• Sep 23rd 2008 at 12:28PM
  • 40


Lewis Hamilton does not have good luck in France. Of all the races he's won in these past two seasons, he's yet to take the checkered flag at the French Grand Prix, has had his license revoked by the French gendarmes, and has now had his appeal thrown out of court in Paris.

Following the Belgian Grand Prix earlier this month, Hamilton was penalized by the race stewards with a 25-second penalty (in lieu of a pit-lane drive-through penalty) that bumped him down from first place to third, and allowed Ferrari's Felipe Massa to close the lead down to one single point. The penalty was given to Hamilton for having cut through a chicane on the Spa-Francorchamps track called the "bus stop", which race officials ruled gave him an illegal advantage. Hamilton's team McLaren decided to appeal the penalty in the FIA's court in Paris, however the court threw out the case as inadmissible, quoting sporting regulations that stipulate that drive-through penalties cannot be appealed. McLaren presented precedent from a repealed penalty handed to Toro Rosso in Japan last year, however the court of appeal was adamant in their refusal to hear the case.

A brief statement from the FIA can be found after the jump, and those interested can read the full 8-page ruling by clicking here.

[Source: Autosport | Photo: Oliver Laban-Mattei/Getty]

Statement from the FIA:

At the Grand Prix of Belgium, run on 7 September 2008, and counting towards the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship, the Stewards of the meeting imposed a drive-through penalty upon the driver of car No.22, Lewis Hamilton, for a breach of Article 30.3 (a) of the 2008 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations and Appendix L, Chapter 4, Article 2 (g) of the International Sporting Code.

As the drive-through penalty was imposed at the end of the race, 25 seconds were added to the driver's elapsed race time in accordance with Article 16.3 of the FIA 2008 Formula One Sporting Regulations.

Article 152 of the International Sporting Code states that drive-through penalties are "not susceptible to appeal."

The competitor Vodafone McLaren Mercedes appealed the Steward's decision before the International Court of Appeal in a hearing in Paris on September 22nd.

Having heard the explanations of the parties the Court has concluded that the appeal is inadmissible."



I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 40 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Man, Lewis. Never button up the second button. At lot to learn you still have, young race driver.
        • 6 Years Ago
        First thing that came to my mind as well ;)
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm sorry to thread jack, but I'm new to F1 and addicted. I would love to actually be able to watch these races as I live in the states. How are you guys watching the races on TV in the US?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Actually technically only on Speed when FOX isn't carrying it. But most of the time FOX doesn't carry it, so it's usually on Speed.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Speed races are usually odd times. Like 7:30am to 10:30am or something like that. They're usually live from Europe (or wherever) so you'd want to check the location and then check Speed for the timing.

        DVR FTW.
        • 6 Years Ago
        F1 is generally shown live on Speed, TSN and on Fox (only on Fox when Speed isn't carrying it).
      • 6 Years Ago
      They should put an asterisk on that win for Massa*

      *FIA assisted.

      Ferrari International Assistance sucks donkey ballz!

      And it is true the people who made that call do not understand the sport. What a bunch of hacks!
      • 6 Years Ago
      I have lost a lot of respect for the stewards and the administration of F1 over their treatment of Lewis Hamilton. I don't know what the motivation is. Maybe a black man will never be allowed to win the championship. Maybe its a lot of things but stealing the Belgian GP win from him was very low and wrong and hiding behind a technicality just proves that the prejudice goes all the way up to the top. This is the way you destroy a sport. Not only Lewis Hamilton lost in the farce but F1 loses too. Formula 1 seems to strive for competition and then throws it all out with decisions like this.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Not surprised - McLaren appeal over Hamilton penalty thrown out of FIA (Ferrari International Association) court.
      • 6 Years Ago
      So toro rosso can appeal and get away with it. But Hamilton/Mclaren can't. Mclaren got two approvals from the race stewards that their actions of telling Lewis to let Kimi back in front was deemd approved at the time by the stewards. But now they also get this slap in the face. No consistancy, no transperancy. Im starting to think if Ron Dennis and Lewis won the championship the FIA would eclare that Mclaren had too many sugers in their coffee at a GP and therefor have been docked 20 points.... gee which means FERRARI win the championship now.

      I hope Hamilton wins. Just to throw it in their face.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hamilton's many remarks appear to reflect on his inability to think quickly and react verbally in an appropriate manner. Of course a Ferrari lawyer will push and Hamilton fell right into that "trap" didn't he? From his remarks he comes across as totally arrogant. He does neither himself, nor McLaren any good by reacting in this way. He truly needs a stabilizing influence which does not seem to be offered by McLaren his employers.
      • 6 Years Ago
      There is a simple solution to these kinds of things but this is F1 so why why do something sensible and simple when complex and stupid is sitting right there?

      The sensible solution is to ditch the stupid drive through penalties and hand out time penalties based on the infraction to be added to a driver's finishing time. It allows the officials to determine the exact placing of a penalized driver and allows the punishment to fit the crime.

      What Hamilton did didn't deserve a twenty-five second penalty. Five certainly, perhaps ten, but twenty-five?

      What the FIA fails to think through in their zeal to punish drivers for gaining a competitive advantage is who gets rewarded when one guy is penalized. Whatever Hamilton did, it didn't disadvantage Massa and Heidfeld but they got the benefit.

      If Hamilton had won with Kimi second, reverse the order to punish Hamilton. As it is, if Raikonnen had gone on to win, Massa and Heidfeld still get moved up the standings. Why?

      Twenty-five seconds is an eternity in F1. Unless this rule is changed, so that the infraction is punished with a time penalty related to the time gained from a rules violation on track, we'll eventually have a championship decided after the season in a court of law.

