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Toyota give up on Trulli podium appeal
Toyota give up on Trulli podium appeal
Posted By:   |  01 Apr 2009   |  7:57 am GMT  |  22 comments

Just had an email from Toyota saying that they will not be pursuing their appeal against the penalty given to Jarno Trulli on Sunday, which cost him third place finish.

“Following the decision by Australian Grand Prix stewards to impose a 25-second time penalty on Jarno Trulli, Toyota Motorsport filed notification of its intent to appeal.

This action was taken to preserve any right it may have to utilise the appeal procedure and to give it time to consider in appropriate detail all the facts relating to the incident.

Having considered recent judgments of the International Court of Appeal and referring to the Sporting Code it is believed that any appeal will be rejected on a procedural point such as that defined under article 152, paragraph 5 of the Sporting Code:

“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.”

Based on this Toyota Motorsport has decided that it would serve no benefit to pursue this course of action.”

Although the weekend started well for them with a protest against their diffuser thrown out, Toyota was the most penalised team in Melbourne, with both cars excluded from the qualifying results for having overly flexible rear wings, which gave a straight line speed advantage. As far as I know, no-one had protested the wings, the FIA were on to the subject on their own.

Trulli was penalised for passing Lewis Hamilton, after the McLaren had gone past him when he went off the road near the end of the race.

It was also pointed out in the paddock on Sunday night that as Trulli went off the road when behind a safety car, he was clearly not driving as cautiously as perhaps one ought to in that situation.

They had a quick car in Melbourne and as a result of the penalty have nothing to show for it. But they will be quick in Sepang this weekend too.

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Christian Hepworth

James -- Have you seen the reports about the KERS protests being made against three un-named teams, who were apparantly running their KERS with a higher level of horsepower input than allowed.

Is this real, or just another conspiracy theory?


I rather hope they make amends at Malaysian Grand Prix- to be fair Australia was a disaster for Trulli.

Could also James or his moderator friend give me a shout on the email address in this posting that only the big boys of the forum can see?

My radio team have a present for James that needs to be emailed. And its not an april fools prank now you ask 🙂


- How come both Toyota's passed the scrutineering? Surely part of the checks are to check the flexibility or otherwise of the rear wing?
- You state "Trulli was penalised for passing Lewis Hamilton, after the McLaren had gone past him when he went off the road near the end of the race" but don't mention that Lewis admitted after the race that the team (Mclaren) had instructed him to slow down and let Trulli re-pass. Surely in this context the 25s penalty is no where near as clean cut as you make it sound here.
- You mention that Trulli went off the road under the SC and therefore was not driving as cautiously as he should have. The video also shows his team mate Glock going off at exactly the same point immediately after Trulli did the same suggesting that the fault is more likely to cold tyres.

You coverage of Toyota would benefit from a little more nuance, James.


Interesting that they've made this decision - I thought they had a good case. Hamilton's interview with Speed TV after the race pretty much confirmed what Trulli said. I can't think of anybody who would not have assumed that a car slowing right down in front of you and moving over did not have a problem.

The FIA regulations need to be altered. Fair enough, if a drive-through or stop-and-go is given during a race, then it can't be appealed because it has already been served. But post-race penalties which alter the result should be appealable especially in situations like this where, given the evidence, it would seem that McLaren were at fault. I agree they may have a reason to be paranoid, but you can't give up the position and, when you find out you didn't need to, change your mind and accuse Trulli of unfairly taking the position!

"It was also pointed out in the paddock on Sunday night that as Trulli went off the road when behind a safety car, he was clearly not driving as cautiously as perhaps one ought to in that situation. "

I think that's a little harsh, to be honest. We saw earlier in the race that with the evening temperatures the tyres went cold very quickly. With this being even later in the race, you would expect that tyre temperatures could drop at an even faster rate.

