The FIA race stewards in Malaysia have reopened last weekend’s issue of Jarno Trulli’s penalty for passing under Safety Car conditions. I can’t say I ever recall the stewards of one meeting ruling on the events of another, particularly as in F1 the three ruling stewards frequently change from race to race. They say this is to avoid accusations of bias but it leads to inconsistent decision making which makes the FIA look foolish and ineffective.
Of the three stewards in Australia two are present in Malaysia so they can be reasonably familiar with the circumstances.
In the initial stewards’ meeting last week both Hamilton and team manager Dave Ryan told the stewards (and Race Director Charlie Whiting) that no instruction had been given to Hamilton to let Trulli pass him, after Trulli had fallen off the racetrack and lost the position.
This being the case, the stewards gave Trulli the penalty for re-taking that position illegally under the Safety Car.
There was an instruction given over the radio. Lewis himself confirmed it to the media after the race, but before the stewards’ meeting. It now transpires that the stewards did not have access to McLaren team radio, else they would have heard the radio call giving Hamilton the instruction, hence Trulli’s penalty.
The decision this weekend is two-fold:
– cancel Trulli’s penalty, reinstating him to 3rd ahead of Hamilton;
– remove Hamilton from the results because he misled the stewards of the race meeting;
I agree with what has been done here. All too often in the past we have been left with decisions made in previous races which are later disproven when further evidence comes to light – and no correction is made. A lot of fuss was made about this last season and the FIA promised something would be done, and to their credit they have done it.
Perhaps they could now take another look at the Vettel/Kubica incident and cancel Seb’s penalty which seemed to be awarded based entirely on his admission of guilt rather than any examination of the evidence.
1. Button (Brawn) 58 laps
2. Barrichello (Brawn) +0.8s
3. Trulli (Toyota) +1.6s
4. Glock (Toyota) +4.4s
Excluded: Hamilton (McLaren)
Compared to the standings following Trulli’s penalty, this ‘correction’ simply deletes Hamilton and inserts Trulli in his place.
3 Toro Rosso-Ferrari
Not only does this significantly change Toyota’s score, it means both McLaren and Ferrari have yet to score!