25 seconds in Spa

I wasn’t sure whether to comment on the horrendous decision in Spa exacerbated by the non argument in Paris. If I argued in favour of Lewis/McLaren then I would be a partisan Englishman, if I spoke up for Ferrari then the same.

BUT I felt I had to put something down about the way the FIA wastes our time, if they knew at Spa that the appeal was inadmissible why oh why did they have to go through the farce of taking everybody to Paris argue their case for dismissal and then say sorry we can’t accept/reject your arguments as the appeal is inadmissible in the first place. Surely the FIA lawyers could have said that before convening the appeal hearing.

I can understand a drive through penalty being final, there is some debate before the penalty has to be applied, but once it has happened then fine, you can’t undo it. But the last five laps rule needs to be changed especially if the judgement on the infringement is made in the stewards room hours after the presentations.

If the FIA felt that the arguments for admissibility had to be made, why was the Tonio Liuzzi case not taken as a precedent? The fact that the Japanese GP case was heard at all and this one not will come back and bite the FIA at some time in the future

From Autosport.com

27. The Court, in a judgment of 12 October 2007 rendered in the Toro Rosso case concerning the 2007 Japanese Grand Prix (driver Vitantonio Liuzzi), concluded, in similar circumstances, that the appeal against a decision to impose a 25- second penalty was admissible. However, none of the parties concerned had raised the inadmissibility of the appeal in that case, the FIA for its part leaving the matter to the sovereign appreciation of the Court. Therefore, the Court was able, in the conclusion of its decision, to declare the appeal admissible, but it did not give reasons for its decision on the issue, as the question was not debated. Consequently that judgment does not present itself as settled law with respect to this question and does not bind the Court in the present case.

Obviously the FIA can decide whether to argue against something or not, ie they can ignore their own rules when they want to! The higher profile the case and the more the FIA looks to find a way to win, whereas if its lower down the grid they ignore their own rules!

The fact that the FIA said there Chief Steward at Japan had made, and admitted to, making a mistake seems very odd as well.

From timesonline:

In a surprise submission to the court, which will only fuel the belief among Hamilton’s supporters that the sport’s governing body is biased against him, McLaren revealed that FIA officials misrepresented the views of Tony Scott Andrews, the chief steward at last year’s Japanese Grand Prix, in correspondence sent only three days before yesterday’s hearing.

In an e-mail sent to McLaren’s lawyers on Friday, the FIA claimed that Scott Andrews had admitted that he had been wrong to impose a time penalty on Tonio Liuzzi, the Italian driver, in Japan and that Scott Andrews had confirmed as much in a phone conversation with Charlie Whiting, the Formula One race director, that day.


The court heard that McLaren were not content to take the FIA’s word on this critical matter and sent officials to Brands Hatch race track in Kent on Sunday, when Scott Andrews was officiating at a touring car meeting, to check if he had agreed that he had made a mistake. Scott Andrews was adamant that he had not and offered to put his views in writing to the court.

In a submission that makes embarrassing reading for the FIA, which has come under fire for its perceived bias against McLaren and Hamilton, Scott Andrews said that he was “extremely surprised by the content” of the FIA’s e-mail, which he described as “grossly inaccurate and misleading”. He also said that at no time during his conversation with Whiting had he been asked if he had made a mistake in imposing a time penalty on Liuzzi. “Had he [Whiting] done so, the answer would have been ‘no’,” Scott Andrews wrote.

In his closing speech to the court, Mark Phillips, QC, representing McLaren, described the matter as an “unfortunate exchange”. Clearly not wishing to rub the FIA’s nose in it, he added: “I ask you to reflect on that when you come to consider the way in which certain members of the FIA conducted themselves. I won’t say any more than that.”

I, personally, think McLaren should “rub the FIA’s nose!

Well on to Singapore where there isn’t any precedent.


One Reply to “25 seconds in Spa”

  1. Found the transcript of the original Toro Rosso case and lo it says:

    Having acknowledged that the due hearing of all parties was in order, that the appeal
    was admissible, that the rights of each of the parties had been duly examined both in
    the proceedings which preceded the hearing and during the hearing itself, that the
    appealing competitor, the intervenor and the knowledgeable parties were duly heard,
    and provided all the detailed explanations requested from them during the hearing and
    provided answers

    So whilst the previous decision declares an appeal is admissible, the FIA later decide that the World Motor Sport Council must have made a mistake and does not set a precedent? Unless I have misunderstood?

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