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Whiting explains Rosberg, Bahrain decisions

Charlie Whiting has explained just why Nico Rosberg escaped sanction for his moves on Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso in Bahrain, and why current safety standards may prompt risk-taking.
FIA safety delegate Charlie Whiting has attempted to explain the difficulty that comes with determining who is to blame for on-track incidents in motorsport's senior championships, but insists that he does not believe that drivers have lost respect for safety, either their own or that of their rivals.

Giving a rare interview to SpeedTV pit-lane reporter, and GP2/GP3 commentator, Will Buxton, Whiting was enticed into discussing a range of topics, varying from driving standards to safety provision at circuits, and provided an enlightening view on several incidents that have got tongues wagging during grands prix this season. Perhaps the most notable occurred at the Bahrain round where Nico Rosberg, just one week after he had won in China, was vilified for apparently forcing both Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton to take evasive action with over-enthusiastic defensive tactics.

The stewards on the day decided not to penalise the Mercedes driver, and Whiting, having reviewed the footage, believes that the lack of action was correct.

"What Nico did was make one move," he explained, "He made it decisively, he didn't hesitate, he just made the move and went in one direction. Crucially, he moved before the driver behind him, so he started it.

"In Alonso's case, they probably decided together if you see what I mean, but it was much clearer in the case with Lewis. But, at no point when there was one car width left between Nico's car and the edge of the track, was no part of the car behind alongside him. That's what swayed it, just, in Nico's favour. Because, at that point, he's allowed to use the full width of the track to defend his position, and the rules say that specifically. He's allowed to use the full width of the track. He didn't force the driver off track, the other driver drove off the track.

"Fernando backed off, lost momentum, but Lewis decided he was going to go for it whatever and kept going, and that, for me, was the only contentious thing: did Lewis gain an advantage by going off the track?

"Since then, I have written a note to the teams and have said that, if there is any substantial part of the following car alongside, then you can't use the full width of the track."

Whiting even offered a tempered view of the infamous 2010 Hungarian GP incident involving former Ferrari team-mates Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello, when the seven-time world champion appeared to leave precious little room for his rival as he edged him towards the pit-wall.

"Again, in that case, a part of Rubens' car was alongside Michael and Michael didn't leave Rubens the space he should have done and that's why he was penalised," he conceded, "However, if you analyse it - with a completely clear head, and don't look at the video and say 'wow, that was terrible' - in fact Michael's move wasn't that bad. It wasn't far off what Nico did. It was just that there was a wall there, so it looked a whole lot worse. Nico was right on the edge of acceptability, Michael was over the edge."





Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
22.04.2012- Race, Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sahara Force India F1 Team VJM05 leads Kamui Kobayashi (JAP) Sauber F1 Team C31
27.05.2012- Race, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03
08.06.2012- Free Practice 2, Crash, Bruno Senna (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW34
22.04.2012- Race, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-27 and Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03
22.04.2012- Race, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F2012
Thursday, Charlie Whiting (GBR), Race director and safety delegate
20.04.2014- Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14T
20.04.2014- Race, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05
20.04.2014- Race, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Infiniti Red Bull Racing RB10
20.04.2014- Race, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 during pit stop
20.04.2014- Race, Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 and Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW36
20.04.2014- Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05 in parc fermee
20.04.2014- The podium, winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W05, 2nd Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W05, 3rd Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14T
20.04.2014- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14T
20.04.2014- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14T
20.04.2014- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14T during pit stop
20.04.2014- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14T
20.04.2014- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Scuderia Ferrari F14T

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