Webber: Chicane controversy is over

Wednesday, 24 September 2008 12:25

Mark Webber believes Formula 1 drivers have got a clearer understanding of the regulations regarding chicanes with asphalt run-off areas after Lewis Hamilton's Spa penalty.

Hamilton lost his Belgian Grand Prix victory when the stewards decreed that he had not sufficiently relinquished his advantage after emerging ahead of Kimi Raikkonen when he cut across the Bus Stop chicane.

Yesterday an FIA court dismissed McLaren's appeal against the punishment on the grounds that the penalty could not be appealed under F1 rules.

At Monza a clarification was issued asking drivers to wait at least one more corner before attempting to re-pass once they had let a rival by in those circumstances.

Webber, who is a director of racers' pressure group the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, thinks the discussion will continue as so many chicanes now have asphalt areas on either side, but is not expecting further controversies.

"There will be a discussion out here (in Singapore)," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"At the race in Monza there were some chicanes cut, people didn't gain a position, but they gained some time.

"It's a tricky one, because we know we've improved the safety so much at the chicanes now that there is a soft option.

"Lewis would probably never ever have had a crack at Kimi around the outside at the first part of the Bus Stop without knowing he had the option of going onto the asphalt part.

"I think we've got to get on top of the chicanes going forward, and we're not too far away from that at the moment, where drivers know that if you gain a position or gain an advantage, you have to give it back a bit more."

Although Hamilton fully ceded the position to Raikkonen before out-braking him into La Source, the stewards felt that he was still in an advantageous position as a result of cutting the corner - a judgement Webber agreed with.

"It's absolutely clear that Lewis jumped the previous chicane and he had very good momentum into the next corner," said the Red Bull star.

"The rules are obviously that you have to let the other car past, but the grey area unfortunately is that he attacked Kimi again immediately, which was very difficult for Kimi to defend because he went around the whole track at the previous corner."

While admitting that he was speaking with the benefit of hindsight, Webber doubts he would have done the same in Hamilton's position.

"I think most guys would've thought it was a little bit cheeky to attack again in that way," he said.

"I would've done it differently, personally.

"Lewis was in such a fantastic position in that race, in terms of his pace, that he probably could've picked Kimi off somewhere else.

"Easier said than done, of course - you never know, Kimi could've got his eye in and started to pull away again.

"It's very easy to look at it now and say what you could've done and should've done, but obviously it wasn't the right decision for Lewis on the day."

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