Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monza, 2015

Tyre investigation puts Hamilton win in doubt

2015 Italian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monza, 2015The result of the Italian Grand Prix remains provisional as Mercedes are under investigation for a possible tyre pressure technical infringement.

Technical Delegate Jo Bauer reported that Lewis Hamilton’s left-rear tyre was 0.3PSI under Pirelli’s specified minimum starting pressure, while Nico Rosberg’s was 1.1PSI below the specified minimum pressure.

The matter has been referred to the stewards who will now investigate the incident and decide if any infringement has occurred and if any post-race penalty should be applied to Hamilton or the team.

The Technical Delegate’s report is as follows:

On the grid and after the 5-Minutes signal the tyre starting pressure and tread surface temperature of the left hand side rear tyre were checked on car numbers 44, 06, 05 and 07 and were compared with the specifications of the official Formula One tyre supplier. The specification for the minimum starting pressure is 19.5 PSI for the dry weather rear tyres and the maximum tyre blanket temperature is 110 °C for all dry weather tyres.

The tread surface temperature of the left hand side rear tyre of car numbers 44, 06, 05 and 07 was within the specification of the official Formula One tyre supplier.

The measured minimum tyre starting pressure of the left hand side rear tyre of car numbers 05 and 07 was above the specified minimum tyre starting pressure.

The measured minimum tyre starting pressure of the left hand side rear tyre of car number 44 was 0.3 PSI below the specified minimum tyre starting pressure and the measured minimum tyre starting pressure of car number 06 was 1.1 PSI below the specified minimum tyre starting pressure.

The tyre pressures were checked with the calibrated tyre pressure gauge of the official Formula One tyre supplier on all four cars.

I am referring this matter to the stewards for their consideration.

Update: Hamilton has been cleared and keeps his win

2015 Italian Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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  • 183 comments on “Tyre investigation puts Hamilton win in doubt”

    1. Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees :D

      1. Noooooooooooooooooo – Give LH a 25sec penalty!

        1. Mr win or lose
          6th September 2015, 16:31

          Yeah, so in 30 years or so we could tell our grandchildren about how amazingly close this finish was. :D

        2. If they measured it before the race, why were the Mercedes even allowed to start the race? After all, the minimum pressure is supposed to be a safety precaution. Imagine Rosbergs tyre letting go at the exit of parabolica causing a huge crash – did they really make all this fuss about the pressures so that in the event of an accident, the FIA is able to say “yeah we knew he was unsafe to race but we let him anyway”?

        3. No time penalty for breaching Safety Mandates. It’s a DQ unless they set a new precedent today…

      2. @Malik, I may not celebrate so soon. Ferrari are allegedly involved in this as well.

        1. Nope… Ferrari are fine.

        2. @stigsemperfi: I am afraid to say that this is incorrect :D

        3. petebaldwin (@)
          6th September 2015, 15:14

          No they aren’t. They’re in the clear. I’m a Hamilton fan but if I’m being honest, if he does get a DQ, it’s perfect for the Championship battle. It would have been an unfair gain for Lewis over Nico today anyway with his DNF.

          1. But another 2 such events and Hamilton losing the championship because of them, you’d still be happy? Careful what you wish for.

            1. petebaldwin (@)
              6th September 2015, 15:43

              Yeah of course but in reality, it’s still Nico against Lewis and I’d rather them win it on track than via DNFs. Today would have handed Lewis a huge advantage because of Nico’s engine problems making him slower all weekend and eventually DNF.

            2. Hamilton did absolutely nothing wrong all weekend. Being disqualified for a 0.3 pressure deficit on one tyre that made absolutely no difference to the race outcome? It makes the entire race seem pointless.

              And Williams? What a joke. They fit the wrong tyre and virtually nothing happens, but they want Mercedes disqualified for an error made under Pirelli’s own supervision?

            3. petebaldwin (@)
              6th September 2015, 16:04

              Being a little under weight or using a tiny amount more fuel wouldn’t have affected the race either. The rules are the rules and if they were under the limit, they were under the limit.