Fair enough, Hamilton took the place at this point and that was fair. But then he gave it back (in a way which made Trulli think there was a problem with Lewis' car and, under safety car regulations, he would be permitted to overtake such a vehicle). I'm irritated, because after Spa last year, McLaren should know how it feels to be stripped of positions so unfairly. :/


This is a curious case, as I've been involved in almost exactly the same thing in my personal racing experience. I've heard that drivers sometimes force through during the grey area of the SC boards coming out, only to let the driver through behind the SC, knowing the 'offending' runner will get a penalty. A much too dirty a trick to go unnoticed in F1 though, and of course that didn't happen here.

However, it may seem as though there could be reason to appeal after the only exception to the forbidden overtaking under SC is to pass a car which slows with an obvious problem. Hamilton was told to slow down by McLaren (for fear of exactly the same penalty) and let Trulli through, whilst Trulli thought Hamilton had a problem so he passed him under those pretences. Unfortunately it seems passing under SC in any circumstance is a serious offence, with no grey areas like that to be tolerated. Much of the same could be said of Hamilton passing Trulli I guess (there's a youtube vid of it from a spectator cam), where Trulli ran off-track but Hamilton barely waited for him to rejoin. At least we know where the stewards stand on off-track excursions during the SC period. Well, we know where THOSE stewards stood 😉


It seems the sensible thing to do would have been to have given Hamilton the 3rd spot and give Trulli the 4th. But I should know better than to use common sense when it comes to F1!

Andrew Jackling

Hi James, you may not have seen my other post a few days back, but I was at turn 15 on Sunday and here is Trulli "not driving as cautiously as perhaps one ought to in that situation":


You can see Hamilton take the position for 3rd place. As well as that, you can also see that the other Toyota of Timo Glock was not driving as cautiously as he should have been as he went off at exactly the same spot!


I hope there's a drivers' meeting in Malaysia to clarify "how to drive behind a safety car". Some drivers don't seem sure, with Vettel going around on 3 wheels, McLaren and Hamilton deciding they can let other drivers through, and Trulli thinking he's allowed to go by.

It was another sudden loss of speed by Lewis behind the safety car that contributed to Vettel and Webber crashing behind him, in Japan in 2007.


The FIA have made a rod for their own back on this issue, after Spa last year, where Lewis Hamilton was penalised for "leaving the track" (not for gaining advantage) at the Bus Stop chicane.

McLaren were warned that a "post-race stop-go" penalty could not be appealed, but turned up to the appeals court pointing to the fact that Luizzi had been allowed to appeal a similar punishment in Japan 2007. The FIA, anxious to avoid having a court hearing decide a race result several weeks later, ruled that McLaren's appeal was inadmissible, on the grounds that in 2007 neither the FIA nor Spyker had asked the court to decide whether Toro Rosso's appeal was admissible, and so "no precedent was set".

This was a blatant bit of political manoeuvring disguised in legal-speak, especially since the court ruling from the Fuji appeal states twice in the four-page document that the appeal was indeed admissible. I don't believe any of the media noticed this (it's something I researched myself). By creating the precedent after Spa, the FIA now has no "wiggle room" to reverse what is clearly a very harsh penalty.

The whole thing could have been avoided if Toyota and/or McLaren were able to ask the stewards or Charlie Whiting for guidance during the race and (unlikely, in the light of the Spa debacle) trust his judgement on the legality. As it was, McLaren were very wary of being harshly punished themselves and possibly instructed Lewis to let Trulli back past, just in case - but we haven't seen the incident; Hamilton may have just slowed temporarily to do a tyre-warming exercise (as he famously did behind the safety car in Fuji 07, contributing to Vettel and Webber's accident).


On the day of the race, I thought the initial penalty was fair. But if Hamilton did slow down to let Trulli back past then it's a poor decision.

Interesting how there was so much screaming and yelling over the Spa penalty last year for Hamilton and so much self-righteous talk of "this is bad for the sport when decisions like this are taken". Yet when Hamilton is the recipient of a podium position because of a post-race penalty.. no complaints that it's bad for the sport surprisingly!

Anyway, I think the stewards have always done a pretty solid job. I'm glad they're on tap to rule against unsportsmanlike driving that some suggest is "racing". Hamilton will know that he has to tidy up his act after 5 driving based penalties from 2008.


