I’m grateful to one of my readers, doctorvee, for posting a very interesting comment here on the JA on F1 site. He highlights an interview which McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh gave to the BBC at the end of the Australian Grand Prix.
“…there’s some debate about whether it’s a 3rd place at the moment given that Trulli fell off and re-passed under the Safety Car…
[Ted Kravitz asks him to expand on this.]
…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.
I know that the FIA are looking at it at the moment and doubtless we’ll have a ruling in due course.”
doctorvee adds: “Martin Whitmarsh was not asked if there were any radio conversations. But he chose to omit this information regardless. The BBC’s viewers were left with the impression that Jarno Trulli had passed Lewis Hamilton of his own accord, not having been invited to do so. This version of events is very similar to the one we are led to understand was relayed to the stewards.
This would seem to suggest that very soon after the end of the race, a version of events — the official McLaren party line, as it were — was constructed. This is the version of events that Martin Whitmarsh gave to Ted Kravitz and the BBC’s viewers. “
His conclusion from all this is that the line presented by Davy Ryan in the stewards room was the team’s party line, not the act of a ‘rogue employee’, as it is now being presented. The significance of this is that the FIA WMSC will seek to analyse the degree to which others in the team were involved.
Whitmarsh shows that he is eager to secure the third place. But the word ‘ordinarily’ is the one that catches my eye here, it shows that a degree of reflection is taking place, but also that there may be extenuating circumstances. It almost invites a sub clause in brackets, such as …(unless invited to do so…)
What do you think?
Meanwhile the FIA has released some more information on the second stewards’ hearing in Sepang, which appears to show Hamilton and Ryan sticking to their line that Trulli passed without invitation, despite being played recordings of both the original radio traffic and Hamilton’s post race interview, where it is quite clear he had understood that the team was telling him to let Trulli through.