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Belgian GP steward: “It took 10 seconds to decide there was no case to answer”
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Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton
Posted By: James Allen  |  27 Aug 2014   |  1:36 pm GMT  |  334 comments

Former F1 driver Emmanuele Pirro, who was the driver expert on the panel of FIA stewards at the Belgian Grand Prix, has said that the decision not to investigate the Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton collision took them very little time to reach.

Speaking to Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport, Pirro, 52, said, “We needed less than 10 seconds to decide that the contact was innocuous and not worth pursuing. It was something venial that had unfortunate consequences, but the contact came in a few millimetres, in other words neither of the two cars had sudden movements.

“There was no intention, perhaps Rosberg was a little cunning and clever to try it, but in the end the main problem was what happened within the team. The contact between Alonso and Vettel on the final lap, for example, was much clearer, but there again there was no investigation.”

Emmanuele Pirro

Pressed on his view that there was nothing intentional about it, given that Hamilton has said since that Rosberg did it ‘on purpose”, Pirro said, ” How can you say that a driver does something like this on purpose? Rosberg did not have a chance to pass and usually in such situations, it’s you who crashes and loses. But if he wasn’t happy, it’s because of the little bit of sporting cunning.”

XPB.cc

Hamilton’s former team mate at McLaren, Jenson Button, has backed his fellow countryman, saying that Rosberg was definitely at fault, “I am sure Nico would look at it and say ‘I don’t know what was I thinking'”, said Button.

Mercedes was due to hold a thorough debrief meeting at the team’s Brackley headquarters yesterday to go through the incident in detail and decide on the next course of action.

Team boss Toto Wolff has said that this debrief would yield a set of rules by which the drivers must conduct themselves for the remainder of the championship and indicated that this will include team orders in certain situations, to ensure that the team secures the best possible result from every race from now on. A clear 1-2 was on the cards at Spa, instead of which the team scored just 18 points for Rosberg’s second place.

Toto Wolff

Speaking in Spa on Sunday about the debrief meeting in prospect, Wolff said, “What we have to do is see it as a matter of principle, what has happened, and take the consequences and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“We had the conversation before, at the beginning of the season. It was an absolute no-go to crash into each other.

“We’ve had mega-exciting races where they were fighting fair and square with great excitement for all of us. And at that stage they were on top of the situation and we were on top of the situation.

“And now it’s come to a point, in the second half of the season, where it’s getting very tight, and probably we need to tackle that with more intensity to make sure we stay within the boundaries we’ve set at the beginning of the season.”

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1

How can stewards not see that rosbergh was at fault he’s a bad looser running his teammate onto grass as doesn’t like Hamilton to beat him

2

We had so many tyres punctured for much less in the past that i don’t understand why is so difficult to imagine that he did that on purpose.

Alonso with Vettel later is another case. That kind of contact hardly damages the tyre. That of Rosberg, however, punctured Vettel’s tyre on Britain 2010 and Malaysia 2012, Hamilton’s on Germany 2009 and Japan 2013, Alonso’s on Japan 2012, Massa’s on Singapore 2011…

He did hit Hamilton’s tyre HARD. It would be a tremendous luck if Hamilton managed to walk away from that unscathed. And Rosberg lost some 6s on a longer pit stop and maybe another 6s driving slowly for the next 6 laps until he went for new tyres and a new wing.

3

It’s game over now in the title, because of dirty tactics.

Every time Nico and Lewis meet on track now, Lewis knows Nico will just drive up the inside and then ‘lock his brakes’ to take them both out.

He can do this for the next few races, then he can just worry about finishing ahead of Riccardo as Lewis won’t have enough races to make up the deficit.

Nico has not beat Lewis on track once this season when they have battled.

Nico is going to win because of sheer luck, Lewis’ 3 retirements and numerous reliability issues. Also the fact he was able to finish second when Lewis destroyed him for the first 5 races.

When Lewis has no problems with his car, Nico cannot beat him.

