FIA dismisses Ferrari’s claims of ‘illegal pass’ by Vettel
Red Bull Renault driver Sebastian Vettel of Germany sits in his Formula One race car during the first practice session of Formula One's Singapore Grand Prix in Singapore on September 21, 2012. AFP PHOTO / Punit PARANJPESebastian Vettel looks certain his to retain world title after the sport’s governing body cleared the German driver of any wrongdoing in last weekend’s Formula One title deciding race.
The FIA has told media outlets there is “no case to answer” amid questions over the legality of an overtaking move by Vettel on Jean-Eric Vergne at the Brazilian Grand Prix. The statement came in the wake of Ferrari’s announcement that it is considering an appeal into a possible illegal overtaking maneuver in the season-ending race.
Video footage from Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix appears to show that Vettel passed Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso’s while there was a yellow caution light being shown.
If a rules breach is proven, Vettel could be hit with a 20-second penalty, which would move him from sixth to eighth place in the race and give Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso the F1 title by one point.
“Ferrari has asked, via a letter, an explanation from the FIA over VET’s pass of VER on lap 4 of the Brazilian GP,” the Italian team said in a Twitter post yesterday.
“We’re looking at the video. We have until tomorrow to file an appeal,” Ferrari spokesman Luca Colajanni told The Associated Press by telephone.
Alonso finished second in the race at Interlagos but Vettel’s sixth place was enough to give him his third straight season title by three points. The 25-year-old German became F1’s youngest three-time champion.
Should Alonso be awarded the title, he would become a three-time champion.
Vettel appeared to be in big trouble when he was bumped shortly after the start of the race and spun. He dropped to last place before he could turn his car around and begin a difficult pursuit. He steadily worked his way up the field despite a slightly damaged car and no radio communication.
It was during Vettel’s climb back through the field that the alleged illegal overtake of Vergne occurred.
When there is a yellow caution flag or light, it signals danger on the track and drivers must slow down and not overtake. If a driver does overtake, he is penalized with a drive-thru while if the race is already finished, he gets a 20-second penalty in the final results.