Just six weeks before the curtain for the 2009 Formula One season rises, the FIA have announced Lewis Hamilton will receive a five-place penalty as a precaution to "any trouble that he may cause either in testing, qualifying, or the race itself," believing that pre-punishment using precedent from the previous season will help curb offensive behavior.
To bring some offenses to light, Hamilton and teammate Heikki Kovalainen were both given five-place grid penalties after posting a qualifying time and slowing down to conserve fuel while on the racing line in Sepang.
Hamilton was given a whopping 10-place grid penalty after a controversial collision in the pitlane at Montreal with Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari. Also, Hamilton's win was taken away from the Belgian Grand Prix after an alleged second last lap overtake was done whilst cutting the chicane.
Upon hearing the announcement, the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team said that they will appeal the penalty, stating that just because Lewis yelled at a hearing for his Spa penalty, he does not deserve this kind of treatment.
"We think that Lewis should be treated fairly and just like the other drivers," came a statement from the McLaren team. The statement continued: "We will actively pursue this penalty and get some answers."
A press statement from the FIA read: "upon doing risk-of-offense assessments of each driver before the season, we have deemed Lewis Hamilton to be at a great risk to offend. This penalty is merely a precaution."
Calls to Max Mosley to explain this were answered by his secretary who said that Mr. Mosley is "currently tied up at the moment in Chelsea." The reporter did not pursue the lead.
When asked for his opinion about the penalty, Kimi Raikkonen was quoted as saying "it for sure is bad for him but if it happens...you have to take it." When asked how this will affect him, Raikkonen replied: "Probably my car will break down before race starts so the penalty won't affect me in any way probably."
The 2009 Australian Grand Prix is scheduled to start on March 29.