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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 April, 2003, 17:10 GMT 18:10 UK
F1 to review countback rule
By Andrew Benson
Motorsport editor

Giancarlo Fisichella (left) and Eddie Jordan (right) look dismayed as they are told they have not win the Brazilian Grand Prix
Fisichella (left) and Jordan always believed they had won in Brazil
Formula One is to look into the rule that has led to the controversy over who won the Brazilian Grand Prix, this website has exclusively learned.

Jordan driver Giancarlo Fisichella has been named the winner of the race after a review of a timekeeping error on Friday.

But the mix-up that saw McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen declared the winner after the race on Sunday has led the sport's bosses to question why there is a rule that says the result is counted back two laps from the point at which the race is stopped.

The decision to review the rule was made at a meeting of F1 teams this week.

A top-level F1 source said: "The rule is under review, but care should be taken to ensure any change covers every imaginable scenario and doesn't make things worse in some cases."

In this case, we will have the right result, but the question is why is the rule there and is there a need for it
F1 source

The rule was not directly responsible for the problem in Brazil but it has highlighted the potential problems.

It emerged at the meeting that no-one could remember why there was a two-lap countback rule for the specific circumstances that arose in Brazil.

And there was concern that it was only because Fisichella was into his 56th lap that he has now been declared the winner.

Had the race been stopped a matter of seconds earlier - when Fisichella was still on his 55th lap - the two-lap countback rule would have dictated Kimi Raikkonen be named as winner even though the Finn had lost the lead on lap 54.

"In this case, we will have the right result, but the question is why is the rule there and is there a need for it," the source said.

"It's been there a long time, so there might be a good reason why it's there."

The countback rule was introduced to deal with aggregate races, where two parts of a race that had been stopped have to be added together to create the final standings.

The idea was to ensure that the standings when the first part of the race was stopped were accurately reflected.

But F1 figures accept that in the case of Brazil - where the result was declared because the race had run more than 75% of its scheduled distance - the rule could have led to the wrong winner being declared.

BBC Five Live's Jonathan Legard
"It looks like the result will have to change"

Jordan boss Eddie Jordan
"Fisichella is the rightful winner"






Fisichella poised for Brazil win
10 Apr 03  |  Formula One

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