FIA’s Charlie Whiting: Schumacher should learn the rules
As already suspected by Grand Prix Journal, Michael Schumacher indeed did not know the regulations concerning the current start procedure. The 43-year old Schumacher was responsible for the start chaos during the Hungarian Grand Prix, as he switched off the engine of his Mercedes when he saw the yellow lights light up.
He himself had caused the yellow lights as he had stopped his car at the wrong grid slot, according to FIA official Race Director and starter Charlie Whiting. Schumacher stopped at the 19th slot instead of the 17th. Because his engine started to overheat, the seven-times World Champion decided to switch it off, not knowing there would just be another formation lap, rather than abandoning the start completely, as the regulations have been changed way back in 2006.
Article 38.11a of the Sporting Regulations now says, “If a car develops a problem that could endanger the start the driver must immediately raise his hands above his head and the marshal responsible for that row must immediately wave a yellow flag.
“If the race director decides the start should be delayed the green lights will be illuminated two seconds after the abort lights are switched on, a board saying “EXTRA FORMATION LAP” will be displayed and all cars able to do so must complete a further formation lap whilst the car which developed the problem is moved into the pit lane.”
So Schumacher was confused when the yellow lights came on and didn’t realize there would be an extra formation lap, he thought there would be a new start in five minutes. But the FIA was right to push his stationary car off the grid, as he was the one who had caused the delay.
Whiting criticized the German for not knowing the rules. “Michael should know the rules,” he said. Asked whether Formula One drivers are required to pass a test to see if they know the regulations he replied, “Not by the FIA. We assume that a team competing in Formula One knows the rules. It is the responsibility of the teams to ensure that its drivers — its employees — know the rules.”
And that is correct as Article 3.1 says, “It is the competitor’s responsibility to ensure that all persons concerned by his entry observe all the requirements of the Regulations.” So if Schumacher is on holiday, he might as well check out the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations, it’s just 43 pages long.