We thought the story had ended, with Jarno Trulli being given a 25-second penalty for passing under safety car conditions. Lewis Hamilton had then been awarded third.
But no! Much to our surprise, even though most of the paddock had already touched down in Malaysia, the 2009 Australian GP was still not over! Follow the jump to find out more.
Despite how much every move in F1 is scrutinized, both on track and off, there’s apparently no existing footage of the incident in question.
To recap: Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull and Robert Kubica’s BMW Sauber had collided with just 3 laps to go. Kubica then crashed out, and Vettel eventually made it to the pits – albeit on three wheels. Needless to say, there was carbon fibre everywhere, and the safety car was called out.
What happened next is the point of contention: Jarno Trulli’s Toyota had indeed crossed the finish line in third. However, long after the race was over, Trulli was penalized 25 seconds and dropped back to 12th, due to illegally passing Lewis Hamilton during that safety car period.
Since there’s no actual footage of this incident for the FIA to analyze, they’ve instead gone over everything else available from that time period. This has included team radio transmissions between the pits and McLaren. Apparently, they’re what caused the FIA to question the evidence Lewis Hamilton had given at the initial enquiry. The radio transmissions are also what made Hamilton out to be a liar in the eyes of the FIA, and resulted in Hamilton being stripped of third place and all championship points. It’s also resulted in McLaren being completely disqualified from the official Melbourne results.
Trulli had claimed all along that the only reason he passed Hamilton was because Hamilton had slowed considerably. Consequently, Trulli has maintained that he thought Hamilton was retiring out of the race and that there was no choice but to pass him. Meanwhile, it turns out that Hamilton had been told to slow down by McLaren, as evidenced by the radio logs. The problem? He told race stewards he had no idea why Trulli passed him, and didn’t mention slowing at all.
Silliest disqualification ever. Didn’t all those junior racing series teach you not to lie, HAM?
[UPDATE: The FIA have now made an official statement available, which includes the full audio and transcripts that led them to this decision. You can read and listen to them here.]