FIA announces Williams appeal verdict 20 Aug 2003
Ralf Schumacher will retain his qualifying position for this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix after the FIA International Court of Appeal changed his ten-spot grid penalty to a US$50,000 fine.
Schumacher was originally handed the punishment after stewards at the German Grand Prix found him responsible for the first-corner accident in which his Williams, Rubens Barrichello's Ferrari and Kimi Raikkonen's McLaren came together.
While the Court of Appeal did not disagree with the stewards' findings, it did decide that the penalty imposed was 'inappropriate', hence the switch to a fine, which will not impact directly on Schumacher's or Williams' championship chances as the grid demotion would have.
However, the matter is not yet entirely closed. In light of the evidence presented, the Court decided 'that some responsibility might possibly be imputed to the other two drivers involved in the incident' and so referred the case back to the German Grand Prix stewards to further consider the involvement of Barrichello and Raikkonen.
The FIA statement in full:
"The FIA International Court of Appeal met in Paris on Tuesday, August 19, 2003, to hear the appeal introduced by the Motor Sports Association Ltd, on behalf of competitor BMW WilliamsF1 Team, car n°4: driver Ralf Schumacher, against Stewards' decision No. 41 taken on August 3, 2003, during the German Grand Prix.
"Having heard the explanations of the parties and examined the various documents and other evidence, the Court confirmed the Stewards' findings against Ralf Schumacher but considered that the sanction imposed (a loss of 10 places on the starting grid at his next Grand Prix) was inappropriate and substituted a fine of 50,000 $US.
"It appeared to the Court, in particular from reading the report by Peter Wright (technical and safety consultant) analysing Accident Data Recorder information, not available to the Stewards, that some responsibility might possibly be imputed to the other two drivers involved in the incident. The Court decided that the case should be referred back to the Panel of the Stewards of the German Grand Prix so that the conduct of Rubens Barrichello and Kimi Raikkonen can be considered in light of the evidence from Mr Wright.
"The International Court of Appeal was presided over by Mr Philippe Roberti de Winghe (Belgium), and composed of Mr Pedro Romero (Spain), Mr Vassilis Koussis (Greece) and Mr Harry Duijm (Netherlands).
"The full text of the International Court of Appeal's decision is available, on request, from the Secretariat of the FIA International Court of Appeal in Paris."