          2. Don’t hold your breath. If LH gets a DQ, NR will get one as well, i.e. will be carried to the next race for him. If anything this would put SV in a close battle for 2nd place vs NR.

            1. They won’t DQ Rosberg in Singapore, he’d be disqualified from wherever he was classified today.

            2. Uh no, DQs don’t work like that. @bahman

            3. Of course, they won’t DQ him, but i guess he will get some sort of penalty

      3. Indifferent. While a breach of the rules may indeed be worthy of a DQ, nothing has happened yet and I would prefer an on track race win for Ferrari.

        1. maybe with Mercedes having the right tyre pressures, Ferrari would have been closer in the race, like in qualifying. this is a bigger advantage Mercedes had then being 1kg underweight at the end of the race, a time of infringement teams have been disqualified for.

    2. Pay Symonds trying hard not to be too exited when he says this should be punishable by disqualification.

      1. Always something faintly disreputable and dispiriting about people looking to gain something blatantly undeserved.

        1. I think disqualification is inevitable judging form what happen to two GP2 drivers.

          1. Maybe so. However Williams fitted the wrong tyre at Spa and probably should have been called in to re-swap. That was their own mistake. This tyre difference looks like a marginal error, more importantly made under Pirelli supervision. I just find it nonsensical and baffling that the tyre manufacturer can supervise a process and then find that the process breaches their own stipulated level. And the team then get penalized. But maybe that’s just me.

            1. Williams will only lose more points to Ferrari.

        2. The same could be said about a team ignoring technical directives.

    3. Deflategate lives on :(

      1. Oh yeah.

        Would be a shame, but rules are rules. I’m impatiently waiting for the decision.

      2. Did anybody see Tom Brady sneaking around on the grid?

      3. Deflategate…I laughed like mad – COTD!

    4. BTW the penalty for a technical infringement is usually disqualification.

      1. Is it a technical infringement? Stewards refer to pirellis rules, not the technical regulations. Incorporated by reference, perhaps.

        1. Evans and Canamasas were disqualified from Qualifying session for that reason http://www.crash.net/gp2/news/222652/1/evans-and-canamasas-excluded-from-gp2-qualifying.html

          1. Seems like a definitive precedent and also fair notice to Mercedes.

          2. @luca
            That was post quali scrutineering, Merc’ was pre, FIA should have banned Merc before the start if they knew.

            1. @9chris9 Such a decision might require a little more discussion then what could be done with minutes to go before the start.

            2. @mads
              Yes the process would take a long time.
              Read tyre pressure
              Is pressure less than 19.5 specified by Pirelli?
              Read next tyre pressure.
              The pressure was read just before the 5 min start warning so it’ll obviously take till 6 laps before the end to make a comparison of 2 numbers per tyre.
              Stewards seem able to make judgements on much more obscure infringements during the race, like the 5 second stop and go in the opening laps.

      2. I wonder if a driver has ever achieved a grand chelem and then been DSQ’d?

      3. @gt-racer It’s a slam-dunk. Mitch Evans and Sergio Canamasas were disqualified from GP2 qualifying for the same offence. It is indefensible – the stewards are probably signing off the disqualification as we speak.

    5. Is it possible the team, rather than the drivers are punished. Maybe a fine, but if Mercedes are deliberately doing this then maybe it wouldn’t be harsh enough.

      1. Hamilton used an illegal car to win though.

        You can’t just let the drivers keep the points. Looks like a very unprofessional error by Mercedes.

        1. larry onyekwere
          6th September 2015, 15:34

          are u kidding me? does mercedes fill the tires before they get to the grid start?

          1. They don’t “fill” them, but they do set the pressures

      2. @williamstuart

        Is it possible the team, rather than the drivers are punished.

        Why should Hamilton be excluded?

      3. @williamstuart The driver is a part of the team. If he does something illegal the team is punished and vice versa. Trying to differentiating the two from each other seems wrong to me. They are a team and they should win and loose as exactly that.

      4. By punishing the car their punish the team and driver by default. I am a LH fan but rules are rules. If he is disqualified that will lesson learned and a warning to other team.

