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Stewards led by Damon Hill penalise Michael Schumacher, Mercedes to appeal

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Michael Schumacher overtakes Alonso 2010 Monaco Grand Prix

Michael Schumacher might be the most successful driver on Monaco, but from this weekend he would be getting another tag of probably being the most unlucky/controversial driver at the Monaco circuit. Fresh on the heels of the controversy that the British media generated about the 2006 Monaco Grand Prix incident.

In the latest incident Michael Schumacher was punished with a 20 seconds penalty which threw him out of the points for illegally overtaking Fernando Alonso. The point of contention here is if he was allowed to overtake Alonso when the safety car went in. The article 40.13 states :

If the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed it will enter the pit lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking.

But the article should not be valid here as the race monitors said Safety car in this lap.

The rules state if the race ends under the safety car period, the order will remain the same, however Michael Schumacher and Mercedes GP contend that since an all clear was given to race the overtaking move on Fernando Alonso was legal and legitimate.

FIA Stewards José Abed (FIA Vice President), Dr. Christian Calmes (a representative of the Automobile Club de Monaco), Paul Gutjahr  announced the verdict alongwith Damon Hill. The text was :

 

Fernando Alonso Monaco Race

The appeal went to the stewards where Michael Schumacher’s old foe Damon Hill was the driver’s representative. A large number of press sources are blaming Hill for the verdict. Also British press sources are very happy about the penalty, totally ignoring another incident that happened in the race, Rubens Barrichello after retiring threw his steering wheel onto the track, but no action was taken.

Michael Schumacher Monaco Race

Schumacher in his defence said :

“The message was ‘safety car in, track clear,’ if that’s given then its racing,” said Schumacher.

 

Damon Hill meanwhile defended himself and was quoted as saying :

“Believe me my only concern was that the right thing was done.

“But there was a wry smile from Michael. Slightly ironic you could say.” said Damon Hill

Ross Brawn also came in defence of his driver Schumacher and was able to demonstrate dissimilar endings at Melbourne. He also mentions the marshalls had waved green flags, a symbol for normal racing to resume.

“We believed that the track had gone green and the race was not finishing under a safety car when article 40.13 clearly would have applied,” said Brawn. “The reason for the safety car had been removed, the FIA had announced ‘Safety Car in this lap’ early on lap 78 and the track had been declared clear by race control.

This was further endorsed when the marshals showed green flags and lights after safety car line one. On previous occasions when it has been necessary to complete a race under a safety car, full course yellows are maintained, as in Melbourne 2009.

On the last lap, we therefore advised our drivers that they should race to the line and Michael made his move on Fernando for sixth place. We have appealed the decision of the stewards.”

In a video he explains that at 15:51 – Safety car coming in was flashed

15:52 – Track Clear was flashed

15:53 – Chequered flag

The appeal looks very promising as the race doesn’t appear to have finished under the safety car as track clear was flashed before chequered flag.

The result of the appeal will be announced by the FIA court of appeals and the result of Monaco Grand Prix is at the moment provisional.

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