MERCEDES yesterday went back on their decision to appeal the 20-second penalty imposed against Michael Schumacher following Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix.
The seven-time champion was relegated from sixth to 12th – and out of the points positions – after his overtaking manoeuvre on Fernando Alonso on the final corner of the final lap was deemed illegal after the safety car had pulled into the pits.
Mercedes had initially declared their intention to appeal the decision but decided against it for “the best interests of the sport”.
A team statement said: “Whilst we cannot be happy with the outcome, we are pleased the [governing body] FIA has recognised the reasons for our interpretation.”
Mercedes argued that mixed pit-lane messages and confusion amongst the drivers had led to the misunderstanding over whether the race was finishing with the safety car.
It added: “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 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.”
Mercedes also accepted there was no bias, with race steward Damon Hill a former track rival of Schumacher: “We fully support the inclusion of past drivers on the stewards panel and are completely satisfied the Monaco GP stewards acted professionally.”