Timekeepers get it wrong in Sao Paulo?

Giancarlo Fisichella, Brazilian GP 2003

Giancarlo Fisichella, Brazilian GP 2003 

 © The Cahier Archive

There is a suggestion that the timekeeping in Brazil was erroneous and that victory in the Brazilian Grand Prix should have gone to Giancarlo Fisichella. The official classification was given at the end of lap 53 and there is no official record of what happened after that. However those who lap-charted the event indicate that Fisichella ended his 55th lap just before the red flag came out. This is important because it had previously been thought that the red flag was out when he got to the line. It now seems that he was four seconds into his 56th lap when the red flag was shown - in other words he was on 56th lap - and the rules clearly state that the classification of the race "will be at the end of the lap two laps prior to that during which the signal to stop the race was given". Taking that into account the order at the end of lap 54 was Fisichella, leading Raikkonen, Alonso, Coulthard, Frentzen, and Villeneuve. Webber had crashed but was still ahead of Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher, although it is not clear which was ahead at the time as there is no official classification of lap 54. Cristiano da Matta was also still running but was a lap behind.

The evidence will now be presented to the stewards of the Brazilian Grand Prix on Friday in Paris and they will decide whether or not victory should go to Fisichella.

We lap-charted the event and are of the opinion that Fisichella did win the race if it can be proved that he had crossed the start-finish line before the red flag had been shown. The indications are that he did but these are based on the gaps involved rather than on any actual evidence.

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