FIA reject Vettel Mexican GP penalty review


Sebastian Vettel - Credit: Scuderia Ferrari

Following a teleconference between FIA, Scuderia Ferrari and Red Bull Racing representatives, the decision to penalise Sebastian Vettel for moving under braking whilst defending from Daniel Ricciardo towards the end of the Mexican Grand Prix has been upheld.

Vettel was handed a ten-second penalty post-race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez two weeks ago that relegated him from a podium position to fifth, behind Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, and Ferrari believed they had a case to appeal the decision with what they believed was new information.

The stewards from the Mexican Grand Prix listened to the information that Ferrari provided through Jock Clear, while Christian Horner and Jonathan Wheatley represented Red Bull.

Part of the argument that Ferrari brought up was Charlie Whiting’s power to instruct drivers to concede positions should they gain an advantage while running off track, which would have meant Verstappen should have handed the position to Vettel before the incident with Ricciardo even happened, while GPS data from Ferrari was also presented for the turn four incident with the Australian that gave Vettel the penalty.

However the FIA argued that whilst Whiting does indeed have ‘absolute authority’ to ask a position to give up their position, there was no obligation to do so, and this fact made the evidence irrelevant.

“In relation to the matter of the Race Director having the ‘power’ to instruct the driver of Car 33 to give back the alleged advantage, we note firstly that the relevant article gives the Race Director ‘absolute authority“ to allow the driver to give back a position,” read the FIA statement.

“It does not imply an obligation to do so. The fact that the Race Director did not exercise his discretion is not relevant to the decision taken.”

The GPS data was also discussed, and eventually Ferrari conceded that the data did not contradict the data from telemetry already examined in Mexico, and as such the appeal was turned down with the Vettel penalty standing.

“In relation to the GPS data we note that this data is available to teams during the race,” continued the statement. “It is also available to, and referred to by, the stewards, in the Stewards Room during the race.

“When asked if the GPS data in any way contradicted the telemetry and other evidence that the Stewards concluded showed that the driver of Car 5 had steered whilst under braking at Turn 4, Mr Clear conceded that it did not.

“Article 14.2 of the International Sporting Code gives the Stewards the sole discretion to determine if a new element exists.

“Having received all the written and verbal submissions and carefully considered them, the Stewards decide there is no new element.”