill on his own) for being impartial toward Schumie, so it strikes me that the majority of the contributors have expressed such strong opnions because they themselves are Schumie fans and don’t want to see him punished – they are just as impartial!!
    Surely Charlie Whiting needs to be questioned to find out what he intended to happen? If he was mindful of 40.13 and he intended to complete the race in accordance with that reg then that is why to mind the stewards ruled the way they did.
    Surely the teams need to scrutinise these regs and challenge them before a race situation reveals their apparent contradictions.
    Everyone seems to know certain rules like the back of their hands, yet one like this, and so recently changed, and with teams’ knowledge, is left to a race situation to determine its interpretation.
    It was interesting that almost as soon it had happened, Martin Brundle had commented that the incident was being investigated. The stewards picked it up before any teams had, alomost as though they were looking out for such an event to happen!

  231. MacG says:

    The rule appears ambiguous. Schumi was wrong if the SC was still deployed (even if it was in the pit lane).

    Schumi was right if the SC was no longer deployed.

    The green flags suggest the SC was no longer deployed, so the punishment should not stand.

    I think race control intended the race to be subject 40.13, but in that case, they should have displayed yellow flags. Presumably, the stewards asked race control about their intentions/understanding of the rule.

    As it was, race control showed the green flags and had already notified the teams that the SC was coming in/no longer deployed.

    This really seems to be an error on race control’s part . . . the change in the rules has clearly caught them out.

    They should admit their error, clarify the rule and reinstate Schumi behind Alonso as that was the result/scheme/safety decision they seem to have intended.

    Silly for people to say Hill would act unprofessionally against Shcumi.

    Time to clarify the rule and move on folks. This is too trivial to get het up about.

  232. Gerry Satrapa says:

    yes. spot on!

    Schumacher off on technicality would be what I’d expect as the upshot…

    What a poorly written (and subsequently interpreted) rule. I’d suggest “as normal” needs to be deleted. Also, I’d suggest, if the safety car starts the final lap – the entire lap SHOULD be under SC conditions (and therefore be under yellow flags and SC boards, not the green flags as displayed at Monaco).

  233. Jon says:

    Surely 40.13 needs to be put into context of the original safety car procedures:
    Safety car is over when ‘safety car in this lap’ is displayed
    When the safety car enters the pits the yellow flags and SC boards will be replaced with green flags.
    The safety cars lights will be extinguished.

    That is for ending safety car conditions.
    Rule 40.13 says ‘If the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.’

    So we can take from this that the safety car must still be deployed (albeit in the pit lane) for the rule to apply. Given that the safety car in this lap was displayed, yellow flags were changed to green and the car extinguished its lights – surely the safety car was coming in and not finishing the race deployed. All criteria for ending the safety car were fulfilled so the race did not finish with the car deployed, therefore the move should be deemed as legal.

  234. guy says:

    James – I have now read the regulations and there appears to be a gap (we solicitors call it a ‘lacuna’) in that there is no rule covering the safety car coming in (beacsue the track is clear) on the last lap.
    Rule 40.13 covers a situation where the saftey car is still deployed (ie if there were more laps the SC would remain out on track) not where the SC is called in (ie if there had been more laps the race would have continued without the SC).
    This is demonstrated by rules:
    - 40.7 (which sets out when you can overtake and the exceptions) – this does not list rule 40.13 as an exception nor does it say for example ‘no overtaking on the last lap even if the SC is called in’; and
    - 40.11 – which states when the SC is called in there will be green flags and lights – as was the case.
    Curiously, there is no explanation as to how 40.13 would operate – ie how race control will let drivers know the SC will peel into the pit lane but that there must be no overtaking as technically this is still a SC race.
    In conclusion the rules, and how thery were implemented by race control are unclear – this begs the question: Did Charlie Whiting call in the SC because the track was clear (if so MSC was right to overtake) or because of an unclear implementaion of rule 40.13 (in which case MSC was wrong to overtake – but has mitigation).
    What do you think?

    1. Martin P says:

      I agree completely with your analysis.

      To answer your question (not that you asked me!) I suspect Charlie brought the SC in because it was the last lap.

      But he had no distinguishable mechanism for telling everyone else that – not the teams, not the marshalls, not the drivers. Instead he used the same indicators as for any other removal of safety car conditions and was therefore relying on them all interpreting the rule in the way it was intended.

      Some did, some didn’t. But it’s the gap in the rules that allowed that wiggle room – and the very fact that the wiggle room exists is why I would hope any appeal succeeds (I’d bow to your legal training for a view on that though!).

      We’ve seen this before with technical regulations, but in those cases a clarification is sought by another team, the FIA issues it and everyone moves on from that point forward. I don’t really see why this one had to be any different. Drop the penalty, clarify the rule, close the lacuna and move on.

    2. Stuey says:

      Rule 40.13 appears with exactly the same wording in the 2009 sporting regulations. Then it was not a problem as if the safety car was out on the last lap, there is no way anyone would have been able to overtake before the finish line.

      The movement of the safety car line has caused the rule to become ambiguous as others have said – it creates the possibility of racing occuring on the last lap in the last few hundred metres.

      It’s an error by the rule makers possibly, perhaps they didn’t reconsider the rule for 2010? – the implications of moving the safety car line should have meant the rule was re-written to distinguish between a green condition track and a track still under safety car conditions from the run up to the finish.

      The indication given was it was a green track – the safety car in this lap message was sent out, the lights on the car were switched off and green flags were shown. If it was to end under the safety car, the SC board and waved yellows should have remained in place to the finish line even after the car peeled into the pits.

      1. Jon says:

        The thing is in 2009 the yellow flags and S.C. boards were kept out until the finish despite there being no chance to overtake! (Aus 09) http://img237.imageshack.us/img237/8861/greg4w.jpg

        So for that not to happen now indicates that this race was finishing under different circumstances. There should be a clear indicator of whether the S.C. conditions are ending or if it is just coming in as you say, and it would seem green vs yellow flags makes sense. In this case the move would be deemed legal. Why the same actions weren’t taken as last year, particuarly with it being more relavent this year I dont know. It should be consistent either way – the overtake has just made the mistake even worse!

