Appeal court overturns Ralf's grid penalty

Williams star Ralf Schumacher will not be penalised 10 places on the grid for the Hungarian Grand Prix for his part in causing a pile-up in the German Grand Prix - but will face a hefty fine of $50,000 instead

Appeal court overturns Ralf's grid penalty

The FIA International Court of Appeal confirmed the decision of the race stewards that the German was responsible for the three-car first corner shunt at Hockenheim, but determined that the original sanction imposed by the race stewards was inappropriate.

Schumacher's original penalty was the loss of 10 places on the starting grid at this weekend's race on the tight, twisty Hungaroring track, which was likely to all but end his championship hopes. The new decision, while still a harsh penalty, will keep Schumacher in the title hunt, and boost Williams' chances of winning the Constructors' crown.

"I was delighted with the decision," said Schumacher. "After yesterday's hearing, I didn't expect too much, but I am very happy with the conclusion that was reached. I think the team presented a very thorough case and this helped a lot, I am sure."

His team principal Frank Williams said: "We are delighted that the FIA Court of Appeal saw fit to remove the serious penalty of a 10 place demotion on the starting grid for the next race. The substitution of a financial penalty at least means we can compete in Hungary with Ralf still in a competitive position in both Championships.

"The hearing proved to be a fair and transparent review of all the factors that culminated in the incident, and the team can now turn its full attention to the forthcoming race in Budapest."

The Court heard evidence not available to the stewards from FIA technical and safety consultant Peter Wright, whose analysis of Accident Data Recorders suggested that some responsibility for the crash might fall upon Rubens Barrichello and Kimi Raikkonen, who were both involved in the incident.

The Court has referred the case back to the German GP stewards so that the conduct of Barrichello and Raikkonen can be considered in the light of the evidence submitted by Wright.

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Ralf Loses Appeal, Penalty Changed to Fine

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