A steward’s inquiry is normally associated with horse racing but Formula One has them too – as Lewis Hamilton knows all too well following last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.
The British race ace seems to have the support of the world’s media after being stripped of a dramatic victory after race officials handed him a 25-second post-race penalty.
The punishment was meted out for cutting the Spa circuit’s Bus Stop chicane in a battle with arch rival Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari at the business end of the race.
It was enough to demote him to third place behind Felipe Massa and BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld, though an appeal could yet see him opening the champagne.
It is not just biased Brits who have been bemused by the controversy which has all the mystery of a Hercule Poirot plotline.
Niki Lauda, the former Formula One world champion, told German newspaper Bild: "This is the worst judgement in the history of F1.
"It’s absolutely unacceptable when three (stewards) influence the championship like this."
The demotion has meant that Hamilton’s lead over Ferrari’s Massa in the title chase has been cut to two points.
A scan of the morning papers show that only newspapers in Italy (home of Ferrari) seem broadly supportive of the stewards’ verdict.
Written by James Christie