  235. Matt says:

    The green lights were out to signal to all the cars on the grid that the SC was back in the pits but the SC was still controlling the race via rule 40.13 to make the finish look better rather than it being with a SC in front, so no overtaking was allowed. Brawn was trying to be a bit too clever by trying to exploit a technicality that it not really there. And as for Hill getting revenge I think that is quite ridiculous, and if you ar talking about possible biases what about Jean Todt who is very close to Schumacher. However I think neither of these two men would let prejudices affect their judgement.

    1. Luffer says:

      “The green lights were out to signal to all the cars on the grid that the SC was back in the pits but the SC was still controlling the race”

      Green lights DO NOT indicate that the SC is controlling the race. That’s what Yellow flags and SC boards are for!

      1. Matt says:

        The yellow flags indicate that the SC is out on the track and the green flags were telling the drivers that it is coming into the pits and if it was not the last lap then it would mean straight forward racing but since it was the last lap rule 40.13 was invoked so that the race could still be controlled and the cars could finish without a SC in front.

      2. Luffer says:

        But rule 40.4 states:

        “ALL marshal’s posts will display waved yellow flags and “SC” boards for the duration of the intervention [of the safety car]“

        As this didn’t happen the SC cannot be deemed to be “deployed” when the race ended as Green flags were shown.

      3. Matt says:

        Yes and that would be true if it was not the last lap and seeing as it was it is not relevent because of rule 40.13 which are the rules for a SC on the last lap of the race, thus making normal SC re-start procedure irrelevant. The green flags just meant that it was back up to racing speed, and seeing as all the other teams bar Mercades had instructed their drivers that there was no overtaking their interpretation seem to be the correct one.

      4. Luffer says:


        The facts are what you have to look at here, not the “interpretation”. The facts are:

        For the SC to be deployed rule 40.4 has to be in effect. Which states:

        “ALL marshal’s posts will display waved yellow flags and “SC” boards for the duration of the intervention [of the safety car]“

        Also, for rule 40.13 to hold the SC had to be deployed at the END of the race:

        “If the race ends while the safety car is deployed”

        Every procedure to bring in the SC was followed, the “Safety Car In This Lap” message was sent, the “Track Clear” message was sent. The SC turned off its lights and Green flags were waived after the SC line.

        If the SC was to be deployed until the end of the race as required by rule 40.13 then the Yellow flags and “SC” boards should have stayed out, just like in Aus ’09 after the SC came in, but they didn’t!

        Also, if you have a SC the drivers can’t go at “racing speed” so every driver should be penalised for that.

        You simply can’t have Green flags AND a Safety Car. It’s really not hard to understand this, what’s the problem?

      5. Matt says:

        The race WAS ending under the SC but because it looks bad for tv if the race finishes behind the SC the rule 40.13 is there so that the SC peels of into the pits and the cars race over the line but with no overtaking. So it was like a normal SC re-start with the invoked rule of 40.13 of no overtaking BECAUSE IT WAS THE LAST LAP and thus the message informing the driver that the SC would go into the pits and the green flags informing them that it was back up to racing speed, with there being no overtaking because of RULE 40.13. Your interpretation of rule 40.13 does not make sense because you say that it has to come into place when the race ends under a SC which you either think means that the SC has to pass the finish line therefore making the part where it goes of into the pits impossible or that it does go of into the pits but there are still yellow flag waving which tells the cars to slow down so they cannot go back up to speed without all getting a penalty.

      6. Luffer says:

        Yes exactly that!

        For rule 40.13 to come into effect the Yellow flags and “SC” boards should have been waved until the chequered flag… Just like they did correctly in Australia 2009. The SC could have pulled into the pits on the last lap BUT the Yellow flags should have remained. As per rule 40.4!

        Because the Green flags were waved the race DID NOT end under the safety car. This is clearly a technicality but it’s a very important one.

        As I’ve said dozens of times already, you CANNOT have Green flags AND the Safety Car at the same time. They completely contradict each other!

      7. Matt says:

        You cannot compare it to Australia 09 because the SC rules have changed with the introduction of the SC line so in 09 there was not the issue of what flags to wave between the SC line and the start/finish line. If they had kept the yellow flags from the SC line to the finish line then all of the cars would of had to carried on driving slowly to the finish line which would of been just as farcical as crossing the line behind a SC. So green flags were waved to tell the driver that it was back up to speed but there was still no overtaking because of the illusive rule 40.13. As regards to your issue of there cannot be a SC and green flags at the same time the green flags mean that the driver has passed the potential danger and the prohibitions imposed by yellow flags have been lifted which are to slow down and no overtaking, but this is the key issue, rule 40.13 comes into effect by it being the last lap so THAT was controlling the no overtaking so all the green flags meant that it lifted the order of the cars to slow down and NOT the lifting of no overtaking restrictions.

  236. Paul Webster says:

    Clearly MS was told by his team that he could race (Ross said so in TV interview) – so he did (and he probably saw the waving green flag and flashing green light). So what he did was completely understandable (even if later determined as wrong).
    I’d like to hear the Ferrari radio – to see if FA was told to hold station and that he acknowledged it.

    Looks to me like FIA did not update the rules well enough when the ability pass from the SC line was added.
    Rule 40.11 includes ‘When the clerk of the course decides it is safe to call in the safety car the message “SAFETY CAR IN THIS LAP” will be displayed on the timing monitors and the car’s orange lights will be extinguished This will be the signal to the teams and drivers that it will be entering the pit lane at the end of that lap.’

    Since it is clear from 40.13 that they had forseen a situation where the race would end under the SC – should they have left the orange lights on and not issued “SC In” notice?

    What, under the regulations, would have the “right” procedure have been if it is was not what was done?

    If the lights had been left on … then the cars would have been obliged to follow the SC into the pit lane (imagine a protester had jumped onto the track and was being chased by marshalls back up the finishing straight).
    Regulation 40.10 says:
    “Under certain circumstances the clerk of the course may ask the safety car to use the pit lane. In these cases, and provided its orange lights remain illuminated, all cars must follow it into the pit lane without overtaking.”

    So – to make it possible for the SC to leave the track and the cars to finish at the finish line they had to turn off the lights.

