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Ferrari Denied Review of Controversial Penalty That Undid Its Canadian Grand Prix Win

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Gif: Formula One (YouTube)

The Ferrari Formula One team, evidently still not over the controversial penalty that cost Sebastian Vettel the victory at the Canadian Grand Prix two weeks ago, had a hearing in France on Friday to try to win its win back. It didn’t work.

The hearing was for Ferrari’s request to have the call reviewed, which the team was denied. F1 announced the results Friday, saying that “after several hours of deliberation,” the stewards decided that Ferrari brought “no significant and relevant new elements which were unavailable to the parties at the time of the competition concerned.” New evidence is a key part of being granted a review.


Since Ferrari won’t get the review, though, the finishing order from Canada will stay the same: Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in first, Vettel second and his Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc third. That means Mercedes is undefeated in seven races so far this year, even if it was defeated once on the actual track.

The announcement said Ferrari brought seven pieces of evidence to the hearing:

1. Analysis of the telemetry data of VET’s car, including car attitude channels

2. A video analysis of the camera views (front view, top view, onboard cameras of Vettel and Hamilton) prepared after the race.

3. A video analysis performed by Karun Chandhok for Sky Sports after the race

4. A video of VET’s face camera, which was released by F1 Limited after the race

5. Post-race and video images

6. Analysis of the GPS racing line data of both Hamilton and Vettel in the Situation lap and in the previous race laps

7. Witness statement of Vettel

Here’s what the stewards thought of each one, via the announcement:

The stewards said pieces of evidence one, two, four, six and seven were in fact “available before the end of the competition”. They said the third piece of evidence, “was new but not significant and relevant as this is a personal opinion by a third party”.

And finally, the fourth piece of evidence “was new but not significant and relevant as the evidence contained in this video footage can be seen within other available video”.


(The fourth piece of evidence is repeated in the excerpt above, and the rulings are different on it. The fifth is also missing. We’ve asked F1 for clarification on what was hopefully a typo, and will update this story when we hear back.)

The hearing stems from Vettel’s penalty by the Canadian Grand Prix stewards, after he went off track near the end of the race and was ruled to have reentered dangerously. Lewis Hamilton, who was running second, happened to be right in the path of that reentry, and called attention to it over the radio.

Nearly 10 laps later, the stewards announced that Vettel would get a five-second penalty. Vettel finished first, but not five seconds ahead of Hamilton, meaning he dropped to second in the results—something that made Vettel so mad, he switched the first- and second-place signs in front of their cars after the race.

The call was controversial, just like the move itself, which can be seen below. But Ferrari felt like it could challenge the penalty, even after an unconfirmed report by came out that the decision was solidified by what the stewards saw as an extra wheel movement by Vettel and a CCTV camera view showing “Vettel’s head looking in the mirrors at where Hamilton was.”

Ferrari initially wanted to appeal the penalty, but later decided for a “right of review” instead, highlighting more of the silly intricacies in F1’s rulebook: As Autosport put it, an appeal of an in-race ruling was almost sure to fail, so the team went for the same goal under different terminology.


Right of review means that, according to the sporting regulations, Ferrari had to bring evidence of a “significant and relevant new element” related to the ruling forward within 14 days, such as scenario-changing evidence that the stewards overseeing the race wouldn’t have had. While Ferrari wouldn’t say before the hearing what evidence it would bring, reported that Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies called it “overwhelming.”

The stewards, evidently, disagreed. But that’s life sometimes, and Ferrari still has, oh, 14 more races left this year to break Mercedes’ win streak without any controversy.