Ferrari's appeal over Carlos Sainz's Australian Grand Prix penalty dismissed
F1’s governing body, the FIA, have dismissed Ferrari's appeal over a penalty given to Carlos Sainz late in the Australian Grand Prix on April 2.
Ferrari driver Sainz was hit with the five-second time penalty for clashing with Aston Martin rival Fernando Alonso during the final standing restart at Albert Park (see the video below), dropping him from fourth to 12th and out of the points.
Having already expressed his anger over the radio, Sainz cut a frustrated figure when he spoke to the media post-race, saying he was “too angry to talk” after receiving “the most unfair penalty I’ve seen in my life”.
In the week after the race, Ferrari team boss Frederic Vasseur confirmed that the Italian outfit had petitioned for a right of review, with the hope of getting the penalty overturned.
After a hearing that took place on Tuesday morning, the FIA stated: "There is no significant and relevant new element which was unavailable to the parties seeking the review at the time of the decision concerned. The Petition is therefore dismissed."
The FIA reasoned: "We considered the fact that this collision took place at the first corner on the first lap of the restart, when, by convention, the Stewards would typically take a more lenient view of incidents. However, we decided that notwithstanding that it was the equivalent of a first lap incident, we considered that there was sufficient gap for SAI to take steps to avoid the collision and failed to do so. We therefore imposed a 5-second time penalty."
Ferrari had asked the stewards to reconsider their verdict by taking into account telemetry data from Sainz's car, plus witness statements given by Sainz and Alonso. Furthermore, the FIA were asked to reconsider on the basis that, in another case, former team Force India previously used a driver's witness testimony to "put a different light on the facts that had been put to the Stewards".
The FIA, however, said that they did not reconsider the Scuderia's appeal on this basis as their decision was made during the race. They added that it was "unnecessary for us to hear from SAI or hear from any other driver to decide that he was wholly to blame for the collision."
Furthermore, the FIA decided that the supplied telemetry "corroborated" their decision; Sainz's written witness statement was "not a new element"; and other drivers' statements about the lack of grip and cold tyres were also deemed "not new significant and relevant elements to decide about the incident".
Ferrari therefore remain fourth in the constructors' championship standings on 26 points, behind third-placed Mercedes on 56 points. Shortly after the verdict was released, they responded with a statement on social media.
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The Scuderia's statement read: "We acknowledge the FIA decision not to grant us a right of review in relation to the penalty imposed on Carlos Sainz at the 2023 Australian Grand Prix. We are naturally disappointed, and felt that we had provided sufficient significant new elements for the FIA to re-examine the decision especially in the context of the particular conditions and multiple incidents that occurred during the final restart.
"We are however respectful of the process and of the FIA decision. We are now looking forward to entering broader discussions with the FIA, F1 and all the Teams, with the aim of further improving the policing of our sport, in order to ensure the highest level of fairness and consistency that our sport deserves."