Ferrari considering F1 championship protest

2012 Brazilian Grand Prix

Ferrari is considering an appeal against Sebastian Vettel’s actions in the Brazilian Grand Prix. If the protest is lodged and upheld, the ramifications could see Vettel stripped of the 2012 F1 world championship in favour Fernando Alonso.

The protest centres around an overtaking move Vettel made on Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne in the early laps of the Brazilian GP. The pass was not shown on live TV as the main feed was showing replays of the start. However, footage from Vettel’s own on-board camera does appear to show he overtook Vergne in a yellow flag zone. You can see the footage after the break, forward to around 9:30 if you want to go straight to the incident in question.

According to the BBC, if Vettel was found guilty by the FIA, a 20 second penalty could be applied to Vettel’s overall race time. That would drop him back to eighth place, but more importantly, Vettel would lose four crucial championship points; enough  to make Fernando Alonso the world champion by a single point.

Interestingly, even if Ferrari doesn’t lodge an appeal, the FIA’s own rules appear to force its hand into investigating the incident now that new information has come to light.

Article 179b of the international sporting code reads: “If, in events forming part of an FIA championship, a new element is discovered, whether or not the stewards of the meeting have already given a ruling, these stewards of the meeting or, failing this, those designated by the FIA must meet… summoning the party or parties concerned to hear any relevant explanations and to judge in the light of the facts and elements brought before them.”

There is a time limit though; any investigation and subsequent decision would have to be handed down by 30 November. So, Vettel may only have a couple of sleepless night, it seems.

While nothing official has been announced by Ferrari, Fernando Alonso did post this via twitter last night (translated from Spanish): “I don’t believe in miracles. I make my miracles out of the correct rules.”

It would be a shame if the championship was to be decided off-track like this. But, this is Formula One, where the action off the circuit is often as heated and cut-throat as it is on-track.

Were Ferrari to protest and have Alonso named as world champion we think it would probably put to rest, once and for all, any rumours of Vettel driving for Ferrari in 2014 or beyond.

[Source: BBC | Pic: Ferrari]