Ferrari has notified the FIA that it intends to appeal the five second penalty that cost Sebastian Vettel his first win of the season at the Canadian Grand Prix yesterday. Ferrari argues that Vettel did not “rejoin the track in an unsafe manner” or “force” the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton “off track.” In accordance with FIA regulations, the team has 96 hours to present evidence of the contrary and file for the appeal.
Fly in the ‘race’ of evidence
Vettel insists that he did nothing wrong and had no control over the car after running over the grass at the first chicane in lap 48 of 70. However, it’s being reported that there were two deciding factors in the stewards’ decision. The first is slow motion footage that shows what the German driver did once he was back on the track.
Evidently, to correct his oversteer Vettel started steering sharply left but then suddenly let’s go of the steering wheel. This caused the car to drift to the right, into the path that Hamilton was going to use to overtake. Further CCTV footage – which was not shared with the public during the race – apparently shows Vettel looking in his rear mirrors before releasing the steering wheel, indicating that he knew where Hamilton was going and his intentions were clear and deliberate.
FIA sporting regulations makes it clear that in-race time penalties are not subjects of appeal, making Ferrari’s decision more a statement than a serious move to protest the stewards’ decision. The appeal will not likely make it to a hearing at the FIA’s International Court of Appeal, but if it does then the outcome might simply be that the court rules it inadmissible.