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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  |  569 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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569 comments

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1

Green means 'go'.

2

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.

3

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.

4

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.

5

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

6

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!

7

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 !!!

8

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
Thomas Pfaller

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.

Cheers,

Thomas

10

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

11

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.

12

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?

13

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.

14

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.

15

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.

16

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.

17

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.

18

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

PK.

19
Aussie F1 Fan

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.

20

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)

21

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.

22

I agree.

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

23
charlotte konu

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

24

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.

25

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...

26

Apparently it only means go under certain conditions.

27

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 😛

28

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.

29

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.

30

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.

31

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.

32

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!!!
PK.

33

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.

34

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.

35

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?

36
David Jerromes

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?

37

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.

38

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

39
Aussie F1 Fan

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...

40

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.

41
adrian herrera

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".

42

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.

43

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.

44
Matthew Atkin

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.

45

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

46

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?

47

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.

48

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

49

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

50

...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 ..

51

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?

52

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

PK.

53

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.

54

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

55

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.

56
adrian herrera

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.

57

oh ok. I thought green flags meant go.

58

No actually they don't

Green Flags mean - Track is clear

59

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

60
Aussie F1 Fan

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..

61

except when its the final lap of the race!!!

all cars hold their positions

62

Um, have you not read James' article?

63

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

64

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

65
charlotte konu

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.

66

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

67

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.

68

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.

69
Robert Higginbotham

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.

70

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?

71

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

72

I totally agree!!!

73

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!

74

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?

75

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

76

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.

77

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.

78

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.

79

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!

80

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.

81

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!

82

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.

83
knoxploration

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.

84

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!

85
Oliver Neilson

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?

86

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.

87

...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.

88

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

89

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!

90

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 🙂

91

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.

92

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!!!

93

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.

94

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

95

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!

96
David Jerromes

Agree!

97
Harry Buckingham

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.

98

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.

99

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.

100
Julian Tavora

Correct.

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

101

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

102

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...

103

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???

104

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.

105

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.

106

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

107

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.

108

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.

109

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.

110

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!!

111

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.

112

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.

113

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.

114

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.

115

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?

116

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??

117

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.

118

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.

119

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

120

Exactly!

121

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.

122

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

123

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

124

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

125

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.

126

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?

127

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?

128

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.

129

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!

130

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!

131

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.

132

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.

133

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.

134

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.

135

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!

136

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

137

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.

138

They've got this one wrong

139

.....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?

140

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.

141

Disaster! Stupid decision.

Great move! Happy to see Schumi pulling something like this...

142

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 ?

143

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.

144

“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.

145

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.

146

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...

147

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!

148

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)

149

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

150

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.

151

Fantastic move by Schumacher; hope the appeal is successful.

152

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

153

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.

154

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

http://img237.imageshack.us/img237/8861/greg4w.jpg

155

Bravo.

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

156

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.

157

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

158

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!

159

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.

160

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.

161

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".

162

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?"

163

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!

164

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?

165

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!

166

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.

167

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.

168

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?

169

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.

170

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).

171

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.

172

couldn't agree more 🙂

173

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.

174

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

175

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

176

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

177

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.

178

true, i say just swap back the positions

179

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).

180

Also why not just swap the postions back??

james what would you have done???

181

"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.

182

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?

-R

183

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.

184

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!

185

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!

186

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!!

187

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

188
Roger Carballo AKA Architrion

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.

189

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...

190

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

191

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!

192

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.

193

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.

194
Prof Bolshaviks

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.

195

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.

196

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

197

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

198

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.

199

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.

200
David Jerromes

100% agree!!

201

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.

202

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.

203

Another little Fiarri gate...

Fernando won't complain about it now.

204

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.

205

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.

206

Because the safety car can't take the flag. Duh.

207

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

208

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 😉

209
Prof Bolshaviks

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.

210

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.

211

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

212

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)'...?

213
Christopher Snowdon

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!!

214

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!!!

215

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.

216
eric weinraub

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.

217

"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.

218

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

219

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."

220

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.

221

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!

222

"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:

http://img237.imageshack.us/img237/8861/greg4w.jpg

223

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.

224

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.

225

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.

226

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]“

227

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.

228

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.

229

Exactly!!!!
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!

230

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!!!!!!

231

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.

232

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.

233

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?

234

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.

235

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.

236

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).

237

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.

238

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.

239

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

240

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.

241

Well said! Here, here!

242

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.

243

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.

244

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

245

What nonsense; it was a good move, Alonso blew it and left the door open.

Not a Schumi fan, but the move should stick.

246

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

247

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!

248

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.

249

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?

250

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

251

If the flags overrule the rules, someone could bring their own chequered flag and end the race on the 2nd lap 🙂

252

Cool idea! Too bad Ferrari cannot use this one now 🙂

253

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.

254

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.

255

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.

256

Green means ‘go’!!!

257

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.

258

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.

259

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.

260

JA,

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.

261

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.

262

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...

263

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.

264

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

265

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!

266

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..................

267
Komalan Domenighetti

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!

268

Wrong decision:

1. Race Control did not state the race would finish under the Safety Car, and

2. The lights and flags were GREEN.

269

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.

270

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.

271

Brilliant. Well done stewards.

272

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.

273
Kyle Flanigan

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.

274

James,

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?

275

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.

276

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....

277
Val from Montreal

F1 is a joke

278

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.

279

Sounds like the rule is pretty straightforward.

Last lap, pace car is out, no passing.

280

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

281

yup... rules pretty simple:

yellow -> don't pass

green -> race

282

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.

283

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.

284
Salman Bahadur

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.

285

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.

286

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!

287

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.

288
Chris Anderson

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.

289

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.

290

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.

291

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

292

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)

293

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.

294

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.

295

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."

296

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.

297

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

298

However is also says:

"If the race ends while the safety car is deployed"

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

299

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.

300

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....

301

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

302

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!

303

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

304

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'!

305

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

306

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

307

Alonso's race was just STUNNING!

308

Karma for Adelaide 1994

309

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

310

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?

311

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!!!!

312

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.

313

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.

314

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.

315

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.

316

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.