Lewis Hamilton was summoned before the race stewards at Malaysia where they have ruled that he and McLaren “acted in a manner prejudicial to the conduct of the event by providing evidence deliberately misleading to the Stewards”. This after radio transmissions between the team and the driver were reviewed. Therefore, the stewards have excluded McLaren from the race results. Hamilton has been stripped of his retroactively applied 3rd place finish and Jarno Trulli will retroactively re-assume his 3rd step on the podium.
Open Paddock would like to express our extreme disgust at the meddling of the stewards in this affair. Clearly, there was confusion by the drivers (and the stewards) as to what the rules actually were, as evidenced by a whole slew of problems that occurred during the safety car periods during the race. From drivers being reluctant to take the wave around from the safety car to drivers being uncertain of the ramifications of the new regulations as they applied to Jarno’s off and later retaking of the position, and even the FIA not knowing how to actually start a safety car period until more than 2 minutes had elapsed after Nakajima’s wreck. Would the FIA prefer that the drivers radio in their questions to the stewards and then wait for clarification…. you know… the same stewards who have taken until today to come up with their final ruling on this matter. Or should the teams resort to hiring rules lawyers to oversee all operations of the team to make sure that they wont incur the wrath of the stewards.
If the FIA stewards were actually paying attention to the race, maybe they would have noticed this whole situation between Trulli and Hamilton and simply sent out a radio transmission to the two drivers to inform them who should be where and then have the drivers adjust their running order. But maybe that couldn’t happen since they were probably too busy flipping through their rules encyclopedia to determine what actually should have happened.
McLaren released their statement on the issue, saying that they will not protest, but also noted that “The Team mistakenly believed that the radio transmissions had been reviewed by the FIA on Sunday 29th March 2009, and consequently did not believe it was necessary to discuss them with the stewards on that date.” Open Paddock finds it inexplicable that the stewards did not use every piece of data available to them to determine their previous ruling that stripped Jarno of his podium.
Needless to say, this further calls into question the stewards. Further, it calls into question whether the stewards have enough manpower at each race to sufficiently govern these events. As Max and Bernie always tell us, F1 is the pinnacle of modern motorsport on par in scope and size with the Olympics. Maybe it is time that the FIA governs it as such!