This year has been a real learning curve to the dirty side of the sport to Lewis, Just like Senna had all those years ago.

Let’s hope Nico has a breakdown, so we can have a good fair fight till the end.

4

So, Rosberg apologizes to Hamilton/team, and now things are business as usual. Rosberg keeps his gained points, Lewis, as expected gets nothing but the apology. As Lewis said, a slap on the wrist and off he goes. Like I said, no satisfaction to be had. And it will only serve to cause Hamilton to continue to goto the media because he feels that is his only weapon should Rosberg slight him again. I can’t say I’m at all surprised. But this just shows how weak toto and co are at actual personnel management. Don’t be shocked if this type of situation crops up again, especially if Lewis is once again able to close the gap some.

5

For me Rosberg should have been given a penalty (drive through) purely on the basis that he disadvantaged another drivers race quite severely. That became obvious within half a lap as Hamilton crawled back to the pits.

Whether it was deliberate or not (I doubt it was) doesn’t matter for a decsion at the time. He compromised someone else’s race with an avoidable incident that he caused. We hear it in qualifying all the time, a driver has held another up, disadvantaging him, and is then penalised with a grid penalty. Why not in this case?

6

To all the Nico fans or anti-Lewis supportors:

I would say, it’s not even about supporting Lewis or supporting Nico, but I think everyone should just weigh up all the obvious evidence!

The obvious ones are that both Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda blamed Nico and were extremely anger! And most fair top drivers including Jenson Button put the blame on Nico! So we know these kind of biased so called ‘journalists’ will write any rubbish just cause a stirl!

Anyhow, I have been watching the video of the Belgium collision over and over, and clearly Nico never had even half a car length next to Lewis’s car at any point, and not only should Nico had aborted the move, he also didn’t need to cut back so quickly and so hard behind Lewis to make that corner! I don’t know what everyone else is watching, but to me, Nico’s second turn-in of his steering was deliberately more harder, earlier, and ‘more deliberate’ than necessary! In my opinion, Nico did it on purpose knowing that it was likely Lewis would have a puncture, which is obviously worst than losing a piece of end-plate on his own front wing!

The truth of the matter is, and Lewis heard it from the horse’s mouth which was ‘confirmed’ by a Mercedes ‘spokesman’, Nico ‘did on purpose’ ‘to prove a point’! Nico gambled because he was already 11 points in front of Lewis, and he won his gamble! As one steward said, it’s was a ‘cunning’ drive/move (you would expect from a ruthless driver, or what I would call unsporting or ‘cheating’)!

And honestly, I don’t know how the steward can even call a 10 second review of the Belgium collision to be a fair review because we’re talking about title contenders, not Alonso and Magnussen or someone else down the field, and also it’s very high stakes now, as we are closing nearer to the conclusion of the Championship!!!

I hope the stewards at all future races will take this more seriously, I really do, because in my opinion, if the ones at Belgium did their jobs ‘more thoroughly’, then none of us now would feel the results there were as ‘unfair’ as it was!?

7

Now it’s getting even better with all the bickering going on with Nico and Lewis including their fans who’s been pointing all sorts of finger. I’m enjoying the comments, all over the web it’s been plastered with accusation more towards Nico with Hamilton too.

BRING ON MONZA!!! please…..

8

hamilton says still i rise

9

Since the constructor’s points determine the way the TV earnings are divided up between the teams at the end of the season, does anyone know how much this little tangle (and loss of a possible 25 extra points if they had of finished 1-2) will cost Mercedes?

10

The guy is clearly an incompetent who should never have been given a position of responsibility in stewarding this race.

I firmly believe Rosberg didn’t do this on purpose. BUT he was the sole culprit in an accident that ruined another driver’s race. He SHOULD have been given a penalty on that basis but wasn’t.

11

After watching and hearing Nico since he began racing F1, my opinion is that he’s simply a very immature, childish driver. He is certainly skilled, but at the same time, very spoiled. With any luck, he’ll grow out of it, though there is the possibility that he’ll never fully learn how to play the game without being a prat.

