Vettel escaped Monza qualifying penalty due to rules technicality

Ferrari Formula 1 driver Sebastian Vettel escaped a penalty for going off track in Q3 at Monza because of a technicality in the wording of the relevant regulations

Vettel escaped Monza qualifying penalty due to rules technicality

Vettel ran wide on the Q3 lap that ultimately earned him fourth place on the grid.

Some TV angles appeared to show his tyres outside the white line - and hence the boundaries of the track - but after considering the matter the stewards opted not to penalise him, despite other drivers having had lap times deleted for apparently similar transgressions throughout free practice.

The relevant part of the FIA F1 Sporting Regulations says that "Drivers will be judged to have left the track if no part of the car remains in contact with it and, for the avoidance of doubt, any white lines defining the track edges are considered to be part of the track but the kerbs are not."

This is supported by a paragraph in the FIA's International Sporting Code, which reads: "A driver will be judged to have left the track if no part of the car remains in contact with the track," and stressed that "the white lines defining the track edges are considered to be part of the track but the kerbs are not."

In both cases there is a clear reference to "contact."

However the issue was complicated by Version 3 of the Race Directors' Note issued by the FIA's Michael Masi, and which was updated to alert the teams to the possibility of penalties for running wide at Parabolica.

In it, there was a reference not to contact, but to the wheels being over the white line.

Masi wrote: "A lap time achieved during any practice session or the race by leaving the track (all four wheels over the white track edge line) on the outside of Turn 11 will result in that lap time and the immediately following lap time being invalidated by the stewards."

In reviewing the video evidence the stewards noted that the side view showed that Vettel's car was indeed not in contact with the track, as the contact patch of his tyres was outside the line.

However on-board and overhead views indicated the "wheels", where the sidewalls protrude beyond the tyre contact patch, were still atop the white line, as mentioned in the race director's notes.

Given this apparent anomaly, and the fact that the offence was related directly to the notes, the stewards felt obliged to give Vettel the benefit of the doubt.

In their judgement they noted: "The Stewards reviewed multiple camera angles, some of which appeared to show that the tyres were not in contact with the white line of the track edge however other angles appeared to show that part of the front "wheel" (when viewed from above) may have been within the bounds of the white line.

"This cast an element of doubt which is considered significant enough to give the "benefit of doubt" to the driver in question."

shares
comments
Formula 1's Italian Grand Prix embarrassment explained

Previous article

Formula 1's Italian Grand Prix embarrassment explained

Next article

Italian GP grid set after penalties, pitlane start for Raikkonen

Italian GP grid set after penalties, pitlane start for Raikkonen
Load comments
Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces Plus

Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces

At the Italian Grand Prix Daniel Ricciardo turned around a troubled F1 season and, in F2, Oscar Piastri demonstrated once again that he is a potential star of the future. BEN EDWARDS weighs up the prospects of F1 having two Australian stars

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers Plus

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers

Michael Schumacher is the latest sporting superstar to get the ‘Netflix treatment’, with a special documentary film airing on the US streaming giant’s platform this month. DAMIEN SMITH has the inside track on how the filmmakers gained access to tell the human story behind one of Formula 1’s most publicity-shy champions - while the man himself, for obvious reasons, is in absentia… 

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2021
The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery Plus

The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2021
The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1 Plus

The ‘backwards step’ that is the right move for Formula 1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Plus

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. DAMIEN SMITH brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Plus

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus Plus

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021