• Apr 2, 2009
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Last weekend's Australian Grand Prix, the season opener to the 2009 Formula One season, may have ushered in a new era in on-track competition, but the off-track politics are already back up to full swing.

Following the race, officials from the FIA convened to decide whether Toyota's Jarno Trulli had illegally passed McLaren's defending champion Lewis Hamilton behind the safety car. McLaren and Hamilton insisted the pass was illegal, but new evidence – namely radio transmissions between the two drivers and their pit crews – reportedly demonstrated indicated that Hamilton deliberately let Trulli by.

The new evidence was confirmed by a meeting of the FIA stewards in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where the second race of the season is scheduled to take place this coming weekend. Their decision? To take away Hamilton's and McLaren's points altogether, which may seem like a harsh punishment, but the stewards determined that Hamilton and McLaren had intentionally deceived the officials.

The adjusted rankings therefore bump Trulli up to third (in both the race results and the drivers' championship standings, since it was the first race of the season) and Toyota up to second in the constructors' championship, while McLaren remains outside the standings altogether as both their drivers were deemed not to have been classified in the race. Tune in on Sunday for our recap of the Malaysian Grand Prix, where hopefully the finishing order will actually be determined on the track and not in boardroom.

[Source: Autosport]


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  • 40 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      This has got to be the first time I've agreed with FIA. Lying to the refs should take you out of the points. But there needs to be some rule that unless something really devious (like outright lying to the refs) occurs, all decisions must be made before a relatively short time limit. It's not like F1 is special in some way. Any sport COULD be run like F1, they just don't because it's ridiculous.
        • 5 Years Ago
        What if every time a football player argued a flag and instant replay showed the player was guilty he was ejected? Any team, any sport, any athlete...doesn't matter...will do every thing in their power to win. That's why sports have officials in the first place. Can you imagine an official in another sport asking a player if they did something wrong? Unbelievable.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That's why I don't even watch their post race shows. It's a waste of time. How can it take this long to figure out somethings not right?
      • 5 Years Ago
      BAN THE FIA, races should not be decided in court rooms!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Let me quote BBC commentator and former F1 driver Martin Brundle known for his often anglo-centric biased commentary:


      "This does not look good for Hamilton or McLaren....

      "There was a point when he (Hamilton) was doing just 15mph in his McLaren and Trulli had no option but to repass him.

      "I think Lewis then saw half a chance of a third place instead of a fourth, went up to the stewards and didn't give them the full story.

      "Now they've matched up his comments (to them) to radio content between him and the team, and other information they've gathered, and they've decided that effectively he was telling fibs.

      "I think it's a big issue and it's not going to go away. If they were asked a direct question they should have given the right answer, and they clearly didn't."
      • 5 Years Ago
      I hate the politics of F1 as much as anybody, but for Hamilton to lie to the stewards when there was proof that he was told to let Trulli by was just stupid. All he had to do was STFU and he had 4th place points. He lied transparently to get a couple more and got caught so McLaren got what they deserved.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I am a lifetime McLaren fan and I agree with you. Hamilton and McLaren just plain f-ed up. I think this is doubly disturbing because Ron Dennis has always prided McLaren for being clean and honest in this sport. So for the team to go through Spy-gate and then this, just comes across to undermine what he believes in.
      Brett
      • 5 Years Ago
      So McLaren lied, but this just highlights what is wrong with F1. It takes them forever to sort everything out. In almost every other race series, penalties and other issues are dealt with DURING the race, not after. The race stewards have a lot of staff and it shouldn't be too difficult to call up both teams and sort it out during the race, like nascar. The FIA needs to make it a lot simpler for teams to communicate with them during the race, instead of taking away from the sport by taking the races out of the drivers' hands.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well there goes another F1 season, ruined once again by politics and the FIA...
        • 5 Years Ago
        The stewards never listened to the radio conversations with their first decision which demoted Trulli.
        Then they change their mind again ?

        It is a complete mess...

        The stewards(Race control) during the safety car stage were unable to communicate back to Toyota or McLaren on what to do, even though the teams tried to contact them...

        The rushed the first decision, then botched the 2nd one...
        Amazingly McLaren are the ones with no points, humm just like last year where McLaren got the bad end of the stick...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Well, it seems logical: If you lie to the stewards to get someone disqualified, then you should be punished severely. This appears to be the case, otherwise why would hamilton lie to the officials?

        If drivers could get away with this sort of stuff, you'd see this happening at the end of the season to intentionally DQ their rivals. It seems a fair punishment.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Guess what the Australian GP is not over yet. Once the stewards reverse their decision regarding the rear difuser Alonso will have won the race with the Toro Rosso cars finishing 2nd and 3rd.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Let's hope not. That would be lame especially after all the petitions against the diffusers were rejected. But I think Barrichello made his come back after his dismal start w/a damaged diffuser...

        Back on topic... I don't see this as being so horrible. They probably should have asked for all the evidence prior to making the decision, but it is good that they actually went and reversed the decision while penalizing Hamilton & crew for their deception.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Temple:
        You're making a basic error here. You're assuming that the rules that apply to Ferrari also apply to the other teams.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why don't they just skip the race portion and have F1 post the finishing order as they like...

      Is F1 trying to get us to stop watching?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why on Earth would McLaren want Trulli to make an illegal pass????
      • 5 Years Ago
      As much as I think the FIA is simply Ferrari Internal Assistance, this time they got it right. Here is the full radio transmission:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8q27gzS4C4
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think there is no question that Hamilton lied to the stewards and got Trulli unfairly penalized. Not only is there recorded evidence (as shown in your link) and an admission by Hamilton to SpeedTV, but telemetry data showed he slowed down to 15mph.

        I hate the FIA, hate Max, and am a McLaren and Hamilton fan, but he lied through his teeth. This is hard to defend.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Temple

        I agree Hamilton should of told them about the radio conversation but team told him to slow down to let Trulli pass because Trulli came of the track earlier at the time when the safety car was out I believe. Hamilton passed him which is against the rules.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I gotta agree with you. As an avid supporter of both Lewis Hamilton and the Mclaren team, I can say without reservation that they f*cked this up big time and have no one to blame but themselves. Why the hell did they lie about it?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I am almost positive this sport is intentionally creating drama at this point to generate media attention.

      Although I don't have radio transmissions to confirm.
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