The FIA has spoken on the issue of stopping cars on track after qualifying due to low or not enough fuel. The rule is that the teams must have a liter of fuel left after qualifying to test and that measure may have been put to the test in Spain today.

After securing a pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday, Lewis Hamilton was instructed to stop his car on track during the in-lap. McLaren state that Hamilton had 1.3 liters of fuel on board and Sky Sports reporter Ted Kravitz has suggested that the team really needed 1.5 liters to get back to the pit lane thus, they instructed Hamilton to stop on track.

Kravitz says that McLaren have offered a force majuere  situation as the reason for Hamilton using more fuel than they expected and according to Kravitz, they will argue this before the FIA. It was a terrific pole lap by Hamilton and one would hate to see any repercussions due to the fuel incident but on the other hand, a team should have enough fuel to make it back to the pit lane and if they don’t, they have an unfair advantage against other teams in a lighter than functional fuel load reducing weight and increasing speed.

What do you think? Should McLaren be penalized? If they can prove that it was a case of force majuere, perhaps there is no reason to be concerned but then how many other teams will claim similar issues or reproduce situations that could be construed as foce majuere?  PErhaps much ado about nothing but having secured pole with the lightest guel load on the grid does give reason for pause for those who are not particular fans of McLaren. LEt us know what you think in the comment section below.

And this just in from AUTOSPORT quoting team boss Martin Whitmarsh:

“It is a technical problem that happened in the garage that didn’t impede the performance of the car in anyway, and we stopped the car when it had 1.3-litres of fuel in the car,” said Whitmarsh.

“There was a technical problem that led to that situation. I think it is not for me to decide; but I would believe that to be a force majeure but it is up to the stewards to decide.”

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John T
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John T

Force majuere? Please explain.

mark h
Guest
mark h

It’s my understanding that the team say some technical problem with the car increased the fuel consumption in a way they could not have foreseen.
—-
Now the question is, what problem can do that without impacting on performance whatsoever? For we’d all agree Hamilton’s Macca was firing on all cylinders!

Rapierman
Member
Rapierman

Assuming that F1 cars still use carborators instead of going to fuel injectors, I can see a possibility of it not working properly and thus letting in more fuel into the mixture than it should. Still, that’s probably a technical issue caused by a mechanic either not checking or improperly installing it. I don’t see a “force majuere” coming out of this one.

Rapierman
Member
Rapierman

It’s a legal term meaning that, due to circumstances beyond their control, they found themselves perilously close to being in violation. For the circumstances they listed, they believe that they should not be penalized. We sometimes refer to this as “Act of God”.

The Captain
Guest
The Captain

Isn’t this the second or third time McLaren has done this in the last year or two? I seem to remember them pulling off last year, but then I remember a lot of stuff that didn’t really happen and I’m too lazy to use google.

Blow me
Guest
Blow me

Another waste of time and effort up in smoke, Macca can only blame themselves for it, from a driver perspective it doesn’t look good when you team lets you down consistently, you win and loose as team blah blah, but Lewis seems to be always penalised when he needs to catapult his WC chances, the same happen in Bahrain with the pit stops f*** up, time to move on I’m afraid, let Turvey whatever his name is and Mr. Smoothly have all the glory, MH will be a happy man ever after…

julia
Guest
julia

I think Maclaren contantly let Lewis down they did this in canada 2 years ago and were fined my understanading is the rules changed then. Did Whitmarsh think that another fine was all that would happen. Put this with terrible pit stops etc if I was Lewis I would be looking around now for a better team. Come back Ron Dennis !

F1 Kitteh
Guest
F1 Kitteh

They planned to get back to the pits with solar but that plan failed.
Come on the rule was clarified because of him to begin with so what are the odds that this is a genuine problem?

The Captain
Guest
The Captain

But I’m not too lazy to read Autosport! – “Following a directive issued at the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix, after Lewis Hamilton and McLaren were given a reprimand and a $10,000 fine for stopping deliberately on a slowing down lap after qualifying to save fuel, the FIA has made it clear that only genuine technical problems would be acceptable.” – And here’s McLaren’s excuse “”It is a technical problem that happened in the garage that didn’t impede the performance of the car in anyway, and we stopped the car when it had 1.3-litres of fuel in the car,” said Whitmarsh… Read more »

The Captain
Guest
The Captain

Also I just realized this could be a bravado award.
“It is a technical problem that happened in the garage that didn’t impede the performance of the car in anyway,”

Well no Martin, low fueling the car won’t “impede” the performance, it “helps” the performance, that’s why it’s against the rules.

mark h
Guest
mark h

Unless McLaren’s excuse is an absolute doozie, this seems like an open-and-shut case, right?