    In this case – the end of the lap is the end of the race. That was fine when passing was not allowed until the finish line – but makes it unclear when the rules were changed to allow it from SC line prior to finish line.

    40.11 also includes information about why the flags and lights went green …
    ‘As the safety car is approaching the pit entry the yellow flags and SC boards will be withdrawn and replaced by waved green flags with green lights at the Line. These will be displayed until the last car crosses the Line.’

    So it all rests on the word “deployed”.
    Was the safety car still “deployed” at the end of the race?
    Race control sent the “SC In This Lap” message and the flashing lights on the car were turned off before the last few corners.
    From 40.11 “This will be the signal to the teams and drivers that it will be entering the pit lane at the end of that lap.”

    Once the stewards decided that MS broke the rules then they had 3 options – and my guess is that MS prefers the 20 seconds time (in lieu of drive through) to 10 places on next grid.

    Might not help Mercedes to know that the FIA International Sporting Code says (154 para 5):
    “Penalties of driving through or stopping in pit lanes together with certain penalties specified in FIA Championship regulations
    where this is expressly stated, are not susceptible to appeal.”
    In this case the penalty was a drive through … which is enacted as a time penatly because the race had ended.

    What a mess.

  237. F1 Kitteh says:

    Its even more ironic that he’s got one back for Massa against Alonso for that pit lane entry overtake

  238. Mightyquin says:

    Just curious – there are several posts and images about how last years Oz GP finished without the safety car on the track, but with the SC board and yellow flags still out – does anyone know if race control there issued the “safety car in this lap” statement, or did it peel into the pits with it’s lights still on without any announcement?

    Just wondered what the previous routine was – and whether it was a fair assumption that the end of the Monaco GP was or wasn’t the same situation – as the main issue of contention seems to be “was the SC still deployed at the end of the race or not”

    1. Ambient Sheep says:

      Good question.

    2. Eric says:

      Race control did issue a ‘safety car in this lap’ announcement on the last lap. Martin talked about it about when the cars were at the Loews hairpin.

      Therefore, this suggests that the safety car in announcement was independent from it being the last lap of the race. Therefore, the race wasn’t ending under safety car conditions (hence the green flags) but the safety car was out on the last lap. A safety car finish looks like the one in Melbourne in 09. Monaco did not look like this.

      1. Mightyquin says:

        Sorry – my question was about the Melbourne 09 race – to see how that compared with messages etc. from race contorl this time.

        From some research, the “Safety car in this lap” message was also broadcast at that race about midway through the final lap – same as Monaco.

        Where it differed though was it seems there was also a communication to teams to advise them that the race would finish under safety car conditions – and the waved yellow flags and SC boards continued BEYOND the finish line for the drivers in-lap (check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exuFhkJEWHk&feature=related – can clearly see SC boards still showing after cars are well past the finish line).

        This to me implies the race at Monaco did not END under SC – which is the condition for rule 40.13 to apply.

  239. LeighJW says:

    Oh my god, someone passed another car. We can’t have that! Penalise him!!!

    But seriously, this article in the regulations is surely intended for situations where they can’t clear up whatever is causing the safety car and just want to allow the cars to cross the line properly (for photographers to get the winning GP shots).

    If the track goes green (and it clearly was green) surely racing can resume. Why not? What is the problem?

    I fear that the Stewards fell into the trap of not understanding why the regulation is there.

    At the very least this ambiguity needs to be cleared up.

  240. Paulinho says:

    Seems to me that the rule allowing the cars to take the chequered whilst still under a safty car is more about “TV” and “Track side audiences” than anything else…

    As each rule changes in F1 sadly F1 heads more towards a show like “WWE” :-(

  241. Sharp_Saw says:

    Appendix H to International Sporing Code
    Chapter II – Supervision of the Road
    Article 4.1.2 (f): Flag signals to be used at observation posts:

    f) Green flag:
    This should be used to indicate that the track is clear and should be waved at the observation post immediately after the incident that necessitated the use of one or more yellow flags.

    - It may also be used, if deemed necessary by the Clerk of the Course, to signal the start of a warm-up lap or the start of a practice session.

    According to this regulation, there is no mention of a green flag necessitating the permissibility of overtaking other cars.

  242. Sharp_Saw says:

    Article 2 – CIRCUIT RACING
    Article (f): Signals used at marshal posts.

    f) Green flag
    This should be used to indicate that the track is clear: it should be waved at the marshal post immediately after the incident that necessitated the use of one or more yellow flags.

    It may also be used, if deemed necessary by the Clerk of the Course, to signal the start of a warm-up lap or the start of a practice session.

    According to this regulation, there is no mention of a green flag necessitating the permissibility of overtaking other cars.

  243. Lalit says:


    I know so much has been said already, (i doubt you will even find my question in all these posts)… but still here goes -

    With all your experience watching F1 up close, and seeing it evolve through various rules and regulations, how would suggest the last lap should have been panned out, with the given rules that we have.

    Do you think they should have been showing Yellow flags instead?

    Or if you were in Charlie Whiting’s shoes, would you have done anythign different to prevent this situation in the first place?


  244. Rick J says:

    Maybe few others will share this sentiment (haven’t read most of the other 400 + entries) but I feel sorry for Damon Hill. However this all pans out, the decision to penalize Michael Schumacher for an incident while he was presiding as one of the stewards will forever come back to haunt Hill. He can’t win. Whichever way he ruled given their personal history, it comes down to damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Poor guy! You try and help out and all that happens is your reputation takes a further knock!

    On reading the rule, I think it is pretty clear that the stewards were merely attempting to correctly apply a rule as it is (badly) written.

    In the circumstances the circuit should not have shown green for the last few yards – but it was and that changes everything. Schumacher deserves the spot.

  245. David Oakley says:

    Without Schumacher F1 is boring how dare he try to overtake another driver he’s a born racer he was so good they had to change the rules in 2004/5 to stop him winning and thats the truth, and when they did that I stopped watching F1 its a farce, Schumacher is a winner and the greatest driver ever and winners are something we don’t like in Britain. I think Jenson is a great driver but he will never be in the class of Schumacher, Im British but I admire winners!

