Ralf Schumacher is “delighted” with the FIA International Court of Appeal's ruling that overturned his ten-place grid penalty for the Hungarian Grand Prix and fined him R366 500 instead.

Ralf Schumacher is “delighted” with the FIA International Court of Appeal's ruling that overturned his ten-place grid penalty for the Hungarian Grand Prix and fined him R366 500 instead.


The ruling boosted Williams-BMW' hopes of overtaking Ferrari in the constructors' championship on Sunday. The team are two points behind the Scuderia with four races remaining. Moreover, Schumacher's performance is bound to affect the outcome of driver's championship, in which Juan-Pablo Montoya trails Michael Schumacher by only six points.


"I was delighted with the decision," said Ralf, fourth in the drivers' championship and 18 points behind his older brother Michael. "After yesterday's hearing, I didn't expect too much, but I am very happy with the conclusion that was reached."


Team boss Frank Williams said: "We are delighted that the FIA court of appeal saw fit to remove the serious penalty of a 10-place demotion on the starting grid for the next race.


"The substitution of a financial penalty at least means we can compete in Hungary with Ralf still in a competitive position in both championships."


The FIA said in a statement that they would now ask German race stewards to investigate the roles of Finland's Kimi Raikkonen and Brazilian Rubens Barrichello in the incident.


The FIA said the court, after reading a report analysing accident data recorder information, felt "some responsibility might possibly be imputed to the other two drivers involved in the incident".


On Tuesday, Williams-BMW and Schumacher lodged an appeal against the grid penalty that was imposed on the F1 driver two weeks ago. The German on Tuesday told the Court of Appeal that he was not to blame for causing a three-car accident at the start of the German Grand Prix.


The appeal hearing was attended by Schumacher, his manager Willi Weber, Sir Frank, Williams-BMW chief operations engineer Sam Michael, FIA technical director Charlie Whiting, Barrichello and Kimi Raikkonen.


Barrister Andrew Hunter – Williams-BMW spokesman at the hearing – argued that Schumacher wasn’t in a position to see Raikkonen, who was on the far left hand-side of the circuit next to Rubens Barrichello. Therefore, Schumacher had reached the conclusion that Barrichello was the only driver attempting to pass on that side of the racetrack.


Hunter also commented that Schumacher did not take any dangerous or unusual lines into the corner and, indeed, left the only driver in his vision enough room to manoeuvre, whilst easing his car over to the left hand side to protect his place.


The conclusion from the evidence presented by Hunter was that Ralf Schumacher wasn’t in a position to prevent the accident – but that the drivers behind were.


Michael also supported Hunter’s claims, using various forms of evidence in the shape of video footage, graphics and computer animations.


Schumacher described the shunt with Barrichello and Raikkonen as a racing accident, adding that he had been punished enough by the points he had lost through his retirement.


"It was definitely very annoying," Schumacher told the panel of four judges. "There is no one to blame for this crash. It was a completely normal racing accident. It could have happened to anyone in the race."


However, Whiting told the court Schumacher had admitted not paying enough attention to the cars surrounding him, therefore he caused an avoidable accident.


He dismissed Hunter’s statement as "a tenuous argument," adding that drivers have lateral vision other than their mirrors.


"It is wrong to assume that he can take the line he wants to take," said Whiting.


Barrichello and Raikkonen both gave their account of the accident at the hearing. The Ferrari ace was adamant that Schumacher was responsible.


"I tried to take avoiding action," said Barrichello. "I braked and moved a little bit. I didn't drive into Ralf. He hit me."


Raikkonen rejected suggestions from Michael that he could have avoided the accident by moving over on to the 90 cm of green-painted concrete just beyond the edge of the track.


"I didn't want to drive off the course because that is not the best route," said the Finn.

Original article from Car