We all mature at different rates, if at all. And we’ve all watched great drivers such as Schummie and Alonso go through these “growing pains.” Eventually, they wised-up and learned how to be more clever and less blatant, as I hope Nico will do at some point. But for right now, he’s more than a bit of a punk kid, in need of some stern direction from team management.

12

Rosberg move both adroit and sinister, cleverly disguised by sawing at the wheel. Clinical tyre slasher with intent. Worked out nicely.

13

Come back to Mclaren LH:-)

14

FYI commenters.

I’ve noticed that those of you referring to Lewis as a two syllable Canadian yoga wear brand that’s followed by citrus is a no no. Don’t do it please.

15

Absolutely! That comment used it, and it was the first time I’ve seen it used. Not sure it was insulting but unnecessary. Comment was quite good content wise, so shame it couldn’t be modded instead of deleted.

Let that be a lesson to all. Standards are high.

16

No insulting nicknames are allowed, not just re Hamilton – Mod

17

From the way it look in the race (without an knowledge of anything else), I see that as a racing incident thus I think the steward was right not the interfere. BUT now that all this thing as exploded afterward. Should there be evidences that NR deliberately do that, I would say it is FIA’s duty to look into it. We will never know as it will be handled internally by Mercedes. I suppose they don’t want any more fires to put out at the moment.

SUPPOSE ( a big suppose) NR actually do it deliberately, he definitely has benefit out of it. Histories validate that.

18

This has been blown out of all proportion.. its something and nothing, a racing incident.

of course Nico didn’t hit Lewis’s wheel on purpose, that would be idiotic as 8 times out of 10 that would result in a ruined front wing and a perfectly fine tyre.

I’ve been an F1 fan since the Jim Clark days and I’ll happily say that I’m not a fan of Lewis or Nico but I have to say this has been blown up by Lewis’s fanbase. I mean no offence to Lewis, he is a very talented and special driver but a large portion of his fanbase are very immature indeed, maybe because a lot of them are youngsters? I don’t know but I do believe a large percentage of his fans are very immature and see F1 with a very blinkered and incredibly emotional viewpoint.

19

Didnt Bernie say, on the grid in Australia that he thought Rosberg would win the championship.

This statement has a lot to do with the Spa decision not to investigate and the Monaco outcome that Rosberg didnt cause the yellow flag deliberately (and probably a few more decisions yet to be made).

Basically Lewis has a slim chance of winning the WDC as the powers-that-be have conspired against him, it Rosbergs to loose. If you think that’s outrageous. remember what happened at Interlagos in 2007, the mysterious Mclaren that stopped then re-started, this cost Lewis a WDC in his Rookie year.

There’s more behind these conspiricy theory suggestions than you think.

20

I find it funny how fans have spent the last few years moaning about all the investigations/penaltys & how the drivers should just be left to race.

This leads to the FIA relaxing the regulations to investigate & hand out less penalty & allow for racing incidents to be just that & now a lot of those same fans are whining because a racing incident didn’t result in a penalty.

I also find it funny how some of the same people calling for a penalty here were talking about how there should have been no penalty back at Singapore 2011 when Lewis made a similar misjudgement, Clipped Massa’s rear tyre & gave him a puncture.

So which is it?

Should there be room for racing incidents or should we go back to everything resulting in a penalty?

I’d rather there be room for racing incidents which is was, Yes its unfortunate Lewis got a puncture but thats just a part of racing, Sometimes contact happens & damage is suffered. Not as if Lewis hasn’t hit people & damaged there cars in the past.

21

Did you guys see Lewis in damage control mode talking about how he puts Mercedes first, always! Like that time in Hungary for example.

22

Did you see where he came from in Hungary. Oh & did you happen to notice he was put on medium rubber when he still had a brand new set of softs.( Nico no surprise on the softs)..