  246. Roberto says:

    Many of the readers agree that it waqs a huge mistake to wave the green flags if the rule states no passing after the SC enters the pit lane on the last lap. Also i think there is a quote from Ross Brawn were he states that normally race control notifies what conditions will prevail and in this case nobody receive an alert of NO PASSING, therefore no message + green flags = Overtaking Allowed.

    It was great to see MS doing an agressive move, it shows how determined is he.

  247. Nando says:

    Alonso and Massa both had huge wheel-spin on the last corner makes you think they weren’t aware that no overtaking was allowed. I assume they’ve checked Ferrari’s radio transmissions to make sure Domenecalli hasn’t lied to the stewards.

  248. Bobby says:

    The Safey Car rule in question needs revision. Either keep the safety car on the course for the yellow chequer (something US motorsport safety car pilots Johnny Rutherford and Brett of racing from end of safety car) or go GWC (two untimed laps following end of safety car in some formulae; a similar format is used in British Superbike acing).

  249. Steph2009 says:

    McLaren told Lewis he was unable to overtake once the SC pitted:


    Pit: – “Lewis this is the last lap of the race we’ll be finishing behind the safety car. No overtaking.”

    Pit: – “Lewis on the last lap the safety car will go into the pits. The cars will proceed to the line and no overtaking.”

    HAM: – “I thought you said we couldn’t pass after the safety car? Michael passed Fernando.”

    1. Luffer says:

      And you point is?

      Just because a team interpreted the situation in a different way doesn’t make them right. Mercedes GP read it differently (and in my opinion correctly).

      Just because the officials (steward) made a ruling doesn’t make them right either. Plenty of evidence where referees etc.. have made the wrong decision.

      Hopefully this appeal will show that Race Control handled the end of the race badly. Set out the correct procedure and remove the penalty… Though I don’t think it can be removed now even if it is wrong. But that’s a whole other argument!

  250. Klaas says:

    This totally stinks.
    I am sure that Damon Hill didn’t hesitate to give Michael this penalty. He probably had a smile on his face when he asked for a penalty. Michael clearly overtook under green flags. This is just a case of getting back at Schumi.
    And if Ferrari were telling both drivers racing was not permitted, how on earth did Alonso and Massa almost put their cars in the barrier? They were also aggressive on the restart.

    It reminds me back of Monaco 2006. Where Schumi also got a unfair penalty. If you watch the footage of that qualify from on board Alonso’s car, you can clearly see and hear, he was not affected by Schumacher’s car. So the result would have been the same, but no there were some anti-schumacher people who make such decisions nowadays.

    I am a huge f1 fan and we are asking for more overtaking and if then someone actually manages to overtake, then he gets a penalty. What has happened to this sport. Now you know why this sport isn’t popular in America. 1. There’s almost no overtaking.
    2. If you do manage to overtake, you can expect a penalty of some sorts, so they quickly make up a rule. (art 40.4 you can’t overtake if you weigh less than 70 kilos and if the safety car is in this lap)
    3. The sport has become too safe and the new tracks are BORING!
    4. You have to wait for at least one week before you know the actual results, cos in f1 everything can happen!!!

    No I think I’ve had it with f1, think I’ll switch to MotoGp. They actually care for the fans and the racing in that sport.

  251. Shmern says:

    Right my take on it….

    The 40.13 rule is actually pretty clear and if flags had stayed Yellow to the finish line then MSC should deservedly get the Penalty.

    However the Green Flag (and to a lesser degree the Safety car in message) changes things for me, it was the handling of the flags and Safety car in message that caused this incident.

    Imagine another scenario (apologies if it has already been talked about above)

    Middle of the Race, accident, Track is on yellow, so no overtaking and IMPORTANTLY No driving at racing speeds especially purple sectors
    Mistakenly (as I believe happened in Monaco)a section of the track is flagged Green, as a result a driver does a Purple time in the sector waved green.

    In this scenario, with what happened to MSC, that driver would be penalised, is this right ? surely not,

    I’m obviously staying away from the overtaking part on purpose, but the flag situation is the same, driver sees Green, and goes for it, by some miracle does a purple on cold tyres, it is NOT his fault.

    I think on appeal the FIA should reverse the penalty and just put MSC back behind ALO, the mistake was theirs and MSC was the only one to act.

    BTW this comes from a person who does not like MSC, as I feel in the past he has stepped over the line too many times.

    As a side note, I would have loved this overtake to have been allowed, and indeed the scenario of racing to the line be allowed as it would provide great excitement akin to the start of the race and certainly no more dangerous!

    Disappointed in Belfast….

  252. Rafael says:

    I simply CANNOT believe that so many people are saying this is a farce.

    Every team and driver read (supposedly) the rules for this season. Not knowing them, or not understanding them, is not an excuse. If there was ambiguity (which there IS NOT) then it should probably have been discussed prior to Bahrain.

    As a poster here has already said (Phil I think?), it is ridiculous to try and pull a technicality and say “oh, the race didn’t end under safety car conditions because the safety car pulled in on the last lap”.

    Uh, that happens every time. Remember Australia 2009? That race ended “under safety car conditions” and the safety car ALSO pulled in on the last lap.

    Ultimately, a lap is under SC conditions if the SC STARTS the lap. The SC STARTED the last lap, therefore the ENTIRE lap was under SC conditions.

    Ross Brawn made a mistake. He’s human and mistakes happen. This should not be pinned on the stewards or the FIA. The rule, to me, seems crystal clear.

    1. Ambient Sheep says:

      Remember Australia 2009? That race ended “under safety car conditions” and the safety car ALSO pulled in on the last lap.

      Yes, I remember what a race that ends under safety car conditions looks like. It looks like this:


      Note the yellows and SC boards still out, as opposed to the green lights and flags that were shown to Schumacher.

      THAT’S the difference.

      1. elephino says:

        It’s not the difference. The rules have changed significantly in the SC area.

        I expect a small rule change (which I dub the “Ross Brawn clause”) from this regarding which flags are displayed on the last lap. Obviously the race director (who says which flags should be displayed) said the wrong thing but the rules ‘overrule’ the flags anyway.

  253. Andy C says:

    I was a bit dissapointed to see the penalty for Schumacher. In my view the green flag was on, safety car was in the pits and he overtook after the line.

