Ferrari dropped their plans to make an appeal against F1 champion Sebastian Vettel’s passing manoeuvre at the Brazilian Grand Prix after receiving clarification from Formula One’s governing body on Friday morning.
Ferrari were considering an appeal after video footage from Sunday’s Brazilian GP appeared to show that Vettel passed Jean-Eric Vergne while a yellow caution light was on.
“The request for a clarification from the FIA came about through the need to shed light on the circumstances of the move, which came out on the Internet only a few days after the race,” Ferrari said in a statement.
“The letter to the FIA was in no way intended to undermine the legality of the race result.
“We received tens of thousands of queries relating to this matter from all over the world and it was incumbent on us to take the matter further, asking the federation to look into an incident that could have cast a shadow over the championship in the eyes of all Formula 1 enthusiasts, not just Ferrari fans. Ferrari duly takes note of the reply sent by the FIA this morning and therefore considers the matter now closed.”
If a rules breach had been proven, Vettel would have been hit with a 20-second penalty, moving him from sixth place to eighth in the race and giving Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso the F1 title by one point.
Alonso finished second in the race at Interlagos, but Vettel’s sixth place was enough to give him his third straight F1 title by three points. The 25-year-old German became F1’s youngest 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 began to chase the leaders. 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 penalised with a drive-thru or a 20-second penalty in the final results if the infraction is discovered after the race is over.