But what of people doing the same thing on Sundays? Knowing how cool the parade lap is for the paying fans and knowing from Spa how much it is missed, that really bugs me too.

Lopek
Guest
Lopek

Don’t see how force majeure makes any difference, if the car was running light then he should be penalised.

It’s no different from a car having a part that is unintentionally outside of allowed dimensions or fuel accidentally not matching the reference sample. In those cases the FIA does not let a team/driver off if their was no intent so why should that even be a factor here?

Douglas
Guest
Douglas

I do think McLaren should receive a penalty. I think too many teams are pushing the limits of fuel these days. If it’s not at qualifying then it’s at the end of the race when drivers are pulling over rather than finishing an in-lap. The car should for my opinion always have enough fuel to do its laps and get back to the pits. If some teams are running true with thier fuel (enough to do the job and get back to the pits) then surely they are at a disadvantage to those cars running very light and gaining the… Read more »

UTBowler0407
Guest
UTBowler0407

He should definitely be penalized. Fuel load has quite a bit of impact on the lap times, so it’s not like he’s getting screwed over on an obscure technicality of some sort.

If those numbers are correct, he would need to start his in-lap with 2.5L of fuel, instead of 1.3L. I’m sorry, but I can’t see how a force majeure (had to google that one) could cause a 1.2L discrepancy in a short quali run. They calculate fuel loads for entire races down to tighter precisions than that. McLaren’s claim is a bit far-fetched.

tony
Guest
tony

ahhh McLaren, it seems these days they are quite ok with trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes and ‘getting away with it’ – would not have happened in the good old Ron days, i for one do think they are in trouble and will be penalised – and i hope they also get penalised for trying to cover things up!
Maldo for the win tomorrow ;-)

mercapeich
Member
mercapeich

I think that given that low fuel load is definately an advantage (if we check how close are lap times this year..it is a tremendous advantage)..I think that IF it is prben that the car could not make it to the pits with one liter left (that is the regulation) he should be penalize (I will not penalize him with positions but just taking the last lap out ).
It is true he was fast all the session but so Pastor…plus I’d love to see a Williams on pole!!!

Noddy93
Guest
Noddy93

actually kinda gutted for lewis

Craig Sipple
Guest
Craig Sipple

Your man is favorite for the win now. I am a Lewis fan but will be cheering Alonso for the win today… funny old world.

Schmorbraten
Guest
Schmorbraten

To me it doesn’t matter what the reason was. The rule is clear, and if you don’t adhere to it, you should be penalized. It’s difficult to take rules (and thus the sport) seriously if they’re not applied consistently, not even in really clear cases like stopping on track at the end of a qualifying session, or Hamilton overtaking Rosberg off track in Bahrain. And no, I’m no Hamilton-hater.

Tony
Guest
Tony

….as per my previous comment – i wonder if McLaren had just held up their hands and said ‘sorry our mistake dont penalise the driver too much for that’ he could have been put back to 10th….but instead they like an argument….

Steven
Guest
Steven

He will start fron the back, as per formula1.com. McLaren is really trying to piss him off… Could he be at williams next year?
I’m really pissed at this!!

Ben
Guest
Ben

This is an OBVIOUS case of McLaren once again ‘stretching the rules’. They should be penalized.

Steven
Guest
Steven

The team, but why the driver? Hes not the one putting fuel in his car…

Allie
Guest
Allie

Hamilton/McLaren, most of the time, does the “Stopping On Track” Gig, which has to stop! And why is it that Jenson’s car doesn’t have the same problems??? Hamilton should definatly be penalized.

ithinkthatsbiased
Guest
ithinkthatsbiased

How do the stewards justify this one then. If it were another driver they wouldn’t have penalised him so harshly! The stewards are needed to keep racing fair but now they are just ruining the sport – what about the age old debate of team orders – they let Red Bull and Ferrari break the rules without penalties – stating ‘stewards at their discretion’ – why can’t the stewards show a little discretion in this case – after all the fuel that was required was still in the tank after all! If the stewards keep being biased then they will… Read more »

The Captain
Guest
The Captain

There are a lot of excellent points in this very profound, well thought out and logical argument.

