Ferrari has officially requested a right to review the penalty handed out to Carlos Sainz late in the Australian Grand Prix, team principal Fred Vasseur has confirmed.
Sainz was given a five-second time penalty for hitting Fernando Alonso on the final restart in Melbourne, tapping the Aston Martin into a spin. As the race was immediately red-flagged again due to a collision between the Alpine drivers, the field crossed the line under safety car so Sainz was demoted from fourth to 12th.
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Vasseur says a right to review has now been submitted as Ferrari feels the incident was unfairly treated, given the lack of penalties for Pierre Gasly or Logan Sargeant for other collisions.
“Carlos was devastated on Sunday and I can perfectly understand sometimes after the race with the pressure, the emotion and so, there are extremes in terms of reaction,” Vasseur said. “But I think he was devastated on Sunday and we did a petition for the review of the case, we will send it to the FIA.
“As we are discussing I don’t want to disclose any details. The only thing about Gasly, (Esteban) Ocon, and we also saw Sargeant, Nyck De Vries, Turn 1, the reaction of the stewards was not the same.
“The process is that first they will have a look on our petition to see if they can re-open the case, then we will have a second hearing a bit later, with the same stewards, at the next meeting about the decision itself. We can expect at least to have an open discussion with them for the good of the sport to avoid to have this kind of decision where you have three cases on the same corner but not the same decision.
“The biggest frustration from Carlos — you heard it on the radio — was to not have the hearings because the case was very special. In this case it would have made sense as the race was over, it was not affecting the podium, to have hearings as Gasly and Ocon had.”
While Vasseur admits the stewards have a tough job deliberating on multiple incidents while a race is ongoing, he believes there were special circumstances that required greater attention in Australia.
“I don’t want to blame someone because I think on racing incidents… I’ve been doing this job for 33 years now and each time we had a crash on track I think you have two versions always, with different feedback and a different outcome depending on the drivers. It means that it’s not an easy job and it’s true also that it’s difficult to take a decision when it’s during a race and we are always asking for them to take a decision during the race.
“This case was probably a bit particular with the three red flags, with the two starts, with the last start with one lap behind the safety car and so on. That’s where the frustration came from, because we had the feeling the Ocon/Gasly situation was treated a bit differently.
“It will be up to the stewards to decide what is the right penalty, but for me at least, for Carlos, for the team, to re-open the discussion is a first step. Now the outcome of this will be up to the FIA. We have a full argument for sure — but I will keep the argument for the FIA as a first step — and we are expecting the review of the decision because it’s a petition for review. We are not going there to get the same decision.”