FIA had to disqualify Hamilton in Spain says Whiting

Charlie WhitingMay 16 (GMM) FIA Formula One race director Charlie Whiting has defended the decision in Spain to demote Lewis Hamilton from pole position to the very back of the grid.

Although McLaren was widely criticised for making a grave error, the stewards’ penalty was at the same time described by the world’s press as “draconian”.

“Quite frankly I did not expect the penalty that we received,” said McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh.

Indeed, given that McLaren’s fuel indiscretion occurred only in the decisive Q3, why not simply delete Hamilton’s Q3 laptimes, thereby putting the Briton mid-grid for the race?

“We had no room to move,” Whiting, the FIA’s race director, responded to Auto Motor und Sport when told that Hamilton’s penalty seemed too severe.

“If there is a violation, it applies to the whole session, not just part of it,” he insisted. “Qualifying begins with Q1.”

Whiting explained that if Hamilton had only lost his Q3 time, a precedent would have been set tempting teams to risk not being checked for the mandatory 1 litre fuel sample in post-qualifying scrutineering.

AM&S said only one or two fuel samples are actually checked after qualifying at grands prix.

Competitors could, therefore, genuinely “run the risk” of using less fuel than is allowed in Q3, if the penalty for being caught is relatively light, Whiting argued.

He recalled last year’s German Grand Prix, when Sebastien Buemi was sent to the back of the grid because his fuel sample showed irregularities.

As it was not possible to check if the illegal fuel had also been used in Q1 and Q2, the Toro Rosso driver had to be disqualified from qualifying, Whiting argued.

  • Anthony

    Makes sense to me.

  • lio

    he’s just covering it up for a bad decision. he should be replaced.

  • Speedo

    According to the article quote “AM&S said only one or two fuel samples are actually checked after qualifying at grands prix. Unquote.

    This means that Lewis could have made it back to the pits and taken the chance of his fuel not being checked and continued on pole in Barca. If he was checked then it would not have made any difference whether he stopped on track or in the pits as he would be penalised.

    This is a stupid rule. All cars should be checked and the rule amended. Because it leaves room for cheating. McLaren did not want to cheat and therefore Lewis was asked to stop and McLaren gave their reason which was not accepted.

  • Greg

    That’s nonsense. Even if you buy the whole “all of qualifying is one session” argument, it still allows for any range of punishments within that session. It also means that the quickest cars are also the ones with the greatest chance of running foul of the rule. If Marussia or Caterham push the limits on fuel load in hopes of getting to Q2, there’s one chance of being called in while Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull face three chances. It also means Caterham’s penalty is a 6 spot drop as opposed to a 20+ spot drop for others.

    Comparing it with Buemi isn’t entirely accurate either. McLaren wasn’t deemed to have provided an illegal fuel sample. They were deemed to have not driven back to the pits. There’s no dispute that Hamilton brought the car to pts after the first two sessions.

  • Joe Kinnear

    The FIA’s always good at making rules that have lots of grey areas and punishing teams/drivers while “explaining” those rules.

  • Shibby Forza Ferrari

    It’s because he’s black, no kidding. But Hamilton is driving his arse off this year, makes no mistakes (unlike his pitcrew), he moans about nothing and he has a lot of points on the board. Why do they pick on him? What about all the cars (including) Vettel who put their car at the end of the pitlane after the chequered flag in Bahrain? Whiting is a doosh!

  • Anthony

    Playing the race card, real classy. Pretty much every driver gets penalized and they all complain about it. Hamilton is black and so you and your ilk have to make it about race and paint everyone else as a racist. It just shows how weak you truly are. The rule was created in response to something he did last year so he should be aware that it existed. I can’t wait for one of the white drivers to fall afoul of the rule and you dolts will remain silent (or cheer it in Vettel’s case, presumably).

    The car will only face scrutineering after they fail to make Q2 or Q3, or after Q3. They aren’t scrutineered multiple times throughout the session. So Greg is wrong on that front. It is also stupid to suggest that they scrutineer every car at the end of qualifying and the race. That would take an inordinate amount of time. They heavily scrutinize the top place in each session and even then they only check certain things every time and then a few random other things.

    The rule was created to prevent people from putting just enough fuel into their run. Otherwise you will have every car stopping on track, creating a hazard. McLaren knew the rule existed and let Hamilton complete his run and then went on to attempt to blow smoke up the FIA’s bum.

    Like Whiting said, had they not ruled with an iron fist on this, it would open up the door to having people attempt to circumvent the rules. Deal with it.

  • Anthony

    Re-read your post and it appears you were being sarcastic, my bad. The improper use of the race card is quite aggravating.