Ferrari questions FIA but Vettel pass was clearly legal

Ferrari confirmed today that it has formally contacted the FIA regarding the Brazilian GP yellow flag controversy – but the team is wasting its time.

Yesterday the team said that it was reviewing video footage apparently showing Vettel passing Jean-Eric Vergne before a yellow light board and with yellow signals on his dash.

An official Ferrari Tweet then confirmed today: “Ferrari asked, by means of a letter, for a clarification from FIA regarding VET’s overtaking move on VER during lap 4 of the Brazilian GP.”

However FIA sources have confirmed what this blog said yesterday – footage also shows that Vettel clearly passed a green flag on the left before he started the passing move, and before he used KERS. And that means that the pass on Vergne was legal, and there is no case to answer, as I suggested here.

As stated yesterday, traditional flags have priority over dashboard lights and trackside light boards. In effect the first flag or board passed denotes a yellow or green zone.

Unfortunately Ferrari is likely to emerge from this affair looking like a bad loser, a shame given that the team initially seemed to accept defeat with some dignity on Sunday afternoon…

Nobody would have had a problem had Ferrari flagged up (no pun intended!) the incident with the FIA during the race, or even in its immediate aftermath, before the results were official. Teams are always contacting race control pointing out potential indiscretions by others, in the hope of generating penalties.

While there was a lot going on one wonders why at this critical race the team did not have a staff member dedicated to following the Vettel on-board feed and looking out for yellow flag passes, any advantage gained from an off-track excursion, or other possible crimes. That would have been a logical move.

If they did have someone doing that job and he didn’t spot the Vergne incident then perhaps the team should be asking him why.

Instead this matter developed from some good ‘citizen journalism’ by internet-savvy fans who brought it to the world’s attention, and who between them ultimately presented both sides of the story. Well done guys…

22 Comments

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22 responses to “Ferrari questions FIA but Vettel pass was clearly legal

  1. Ferrari really does denigrate the sport, turning it into a little political game. Not that it is unusual or unexpected, but the harm to the sport is clear.

  2. floodo1

    I really don’t see how Ferrari gets egg on it’s face for asking the FIA to take a look. Especially since Ferrari isn’t making a big deal about it, not nearly as big of a deal as the internet haters are making it out to be.

    • Jeevan B Manoj

      The point really is, there is nothing to clarify. Onboard shots show that he overtook after getting green flag and Ferrari should have had a look at the rule book before trying to point out a problem that wasn’t that. Now they look like absolutely idiots who doesn’t know what they are doing. Sadly they aren’t like that

  3. PopsTwitTar

    its good that this worked out, and ultimately the passes were legal. But the FIA should look at its systems. It shouldn’t have indicators for both green (flag) and yellow (steering wheel) conditions at same time. One driver might think its green flag conditions and one might think its yellow, and that’s a safety and clarity issue.

  4. I don’t see asking for clarification as the same as challenging the decision; its in everyone’s interest – including Ferrari – to set this to bed and stop speculation. The story raised its head almost immediately and the FIA did not quash it with an emphatic statement in plain English that those unfamiliar with the intricacies of the rules. Questions about the transparency on FIA decisions has been questioned before. Ferrari asking for that doesn’t necessarily mean that they think that they think its can – or even want it to – be overturned etc.
    Potentially millions of dollars is at stake, any team in the same position would do the same; they own it to their sponsors as well as fans to make sure that its clearly resolved. So imply that Ferrari alone are like this is disingenuous.

  5. To be honest, I’m not sure how this whole mess amounts to a shining example of “citizen journalism.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t some fans who didn’t like the outcome of the championship just find some footage they thought might help them (and Alonso) out? In the end it didn’t — it wasn’t showing anything illegal, and they didn’t know enough about flag regulations to recognize that. I would have thought that Ferrari would, though, and that’s the part that really confuses me…

    • Even the FIA can’t watch 24 on-boards for 71 laps in addition to the regular pictures, data screens, etc etc. Sometimes things need to be flagged up. It took those citizen journalists, with time on their hands, two days to find the footage. The FIA didn’t know until I emailed them a YouTube link…

  6. To be honest, I’m not sure how this whole mess amounts to a shining example of “citizen journalism.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t some fans who didn’t like the outcome of the championship just find some footage they thought might help them (and Alonso) out? In the end it didn’t — it wasn’t showing anything illegal, and they didn’t know enough about flag regulations to recognize that. I would have thought that Ferrari would, though, and that’s the part that really confuses me…

  7. P.

    Ecclestone, pay the coke. First advice.

  8. Jeevan B Manoj

    That is a mega embarrassed for the sport really. Ferrari should have triple checked before writing that letter. Now they look like idiots. Alonso deserves a smarter team. And totally agree with you Mr Cooper. Why in the world didn’t they appoint one guy to observe vettel, I don’t know.

  9. Ferrari want to win thats all. If vetell had done it …it was worth asking the FIA to clarify.

  10. JonB

    Here is a thought when there are yellow flags they should have dedicated zones that are in yellow and if there is something wrong in that zone the whole area is a no pass zone. Watching the footage you see yellow, yellow and then one green then yellow. How can that one small area be green when all around them is yellow it was like they were giving him a blue flag to pass. I think the question should be why was the green flag waved in that section when the whole zone was yellow.

  11. Jodum5

    Days after the race? That’s pathetic on their part. Like Adam Cooper suggested, this should have been done during or very soon after the race. They’ve made themselves look petty

  12. F-team took a turn for the worse since ALO joined the band on the run, really. Sad, bad, too bad, even more tearful than SCHUM era. At least the FIA did the right thing this time.

    Massa’s gearbox penalty didn’t look all good, Ferrari International Assistance must make sure there’s a real reason for it in the future. I’d personally throw both Maranello stallions out of the US race results.

  13. Well it’s not exactly cricket, but Italians don’t play cricket, do they. Ferrari leave no stone unturned in their efforts to win: I had to chuckle after Button and Hülkenberg’s 40-odd second lead was (the TV feed suggested) wiped out just seconds after Alonso complained about too much crap on the track. Didn’t do that in Italian, did he?
    Deserving winners behave differently.

  14. Allan

    For those who accuse Ferrari for being a bad loser, isn’t Ron Dennis the one who once said, “Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser.”?

    • Jodum5

      That quote has more to do with someone is a little too happy upon defeat. Not someone that tries to question the validity of the results days after the event.

      Being gracious in defeat does not equate to being happy or content with losing.

  15. chris

    If the FIA aren’t prepared to make a statement over the incident of their own accord, to silence the murmuring, then someone needs to step in and tell them to take a look at it. Ferrari did that and now we have an answer, and the case is closed. I really don’t see what the problem is. If they hadn’t contacted the FIA, then everyone would still be discussing whether the overtake was legal or not, and that speculation would be bad for the sport.

    Just because this decision/incident was crucial in deciding where the championship goes does not mean it should be dealt with in a different manner to any other incident that occurred throughout the season.

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