Mercedes Grand Prix has announced that it has elected not
to formally pursue its appeal against Michael Schumacher's controversial post-race penalty in Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix, whilst expressing its gratitude to the FIA for recognising and agreeing to discuss the grey area in the rules that led to the German legend overtaking Ferrari rival Fernando Alonso just yards from the chequered flag.
Schumacher was demoted from sixth position to twelfth in the glamorous Principality after his opportunistic last lap manoeuvre was deemed to have contravened Article 40.13 of the governing body's International Sporting Code – which stipulates that 'if the race ends whilst the safety car is deployed it will enter the pit-lane at the end of the last lap and the cars will take the chequered flag as normal without overtaking'.
Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn had contended that 'we believed the track had gone green and the race was not finishing under a safety car' [see separate story – click here
], but in a statement just released by the Brackley-based outfit, it has been confirmed that no further protest against the ruling will now be made.
'On the final lap of the 2010 Monaco Grand Prix, Mercedes instructed our drivers, Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg, to race from safety car line one until the finish line as permitted under Articles 40.7 and 40.11,' read the statement.
'Mercedes were fully aware of Article 40.13, which states that no overtaking is permitted if the race finishes under safety car conditions. However, we believed that the combination of the race control messages 'Safety car in this lap' and 'Track Clear' and the green flags and lights shown by the marshals after safety car line one, indicated that the race was not finishing under the safety car and all drivers were free to race.
'This opinion appears to have been shared by the majority of the teams with cars in the top ten positions, who also gave their drivers instructions to race to the finish line. It was clear from our discussions with the stewards after the race that they understood the reasons for our interpretation, and acknowledged that this was a new and previously untested situation but ultimately disagreed with our interpretation.
'Mercedes would like to emphasise that we fully support the inclusion of past drivers on the stewards' panel and are completely satisfied that the Monaco Grand Prix stewards acted professionally, impartially and properly in this matter.
'The FIA has agreed to include Article 40.13 on the agenda of the next Sporting Working Group for discussion and to consider the scale of post-race penalties. We believe that the 20-second penalty imposed on Michael to be disproportionate in the circumstances. Whilst we cannot be happy with the outcome, we are pleased that the FIA has recognised the reasons for our interpretation. Therefore, in the best interests of the sport, Mercedes will not be submitting an appeal.'