        I am of the view that if you fine the team instead of car therefore driver then money will talk and it will create a precedent where the deep pockets will break the rules and gain advantage because they can afford to do so and that wouldn’t be fair.

    6. They reported:
      At the start: Lewis left rear tyre pressure was 0.3 below the required pressures. Rosberg’s left rear was 1.1 lower than the required.
      Seriously, Mercedes, you have an advantage and you still try to minimize the pressures…

      1. An they were told this at the end of the race?

      2. FIA knew this before the race started. they should have stopped /disqualified the vehicles before the race started. Else why bother checking?

        1. (@9chris9
          Yes, at the end of the race, Ted said that on Sky F1. However, Toto Wolff said that nearly at the end, they started to survey tyre pressures. It’s a pity, because Hamilton did a fantastic weekend, and to be stripped the win is really a pity…

        2. maarten.f1 (@)
          6th September 2015, 15:27

          @9chris9 As explained by Crofty, the team will get the opportunity to appeal. Take them out of the race, there’s a risk you take them out for nothing. For example, if Mercedes can prove the equipement is faulty (not likely, but still) they should obviously not be disqualified.

          1. @maarten,
            Yes but that could have happened at the start of the race & both cars could have Been black flagged before the end meaning we could have seen both Williams on that podium, or both Ferraris on the podium at Monza, or 3 Ferrari (1 former) drivers on the podium, vs an ilegal car unlikely winning an appeal coming first.

            I’m a Merc fan and would rather they had not finished if it was known before the race their car was illegal.

            1. maarten.f1 (@)
              6th September 2015, 15:50

              @9chris9 No, it couldn’t happen at the start. There’s very limited time for all that (it’s checked when the blankets come off, so that’s only moments before the start. Hence the reason they cannot check all cars and tyres), and if they black flag both Mercedes’ and it turns out the reason doesn’t hold up, there’s a completely different problem.

              It’s never good to see a race being decided in the steward’s office, but Mercedes should have a fair chance to appeal.

              And besides, perhaps they won’t get disqualified and just receive a time penalty. Who knows?

              @dmw As for the safety issue. I’m sure the extreme pressures and cambers are a safety issue. But I can’t imagine that being 0.3 psi under the limit is really a safety issue (not sure about being 1.1 psi under the limit though).

            2. @maarten
              How long does it take to compare 2 numbers?
              Read pressure
              Is it greater than 19.5

              Stewards react to race events during the race, an example being the 5 second penalty handed out at the start.
              Maybe FIA should have published their findings as they where taken and we could have seen it on screen, hundreds of millions of viewers could have notified FIA before the formation lap, not like the FIS notifying Merc 6 laps from the end after the tyres where changed.

          2. But this is a safety issue, based on the threat of a blowout at 220mph. It wouldn’t be taking them out for nothing. And MB would be hard pressed to complain since they were one of the teams demanding a change for safety. However this comes out, the failure of the Fia to act in a timely manner doesn’t look good.

            1. None of the leading teams wanted the pressures changed as a solution, it puts the tyres outside the optimal range (designed by Pirelli).

    7. .3 psi disparity should not be a penalty that changes the race result, that’s for dead sure. That race was never in doubt. If they want to fine Mercedes, so be it. But to alter the result would be asinine and utterly preposterous.

      1. In a sport with tolerances of various units in the thousandths, .3 PSI is NOT a small disparity

    8. Do we have something like Australia 2014?

      1. looks like it

      2. But in Australia 2014, Red Bull got multiple warnings, and were asked to correct it. If they hadn’t, RIC would not have been disqualified.

        So if FIA/Pirelli measured before the race (on the starting grid!), why not tell Merc. to immediately pit for tyres that did comply. Now they knew of an issue, and only told the team when nothing could be done about it any more.

        I don’t know, FIA will be FIA. Would be good for championship points if he gets DSQ, but wouldn’t really improve the WDC fight.

        1. A Ferrari win in Monza.
          What conspiracy theories could be made of that?

    9. 30s time penalty coming right up.

