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FIA Dismisses Ferrari’s appeal; Sainz’s Time Penalty Stands

Written by Vyas Ponnuri, Edited by Hugh Waring

Credits - Clive Mason - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images

The FIA, Formula One’s governing body, rejected Ferrari’s appeal for a “Right to review” against Carlos Sainz’s five-second penalty during the Australian Grand Prix.

Sainz received the penalty for making contact with fellow Spaniard Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin during a chaotic restart and triggered a number of incidents, ultimately red-flagging the race once again. However, with the original grid order was reinstated after the red flag, this effectively made the restart redundant. Sainz himself was slapped with a five-second penalty, one that proved telling on his race result. The condensed grid order on the restart meant the Ferrari driver’s penalty bumped him from 4th to 12th by the chequered flag, as Ferrari drew no score from the Australian Grand Prix.

With Sainz calling it the “Most unfair penalty of his life” and telling his pit wall to deliberate about it with the stewards, Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur stated his intentions to appeal the penalty. And the Maranello outfit submitted an appeal to review the penalty on April 6th and was given a date of April 18th.

Their reasons to appeal the penalty revolved around car telemetry not being available to the FIA at the time of issuing the penalty, and over “New information” found by the Italian team later on.

However, the appeal was thrown out by the FIA on April 18th, citing the team didn’t bring “Significant and new information unavailable to both parties seeking the review at the time of the decision concerned”. Ferrari presented its reasoning around telemetry, driver witness accounts from Sainz, and accounts from other drivers during the post-race interviews.

Following a virtual hearing that lasted 2:30 hours, the stewards found Sainz to be “wholly to blame” for the collision with third-place finisher Alonso. They also stated the telemetry presented by Ferrari to be “ambiguous” and further reinforce the reason to penalise Sainz. Further arguments persisted over the low sun hindering visibility, and Sainz braking hard on cold tyres (due to the slow formation lap), but the FIA rejected them, stating all drivers had the same circumstances at the time of the incident.

Ferrari also cited the case of the 2014 Canadian Grand Prix, when Force India driver Sergio Perez was given a five-place grid drop for a last-lap incident with Felipe Massa, however, the FIA mentioned the Mexican being unavailable at the time to provide a statement. In this case, they were content to penalise Sainz, even without a statement required from the driver.

The final decision read - The conditions of the track and the tyres was something that every competitor needed to take into account and adapt to.

“In trying to brake late while racing [Pierre Gasly], [Sainz] adopted the risk that he, as a driver, would lose control of his car.

“In this case, that risk materialised, with the consequence of a collision that ensued, for which a penalty follows.”

Credits - Scuderia Ferrari (Instagram)


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