      Think not? Kimi won the last race last year with Hamilton running seventh. As a result Kimi wins the title because Hamilton needed to finish fifth. Imagine Hamilton running sixth and moving up to fifth as the result of twenty-five second penalty being handed to the guy who finished fourth on the track. Who really get's punished and who really gets rewarded under that scenario? And there is no question that Ferrari would have been in court challenging the result.
        • 6 Years Ago
        It was only 25 seconds because it occurred within the final 5 laps that's why it's in the rules.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I liked Hamilton when he came into F1, but his attitude quickly changed. Did you see his performance in Monza? How many cars did he try to push off the track? I counted three. No wonder nobody outside of the UK likes him.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I agree with you 100% he's a bully he tries this crap on track all the time. Last race what he did to Webber he should of been black flagged for that crap. All the Brits love that non sense though, if he's such a good driver then why do you have to do things like that?
      • 6 Years Ago
      To hell with Lewis Hamilton and to hell with Ferrari. They should just take the two teams back to Belgium and run them in opposite directions until they take each other out.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I don't understand why everyone keeps crying about this he got what he deserved. He pulls shady stuff on the track all the time so this is what I like to call karma, it's a bitch and it gets you every time. He is infamous for pushing people off the track even when they have no championship or race contentedness. What he did to Weber last week was the perfect example of his crap.
        • 6 Years Ago
        This is gonna be a long one guys, but bear with me please.

        Lewis Hamilton is very aggressive, but IMO (and apparently the minds of the race stewards as well) he does nothing illegal on track. The greatest drivers in my memory (Senna and Schumacher) all drove with the same aggressive style. Alonso did it, Raikkonen did it (what do you think caused this whole thing... was Kimi playing nice when he held his line and forced Lewis off track?)... aggressive and decisive wins championships, and makes for god racing to watch.

        This penalty was ridiculous, and any self respecting motorsports fan would agree that races should be decided on track and not on paper. Why watch a race if the outcome is gonna be changed and twisted behind closed doors? Pat Symonds from Renault said it best:

        "I think he has been very hard done by. It raises lots of questions, and I am not talking about the FIA being on the side of Ferrari. We have to believe that they are impartial, the sport would not exist if we didn't believe that. But I think it does call into question philosophy, because everyone is saying we need more overtaking, more excitement and more personalities. And yet it seems to me that everything that actually happens seems to be against that. Here we had a great race with people really challenging each other and for what? If it's taken away, then why take that risk? To me the facts are quite clear in retrospect. I have had a look at the videos, I've had a look at the published data which shows that Lewis was nearly 7 k an hour slower than Raikkonen across the line, you can quite clearly see on the in car camera that he lets him get completely in front. In my view Raikkonen just braked very early.

        Lewis went inside him, and if you look at the in-car camera stuff, Lewis drove around the hairpin very easily. He didn't have a big slide, he didn't have to correct it, he hadn't gone in too deep and come out wide, it was a perfectly legitimate manoeuvre, and it wasn't that much later that Raikkonen went past him. This is racing, this is what we want. I think motor racing should be like football, not like cricket. Let's have action. Let's know what is going on in real time, not wait for two days to find out the result."
        • 6 Years Ago
        @FRANZ

        "The greatest drivers in my memory (Senna and Schumacher) all drove with the same aggressive style."

        My thoughts exactly. This is nothing new for Formula 1, as you say; with many drivers over the years using the same aggressive style. Especially with arguably the greatest F1 driver of all time...Schumacher.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @Franz.

        I understand your point and I don't like that they decide races on paper either. But Lewis like Schumi does some shady stuff on track that I personally do not agree with. Sticking to your line is one thing and pushing others off the track is another. Do I completely agree with the penalty he got no I don't but that's what's in the rules the 25 second. Maybe they could of given him a 10 grid which would of not mattered anyhow since he started at the end of the grid the next race anyhow.
      • 6 Years Ago
      How can you call it a "drive through" penalty if you decide the penalty after the cars are parked? It's not like he ignored a drive through request by the stewards and is now arguing, the penalty was a time one created after race end.

      Why is NASCAR becoming more credible than the pinnacle of motorsports?
        • 6 Years Ago
        "drive-through" is the name of the penalty. There is more than one way to serve it. The rule that says what penalties are non-reviewable stats "drive-through" penalties are not. As this is a drive-through penalty, it is thus not reviewable.

        Should it be? Well, that's a different question. The rules are written down to ensure they are the same for everyone. If this is unjust, the rules should be changed so that everyone knows the new rules, instead of the rules being different on a case-by-case basis. And F1 is (in general) loathe to change rules mid-season.
        • 6 Years Ago
        A drive thru penalty is assessed AFTER a review of the video evidence by the officials. Given that the race ended only some minutes after the incident the car could not be called into the pits for the physical drive thru. Therefore the estimated time loss of that penalty is added to the drivers final time. Ergo the penalty is still a drive thru. The Rules clearly state that as such the penaly cannot be appealed.
        If McLaren want they can push for a future change in this. If they don't they will effectively be accepting the rules as proper and fit.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The only remedy available was a "drive-through" penalty at that time. The other options were no longer available since the race was over. Even though it is assessed as 25 seconds, it is still a drive-through penalty, so it's non-reviewable.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Then it's a timed penalty that should be reviewed. Calling it a drive through when one can't (obviously) drive through is setting up a penalty that can't be reviewed (and if you are waiting that long after the race is completed, there must be some question to the penalty).

        I agree that drive through penalties created during the race should not be reviewable, but calling a post race penalty a drive through (even though you are giving it a standard time) seem really wrong and illogical.

        In addition there is the precedence that one post race "drive through" has been reviewed and overturned so not even admitting the review of this case when there is precedence adds to the "conspiracy theory"
    • Load More Comments