Steven
Guest
Steven

Remember that they’re in Spain, and theres still a sentiment that ALonso was done wrong at McLaren, thats IMO why its harsher than it has to be.

Schmorbraten
Guest
Schmorbraten

Yes, and they also penalized Hamilton for overtaking Rosberg off the track in Bahrain, didn’t they? Let’s all agree that it happened that way. May help to keep that perspective intact.

F1Sommelier
Guest
F1Sommelier

Our British brethren have a great term that describes McLaren’s excuse, “CLAPTRAP”

BoogWar
Guest
BoogWar

Lewis Stripped of pole, and was demoted to the back of the grid. Gutted, I am.

Ben
Guest
Ben

ithinkthatsbiased

…”why can’t the stewards show a little discretion in this case – after all the fuel that was required was still in the tank after all!”

WHAT? The fuel is required to be taken from the car once it returns to the pits after qulifying (not where ever it might be stopped on the track to ‘stretch the rule’). This is about McLaren CHEATING — and has little to do with the stewards at this time.

Brian
Guest
Brian

Unfortunate for Lewis, but how awesome is this for Maldonado? One of more controversial “pay” drivers in F1 up against one of the most highly acclaimed drivers currently in F1! Can you imagine how nerve wracking its going to be for Pastor to be watching those red lights tomorrow?

Blow me
Guest
Blow me

Ugly as f*** looks like a cave man, Alonso will breeze pass him b4 the first corner…if he tries otherwise and wrecks him, he will need more than his teeth braces to protect him from the Spanish crowds….

Brian
Guest
Brian

Its funny to read these comments post-race. You called the first corner, but I guess the long-term pace was something else.

Sandra
Guest
Sandra

What are the rules about stopping the car on track immediately after race, not making it back to the pits?

Steven
Guest
Steven

It seems that this year Lewsi cant be faulted by his actions, he has cleaned up his driving and he has come back to his previous level of driving, probably even better. Yet the team continues to find a way to screw him out of points and wins. I hate to say this, but its almost like the team is conspiring against him, I know better, but it makes one wonder. Its almost as if when ewis clearly beats Jenson the team interferes and hurts Lewis. Im a BIG Lewis fan, and I admit it, and Im incredibly pissed at… Read more »

Steven
Guest
Steven

One more thing, somehow I think this will seal the deal, I think Lewis will NOT be back at McLaren, only because he will choose not to. Perhaps Williams can vacate a seat for him…

Blow me
Guest
Blow me

It does make you wonder, I’m not a conspiracy guy, but past (last 2 years) and present decisions/actions made by Macca clearly back up your theory, it can’t be only coincidence anymore…Lewis will be in a Mercedes, Williams, Red Bull or a Ferrari next season…

PositiveCaster
Guest
PositiveCaster

Sam Michaels needs to go. Still remember his first race as tech director for Williams and the team’s pit stops on race day were abysmal. Fast forward to today and pit stops have cost Macca dearly in 3 races and now this debacle. I know its not their first offense of this particular rule but its the latest pit gaffe with Michaels in charge. Either replace the entire pit crew or replace him.

Schmorbraten
Guest
Schmorbraten

So … he has a doppelgänger?

PositiveCaster
Guest
PositiveCaster

He’s now in charge of ruining the Macca’s pit stops

th3chainrule
Member
th3chainrule

Ron Dennis to the white courtesy phone. Ron Dennis to the white courtesy phone. Thank you.

Disappointed
Guest
Disappointed

This is a farce, the penalty is way too harsh. Even he’d had more fuel he would still have smashed the opposition. As he clearly had enough fuel in the first two sessions, if he should be penalised at worst he should be eliminated from Q3 – putting him to 10th, and more probably a five place penalty would be more in keeping with other penalties handed out. I’m not surprised he thinks everyone is out to get him. By putting him to the back spoils the race for everyone. But bring it on, he can still do well from… Read more »

Patrick Haggan
Guest
Patrick Haggan

Last place is a bit harsh, even though as a Ferrari fan I am quietly smiling. I do however believe that a penalty was warranted. This is not the first time Mclaren, and Lewis, have done this and they have gotten away with it in the past. This was a bit extreme in my opinion as he basically shut it down as soon as his lap was done. His argument that he knew nothing doesn’t hold water either. He is a complete control freak, along with most drivers, and has to know everything that is going on with his car.… Read more »

mercapeich
Member
mercapeich

I think is fair. The rule is there because LH and Macca did the same 2 years ago in Canada…(back then the team was given a warning and penalize with a fine of $10000)..I agree it is not LH’s fault but it does not matter the regulation is clear on that. I think the key question is: What is the punishment for not have 1 liter at then end of the race? Is it better or worst than stop in the middle of the track to safe 1 liter of gas?

