Why Schumacher escaped DRS yellow flag penalty

Michael Schumacher was investigated for speeding through a yellow flag zone in the closing laps of the European GP after Mark Webber – who was behind him – saw that his DRS flap was open.

Webber reported back to his team and the FIA duly took a look at the situation after the race.

The DRS/yellow flag saga goes back to Suzuka last year, when an incident occurred and several drivers were seen to have used DRS and in some cases KERS.

After that drivers were told that a repeat would be frowned upon by the stewards, and in Barcelona this year both Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa received penalties after they drove through a yellow zone with their DRS open and without backing off.

In Schumacher’s case he was received a DRS activation in the tow of Narain Karthikeyan. At the same time he was told by his engineer, who knew a yellow had just some out, ‘don’t use DRS.’

However, Michael apparently didn’t see a yellow flag initially and there was no light on his steering wheel – the incident was far around the corner at the end of the straight after the bridge – so at the start of the zone he opened the DRS.

He then passed by a stationary yellow flag which the stewards subsequently accepted was hard to see.

When he reached a more obvious double yellow, which was immediately followed by a yellow light panel, he switched off his DRS and backed off.

Webber meanwhile had seen the open DRS and having been told by his team not to use his he was understandably miffed.

However it was deemed by the stewards that by backing off Michael had slowed down sufficiently, and intriguingly it was determined that Webber was actually 0.3s quicker through the same sector…

7 Comments

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7 responses to “Why Schumacher escaped DRS yellow flag penalty

  1. Srinjay

    Weber should be penalized for complaining when he himself was quicker in that sector.

  2. Piston

    for an aussie, webber does an awful lot of wingeing, enough for the whole paddock! I would love it if he could be penalised himself for not backing off…That would be dinkum [or whatever]. Give him something to grumble about!

  3. Robert

    How much is that “sufficiently” for Schumacher and how much was that for Felipe Massa and Sebastian Vettel in Catalunya. More details about exact time or speed should be provided because this will happen many more times in future. And why did Ross Brawn told that he had personally double-checked the data and Schumacher stopped using is 30m before the yellow flag zone so he’s confident there won’t be a penalty? It turns out Ross was lying?

  4. Heiko

    Really, the whole thing was about nothing than a fault rule knowledge of RedBull (and apparently some journalist/reporters as well) – it was never forbidden to use DRS under yellow flag! End of story.
    The driver has to slow down in the yellow zone. And thats what Schumacher did – and what Massa and Vettel did NOT in Barcelona.

  5. Robert

    I believe the real thing is absence of transparent rules. Isn’t that too subjective to slow down “sufficiently”? I mean, how much is that to slow down “sufficiently”? Speeding in pitlane is clear, but this case isn’t clear. And Ross Brawn telling everyone that Schumacher didn’t use DRS is ridiculous as well.

  6. Robert

    Schumacher’s podium was a farce! There is not a single doubt that Charlie Whiting must resign. Before the race he warned all the teams not to use DRS and KERS under yellow flags, but now double standards are once more obvious – Schumacher keeps his lucky podium finish. Warning not to do something and then still allowing someone do that is either cheating or lack of intelligence or both.

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