    10. Woe is me. Tyre discussions in F1 are just the worst thing.

      Certainly seems as though Mercedes have mucked this right up.

    11. Reading on a Dutch site that Ferrari faces a simulair rapport for for tyre over-pressure.

      1. Ferrari were also investigated but they were cleared

        1. Ferrari were not investigated. A check was done on the tyre pressures and tyre temperatures of both Ferraris and both Mercedes, Ferrari were within the limits, Mercedes were not. Mercedes were then reported to the stewards.

    12. Ferrari confirmed to be within limits.

      While the Ferraris were within Pirelli’s 19.5psi tyre pressure specification and 110-degree tyre blanket temperature, both Mercedes were outside the marks.

    13. No time penalty can be applied in this case. Time penalty, drive through, and stop-and-go are all for breaching the sporting regulation. Tyre pressures are either qualified as technical regulations, and thus must be adhered to or banned from the race, or it’s just a recommendation from the tyre manufacturer, and can be ignored with undetermined (by the rulebook) consequences. So, if it’s a breach of tech regulations, then Hamilton must be disqualified. If it’s just a disagreement with Pirelli’s recommendations, then it’s probabl just a slap on the wrist or a financial penalty.

      1. If I remember correctly RBR got a time penalty for an technical infringement in monaco a few years ago.

    14. petebaldwin (@)
      6th September 2015, 15:09

      I think it’ll be a DQ having heard more about it now. They were checked on the grid and were both under. Ferrari were both over. There is nothing to defend.

      The good news is that it means both Mercs fail to finish and brings Vettel right back into the title fight! This is the perfect result for the Championship….

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        6th September 2015, 15:20

        Mercedes’ defence is:
        1) It’s (only) a recommendation by Pirelli.
        2) Not defined when tyre pressure should be measured. Mercedes argues that even if before the start it might have been lower; during the race it was within limits.

        1. Two GP2 racers were diqualified after the qualy for having lower pressures, so there is a clear precedent

      2. It’s a joke result though, I’d sooner have double points decide.

    15. Such a shame if disqualification is applied, but rules are rules.

    16. Alex McFarlane
      6th September 2015, 15:11

      Seems odd to me that the tyres have to be inflated under the supervision of a Pirelli technician yet something like this could happen.

      What was the technician doing?

      1. Some one from Mercedes took the tires into the men’s room before the race.

        1. But nobody saw what they did there. And f1 never told mercedes that they could be disqualified if they were below, so they are in the clear.

          1. @thetick

            That’s a very poor defense. Not knowing the rules is Mercedes’ fault, not the FIA’s.

        2. This really is the COTD. I laughed so hard at this.

      2. Chewing gum again?

      3. Mercedes probably tricked the Pirelli man by heating the tire extra… or maybe they are just not telling the truth. in any case, there tyre pressures were monitored again later in the race, and Mercedes were still under pressure, so it seems like they have done it themselves.

    17. Wouldn’t be funny if he was given a 25 second penalty. Going by the timing sheets he would win by 0.042 seconds. One of the closest finishes in F1 history!

      1. Merc team thought that the penalty will be 25secs. That’s why they told Lewis to push hard the last few laps to make sure they would have the 25secs buffer and he just made it.

    18. Well if a time penalty is applied and Lewis loses the win, for example a 30secs penalty, it will be laughable, if could have easily made a much larger gap if they warned them earlier than 6 laps to go.

      Some say that disqualifing Mercedes would “save” the championship, which seems locked on Lewis’ side now, but I’d rather see races won in the track, I doubt 0.3psi in one tyre would make such a difference, more like a mistake on Mercedes’ side than a deliberate attempt to cheat.

      1. As mentioned on Sky F1, 1 mm wider wing is a DQ, so why letting Mercedes to go away with 0,3 psi? And Rosberg was 1,1 under.

        1. And now that I’m thinking about it again, it could influence tyre wear quite much.

          1. I think it’s more about grip, lower pressure is bigger contact path.
            Anyway, rules are rules.

        2. If the FIA knew a wing was out of spec BEFORE A RACE, you’d expect the car to be banned before the start, not after the podium ceremony?

