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Symonds uneasy with Hamilton decision

NEWS STORY
12/09/2008

Renault's Director of Engineering, Pat Symonds, has spoken out over the incident which has dominated F1 for the last week, and which continues to overshadow the sport for some time to come.

In the latest official team Podcast, the Englishman gives his views on the incident on the penultimate lap of last week's race, and the subsequent decision to strip Lewis Hamilton of his win.

"As it happened in real time, we were talking on the intercom and said: 'Wow that was definitely a situation where he has to give the place back,'" said Symonds. "I guess we weren't that surprised when the stewards were found to be investigating it.

"Having looked at it again, I feel very, very sorry for Lewis," he continued, "I think he has been very hard done
by.

"It raises lots of interesting questions, "he added, "and I am not talking about 'Are the FIA on the side of Ferrari?' We have to believe that they are impartial, the sport would not exist if we didn't believe that. But I think it does call into question [F1's] philosophy, because everyone is saying we need more overtaking, we need more excitement, and we need more personalities. And yet it seems to me that everything that actually happens seems to be against that.

"Here we had a great race with people really challenging each other and for why?" he continued "If it's taken away, then why take that risk?

"To me the facts are quite clear in retrospect. I have had a look at the videos, I've had a look at the published data which shows that Lewis was nearly 7 kmph slower than Raikkonen across the line, you can quite clearly see on the in-car camera that he lets him get completely in front, and in my view Raikkonen just braked very early.

"Lewis then went inside him, and if you look at the in-car camera stuff, Lewis drove around the hairpin very easily. He didn't have a big slide, he didn't have to correct it, he hadn't gone in too deep and come out wide, it was a perfectly legitimate manoeuvre, and it wasn't that much later that Raikkonen went past him.

"This is racing," added Symons, "this is what we want. I think motor racing should be like football, not like cricket," he said, with stewards taking two hours to decide on Hamilton's punishment on Sunday night. "Let's have action, let's know what is going on in real time, not wait for two days to find out the result."

Renault subsequently sought to distance itself from Symonds comments, issuing a brief statement clarifying that the Englishman's comments were his own personal view and were not representative of the team's position.

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