June 27, 2010

Complaints, Lies and Videotape

As you read various sources and make your mind out about what happened in Valencia, be careful about what "facts" you are presented with. For example, GrandPrix.com is reporting a lengthy explanation as to why it took Charlie Whiting and crew 35 minutes to come up with a suitable penalty for Hamilton's passing of the pace car. Obviously the article is a "his master's voice" piece coming straight from the source, peeved about the worldwide criticism.

You can choose to believe what parts you like, for example that the footage could not be found for half an hour but just know what that footage actually shows when you read those convoluted excuses about transponder location on the different cars.

Keep it in mid too when you read Hamilton's " ...I don't remember very much to be honest, I got to turn 1 and I was already passed the pace car..."

It's certainly true the Safety Car was deployed quickly, just as Webbed tosses his steering wheel and begins to climb out of his car, which was off the racing line, on his own. It's tough to criticize an abundance of caution but this could have been resolved with a local yellow. Even if a Safety Car was needed, why have it dive in the middle of the pack? Why not display yellows and SC boards until the leader could be gathered? Needless panic that ended up ruining a race for all the fans that were waiting for the fight to come between Vettel Hamilton and Alonso.

Predictably, all the UK centric publications are slamming Ferrari for criticizing race control and Alonso for "complaining"... Let's go to the videotape!

How about term limits of race directors? Discuss.


  1. again we're sseing the similar pattern:
    1. racecontrol fucks up
    2. driver gets penatly
    3. fans get robbed.
    -> sucks.


    ps: i want kimi raikonnen back. or know how to spell him. or both.

  2. Hamilton definitely broke the rule re overtaking the safety car (before the line) but I think he and/or Mclaren also showed they have a better grasp of the rules in a spontaneous decision moments. It occurred to either Hamilton or McLaren that they COULD overtake (before the line) after his initial reaction was to lift.

    In my view, bloody unlucky he didn't sneak ahead and have a blinding battle with Vettel later in the race.

    Sure, Ferrari can bemoan how long it took, but I imagine race control were looking at a lot of infringements (9 delta time issues for one thing) but more worrying is why Alonso seems to fixate on Hamilton and Ferrari are so paranoid as to call it a scandal and assume its all a conspiracy against them...... learn the rules, toughen up, make a faster car and stop being embarrassing with the whinging and moaning (isn't that famously an English trait?).

    Webber.... phew! But what were you thinking. I wouldn't follow a Lotus that close just for fear of it breaking down while I'm tucked up behind.


  3. Wait, Stig, Alonso had just as much of a car as Hamilton today, the only reason why we were robbed of the show is Race Control. Hamilton bumped into Vettel and busted his wing, he got a double break since thanks to Webber he was able to come in and change his nose...

    Yes Mclaren have a great sense of the rules, that's why they keep braking them and somehow don't get penalized... brilliant.

    And Hamilton's blatant lying bothers nobody? c'mon now.

  4. I think with the size of the shunt, they were justified in releasing the SC so quickly. With a local yellow, the marshals also would have had a hard time sweeping up without it. I think SC boards and flags, and then picking up the leader is redundant, as evident by the number of penalties for speeding under the SC too.

    Judging by the video, Hamilton didn't exactly back Alonso up, and then take off past the SC. Alonso still would have ended up behind, and Massa would have double parked, and bugger, race ruined. Hamilton was penalised accordingly, but due to other teams strategy, a rather slow race control, and his pace, he had enough of a gap (Webber's first win? Rosberg in Singapore '08?)

    You're implying a lot of malicious intent on behalf of a lot of people. Alonso has a major vendetta against Hamilton, which he probably needs to let go and concentrate on what he's doing. I also think various teams teams and drivers getting so upset over a matter of safety is ridiculous; if a safety car ruins your race, deal with it, it's probably been deployed for a reason (and a back flipping a car sounds like a good reason to me).

  5. Hmmm... you are within tenths of a second of second place on track and he gets away with a rule infringement that the safety car driver could CLEARLY have witnessed first hand yet it takes 35 minutes and another driver to bring it out in the open and have a reprimand? Had the penalty been assessed in due time Hamilton would have been scrapping up with the rest of the pack like Alonso was. Where he DESERVED to be. Had Ferrari pulled that move and Alonso been behind the wheel the world (minus the Tifosi) would have been up in arms about unfair tactics. Hamilton gets away with too many slaps ont he wrist. I'm freaking tired of it. He's an amazing driver but it's like watching a pitcher spit on the ball before he throws it. He and you both know he cheated to gain an advantage.

