Disproportional Punishment - Mercedes-Benz Forum

View Poll Results: Was Lewis Hamilton's punishment to severe?
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-16-2012, 01:05 PM Thread Starter
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Disproportional Punishment

Now that the dust has settled over Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya it's time to ask the race stewards 'Did the punishment fit the crime'?

I'm referring to Lewis Hamilton's last place grid penalty for the McLaren 'team' fuel fiasco.

Hamilton did not himself put lives in danger, did not effect any other drivers performance during the third part of qualifying (apart from his car having an extremely small weight advantage for the missing amount of fuel) so a last place grid penalty seems harsh to say the least.

It now transpires that another driver who in the words of the same stewards had 'caused a collision' by driving into the back of another car causing that car to exit the race and put the driver in danger was only handed down a five place grid penalty at the next race.

The two punishments seem disproportionate in the extreme. To me the Hamilton punishment does not fit the crime, the whole thing stinks on ice.

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-17-2012, 08:11 AM
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The Senna/Schumacher incident appears to be less intentional than low-fueling a car prior to qualifying. An F1 team, with all their resources, should be able to calculate how much fuel their car needs to complete their qualifying plan. Had Hamilton's car run out of fuel during a hot lap, with someone else following, we could have had the same result as with the Senna/Schumie incident, except that it was more avoidable. The word "premeditated" might not fit the circumstances of the low fuel incident but it is far less accidental than running into a slower car at the end of a braking zone IMO

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-17-2012, 10:31 AM
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I agree with tuttebenne. Now, was the punishment too severe? I have gone back and forth on this. They could have just used his Q2 time, or DQed him from the Q3 session and put him behind the Q3 participants. On the other hand, why give him any advantage over the other drivers who played by the rules?

The consequences of breaking the rules should be spelled out. It's one thing to have rules, another to say "or what?"

I think having a fuel sample available in parc ferme is a pretty big deal. If you can't or won't comply you probably should go to the back of the line.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-17-2012, 02:33 PM
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I think it is important to remember that in this particular case the punishment is really against McLaren, not Hamilton. Lewis wasn't manning the fuel rig in the pit garage when his car was fueled for the session. The only way to punish the team is to punish the driver, so in this case Hamilton has to wear this because it was his car that committed the infraction.

Having said all that, I agree with gerkebi that demoting him to 10th place would have been the right way to go. He legitimately made it into Q3 so I don't believe he should be penalized beyond that. Perhaps if the race was in Britain instead of Spain there would have been a different result. I'd bet my morning churros y chocolate that the Spanish stewards were more than ready to take advantage of this opportunity to stick it to Alonso's nemesis.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-18-2012, 04:59 AM
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+1 on the putting him in 10th place instead of the rear of the grid.

He may have not had enough fuel but at least he went out and put in a flying lap for some entertainment which was more than some Q1 qualifiers.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-18-2012, 07:35 AM
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I'm not sure I would agree with the 10th place positioning as punishment. McLaren and Hamilton gave up their rightful place on the grid by not having a suitable fuel sample ready at parc ferme and by creating a potentially dangerous situation. Giving him 10th position on the grid would be like saying "you only potentially cheated in Q3 so we will neutralize your Q3 time" That isn't punishment, its neutralizing his Q3 time. It would be as if you stole something and the only punishment was to return what you stole. That's not punishment.

The scrutineers were put in the position to have to react to the prospect that McLaren could have cheated -in Q1, Q2, and Q3. This is McLaren's problem not the scrutineers. The fact that they were in Spain and this served Alonso well is true and it feeds "conspiracy theories" for sure; but it wasn't the fault of the scrutineers. McLaren could have put one more liter of fuel in the car and not put themselves in the position they found themselves in IMO. If this happens to Ferrari at Silverstone, then the British scrutineers will have the opportunity to do the same thing.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-18-2012, 09:59 PM
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Good points.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-19-2012, 05:23 AM
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Correct me if I am wrong, but I don't believe there is a fuel sample requirement at the end of q1 and q2. If that is the case, then there is no way to prove that any driver cheated or did not cheat in those sessions. For that reason I believe McLaren should receive the same benefit of the doubt as every other team received when there was no fuel test required in the earlier sessions. And I say that as someone that isn't a Hamilton fan.
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