    A practical solution would be just for the race director/chief steward to get on the radio and confirm in advance that no overtaking would be allowed.

    Ah well, thats what makes F1 so frustrating at times isnt it. Practical solutions very rarely make it into the equation.

  254. Sharp_Saw says:

    This is a little bit redundant but I thought it would be nice to have all the relevant regulations properly cited in one post to make it easier for other readers to reference both the relevant documents. Both documents are available in pdf format on the F.I.A. website and can be consulted for clarification. In the end, I have two concerns left.

    1. Does the use of the Green flag automatically legalise overtaking whilst cars are between the safety car and finish line–after the safety car comes into the pits during the final lap of the race–considering the Article 40.13 regulation?

    2. What does the phrase “If the race ends” in Article 40.13 of the Sporting Regulations mean? Does it refer to final lap as it is distinguished from “cars will take the chequered flag”?


    40) SAFETY CAR (Page 24)

    40.11 (Page 25)

    “. . . As the safety car is approaching the pit entry the yellow flags and SC boards will be withdrawn and replaced by waved green flags with green lights at the Line. These will be displayed until the last car crosses the Line.”

    40.13 (Page 25)

    “If the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.”



    2.4 SIGNALLING (Page 6)

    2.4.5 Signals used at marshall’s posts (Page 9) Marshall flag signals (Page 9)

    b) Yellow flag (Page 9)
    This is a signal of danger and should be shown to drivers in two ways with the following meanings:

    - Single waved: Reduce your speed, do not overtake, and be prepared to change direction. There is a hazard beside or partly on the track.

    - Double waved: Reduce your speed, do not overtake, and be prepared to change direction or stop. There is a hazard wholly or partly blocking the track.

    Yellow flags should normally be shown only at the marshal post immediately preceding the hazard.

    In some cases, however, the Clerk of the Course may order them to be shown at more than one marshal post preceding an incident.

    Overtaking is not permitted between the first yellow flag and the green flag displayed after the incident.

    Yellow flags should not be shown in the pit lane unless there is an incident of which the driver should be made aware.

    f) Green flag (page 10)

    This should be used to indicate that the track is clear: it should be waved at the marshal post immediately after the incident that necessitated the use of one or more
    yellow flags.

    It may also be used, if deemed necessary by the Clerk of the Course, to signal the start of a warm-up lap or the start of a practice session.

  255. seiji says:

    Dangerous overtaking maneuvers? I thought that’s what Bernie Ecclestone wanted to see? MORE THRILLING OVERTAKING MANEUVERS! And sometimes THRILLING = DANGEROUS.

  256. BurgerF1 says:

    It is hugely ironic that a rule to improve the look of F1 (not have the SC cross the finish line to end a race) has inadvertently disallowed a beautiful overtake under green flag conditions.

    The key phrase in the rule for me is: “If the race ends while the safety car is deployed…”

    The race can not end by having the SC cross the finish line since it must enter the pits. It can only otherwise be said to be deployed if there are full-track yellow lights/flags and the SC board is shown (indeed, the steering wheel indicators should also flash yellow). Since the SC had pitted, the cars were across the SC line, and the course was green, the overtake is good.

    I think Mercedes will win the appeal.

    Incidently two other things 1) Damon being in the stewards room is interesting, but not relevant. 2) Trulli should be investigated for the crash with Chandhok (unless I missed that) – I think Chandhok’s lucky to come out of that one unscathed.

    1. JD says:

      Since rule 40.13 was applied, in order for Mercedes to win the appeal, they will need to argue that the safety car was not deployed on lap 78, the last lap of the race.

      However, the safety car was controlling the field at the beginning of lap 78. By definition, the safety car was deployed on lap 78 and therefore rule 40.13 takes effect. There were no further laps for racing to resume. I do not see how Mercedes can make a valid argument to win the appeal.

      1. Luffer says:

        Because rule 40.4 has to be in effect for the Safety Car to be “deployed”

        “ALL marshal’s posts will display waved yellow flags and “SC” boards for the duration of the intervention [of the safety car]“

        As there were Green flags the safety car was not deployed at the END of the race. Hence rule 40.13 is not applicable.

      2. Given this article’s headline and the time aparently taken to render a decision, wouldn’t it be ironic if it was Hill who was, in fact, arguing that the green lights and flags should prevail? I’m waiting for James to keep his promise and shed more light on the situation when he reaches home and can look into it more completely.

      3. Hans Westbroek says:

        JD: it’ll certainly be an uphill battle for Mercedes but I think they have a real possibility of winning on appeal. I appreciate that 40.13 was applied here, but I think Mercedes will try to argue that 40.13 is actually not applicable in this case. The SC was not deployed since it was off track and the course was green (in order for it to be off track and deployed, yellow flags and SC boards need to be shown).

        I also think it’s all or nothing for Mercedes. The stewards are limited as to the punishment they can hand out, but a simple switch of the Alonso/Schumacher finishing order won’t happen. Either they win the appeal and Schumacher keeps his place, or they don’t, and he’s demoted to 12th (but like previous posters, I agree that MS isn’t worried about that: he’s showing his true do/die colours again – about time!)

  257. Spyros says:

    Say, what’s the record for reader replies in a single entry? :)

    1. James Allen says:

      Over 500. We had 1500 once but there was a competition involved.

      1. Andrew says:

        On that subject James (but a bit OT for this topic so I understand if you don’t want to post this to the thread), have you considered having a forum, and instead of accepting comments you could link each story to a new forum topic?

        In order to post people will have to sign up (and therefore have a confirmed email address, or even have to be approved by a mod/admin) so if anyone posts inappropriate rubbish (spam, trolling, etc) they can be banned. You could have a few moderators to look over what’s being posted, and the vast majority of us would be happy to click a link to report a bad post to you or one of the mods to help keep things clean. But importantly you or your mods wouldn’t have to moderate every post before it gets published.

        It would also enable the discussions to stay alive and be revisited long after the story has dropped off the front page. It’s also a lot easier to follow threads that are posted in time-order rather than added to throughout the long page. Catching up on just what’s been posted since your last visit is so much easier with a typical forum.