  6. ok first Ferrari and Felipe Massa need to stop bitching and realize they're losing races cause everyone is making better cars and the level of competition has gone up. Instead of making a new flagship they're focused on the 599xx gto and the 458. If they dumped some money into R&D like they used to they'd be dominating like the ferrari of old.

    Second Hamilton has always been a pretty boy bitch with talent and everyone knows it so of course he gets a free pass he's formula 1's new posterboy and if he had signed with ferrari instead of mclaren we all know they wouldn't be so butt hurt.

    Ferrari has been clawing to have an identity in F1 since Schumacher left, but regardless F1 is too political and if you guys want to watch real racing tune into GT1. If you want a spectacle watch f1. Its just like college sports vs the pro's whats more entertaining? (college) and what do more people watch?(pro's)

  7. Passing the safety car should be a black flag infraction, they are too soft on what should be very serious issues. Hamilton clearly saw the safety car infront of him, backed off, and then attempted to jet past at the last second. Clever if it works, but he screwed it up and should pay the price. He was essentially given a pass for an egregious safety violation. And the entire handling of the incident was atrocious, the safety car should never have been coming into the fray at that point anyway. They all look like clowns, and the race was ruined for everyone. Well, almost everyone.

  8. I just think that Ferrari were very, very unlucky. Timing of the crash, the safety car deployment, Hamilton knowing the rules and even though he failed to get ahead before the line (by inches) he dodged the penalty bullet by the shortness of the pitlane and Kobayashi holding up the chasing pack.

    Just seems that people are always trying to point the finger at anything other than bad luck. it wasn't Hamiltons fault, the stewards did what they did in the time they did - no conspiracy. Ferrari seem to over react a little too frequently at the moment.... waving arms and pointing fingers, forgetting the times that things worked in their favour and Alonso, amazing talent, possibly the most complete driver out there but fixated on what Hamilton is doing, forgetting when he's been advantaged by others deeds.

    There's karma in car racing like everything else. Sometimes it works for you, sometimes against.

    I thought it was a great race in many respects. If I focus on some perceived outrage, even though it makes for good commentary, it doesn't add to my appreciation of the good bits.

    Would anyone have a gripe if Hamilton got ahead of the safety car before the line? Alonso would still be 9th. Only difference is Hamilton would be 7th or 8th.

    So is this about not wanting Hamilton to do well?

    Hell, did you see the England 'equaliser' against Germany in the World Cup?

    Now thats an outrage!

  9. If you look at the first video the safety car drifts across the pit exit merge line before it should.

    It is at this point that Hamilton briefly lifts, perhaps unsure whether the Safety Car is going to continue pulling left across the track or is already to be considered as on the track.

    When the safety car ten drifts back into the pit exit lane Hamilton pushes forward again, reasonably in my opinion.

    I think the root cause of the problem was the safety car not leaving the pits properly, if it had stayed in it's lane Hamilton would not have been balked and would have easily got to the safety car line first and maybe Alonso would have too.

    Because it didn't get out before Vettel someone was going to be the first driver to be dudded, today it just happened to be Alonso.

  10. It was a perfect storm of bad luck for Ferrari, no doubt, but that doesn't change the fact that Hamilton cleanly got away with a blatant safety violation. When he lifted, and regardless of the safety car drifting onto the pit lane line, he knew where everyone was and where the safety car line was. He made a decision to get back into the throttle, for a huge strategic advantage. And he botched it up, without any real penalty. Alonso can hardly be faulted for being pissed for how things worked out, he got jobbed all the way around today, by F1, Hamilton, and the cruel hand of fate.

  11. Red Bull gives you wings!
    A shunt that big deserves a safety car, at least to give the audience a chance to watch the replay a couple of times.. See the in-car view!

    I like that last video of the article, whining Poms!

    There are rules for a reason.
    As soon as he saw the safety car he should have slowed, that's the purpose.
    I cant believe that after 37 minutes to decide on the appropriate action they still allowed Mclaren to benefit from that move.

