Hamilton pole under threat from FIA?

The FIA is looking into Lewis Hamilton’s actions on his in-lap after securing pole in qualifying in Montreal.

Hamilton was told by the team to stop on the circuit because he was so marginal on fuel that he was in risk of not having enough left for the FIA sample at the end of the session. The car must have at least 1-litre in the tank for scrutineering purposes.

He stopped on the straight before the pits and after coasting for a while, got out and pushed, before being picked up by the medical car and given a lift home.

The question mark is over the fact that drivers are given a lap time within which they have to return to the pits during qualifying, a legacy of the fuel saving days of several seasons ago.

The FIA view is that if a driver suffers a genuine problem and has to stop, it would be treated as force majeure, and that does not apply in this case.

Furthermore, in the two sectors that he completed he was well over the prescribed 30% limit. His first sector was 33s (as opposed to around 21s on a normal quick lap), and the middle sector was 55s (compared with 24s). In other words he would not have made the time even if he had finished the lap.

One chief engineer from a rival team told me: “It’s definitely illegal, they took advantage by cheating. Otherwise next time we’ll all put one less lap in the cars.”

While clearly there has to be some provision for drivers suffering a genuine mechanical problem after setting a time, it would seem that McLaren has some explaining to do. It’s thought they told the FIA there was a miscommunication in the team about the fuel level in Lewis’s car.


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12 responses to “Hamilton pole under threat from FIA?

  1. Rob

    It would be pedantic if an outdated rule related to fuel saving was the problem. Hamilton never impeded anybody and with the car being refuelled before the race there is no advantage from that.

    Actually running qualifying with insufficient fuel would be a different matter, but it’ll be a complete joke if they use the lap time as the basis for any punishment.

    • Knuckles

      I don’t know, but it does seem they had a lap less fuel than they should have had, and thereby gained an advantage. The FIA needs to enforce the rule, for practical purposes: otherwise the marshalls will have to tow cars after each qualifying round, and probably all ten after Q3. Though I suppose that the reprimand is an ok decision that serves as a reminder.

  2. teamworf1

    hehehe oh please how many times the freaking small teams get in front of the big teams ’cause less fuel??!! ppppffff So pathetic!!!
    Tell them to go and watch the WC if they are that boring!!! lol

  3. F1addict

    When Hamilton benefitted from a lighter car and almost ran out of fuel at the end of qualifying the pole time should be deleted. Its cheating, its dangerous, and if they get away with it the other teams have no reason not to do the same next time.

  4. Eje Gustafsson

    so if he get punished what would the possible punishment be? Just to loose his last fastest lap? If so that puts him on 4th between Alonso and Button with 1.15.500 lap time. Or will all his Q3 times be taken away so he start 10th? Or 10 or 5 position drop? Any thoughts/ideas?

  5. Davew Complex 7 stringjazz

    Say it ain’t so! FIA strikes again.

  6. Owen.C

    I think that rule applies when the session is going to prevent too big of a difference in speed. However Hamilton was the last guy on track and the session was over.

    He also didn’t stop on track since he was pushing it until he was bundled into a car.

  7. Jo

    Outdated? Boring?
    What are you talking about?

    This rule is precisely made to avoid cars stopping just after crossing the line with no fuel left in the tank.
    Don’t you think everybody would do this if it was allowed?
    It’s only that this is not allowed. So, I don’t know how Ham could get away free from this.

    • Rob

      “This rule is precisely made to avoid cars stopping just after crossing the line with no fuel left in the tank.”

      No it’s not. It was designed to stop cars coasting back to the garage to save fuel in the days that Q3 was run on race fuel. It’s obsolete now that there is refuelling between qualifying and the race.

      • Jo

        Wouldn’t you see a problem if cars stopped right after crossing the line and didn’t go by themselves to the garages?
        Whatever the initial purpose of the rule was, now the rule serves to avoid such *ridiculous* situations as I described.
        I don’t think it’s obsolete at all, but common sense.

  8. uppili

    As soon as i heard the pit radio message from Mclaren and saw Hamilton jumping out of the car i thought that the FIA is likely to take a dim view of the sequence of events. I think a number of FIA regulations were broken along the way. First is the minimum lap time stipulation which you have alluded already to. I think Lewis riding the car outside of his cockpit could also be interpreted as a potential driver safety issue. The other FIA stipulation that was broken was about driver weigh-ins before you get back to your team mechanics. I am sure Lewis was with his mechanics before going for the weigh-in. I think it is a silly rule that stifles real human drama that fans would like to see. But regardless to what anyone feels about it, rules are rules and other teams and drivers adhered to it. I am sure rivals team would protest at least on the first count or everyone will be stopping in the track from next race.


    As the chief engineer from a rival team said “Its definitely illegal, they took advantage by cheating”!!! Says it all really!!

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