        I reckon it would be a great way to continue to build on the enthusiastic community you’ve already gathered around you here.

        As a web developer I have set up and maintained a few BBs for clients, they’re nice and easy to do, and very stable and secure these days (and free).

        Just a thought! :-)

      2. Luffer says:

        Hi James,

        The poster suggesting a forum has a very good point. I would highly recommend you get one too.

        You use WordPress here don’t you? If so can I direct you to the Simple:Press Forum plugin http://www.simple-press.com. It’s a great forum plugin for WordPress and packed with features.

        I am part of the Simple:Press team and would be happy to lend my help if you wanted it in setting it up. It’s very easy though! Feel free to get in touch if you want to know more.

  258. CD says:

    I could plough through over 500 comments,but it seems as if most fans don’t like the rule(me included).

    James, any chance of a yes/no question on Polldaddy for your readers?

  259. Spenny says:

    Finally got round to watching the race, and it is telling that the whole commentary team were convinced that the race was on. Coulthard especially had recognised that there was sense in the potential for a sprint finish.

    Brawn’s argument was compelling. I can understand that Race Control needed to remind the drivers that the safety car was coming in, so not to follow it to the pits (it could have been plausible to the drivers that an incident just before the pit lane involving a driver that could have been seriously hurt might have meant medical staff on the track, so a finish in the pit lane might not be unreasonable).

    I think that Race Control need to put their hands up and regardless of what they intended to happen, they need to admit that they controlled the race in an ambiguous fashion.

    The best solution would be for the FIA to direct the stewards to reconvene and for them to reset the positions to those at the start of the previous lap. Whether they do this by declaring that the final lap was invalid due to error by race control, or they use their discretion to disregard the rule book to reset the positions ensure a fair race, I think if that was done then I don’t think any of the teams, even Mercedes, would protest that revised result.

    It would not have been right to have a sprint finish in this case, as the drivers would have been thinking about the restart rather than the marshals and the track (was Alonso stymied by oil and debris not properly cleaned up after the accident, for example?).

    I am sure that the teams would then immediately agree a revised operational procedure. It does not need a rule change -because they genuinely might like the option of a sprint to the line.

    Unless there was an accident on the pit straight; or in this case around the build up to the restart which made it unsafe to go racing (regardless of the final sprint being safe); or extreme weather; with the safety car line, a race can now be finished with a race. Perhaps, though, that is too much of a lottery for the teams – a bit of an IndyCar set-up.

    Those FIA rule drafters do need more imagination though.

  260. Nesto says:

    I have, of course, not read a majority of the comments but having read thru various forums, I’m sure I have the basic argument against the ruling.

    I can’t fathom how anyone doesn’t understand that the pass was illegal. For goodness sake, the race was effectively over. Mercedes seem to be the only team racing (due the green and the team’s orders + improper explanation/handling of the situation). Who else attacked and/or gained a position ? Did you see the time gaps at the end of the race ? They were hardly indicative of the best drivers in the world being on eachother’s gearboxes with few hundred meters to go. Also, do you think its fair that yellows are out for the first 5 drivers then suddenly green for the remaining field ? Or how about throwing out 77 laps and having a Nascar-ish drag race to determine the final order ?

    The safety car STARTED the last lap (effectively establishing the final order) and only went in to allow the cars to cross start/finish unobstructed. Sure, the new rule says you can race eachother before start/finish but thats assuming theres ANOTHER lap. It was the last lap and a parade to the finish, whats not to understand ?

    An awesome opportunistic move by Schumacher over a napping Alonso ?? Give me a break. The penalty is harsh and he should be relegated back to 7th but maybe this way, everyone fully understands how the original safety car rule for the LAST lap clearly overrides the new one.

    1. Luffer says:

      You use the word ASSUME and ASSUMPTION a lot.

      We don’t deal with assumptions, we are dealing with FACTS!

      Also “effectively over” is not the same as “race has ended”. The flags were never Yellow for the first 5 drivers, did you assume this as well? Flags were Green after the SC line for ALL drivers!

      In the scenario you are proposing a driver can never be 100% certain it’s safe to race under Green flags. That is utterly insane.

  261. Mad Max says:


    I’ve read through all of this now!!!

    And it seems pretty clear to me that when the rules state that : “If the race ends while the safety car is deployed, it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.”
    There is no confusion here about the fact that if you enter the last lap under SC, then you DO NOT overtake on that lap, PERIOD.

    Now, about the SC line & green light/flag confusion, the FIA definitely needs to make this clear so that no team tries to find loopholes in the rules, which I am certain is what Brawn had long found.
    I think the stewarts made their point to not try and smart arse them.
    But it really just makes the sport look bad & that is what I’d go against the FIA for : audiencce & therefore cash loss!

  262. Nick says:

    OK, I have not read every single comment – but most of them. However, it seems that everyone is overlooking a couple of crucial points in the Safety Car part of the rules.
    … Under certain circumstances the clerk of the course may ask the safety car to use the pit lane. In these cases, and provided it’s orange lights remain illuminated, all cars must follow it into the pit lane without overtaking …


    … When the clerk of the course decides it is safe to call in the safety car the message “SAFETY CAR IN THIS LAP” will be displayed on the timing monitors and the car’s orange lights will be extinguished… As the safety car is approaching the pit entry the yellow flags and SC boards will be withdrawn and replaced by waved green flags with green lights at the Line. These will be displayed until the last car crosses the Line.

    In other words the safety car had to turn off its orange lights on Sunday otherwise the following cars would have been obliged to follow it into the pits. Secondly the race director had no option but to remove the SC board and replace the yellow flags with green because that’s what the rule says.

    Rule 40.13 does not obviate any of the other safety car rules – it just provides for a special case at the end of the race.

    I suspect that the reason for the continued showing of the yellow flags at the end of the Melbourne 2009 race was because ‘the Line’ i.e. the safety car line was the same as the finish line. For 2010 it is someway before it.

    The rules are not as clear as they could be but, in my opinion, the stewards had no choice but to interpret them in the way they did otherwise it would have been unfair to the other drivers. This is the way that other teams interpreted them and instructed their drivers accordingly.

    Also, if rule 40.13 did not apply here as some are saying, then where could it ever apply?

