Wednesday, April 09, 2003

FIA Relents
In an astonishing development, the FIA has admitted that its (wait, I've been here before)

Let me try again. The FIA is apparently reviewing the actions of the stewards at the Brazilian Grand Prix, with an eye toward overturning the posted results. Foul weather conditions combined with the new regulations to lead to a race with an astonishing number of competitive passes (47 by one count that I saw). A late red flag stopped the race after a couple of cars spread themselves down the front straight, and led to an ambiguity as to who won the race. Three drivers were in contention after the race was finished -- Fisichella who had crossed the line first on the last competitive lap, Raikonnen who had (perhaps) crossed the line first on the penultimate competitive lap, and Coulthard who had also (perhaps) crossed the line first on the penultimate competitive lap -- depending on which end of the pit straight his pit was.

The stewards awarded the race to Raikonnen, with Fisichella second, and Alonso third (although he was in an ambulance so his spot on the podium was empty). Coulthard was fourth, since he had pitted and the others hadn't, so he lost time there.

Now the FIA is apparently going to look at the process of the end of the race, particularly whether or not Fisichella had started a new lap when the red flag flew, meaning that he would have been leading both the ultimate and the penultimate lap and would get the win, demoting Raikonnen to second. Coulthard would probably still be out of luck having picked a bad time to pit.

Still if the autocratic (so to speak) bodies that govern racing are showing this new willingness to reexamine their decisions, can the NFL be far behind? Of course, this week NASCAR isn't backing down on a questionable call at Talladega that put a favorite driver in the winner's circle, so perhaps all is back to normal. (I didn't see the race since this weekend was one of the rare occasions when F1 was in a similar time zone, and that race was actually on at a decent time on Sunday afternoon. I'll miss next week's NASCAR race too since it will be up against the CART GP of Long Beach.)