Up till Hungary Mercedes made Lewis the sacrificial lamb till 000’s of tweets saying wtf are you doing.. Just like Bahrain all over.. I keep telling you people Mercedes want/ed Nico to win..Everyone was disgusted by them at Hungary so they did an about face.. Thats what got up Nicos nostrils.. The ride was over..! But now looks like they have to revisit because the ride is coming to its last few turns and Nicos margin is growing again.. Sorry but Im not a fan of engineered winners..

23

Isn’t this “story” getting a bit tired? We must have all had our say at this stage. The FIA have spoken and, rather like the idiocy that we see each week in soccer, there’s no point in arguing with the referee once the decision has been taken. Regardless of what side of the fence you’re on (or even if you’re sitting on the fence), this has been officially classed as a racing incident. There’ll be no further changes. Rosberg and Hamilton will go head to head again in Monza and we’ll see what happens. Now, can we all move on and perhaps tomorrow’s story of the day might have a different theme or direction .. please?

24

Hi James,

Thanks again for your excellent website and analysis. The problem with team orders is that they allow less erratic results, and will mean that the driver who is faster may not have the opportunity to win the race. On balance Lewis has been the faster man, and he is also behind in the championship, hence if Mercedes says they will be using team orders now it would likely disadvantage Lewis, despite him being the one who lost out by 18 points to Nico, due to Nico’s aggressive driving.

It’s also interesting to note that Daniel Ricciardo, if not for his disqualification in Melbourne (Red Bull cutting the rules too fine on fuel flow), and his disasterous pitstop in Sepang (he was coming net 4th position behind his team-mate and the Mercedes’) which resulted in his front wing getting damaged and then having to retire. And, this unsafe pitstop release also gave him a 10-grid penalty for the next race (in addition to having his race in Sepang completely ruined) – then it is fair to say Dan has lost approximately 30 points (if not more), due to completely avoidable incidents.

However, the pace of Red Bull indicates that they would require Mercedes tripping over itself to have any realistic chance of victory in the drivers championship. The constructors is as good as Mercedes, even if Mercedes trips over itself.

One would hope Mercedes would allow Lewis the opportunity to continue to race, because he needs that in order to be able to plug the gap to Nico. Lewis will have to get within 14 points going into the final round, to give himself a realistic chance for the championship.

25

I can’t believe we are still arguing over this. It was a clumsy move by Rosberg, but a racing incident: Nico refused to back off, and Lewis refused to give up his racing line. The stewards saw it this way and I agree. If this has been between between two back-marker teammates nobody would have bothered.

If this incident had been on the public roads, they will share responsibility, perhaps 40% Lewis 60% Nico.

The point, in my opinion,that Nico was trying to proof is that he respected the team orders through out his career with Mercedes, including instructions to back-off from any risky overtakes on your teammate loosing a chance to finish ahead for the greater benefit of the team. But after Hungary, when Lewis refused a clear and repeated instruction to let Nico through, he felt that it’s time to break his instructions too. This is why management is normally very tough on whoever breaks their instructions. Obey now and discuss later.

Lewis has no right to discuss internal meeting data with the public, and I thinks that’s why Nico is reluctant to discuss.

26

And so we see why it should take longer than 10 seconds to evaluate an incident. This IMHO shows the stewards to be negligent in their duties. IMHO, none of them should steward F1 again. Just the fact that this incident alters the WDC race make it worth of proper consideration. 10 secs is not proper consideration.

For me, that is the worst part of it all. If the stewards cant take their job seriously, how can we blame drivers?

27

Brilliant! A steward with sense and experience, finally!

28

Pretty simple in my view – Rosberg simply misjudged slotting in behind Hamilton and made contact. Everyone knows that he is not at Hamilton’s level, and when he is pushed to the limit mistakes will happen.

Rosberg’s method of trying to win the WDC is to constantly pick up points, and deliberately taking out another car with a risk that yours will also be taken out is just not consistent with that approach.

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