FIA to re-open Hamilton/Trulli inquiry
|By Adam Cooper and Simon Strang||Wednesday, April 1st 2009, 18:49 GMT|
Lewis Hamilton is to be summoned before the FIA stewards on Thursday afternoon in Sepang in order to clarify why Jarno Trulli passed him under safety car conditions in Australia, AUTOSPORT has learned.
An FIA spokesman has confirmed that stewards from the Australian Grand Prix will reconvene to evaluate further evidence not available at the time of the initial inquiry - which took place after the race last weekend.
Hamilton was promoted to third place in the results after Trulli was concluded to have passed him under safety car conditions, on lap 57, and was given a 25s penalty that dropped him from third to 12th.
However, if Hamilton is deemed not to have provided all the details of the incident in the initial inquiry, he may face sanctions. While Trulli could be reinstated to third place in the Melbourne results, despite Toyota dropping its appeal.
Over the past few days, the FIA is believed to have unearthed new evidence including its recording of the McLaren radio conversations, which were not being monitored live and thus played no part in the original inquiry.
Hamilton passed Trulli when the Toyota driver slid off at the penultimate corner but the pair swapped positions later in the lap.
The recording allegedly provides fresh insight into the matter and the stewards want to check if it aligns with Hamilton's version of events.
Hamilton was quoted by SpeedTV as saying: "I was behind Trulli under the safety car, and clearly you're not allowed to overtake under the safety car. But he went off in the second to last corner, he went wide on the grass, I guess his tyres were cold. And I was forced to go by. I slowed down as much as I could. I was told to let him back past, but I mean... I don't know if that's the regulations, and if it isn't, then I should have really had third."
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh told the BBC after the Australian Grand Prix: "At the end, under the safety car, Trulli fell off onto the grass and Lewis had no choice but to go past him, he was not on the racing circuit.
"Trulli then re-took the place under the safety car, which ordinarily you wouldn't do so I know that the FIA are looking at it at the moment and doubtless we'll have a ruling in due course," he added.
Trulli said that Hamilton was so slow that he appeared to be in trouble.
"When the safety car came out towards the end of the race Lewis Hamilton passed me but soon after he suddenly slowed down and pulled over to the side of the road," said the Italian.
"I thought he had a problem so I overtook him as there was nothing else I could do."