FIA Court of Appeal: Hamilton penalty verdict ?

Spa Penalty Lewis Kimi
I am not sure if the world is holding its collective breath quite like it was last year regarding a penalty decision against McLaren but tomorrow does signal the appeal date set for the incident at the Belgium Grand Prix.Although a tad unorthodox, McLaren had no choice but to appeal the decision. Race Control said their move was fine but the Stewards said no, Lewis gained an unfair advantage. Irrespective of where you stand on this issue, perhaps you could be one of Max Mosley’s ‘stupid’ people for thinking there is a McLaren conspiracy, the penalty has drawn the ire of thousands. It even prompted a petition no less.

Is it unheard of to challenge a Stewards decision? Well, no…actually one could look at last years Brazilian Grand Prix where Stewards did not penalize BMW and Williams for running cold fuel. Or you could look at McLaren’s appeal of the decision not to penalize Renault for possessing McLaren technical information.

In fact, I would be remiss not to mention Keith Collantine’s article at F1 Fanatic about this penalty appeal. Keith, one of my personal favorites, is a terrific guy and does fabulous work if you haven’t visited his site. I have tremendous respect for Keith and his site. No, it’s not because I don’t throw up at his site with Lewis pucker-factor at an all time high. Keith is much more professional than that. Something I wish I could say for other, better funded, high profile F1 websites. Keep up the great work Keith.

In the end, we have one point separating Lewis and Felipe. We have a night race coming at Singapore this weekend. Does it matter? Is it admissible? Is it a waste of time, as Max says? You know, I can’t imagine this being overturned. Should it be so; I will be shocked. However McLaren have a host of very intelligent barristers and an argument could be made that the initial approval from Race Control prevented them from doing any other actions to remedy the situation as they were officially told their first reactions were fine. What may be more interesting is the ‘clarification’ of the rule that could come from this appeal. All of us have speculated and there was some clarification over the last week about just how long a driver must remain behind, after conceding the position, before re-attempting a pass. I think we all would do well to get some perspective on the rule as it is very generic in the Sporting Regulations. Since we don’t have the luxury of a consistent group of Stewards for each race, and no explanation as to why, that I can find, we should demand a better defined set of sporting regulations to eliminate the interpretation of random Stewards; some of which have suspect credentials.

In the end I think Max will scuttle this appeal as fast as possible. Why? His friends/Stewards made the call and they are the ones who voted to keep him in office in June. Max is not about to throw them under the bus at this point and he will operate on the scorched earth policy with F1 before he does anything else to hurt his position. Such is the hair-pulling, teeth-gnashing and chest-pounding that has become Max Mosley post sex scandal. A sad reality and a pox on this sport. Oh…and I am a Ferrari fan by the way so lest you think I am one of the ‘stupid’ people who are McLaren/Lewis sycophants claiming the Red Car conspiracy; I am not. I just know a rat when I see one. Wonder where Wile E. Bernie and his ACME rat poison is? Or is that his FOTA rat poison? One can only hope.

The Guardian reports that McLaren are anchoring their appeal on two key points:

It is understood McLaren’s appeal will rest on two key arguments. First, that Hamilton took a detour over the pits chicane to avoid a collision with Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari rather than deliberately attempting to gain an advantage. Second, McLaren asked Charlie Whiting, the FIA race director, about the way Hamilton handed back the lead to Raikkonen and he twice gave the view that there seemed to be no problem.

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