Ferrari have lost their review into Sebastian Vettel’s five-second penalty at the Canadian Grand Prix, confirming Lewis Hamilton as the race winner.
Twelve days after Vettel was demoted to runner-up in Montreal, punished for rejoining the circuit in a dangerous manner, Ferrari presented new evidence they hoped would overturn the controversial result.
But following a 35-minute presentation by Ferrari’s sporting director Laurent Mekies at the Circuit Paul Ricard ahead of this week’s French Grand Prix, the stewards took less than two hours to announce their original decision will stand.
A statement from the FIA read: “There are no significant and relevant new elements which were unavailable to the parties at the time of the competition concerned.”
The ruling of Formula One’s governing body will come as a significant blow to both Vettel and Ferrari, with Mekies having earlier claimed that the team’s evidence would prove their star driver’s innocence.
“We have requested the FIA’s right of review because we believe that this evidence is quite overwhelming when it comes to establishing that Sebastian did not breach any regulations,” he said.
Ferrari announced their decision to appeal against Vettel’s penalty immediately after the race in Canada before withdrawing their challenge four days later.
However, Article 14 of the FIA’s International Sporting Code – the Right of Review – provided them with another avenue to pursue the case if they could unearth significant fresh evidence.
The Scuderia offered what they regarded as seven new elements to the stewards, including telemetry analysis, a variety of video and still images, and GPS data from both Vettel’s and Hamilton’s cars during the incident on lap 48 in Montreal.
They also included video analysis by Sky Sports’ pundit Karun Chandhok – the former grand prix driver who made 11 appearances with a best finish of 14th – as well as footage from Vettel’s face camera released after the race.
The stewards dismissed five of the seven elements as being “available before the end of the competition.” They added that Vettel’s face camera was “new but not significant and relevant as the evidence contained in this video footage can be seen within other available video.”
Chandhok’s analysis was also deemed irrelevant and simply “a personal opinion by a third party.”
There are no significant and relevant new elements which were unavailable to the parties at the time of the competition concerned
Vettel will now head into Sunday’s eighth round of the championship in the south of France 62 points behind Hamilton.
Vettel has not won since last August’s Belgian Grand Prix – a run of 15 races – while rival Hamilton has triumphed 11 times during that period. His Mercedes team are unbeaten this season.
Provided by Press Association Sport
Lewis Hamilton is under investigation by the stewards for appearing to block Max Verstappen in second practice for the French Grand Prix.
Less than a fortnight after Sebastian Vettel was stripped of his win in Canada for rejoining the circuit in an unsafe manner, Hamilton’s incident with Verstappen will now be probed.
Hamilton ran off the Circuit Paul Ricard at the fourth bend after losing control of his Mercedes as he entered the corner.
He then came back on to the circuit with Verstappen running off the road to avoid Hamilton’s recovering Mercedes. The world champion held his left hand up to apologise to Verstappen.
Hamilton will now wait to see if the stewards take any action.
After topping the time charts in the opening running, Hamilton trailed Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas later in the day.
Bottas finished nearly half a second clear of world champion, with the Ferrari pair of Charles Leclerc and Vettel third and fourth respectively.
The Ferrari pair were six and seven tenths down on Bottas with Mercedes, who have won every race this season, again appearing to hold the advantage.
Back on track, British teenager Lando Norris finished an impressive fifth as his encouraging start to life in Formula One continued.
The 19-year-old was the only non-Mercedes and Ferrari driver to end the day within one second of Bottas’ best time.
Indeed, Norris was ahead of both Red Bulls, in Verstappen and Pierre Gasly, who was eighth, and Carlos Sainz in the sister McLaren.
Sainz finished seventh, almost six tenths slower than Norris.
English novice George Russell finished 19th, half a second clear of his Williams team-mate Robert Kubica.
Provided by Press Association Sport
The French Grand Prix this week plays host to the eighth round of the Formula One championship.
Lewis Hamilton will arrive at Le Castellet with a 29-point title lead following his controversial win last time out in Canada.
Here, Press Association Sport identifies the key talking points ahead of Sunday’s race.
Ferrari in a muddle over Vettel appeal
Formula One can be a complicated business. On Sunday night, Ferrari delivered their intention to appeal against Sebastian Vettel’s five-second penalty which lost him the Canadian Grand Prix. Four days later, the Scuderia informed the FIA they were withdrawing their challenge.
Then, on Monday, Ferrari announced they would be exploring Article 14 of the sporting code, the so-called ‘right to review’, which enables them to take on the stewards’ verdict if significant new evidence has come to light.
Ferrari have refused to divulge what this new evidence might be. A hearing will now be staged between Ferrari and the FIA, although a date has not been set.
Mistakes keeping adding up for Vettel
Vettel trails Hamilton by a whopping 62 points in the title race, a tally which seemed unthinkable when Ferrari packed down after an impressive pre-season testing.
Mercedes are unbeaten from the seven races this year, but Ferrari have had the machinery to win at least three times; Bahrain – Leclerc engine failure; Azerbaijan – Leclerc qualifying crash; Canada – Vettel mistake while leading.
Mercedes’ two biggest errors of the year – putting Hamilton on the wrong tyres in Monaco and engine setbacks in Canada – have gone unpunished.
Vettel might blame the stewards in Canada – his ensuing Montreal meltdown the highlight of the season so far – but in doing so he was only glossing over another mistake from a list which is seriously tarnishing his reputation.
He will contest Sunday’s race without a win in 300 days. Hamilton has triumphed 11 times during that period.
Honda boost for Max and Co
Max Verstappen has not put a foot wrong this season, and the Dutchman – fourth in the standings – will benefit from an upgraded Honda engine in the back of his Red Bull in France.
The Japanese manufacturer hope their new piece of kit will be more powerful, and Verstappen’s team-mate Pierre Gasly and Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat will also be armed with a fresh power unit.
Kvyat, however, will have to serve a grid penalty for exceeding the number of engine parts a driver is allowed to use during the season.
Silverstone talks still ongoing
The British Grand Prix is due to take place in a little over three weeks’ time, but an agreement is yet to be reached between Silverstone and F1’s owners Liberty Media over a new deal.
As it stands, this year’s race will be the last at the Northamptonshire circuit. Talks are ongoing between both parties.
Understandably, Silverstone chiefs are keen to sign a new contract before next month’s race on July 14. It is understood, however, that there is unlikely to be an announcement in the near future.
Rules and regulations for 2021 delayed until October
Liberty has pushed back the deadline of the post-2020 rules until October, with F1’s major stakeholders at odds over the sport’s future. A meeting between the FIA, F1 and the 10 teams was staged last week. Hamilton was a surprise attendee at the summit.
Although the teams agreed to a budget cap of £140million-a-season, excluding driver and top-three executives’ salaries, the sporting and technical regulations remain some way off from being concluded.
“We agreed to postpone the presentation of the 2021 regulations until October, giving us all more time to work on them to achieve our shared goals,” said Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff.
“Finding the right compromise between the various stakeholders is not easy, but we’re united in our passion for racing and our will to define a set of rules that will see Formula One thrive in the next decade.”