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A Post race review and change of champion: I had decided this debate had run its course, particularly because even though I’ve complained all season about Race management issues, even IF Vettel is guilty, the infringement was missed by the stewards and the matter is similar to debating whether a penalty should have been awarded in a crucial football (soccer for the US) match.
But at 23:15 GMT SKY, the BBC and a number of long standing journalists have announced that Ferrari are looking at the footage and considering a protest. This could be mere media manipulation or Ferrari off the record briefing, but it is the latest story and I’m sure thejudge13 readers would wish to hear about it.
I’m going to summarise the story thus far, and include valuable insights from thejudge13 readers. Post race, thejudge13 reported the following observations made by SKY TV as follows…
Original thejudge13 story
“For those of you not watching on SKY I’m not sure how much of this drama you heard post race. An eagle-eyed technician spotted that Vettel had overtaken Kobayashi whilst passing a yellow light. Speculation was rife he could be given a 20s penalty and demoted to eighth giving Alonso the title.
I’ve studied the footage and this is what I know. Vettel caught Kamui at a point on the track where there was a red and yellow light – signifying oil on the track (or a slippery surface – no way?). A few metres behind it was a yellow flashing light signifying no overtaking and Vettel remained behind the japanese driver for another corner. There is then a full green light above the armco barrier to his right.
Yet by the time the German driver was alongside Kobayashi we see another yellow light and he completes the pass after that light. Several more of these lights are visible as you follow Vettel’s on board for the rest of the lap. To compound the issue, Kamui pits immediately and so Vettel cannot give back the position if he has made an illegal move.
Pat Fry discusses the matter, but only refers to the red and yellow light, I don’t think he sees what followed. The lights following the green light were indeed those used to warn drivers of yellow flagged areas of the track, but I noticed they were solid and not flashing.
I do not know what a solid yellow light means. Slow flashing is yellow flags, quick flashing is double waved yellows – but I’m not sure what solid, unblinking lights represent. Any ideas?”
More than 1 issue
Alonso said Jenson had told him about the possibility Vettel had passed illegally, but commented to Italian TV ”There was some kind of hope when he told me there is some yellow flag problem but then I think it was not true,” he admitted.
As it transpires, there were in fact 3 incidents where Vettel may have been guilty of passing under a yellow flag. This video analysis from my friend Nick is the best I’ve seen.
(OKAY – the FIA have taken it down, but here’s a link to one SKY are running today. (LINK)
So the only event in actually question is not the Kobayashi pass, but the JEV pass on lap 4. Since posting the above video this we’ve had thejudge13 readers providing rebuttal’s to the Video evidence based upon a picture that shows Marshal’s waving the green flag (pic).
Thejudge13 readers contribution
thejudge13 reader Danilo Schoeneberg has commented on this site fairly authoritatively and without a convincing rebuttal, “Flags do always take precedence over the lights. The lights, and especially the steering wheel indicators are only supplemental devices.
They can only be turned on/off by GPS-based signals at certain points of the track, which is why the indicators in Vettel’s cockpit stay on until he passes the light post, which also shows green. It’s these light posts that trigger the cockpit indicators. The yellow flag zone ended at the green flag near the pit exit”.
He also deals with the argument that the green flag picture was from a lap before the video
“1. If the straight was green-flagged in lap3. Why should it be yellow-flagged in lap 4 – there wasn’t any incident on that straight in lap 3.
2. http://www.fia.com/en-GB/sport/championships/f1/2012/brazil/Pages/lap_chart.aspx <- This is the official lap chart showing that Vettel is already ahead of Vergne at the start of lap 4
3. The indicators in the cockpit are only supplemental, they can only be triggered when passing light posts. The track status however is determined by the marshal flags, not by the track-side lights nor by the cockpit indicators.
It pains me to see that we’re three days past the GP and still people come up with false claims, trying to win the title by a stewards decision, because they couldn’t on the track. Whatever happened to gracefully accepting defeat?”
Other comments have suggest the FIA have turned a blind eye to this to deliver the result to the Championship they favour. I have difficulty with this argument as the previously nicknamed ‘Ferrari Internationale de l’Automobiles were criticised after the Interlagos race by many for deploying the safety car favoured Alonso.
Further, Alonso winning would have been gold dust for F1/FOM in marketing terms. David and Goliath etc…
Spanish media publication as.com give us chapter and verse on the rules as they stand.
“On the evidence of a FIA Championship, where they discovered a new element, the stewards, whether they had been they who had made the decision or not, or, if not possible, other designated effect by the FIA, shall meet on the date agreed by themselves, summoning the party or parties concerned, to receive such explanations are useful, and judged in the light of the facts and of the exposed elements.