JTW
Guest
JTW

It certainly isn’t a case of ‘force majeure’ as there was not an ‘act of god’ or unavoidable natural disaster that caused this; it was simply not putting enough fuel into the car. It doesn’t matter if it was human error, or an attempt to push the envelope, it was in violation of the rule that states they need to get the car back to pit lane and to have a litre of fuel for testing. That said, putting Hamilton at the back of the grid seems a bit over the top. I think stripping him of Q3 times, in… Read more »

Don Parker
Guest
Don Parker

This is a joke!!! Lewis is the most penalized driver of the last 5 years. The FIA and Mclaren should be punished. Does anyone think that 2 or 3 liters of fuel caused him to be half a second faster than the rest of the field? This is the second time he has been punished for a GREAT performance. I am disgusted and considering whether I want to continue supporting this sport.

Don Parker
Guest
Don Parker

If he wins the race from dead last by passing every car on the grid and putting on the best performance of F1 history… the FIA will find a reason or McLaren will do something to take it away from him

LeslieM
Guest
LeslieM

Didn’t Vettel, P1 in Bahrain, also stop on course after qualifying?

Was it fuel in that case?

Can’t recall exactly, so looking for someone with a better memory.

daly
Guest
daly

SABOTAGE!!! the lone black man in F! 3 poles 2 seonds in qualifying and not a win in hand .. somethign is worng over at Mclaren … season after season they do it to him

quattro_T
Guest
quattro_T

He was doing it to himself all season long last season, crashing a perfectly fine and fast car each other race. I did not see Mclaren arguing they should replace him…short memory people…

Craig Sipple
Guest
Craig Sipple

After sleeping on this the only people who are to blame are McLaren.
Rules are rules.

Jake
Guest
Jake

Its a real disgrace for FIA to place Hamilton
In last place because the ‘fuel quantity not meeting the required level’ standards. ill understand if they just place him 2-3 placing down.

As I see it, the qualifying time frame is over
And anything minor after that should not dealt with a major rubbish decision by FIA.

ITS SHAMEFUL TO WHAT THE STEWARDS HAVE DONE. MAJOR HUMILIATION.

Don Parker
Guest
Don Parker

Nicely stated!!!

quattro_T
Guest
quattro_T

Mclaren must have known LH did not have enough fuel right after they sent him out on final run in Q3. Sensors are providing them with fuel status continuesly I guess, how would they otherwise have known to tell LH to stop on track right after last flyer?? So from FIA perspective Mclaren knew they were braking the rules, still they did not take any action to prevent it (eg by asking LH to pit right after the out lap or slow down on the flying lap to save fuel). Instead they tried to “cheat” FIA…Probably this is the reason… Read more »

Peter
Guest
Peter

Lewis was let down by his team yet again but the rule should stand for the race too, Vettel should have been excluded from wiinning the race when he stopped his car in the exit of the pit lane last season.
Mansel and the other stewards seem to have it in for Lewis and Mclaren. The race has far more implications for the safety of the drivers, and if a driver finishes the qualifying and stops his engine on the track how can anyone say he didnt have enough fuel to get back to the paddock.

MIE
Editor
MIE

If they want to run light, why don’t they do it early in th session with just enough to get back to the pit but not enough to have one litre for the fuel sample? That way they can fuel enough for a final run that may be lower (hmm what did Lewis do to get Pole in the first two races this year?). Whitmarsh is saying with 1.3 litres being drawn from the car when it returned to the pits, they had enough fuel in the car to make it back and still have the one litre necessary. If… Read more »

Blow me
Guest
Blow me

MW has his days numbered as the team’s boss..the reason? for constantly sucking Jenson’s c*** for the last 2 seasons by prioritising the race in his favour and when it backfires for whatever reason is too late for the other car salvage the race for Mclaren…

Brian Reynolds
Guest
Brian Reynolds

o settle I cannot help it but in all the years I have never heard the rule other than to test the fuel. So why do they choose Lewis to settle on a rule interpretation that it has to be a litre left and enough to drive to the pits. I noticed very recent races where cars were pulled up after the race because there was not enough fuel to go back to the pit and have spare fuel for testing. Ah but that wasn’t Lewis so that was OK. mmmm