          1. Yes, but it takes away a chance of appealing if DQ turns out to be unfounded.

            1. Shouldn’t had at DQ’s if there is chance of appeal.

        3. The tires weren’t under pressure when fitted. This was stated by Mercedes and Pirelli throughout. Running illegal wing is a design decision; tires dropping under min pressures while sitting on the grid is normal and if they tested all the teams their pressures would have differed wildly from the pit pressures and the running pressures. It’s intellectually dishonest to compare this situation to illegal wing.

          1. I have written this before stewards’ decision. Rob Smedley said that pressure drop after taking blankets pdf the tires is quite slow because of high mass od rubber and high air volume.
            If stewards say it was a normal pressure drop, I’m absolutely OK with it. And I wonder if it’s plausible to eliminate influence of temperature, for example by corelating pressure and temperature of the tire or by measuring pressure in let’s say 25 degrees. Would be more complicated but maybe more accurate.

    19. It it was just on starting sets of tyres, it never gave Rosberg any advantage, he was stuck in 5th by the time he pitted. He used his 2nd set to blitz past the Williams and catch up onto Vettels gearbox.

      1. Its really silly, if a driver dominants practice, takes pole and win a race with 0.3psi below on just one tyre is disqualified. Three days of checking technical data and Stewards can disqualify and driver, I suggest everyone stop watching F1.

      2. whether they have an advantage is not in question, whether they broke rules is, and it seems they have.

    20. If it’s a safety issue then FIA/Pirelli should have stopped the cars before they started. As such this cant be safety related.
      To disqualify Lewis now makes a mockery of the rules and regs.

      1. No, to have a car in breach of the technical regulations (if in fact that is what has occurred) and then not apply the requisite penalty would be a mockery. Limits that aren’t enforced are meaningless.

        1. If the tyres were filled in front of the Pirelli engineer and he approved it, and then it dropped on the grid, there’s no way to put air back. So, it is not clear if such a procedure is even valid for measuring.

          Also, is measuring tyre pressure just when the blankets are taken off a standard procedure?

        2. They knew the car wasn’t in spec before the race started. They should have been stern then and banned both cars right then. Would also have meant Williams and other teams would have had more TV exposure, which is the commercial point of F1.
          Very lame to now take the victory away.

        3. larry onyekwere
          6th September 2015, 15:39

          what technical regulation? who made it so? isn’t this psi jargon a recommendation to FIA and the teams after the bow out events of spa? typical f1.

      2. Imagine if hamilton had a blowout. My view is that the stewards were trying to decide if it is a technical rule or a Pirelli rule. Obviously no one thinks it is safety related in any event. As you say they would have been at least required to change the tires and start from the pits. I predict this will end up like the fuel sample rule created after Canada 2013. there was a technical bulletin or letter or whatever, but then they made it into a rule afterward.

        1. Tyre pressure is safety related as a reaction to the blow outs at spa.

    21. Should be the same penalty Bottas got for their tyre blunder. Williams team should count themselves lucky if any different

      1. Not really, as Williams hurt themselves more than they helped themselves with that goof and Bottas’ tyres weren’t outside the regulated parameters.

    22. If they only checked four cars and not the whole field can’t Merc argue that in itself is not fair? What if others were too low but not checked?

      1. Random testing is a well established principle in sporting refereeing, I doubt they could argue it was unfair, unless you want to give Armstrong back his 7 tour de france titles as well.

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          6th September 2015, 16:11

          It is a valid point though. They all have sensors on them – all could be easily checked! The admittedly small set of data today suggests 50% of all cars tested today were non-compliant!

          1. Don’t forget though that the teams sensors are not independantly calibrated and well, the data is fed into their computers. If that was the source of data to catch cheats, the cheats are just going to manipulate the data.

      2. @weeniebeenie That is how nearly all the technical regulations are enforced, as well as drug testing on the drivers.

      3. @weeniebeenie They will be doing random checks on the grid along with monitoring the telemetry of all the cars & tyre pressures (And temperatures) will be part of the data the FIA get.