    This was nothing to do with Alonso or Ferrari, it has to do with Mclaren and Race control.
    All of Mclaren's competitor were disadvantaged by that decision.

  12. Are there any photos of Mark's flying car?

  13. It's got nothing to do with Hamilton, other than laughing at his statements about not seeing the SC (he can see well enough to call in for a beer bottle on track...) and accusing Vettel of hitting him. Hamilton committed an infraction and was give a penalty, done. The Issue is with race control, they got everything wrong, right down to inventing a new 5 second penalty!

  14. The safety car has to be IMMEDIATELY deployed whenever a crash like this happens. The medical car and every other cars can come only when the SC is on the track. It's called safety car and not a pace car because it defends the safety of drivers and marshals, and everyone else on the track (medical team, etc.). And that was a huge crash with a lots of parts on the track and a high chance of injury. And also the parts has to be removed (just like the bottle which was carried of by a heroic marshal), and I think it's good that they call in the SC immediately.

  15. Well, the entire season has been about races that needed some external motivation, such as rain, to keep things a little interesting given most races the cars need to replace tires just once to complete the races. We don't even care that much any more about fastest laps given we know as the cars get lighter towards the end times will come down and even top drivers are too busy saving tires and fuel to push that bit much to improve the spectacle.

    Just because Ferrari got duped in this race after a hard year does not mean much. Alonso's day dream of trying to fight for the title does not make the Ferrari cars the best of the year so winning the construtor's championship has seemed kind of unlikely for Ferrari and even with a clone of Alonso as a second Ferrari driver would still mean both fighting for good grid positions and to be the first in the pits so in cases such as everyone goes to the pits at the same time, the first one gets a huge advantage.

    No Alonso, this is not a year for you to try to steal the show towards the end. Better try again next year and the year after that, but hopefully when Alonso wins the title it comes with the Constructor's title as well.

    I'm fairly impressed by the Cosworth's engine given it has failed very little the entire season despite being a newcomer and supplying several teams. Its performance does not seem to be too bad... I wonder how engines will affect the grids towards the end of the season.

  16. This is the kind of race that makes you think that those several hours watching F1 every race weekend could be better spent. It made a mockery of the sport. It's enough having to listen to Eddie Jordan worship Lewis and Jensen and defend their every move. But when the stewards let Hammy get away with murder it just makes a joke of F1.

  17. Other footage shows the Lewis comes up to the safety car and then holds level and once over the SC line accelerates. It is clear it was intentional so that those following would end up behind the safety car unless they can make their pitstop. I do not like Lewis' evasiveness during the interval but it is what we have come to expect.

    In all honesty Lewis was given a penalty so there is no dishonesty on Mclaren's side but the FIA should have made the decision quicker.

    McLaren were perfectly placed to take advanatage and Ferrari could not have been in worse position. It is more bad luck than conspiracy.

  18. Since we no longer need to worry about cars running out of fuel - the simple solutions is to close pit lane when a SC occurs. Solves all problems.

    BTW - why didnt ms stay out like kobiyashi did?

  19. "BTW - why didnt ms stay out like kobiyashi did? "

    Koby was one of the few drivers to start on hard tyres plus the Sauber tends to wear its tyres less than the Mercedes and other teams(tyre wear has been a problem for the Mercedes team). Of cource this circuit is not heavy on tyres and that helped the Sauber strategy.

  20. Personally, I think the only obvious error was the delay in the decision.

    However, I am guessing that Alonso believes Hamilton intentionally backs himself & Massa up so that he can ditch them behind the safety car. His complaints over the radio were related to Hamilton's Delta time, not hamilton crossing the line. At the time, I thought it odd because Alonso was saying that hamilton went slowly, not too fast.

    Come to think of it, if this is what Ferrari actually complained about, then it might explain why the Stewards took so long to find against Hamilton, as they might not have seen the fact he overtook the pace car until they reviewed the footage etc...

    Anyway, I am a hamilton hater so it is easy for me to believe he and the team would come up with a plan like that, but If I'm honest I tend to believe that the truth is simpler.

  21. Interesting that this article at Grandprix dot com have exactly the same piece of information that is in Autosport:

    "...It happened, ironically enough, precisely because motor sport was so much more professional than football last weekend and the FIA was checking to make sure they got it right.

