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Stewards reject Ferrari call for Mexico review - team could appeal

11 Nov 2016

Formula One racing’s governing body, the FIA, has rejected Ferrari’s request to review the post-race penalty given to Sebastian Vettel at the last round of the season in Mexico. However, the team may yet appeal the decision.

Vettel received a ten-second time penalty for driving ‘dangerously or erratically’ while defending fourth place from Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo in the closing stages of the Mexico City race two weeks ago, dropping him from third to fifth in the event’s final classification.

However, Ferrari argued that a review of the decision was necessary because a number of ‘new elements’ had come to light since the race. However, following a teleconference call on Friday, the Mexican stewards decided that Ferrari’s ‘new’ evidence had in fact been available in Mexico, and therefore was not admissible.   

“Scuderia Ferrari argued in its written submission that the “new element”, in accordance with Article 14.1, existed,” read a statement issued by the FIA. “In its verbal submissions it also argued that there were two “new elements”.

“Specifically the Scuderia argued that the Race Director, pursuant to Article 27.4 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations, had the “power” to instruct the driver of Car 33 Max Verstappen, to give back the alleged advantage he had gained when leaving the track on a previous lap to that of the incident involving Car 5 and Car 3 driven by Daniel Ricciardo.

“Scuderia Ferrari also argued that the GPS data it presented was a “new element”. The Stewards heard extensive verbal submission and argument for all parties.

“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. 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 in Document 38.

“In relation to the GPS data, we note that this data is available to teams during the race. 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 [Jock] Clear [of Ferrari] 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.”

Ferrari are understood to have declared their intention to appeal the decision, as is their right under the International Sporting Code. However, lodging such a declaration is often standard procedure in such cases, and does not necessarily mean they will ultimately proceed with an appeal.