    1. Rick J says:

      Well put and I agree. I think race direction needs to change things so that the lights stay yellow until the actual end. It is a natural reflex for a driver to go for it as soon as they see green. Photo ops are one thing – safety and clarity are another.

    2. Rob Greening says:

      Nick said “the race director had no option but to remove the SC board and replace the yellow flags with green because that’s what the rule says.”

      No – you are citing the wrong regulation in the wrong situation! He had the option depending on whether he intended the safety car to remain deployed or not after pitting. You are citing regulation 40.11, which is EXPLICITLY for the situation alone where the safety car pits because the clerk “DECIDES IT IS SAFE TO CALL IN THE SAFETY CAR” and the race is to “RESTART”. It does not apply when the safety car pits due to regulation 40.13, which contains no flag/board instructions because they are already covered in 40.4 which mandates yellows/SC boards around the course even after the safety car pits.

      Nick said “Also, if rule 40.13 did not apply here as some are saying, then where could it ever apply?”

      Simply, whenever the race ends while the safety car is deployed. Eg: 1) Same situation as Monaco final lap but yellow flags/SC boards to the end, 2) 2 hours are completed whilst under the safety car before the required number of laps, 3) the safety car is deployed on the final lap behind the leading car(s).

    3. Luffer says:

      “Also, if rule 40.13 did not apply here as some are saying, then where could it ever apply?”

      Quite simply when the Yellow flags and “SC” boards are left out as per rule 40.4!

      The rules are very clear on this situation and the SC was NOT deployed at the end of the race.

    4. Mad Max says:

      Thanks for pointing out 40.11 for us.

      Drivers know the rules, just like in any other sport. The football (soccer) player doesn’t play with his hands (except for Maradona), Tiger Woods doesn’t THROW his ball onto the green without using a wedge when in the sand, players don’t kick the ball around in basketball or run from 1st, directly to 3rd base in basebalm make passes with their hands in ice hockey, etc. etc. etc.
      They know these rules. And if they are too dim headed, they have a coach to remind them…
      Don’t try & make us believe all teams knew, except for Brawn & Schumacher!

  263. Rob Greening says:

    Regulation 40.13 is not open for interpretation. It simply does not apply for Schumacher’s overtake because:

    The “end of the race” is defined by Regulations 43.1 and 43.2 as when the end-of-race signal is given by race control, in this case it was given as usual when Webber crossed the start/finish under 43.1 “The end-of-race signal will be given at the Line as soon as the leading car has covered the full race distance in accordance with Article 5.3″.

    Not at the start of the last lap, not at the pits, not because it was “effectively over”, not when Ferrari radio says so – but the end of the race is when the end-of-race signal is given out.

    Whether the safety car was deployed after the 1st safety car line and up to the end of the race is also not open for interpretation – green flags mean the safety car is no longer deployed according to Regulation 40.4: ““ALL marshal’s posts will display waved yellow flags and “SC” boards for the duration of the intervention [of the safety car]“.

  264. speedy_bob says:

    To all the posters that can’t understand why some of us consider the move legal:
    You make assumptions and you should be very careful in avoiding them:

    - “a lap is under SC conditions if the SC STARTS the lap” That’s an assumption. The rulebook does not state this. There is only talk about “being under SC conditions, or not being in them.” The rulebook does not give (enough) detail on when a SC condition is effectively over.
    You can now blame the “pro-move” people for making an assumption. ;-)

    Because we claim this: “A SC condition is over, as soon as the following 4 conditions are met:
    -SC is off-track
    -SC sign is not shown
    -lights are green
    -green flags are being waved

    Someone already wrote some good text:
    Think about the intention of race-control:
    If their intention was to finish the race under a SC condition, what would they have done (correct answer: SC on track or in pits if final lap, SC sign is shown, yellow flags and yellow lights).
    What if not all of these 4 conditions were met? Then there would be a debate on how many conditions need to be met and possibly which one has priority over which one.

    But then look at the other intention:
    If race-control wanted a sprint to the finish, what would they have done?
    The 4 conditions would be:
    -SC car sent into pits
    -SC sign not shown
    -waving green
    -green lights.

    We had all of these 4 conditions met in Monaco. The SC car is perhaps debatable, since it had to enter the pits regardless of the intention of race-control.
    The other 3 are crystal-clear.
    With what we SAW (so, only facts) on Sunday, how can one question the intention of race-control? We can only see that they met the 3 conditions for racing. How is anyone to conclude that they didn’t meant “race”? Because earlier in the lap there was a SC condition? Well, that finished the second all 3 conditions for “race” were met (SC car in being a neutral in this count).

    And another argument:
    If the intention was to race, but somehow by some marshalls 1 of the 4 conditions wasn’t met, e.g. a yellow flag waved, or a yellow light, then no one would have dared to overtake. Aa a racedriver to see a yellow, in flag-form or lights, acts as a red carpet to a bull: instant action (lifting off).

    It would have been SO easy to only alter just 1 of the 4 conditions to make the intention “no race” crystal clear.
    To have the 3-4 conditions all aligned to bring the message “please race” is a far more difficult task.

  265. balint says:

    It is very clear to me that the rule says:

    1, IF the race ends under SC conditions, THEN the SC pulls in on the end of the last lap AND there is no overtake

    - so ending the race under SC conditions is a precondition of the rule to apply!

    2, the FIA claims that once the SC entered the pits on the very last lap, the rule is always applicable. – for this to apply the rule should say IF the SC goes in the last lap THEN the race ends under SC conditions AND there is no overtake….

    it is more than clear that the rule is not worded this way, so the credit goes to Ross who was the only one interpreting a sentence properly within the whole paddock!!!!

    1. Mad Max says:

      Good point balint, “If the race ends while the safety car is deployed” is badly worded, since this is an impossible situation.
      As Rob Greening pointed out, end-of-race is defined by rule 43.1 : when 1st car crosses S/F line, and not the SC line at the end of the last lap, which would make the end of the race a procession to the finish line.

      IMO, this is the only point Brawn can play on.