What I want to know is where is the post-race stewards' report that explains their decisions?

This was announced at the World Motorsport Council meeting in November but there is a conspicuously empty box for it on the FIA site: http://fialive.fiacommunications.com/en-GB/mediacentre/f1_media/Pages/post_event.aspx


This was the fault of the FIA and the stewards. Why can the teams not simply ask for clarification?

What we have here is sheer incompetence on the part of the stewarding PROCESS as set up but the FIA and FOM. How is it that the most professional form of motor sport in the world is not run professionally? What can amateur stewards, ambiguous rules and a confused process possibly add to the racing?


Having finally seen the video (thanks a lot Bernie), I have to say I would of done exactly the same thing in McLaren's situation. If Lewis hadn't let Jarno through we'd probably see the penalty at his doorstop instead, the FIA seem to make these decisions for fun.

As to the person above that said McLaren could of told the stewards that they let Trulli through, yes that would of been the sportsmanlike thing to do, but it would also mean giving up badly needed points and handing them to a championship rival; I guess they feel that they dont have much of a reputation to save any more, so they went for the points option.


Ive given up trying to figure out which reply to click..so it goes here!
the facts and UNBIASED view of the events:

1 Trulli overshoots corner and goes off under safety car
2 Hamilton who is following him behind carries on past on the track and passes him
3 Hamilton slows down on track (with Trulli now behind)
to the point that Trulli suspects he has a problem and should re-overtake him.
4 Trulli passes him...gets penalty later.

SNEAKY tricks by McLaren, but then again coming from a team that began the spygate scandal, what can we expect?


Oh that's made a dull day brighter. Classic!


I can see no reason that the stewards would have handed out the penalty if McLaren had stood up and said that it was their mistake and then said they did not want Trulli to be penalised for what was their own doing.

Furthermore, Martin Whitmarsh came across as being hopeful of a decision when he spoke after the race.

I don't think that McLaren actively went to the stewards, but judging by the fact that Trulli got a penalty, it would -appear- that their version of the story may not have held the full details (although I don't think any falsified information would have been included).

I really felt for McLaren at Spa last year. It had been a great drive from Lewis and he had shown that he was a world-class driver yet again, but it was all taken away from him (and very nearly cost him the title). In the same way, Jarno showed that he was also world-class on Sunday (as did Timo) by driving from the pit lane in to third position and, once again, I feel for him and Toyota for having all that hard work and the well-deserved trophy taken away.


...or an unfunny April Fool's joke?


Hi Jarno! Keep it on the road next time, there's a chap.

lower-case david

i'd agree with a lot of this, especially as we all know historically how tricky toyotas are on cooling tyres.

the FIA has made it's own bed with regard to this balls-up. it is clear that having once listened to the advice of race control, and lost a race and nearly a championship over it, even if charlie had come down in person, and signed-off in triplicate, mclaren was always going to let trulli back past and worry about it later.
whiting folded like a cheap deck-chair at the previous non-appeal, so i doubt toyota would have got much change out of him this time, he's a company man.

the fact that race control has no capability or capacity to rectify these trivial position changes while cars are still behind the safety car show how weak the administritive procedure and staff are, especially in comparison to other race organisations. sub-contract the whole operation to NASCAR.

although despite all of that, y'know what, i have a hard time getting worked up in trulli's defense :

"Yes, the penalty is quite harsh, but that's the way it is. The rule is quite clear,"... jarno quoted after spa last year

who knows, maybe he got his invite to the poker-club on the back off it, but either way, karma it seems is a real bitch.


I'm afraid Toyota just aren't a very good team. Nuanced enough?


Hear hear! I completely agree with your comments.


Did Mclaren lay a protest against Toyota regarding the pass? I don't think that they did.

I think Mclaren is getting a bit of undeserved flack regarding this indecent as it was a decision of the race stewards.

Mclaren was right to be overly cautious as we are all well aware that Hamilton would have otherwise come under the watchful gaze of the race stewards ... and nobody knows what the possible outcome would be because of the terrible inconsistency in their decisions.

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