On Friday evening the FIA has dismissed Ferrari’s request to review Sebastian Vettel’s Mexican Grand Prix time penalty after deciding there is “no new element” to consider.
On Thursday Ferrari lodged an formal request to the FIA asking to re-examine the ten-second penalty, which dropped Vettel from third to fifth in the race result. Vettel had been penalised for dangerous driving after moving under braking to defend position from Daniel Ricciardo.
Ferrari’s request to the FIA came after it claimed “a number of new elements” had come to light in the weeks since the race. A hearing was convened on Friday, after FP2, conducted via teleconference, with the stewards talking to Ferrari, represented by senior performance engineer Jock Clear, and Red Bull, represented by team principal Christian Horner and team manager Jonathan Wheatley.
For the first “new element”, Ferrari argued Red Bull had “the power” to instruct Max Verstappen to move out of the way to give Vettel third. The Dutch teenager had infuriated Vettel by refusing to yield despite holding the position because he went off track at Turn 1, meaning he then came under pressure from Ricciardo a few laps later.
Verstappen did not give up the position after being told over radio the stewards would investigate after the race — which they did, eventually handing Verstappen a ten-second penalty of his own.
The stewards responded to this by saying that, though the FIA race director Charlie Whiting does have “absolute authority” to tell a driver to move over, there is no obligation to do so, adding that Verstappen refusing to move over was “not relevant” to the penalty handed to Vettel.
Ferrari argued a second “new element” was GPS data it presented. The stewards said the data brought forward by Ferrari was not only available to the teams during the race but also to the stewards afterwards, when it decided to penalise Vettel.
The stewards’ verdict note this evening said the following:-
‘When asked if the GPS data in any way contradicted the telemetry and other evidence the stewards concluded showed that the driver of Car 5 had steered whilst under braking at Turn 4, Mr Clear conceded that it did not.’
Article 14.2 of the International Sporting Code gives the stewards sole discretion to determine if a new element exists. In this case, the stewards have decided it does not.
Under the regulations, Ferrari can appeal the decision again if it wishes.