    Bear in mind that there was probably less than a car's length in it between Lewis and the safety car. Also, there was no back-up timing loop at that point, so Whiting wanted to see footage of the incident. This, initially, was from an angle that was not conclusive and so there was a delay while aerial footage was sought. This confirmed that Hamilton appeared to be guilty but that it was indeed a close call.
    Fernando Alonso lost out with the safety car
    Fernando Alonso lost out with the safety car © SUTTON

    There was more to check. Depending on where the timing transponders are placed on a car – for instance if one was at the back and the other at the front, you can have a situation where one car that appears to be ahead of another one actually records the same time. So, when it's that tight, installation positions have to be checked, times and distances noted and calculations made. All at the same time as handling a potential injury situation and then keeping on top of a restarted race.

    Another Ferrari gripe was that once it had been decided that penalties were appropriate, why give sanctions that had no impact on the culprits?

    There were two claims here. First, Hamilton, then the nine cars that exceeded the speed delta while pitting under the safety car. They got 5s penalties when, perhaps, Ferrari had been expecting 20s. The 5s penalties meant that Alonso leapfrogged Buemi to eighth in the final order, but had it been 20s Alonso would have been fifth – behind Vettel, Hamilton, Button and Kobayashi.

    Again though, there are logical explanations why that didn't happen. It was touch and go as to whether a drive-through penalty was going to impact on Hamilton. The rules say that you have to serve it within three laps of notification and McLaren used that leeway to tell Hamilton to get the hammer down before stopping. He only just emerged from the pits ahead of Kobayashi.

    You might think that a stop-and-go would have been better. The FIA is able to work out the probable impact of a penalty and so it would have cost Lewis more time in the pits and punished him more in line with his crime. That's certainly a view, but the FIA tends to take into account precedent so that it limits the extent to which it is accused of inconsistency.

    When Webber scored his debut win at the Nurburgring last year, for instance, he was able to serve a drive-through penalty for weaving at Barrichello off the start, without losing his lead. Had the stewards deviated from that, they would have found themselves dubbed ‘Ferrari International Assistance' again. Damned if they do, damned if they don't...

    The FIA also studied carefully the GPS data relating to the cars that broke the time delta while pitting. Robert Kubica was doing 175mph plus with less than 100m to go to the timing line and suddenly slamming on the anchors would not have been appreciated by the closely following Button, Barrichello, Hulkenberg and Buemi, and could even have triggered another shunt similar to Webber's..."

    — Tony Dodgins


  22. Hamilton is a cheater. Two races in a row, two cheating offenses. If he wins the title, it will be as a cheat.

  23. I find it astounding that the UK press cannot stop whining about Alonso while completely ignoring Hamilton's lies and general unsporting behavior.

    When presented with a chance to do the right think Hamilton chose the "smarty pants" solution in Valencia, then lied about it to cover it up, just like he did in Australia a while back...

    Shameful also how certain outlets are towing the party line and making absurd excuses for race control, British Fair play may be a myth of the past but, obviously, the old boy network is alive and well (or at least thease people know where the paddock passes come from..)

  24. @BEcken... you got my point, precisely!

  25. To add more fuel, there is this thing going around english media that Alonso and Ferrari said the race was "fixed". Please, they said the results were "falsified" that is quite a different thing. It irritates me to no end to see any comment Alonso or Ferrari make be described as "petulant" while Hamilton's (or in Canada qualifying , Mclaren's) behavior is ignored or dismissed. This episode revealed the inadequacies not just of race control but the absurd bias of certain media sources. It's a big disappointment to see people you looked up to, fail so spectacularly.

  26. While Hamilton's bottling at the safety car was unfortunate, whether or not he passed the car before the safety car line, Alonso would have been stuck behind it. There was no space for him to get by it. If Hamilton handn't slowed down, he would have passed it JUST before the safety car line. Unless Alonso was glued 0.0001 seconds off of Hamilton's tailfins, there was no way he was getting past.

    In this case, Hamilton had a clear choice:

    1. Go by as fast as possible, catch up with Vettel and challenge for a win.

    2. Slow down by the safety car. Pick up an unnecessary drive-through penalty. Settle for second place or worse. Piss off Fernando Alonso.

    Seems Lewis Hamilton loves pissing off Alonso more than he loves winning, eh?


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