LE CASTELLET, France: Formula One stewards last night rejected Ferrari’s bid to review a decision that cost Sebastian Vettel victory in the Canadian Grand Prix, ruling that the Italian team had presented no significant or new evidence.
The Italian team believed they had ‘overwhelming’ proof to back their bid for a review but the FIA revealed some of that was Sky Sports’ television analysis by Indian racer Karun Chandhok.
The ruling means that five-times world champion Lewis Hamilton is confirmed as race winner for Mercedes, who are favourites to chalk up another win in France tomorrow.
Champions Mercedes have won all seven races this season and the last nine in a row.
The FIA said the ‘new evidence’ presented by Ferrari also included footage of Vettel’s face camera from the race two weeks ago.
The stewards decided Chandhok’s video was “new but not significant and relevant” and the “personal opinion by a third party”.
They said Vettel’s face camera footage could be “seen within other available video.”
Chandhok, who raced in Formula One for now-defunct tail-end teams Hispania and Team Lotus in 2010 and 2011 without scoring a point, reacted with apparent bemusement to his surprise involvement.
“Er...so, can I send you an invoice Ferrari? I mean, lawyers send bills whether you win or lose a case so...!!,” said the Indian on Twitter.
The FIA said other evidence presented by Ferrari such as analysis of telemetry data of Vettel’s car, various other camera angles of the incident, post-race video images and Vettel’s witness statement were already available.
Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies said earlier that the team believed the evidence to be “quite overwhelming when it comes to establishing that Sebastian did not breach any regulations.
He expressed respect for the stewards and recognised they had a ‘very difficult job’.
The right of review calls for a team to present significant and relevant new evidence that was not available at the time of the decision.
The stewards have sole discretion to determine whether such a new element exists and their ruling is final.
The controversy triggered by the decision to give Vettel a five-second penalty in Montreal, for going off track and returning in an unsafe manner while defending the lead from Hamilton, is likely to rumble on.
Drivers and former champions have taken positions on either side of the divide, with some suggesting that the rules might need changing.
“There is a rule that I don’t think should be there, which is a bit too drastic and a bit too black and white and doesn’t interpret well the rules of racing, that is race hard and enjoy,” said McLaren’s Carlos Sainz.