      Rules & laws have histories, that’s one of the reasons they are not perfect & also why we have something called “case law”

      The history of the sport wants it that on the last lap, if under SC, the last stretch between pit lane entrance & S/F line be used to cross the S/F in a safe, race like matter (at speed), so no overtaking aloud.

      Drivers all know this. IMO, Brawn has very little to go on to make his smarty pants point stand.

  266. Peter says:

    So to summarise (dangerous I know):

    The beginning of the final lap was under SC conditions (the SC was “deployed”). As with any lap under SC conditions, during that lap the track is either cleared or it is not cleared. If it is not clear the SC remains deployed. Rule 40.13 covers this first eventuality – race ending with the SC deployed, SC peels off and cars drive to line without overtaking.

    The rules do not say that the final lap must end under SC conditions if it starts under SC conditions. If the track is clear why shouldn’t race control un-deploy the SC car (like it would on an earlier lap)? Rule 40.13 does not cover this second eventuality.

    Some readers assume that the final lap must remain under SC conditions if it starts under SC conditions, but this is not what the rules say. Did race control tell the teams the SC car remained deployed until the end of the race? There’s little clear evidence of this published so far.

    [40.13. IF the race ENDS whilst the safety car is deployed it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.]

  267. jonsaville says:

    You Schmacher haters out there must just keep quite!
    Michael saw the green flags, waited till he crossed the saftey car line and then took Alonso before the start/finish line!
    For rule 40.13 to apply, yellow flags should have been waved.
    Michael saw green flags, he knows the rules back to front, fernando was napping and MS took the chance!
    That’s racing! Fair and square! Michael is on the rise again, Watch Out.

  268. Damos says:

    The marshalls had cleared the cars off the race track and were waving green flags to indicate that the track was clear. Race control knew that the track was clear and notified the teams that the safety car was coming in on lap 78. The race did not finish under the safety car as there was no cars or debris left on the race track.
    Article 40.13 does not apply as the safety car was pulled in. All graphics shown indicate that after the safety car pulled in the sc graphic dissapeared, which supports Mercedes, Brawn and Michael. With the available informtion, this should not have incurred any penalty for schumacher.

  269. steve care says:

    Why should the sc come into the pits then if it is ending under sc rules it should take the chequered flag with the car following.
    Alonso looked like he was racing and was trying to win the place back.
    MSC should be given his place back, if a race is to end under SC then the SC deff takes the flag!

  270. vivek shetty says:

    When the safety car, entered the pitlane, it was obviously normal racing conditions as usual due to which the green flag was waved.

    A green flag is waved to indicate the drivers that they can continue at racing speed, i.e. the condition of yellow flag (no overtaking) is over.

    Now, as it was the last lap the regulation clearly states that there shall be no overtaking and all cars will take the chequered flag in their current positions.

    So obviously if you overtake you are going to be penalied.

    Now, with regard to the green flag, it must be noted that everytime the safety car enters the pitlane, the flags change to green, indicating racing speed. This as a rule happens irrespective of whichever lap the safety car enters the pits and it does not change even if it the last lap.

    Please shed some light on this James.


    “”If the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.””

  271. F1Droid says:

    Safety car in this lap and green flags shown. Mercedes should appeal and win it on a technicality.

    This is ludicrous, I thought we were promoting overtaking!

  272. Seifenkistler says:

    We had big discussions about this on sunday. Having german and not english as mother language we looked up the rules and stumpled above:

    ….if the savety car is deployed when the race ends….

    But is the savety deployed after the signal,that it will be in this lap? In this lap means in 2010 that it will be in before the start line, at the savety car line.

    By not saying that a savety car at start of the last lap means no overtaking the reason must be that there are two possibilities WANTED by the FIA -one with free racing and another without to the finish line.

    The savety car would have come in this round and a virtuell round 79 would be free racing, signaled with green flags, and signal that SC would come in this lap(78).
    The savety car would stay out for round 79 too, no overtaking, but then with yellow flags, sc-signs, and not signaling that SC would come in this lap, even it comes in.

    And all this Schumacher tricking, Alonso sleeping… both had team orders and the drivers are not to flame for it, none of them.

  273. Anthony says:

    Surely the marshalls and the green flags are irrelevant. MS didn’t see the green flags and then think ‘OK, I’ll overtake Fernando’. He was planning the overtake long before he saw any green flags. He planned the overtake because M-B’s interpretation of the message from Race Control was that the race was going green.

    Under the rule, if the race is to end under SC conditions, the SC will come in and there is no overtaking. So if the race was to end under SC conditions, there was no need for Race Control to tell the teams that the SC was coming in, because they already knew that. The fact that Race Control did say it was news. It meant that something was changing – and that could only mean that the status of the race was changing from yellow to green.

    And indeed Race Control did put the lights to green. And the marshalls waved green flags. So it seems that Race Control told everybody – teams, marshalls, drivers – that the race was going green.

    This may not have been Race Control’s intention, but if so it was they who messed up, not the marshalls and not M-B.

  274. F1Droid says:

    Safety car in this lap and green flags shown. Mercedes should appeal and win it on a technicality.

    This is ludicrous, I thought we were promoting overtaking!

  275. Ry says:

    I agree completely. Anyone aiming hate mail at Damon is frankly an idiot. The man has done a hell of a lot for the sport in many different roles. He appreciates Schumacher’s talent and what he’s achieved even though he often came off worse when they racing. There is no way that he would lower himself to such petty “revenge” for anything that had gone on in the past. Blame vague FIA rules if anything. Which is why the safety car rules are now being reviewed.

    1. James Allen says:

      Anyone sending hate mail to anyone is not in their right mind. It’s not civilised behaviour

  276. neil m says:

    Just a thought.

    The SC actually made the punishment much more severe by bunching up the field.

  277. ssk says:

    This was a unfair decision by all means..whats even worst is merc don’t seem to be appealing to it.The track clearly shown green flags.MS overtook only after the safety car line..the 40.13 point which everyone keeps talking about is only applicable when the race finishes under safety car..which it clearly didn’t if the race had finished under the safety car, clearly yellow flags would have to be shown,,which were not..
    so maybe green flag has a new meaning , you can overtake the other drivers but you never know when you are gonna get punished for the same.so dont overtake at all….

  278. dean says:

    justice has been done


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