- Maurice Hamilton's blog
Red Bull barred from podium?Maurice Hamilton March 28, 2014
Here's a thought - just to muddy the F1 technical waters even more.
Let's assume Red Bull continue to insist on running by their rules rather than those of the FIA. Should one or both of their drivers be excluded from either practice or qualifying this weekend and Red Bull lodge an appeal, then that driver (or drivers) would not be permitted to stand on the podium should they finish in the top three on Sunday.
Agreed, there's a lot of 'ifs' in there. But, assuming I've read the rule book correctly, that would be the required post-race procedure. Here's the relevant clause:
2.2.3.c The suspensive effect resulting from the appeal does not allow the Competitor and the Driver to take part in the prize‐giving or the podium ceremony, nor to appear in the official classification of the Competition, in any place other than that resulting from the application of the penalty.
The only good thing to say is that the effect - unfortunate though it may be - would at least allow spectators and TV viewers to know something was kicking off. It would avoid the nonsense in Australia that saw Daniel Ricciardo beam at all and sundry as he received his trophy, only to discover, long after his bedtime, that second place was not his after all.
Either way, of course, the situation is a mess thanks to the familiar F1 strategy of writing grey rules and then forcing hapless race stewards to convert them to black and white. I don't know the technical and legal rights and wrongs of Red Bull's interpretation of the fuel flow sensor business any more than you do, but a procedure that holds the results in abeyance for five hours and twenty minutes (three times longer than it took to run the race itself) is doing the sport a massive disservice.
And here's a final twist. Should the above apply and a Red Bull person is barred from climbing the steps to the podium, it seems the driver who finished fourth may shuffle forward and upwards to the champagne. I mean, we can't have some dignitary clutching a trophy and having his big moment spoiled because there's no one to give it to.
That may sound daft but Jenson Button would have appreciated the chance to publically celebrate his inherited third place in Australia, even if he knew it may be taken from him in a court room on April 14. The role of the F1 podium understudy is to bask the limelight while he can. Meanwhile, the rest of us continue to be left in the dark.
Maurice Hamilton writes for ESPN F1.