Ferrari has made a new case about the 10 seconds penalty Vettel got for his manoeuvre on Ricciardo in the closing stages of the Mexican Grand Prix. After the second free practice in Brazil the stewards of the Mexican GP will have a telephone conference with Ferrari and Red Bull.
Article 14.1 allows all teams to apply for such a new inquiry, provided that the team(s) brings new evidence(s). Problem being: the FIA appointed stewards for the Brazilian GP that aren’t the same as the ones during the Mexican GP. So Ferrari made use of article 14.2 which states that they are allowed to contact said stewards individually, which they did by providing the “new evidence(s)” via mail. It is now up to them to decide if these new element(s) really are evidences worthy for Ferrari’s case and if the majority of the stewards thinks they are, then they can appoint the stewards of the Brazilian GP to come to a ruling. This weekend the stewards are: Felipe Giaffone, Tim Mayer, Mika Salo and Nish Shetty. Should they find the evidence sufficient enough to rule in favour of Ferrari, Vettel would see him get his third place reimbursed, moving Ricciardo back to fourth and Verstappen to fifth. Ferrari states that it won’t affect the outcome of the WDC fight between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. However they feel strongly about the whole incident and want a thoroughly investigation with a clarification for any incidents of this sort in the future.
The stewards have reviewed the new elements, brought to the table by Ferrari and have now asked for a (telephone)conference between them and the two affected teams. This conference is to be held after the second free practice at 16.45 local time. Since some of the stewards are in different timezones than the teams, as they are in the USA, Mexico, Australia and Spain, this was logistically speaking the best moment. Maurizio Arrivabene and Christian Horner are therefore leaving the press conference before the end.
So what are the new elements previously talked about? As of now nobody knows, except for the stewards and Ferrari. However the paddock is buzzing with rumours, Ferrari would have new GPS data. Or that Ferrari would have (re)evaluated recordings of board radio conversations between the FIA and Red Bull. When asked Christian Horner said:’Ferrari feels that the FIA should have ordered Verstappen to give the place to Vettel. If that would have happened the incident between Vettel and Ricciardo wouldn’t have been. But how can they make a case up out of pure hypothetical statements?’
As we all know Vettel was the first “victim” of a rule which he (and the other drivers) helped create. Article 27.5, also known as the Verstappen rule, only came to life one grand prix earlier, in Austin. This rule was made to restrict the ‘moving under braking during a defensive move’. Something which Vettel clearly did when he was under attack from Ricciardo in Mexico, after being backed up by Verstappen. The new rule asks three questions: 1) Does the defending driver make an abnormal movement under braking? 2) Does the attacking drive have to make an evasive manoeuvre? 3) Is the manoeuvre potentially dangerous? If all of these questions are answered with a yes the stewards can give a penalty to the accused driver.
After a thorough analysis of all the pieces of this puzzle Ferrari claims to have new evidences which enables them to build a case with the stewards. Which these evidences are is something that Ferrari don’t want to say. And the FIA feel they don’t have to say that either. Charlie Whiting said to ‘Auto Motor und Sport’: “It’s up to Ferrari to tell you what these elements are. The FIA has nothing to do with this case as it is between the teams and the stewards.” But as previously mentioned rumours are of GPS data and radio transcripts which weren’t available immediately after the race.
If there will be a revealing of those evidences and/or a result for what the case may mean with respect to the final ranking of the Mexican GP I’ll make an update of the article.
Ferrari were represented at Friday’s hearing by engineering director Jock Clear.
The stewards acknowledged the race director had “absolute authority” to tell a driver to hand over position, but said he was not under an obligation to do so.
As for the GPS data, Clear conceded it did not contradict other evidence stewards had considered when deciding Vettel had performed an illegal move.
Comment below, but keep things nice. Cheers,