The right to appeal the new decision is reserved to the party or parties concerned, in accordance with the last paragraph of Article 180 and following of the Code. In case the first decision had already been the subject of an appeal to the National Court of Appeal or to the International Court of Appeal, or successively to both jurisdictions, they shall be entitled as of right to review its earlier decision eventually. The International Court of Appeal may take judicial notice of the review of a case that she has tried or take charge of a petition for review filed by the President of the FIA, or by a party involved and / or directly affected by its previous decision .
The deadline for filing a petition for review expires on November 30 of each year during which the decision was rendered susceptible to revision, if this decision is likely to have an influence on the outcome of the championship”.
as.com have runa poll and apparently 86% of those responding think Ferrari should protest.
Whatever you think, the interest in this story has been unprecedented.
thejudge13 gets around 100 google hits from people searching F1 related issues on a typical day. Yesterday, it was over 750, and most of the searches included the key words “Vettel yellow Flag”
Clearly this is of serious interest to Spanish F1 fans. My blog software I use tells me at any moment in time how many hits we’ve had and a list of countries from where they come (amongst loads of other info like – most clicked on link). Anyway, due to me publishing the ‘Vettel Yellow Flag’ story pretty early on Sunday night/Mon morn – if you type ‘Vettel Yellow Flag” into google you will see this site appear near the top on a global google search.
Yesterday, we had a visitation from many of our Spanish F1 friends like no internet invasion this site has ever seen before. In 11 weeks since thejudge13 was first launched, we have had 1217 visits from people in Spain, 472 of them have been in the last 36 hours – none of whom have registered for email and returned back to the beautiful Mediterranean.
Hope you liked what you saw mon amigos 🙂
Ferrari cannot appeal
IMHO Ferrari have no course of appeal – regardless of what the great and good SKY, BBC etc say.
Here’s article 174 (d) of the International Sporting Code. “Protests against any error or irregularity occurring during a competition, referring to the non-compliance of vehicles with the regulations and concerning the classification established at the end of the event shall, except in circumstances which the stewards of the meeting consider as physically impossible, be made within thirty minutes of the official publication of the results”.
There is precedent for this in 2007. McLaren protested the result of that’s year season finale in Brazil in a dispute over fuel temperatures. It was dismissed because they had protested against a stewards’ decision instead of doing what article 174 (d) states – to protest the race classification within 30 minutes of the results being published.
If Ferrari were going to protest the results of the Brazilian Grand Prix, they should have done so within 30 minutes of the stewards declaration of the result. Interestingly whilst Ferrari can’t appeal – I or you can bring it to the attention of the FIA and ask them to look at it again. So Ferrari ask me and I ask them… more silly rules and disjointed thinking
The FIA can act
The FIA can decide to re-open the case without Ferrari or anyone else being required to protest. Surely Red Bull’s defense would be based on telemetry throttle analysis which would argue that Vergne backed off on the straight, as he certainly appears on the video to do – causing Vettel to make an easy pass.
The FIA Sporting Code calls for the Race Stewards to re-open any matter arising in the race if new evidence comes to light and they may well do this due to the public interest. If Vettel did pass under yellows, the retrospective penalty following the race conclusion would normally be to add 20 seconds to his race time and that would cost him positions and ultimately the world championship.
Had the offence been called during the race Vettel would have been given a drive through penalty and this would have occurred before the Safety Car, then any 20 seconds penalty and resulting lost places would be academic to the result. But as that did not happen, all the stewards can do is to retrospectively add the time penalty.
As 3 days have elapsed since the race, this would generate such negative global publicity that would reflect very badly on the FIA’s race management. For this reason, I believe whether Ferrari protest or the FIA open an investigation of their own accord, the result will stand.
As I began this article, this at worst is a case of poor F1 race management – AGAIN. However, had the appropriate penalty been applied for the alleged crime at the time, it is uncertain whether the resulting finishing position of Vettel would have been affected.
The reason for this is that the safety car changed everything, and it is impossible to calculate what would have happened to Vettel had he suffered the drive through penalty between laps 5 and 8. He made 4 stops in the race, one of which the team were not ready for him, and still managed to attain 6th place by the end of the race.
Having watched the race avidly, I could easily agree that if Vettel had received a drive through penalty, he would have still made up the places he did. His team radio was telling him in the latter stages of the race he didn’t need to push and 6th was enough.
Maybe it should have been a penalty kick, but the referee did not see the instance and – the result stands.
Please leave your thoughts and comments.
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