Sidepodcast - All for F1 and F1 for all

They could be wrong, they could be right - A review of the FIA's conclusions over stewarding in Japan

Published by Mr. C

Christine and I have been picking through the bones of today's International Court of Appeal rejection, and the main point we keep coming back to is the involvement of Tony Scott-Andrews.

Them's the rules

Just to reiterate, prior to the hearing it became apparent to the FIA that McLaren were going to rely on the admission of a previous appeal hearing from October 2007 as part of the basis for their defence. To counter this, the FIA informed McLaren that there was a mistake made by the stewards during that particular hearing and in fact the defendant, one Vitantonio Liuzzi, was assigned a 25 second time penalty in Fuji, but he actually should have been given a post-race drive-through penalty (which equates to 25 seconds and which cannot be appealed).

This in and of itself, seems perfectly legitimate. Article 16.3 of the sporting regulations states that in the case of Tonio's infraction, one of three penalties can be meted out. A drive through penalty, a ten second penalty or a 10 place grid drop next time around. Additionally article 152 states that pit lane drive-throughs are not susceptible to appeal.

A moment of madness

So all is well and good. The stewards messed up in Fuji and then the ICA didn't question it during appeal, but as it was, the case was lost and the results stood as they were. Questions should be asked how all this managed to occur of course, but that's not the argument today. The rules clearly state a mistake was made and the FIA fessed up, presumably with the intention of saving themselves much embarrassment in Paris.

McLaren were duly informed, although for some odd reason Charlie Whiting felt the need to back up the facts by adding that chief race steward of the time, Tony Scott-Andrews had also told him there had been an error. Quite why this was necessary I can't fathom, but that's nothing compared to what McLaren's lawyers did next, which was to personally seek out and question Scott-Andrews themselves.

Allegedly, the response said lawyers received was exactly what they wanted to hear, namely that Scott-Andrews thought the FIA's clarification to McLaren was bunkum. This evidence was raised during on Monday afternoon, presumably to the chagrin of the FIA.

Pick a question, any question

All this leaves many unanswered questions.

Why were the FIA not content to simply quote their own rules and be done with it? Why didn't McLaren check the rules themselves? Why were they so suspicious of Charlie's references that they had to seek out the source themselves (Whiting is usually considered a trustworthy person, isn't he)?

The final, yet most important question, is what might the repercussions of such a move be? Because I'm reasonably confident the FIA won't take to kindly too having such damning evidence thrown in their faces while the world's media watched on.

Anyone else think that there could be yet more trouble ahead?