Ferrari are considering an appeal against an overtaking manoeuvre by Sebastian Vettel at Sunday’s chaotic Brazilian Grand Prix which could see the German stripped of his title, it was reported on Wednesday.
The Daily Mail claimed that YouTube footage appeared to show Vettel, the youngest triple world champion in Formula One history, overtaking Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne under yellow flags in the early laps of the rain-affected race at Interlagos. Overtaking under caution is outlawed and is usually punished with a drive-through penalty. However, in cases where the infringement is not spotted, the newspaper claimed, the sanction is a 20-second penalty handed out retrospectively.
Vettel was sixth in Sunday’s season-ending race while double world champion Fernando Alonso was second in his Ferrari behind winner, McLaren’s Jenson Button. The result allowed Vettel to beat Alonso in the title race by just three points. The aftermath of Sunday’s thrilling race in Sao Paulo was overshadowed by Ferrari insisting that Alonso should have been crowned champion, pointing to controversial races in Belgium and Japan to support their argument. Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali said that Alonso paid a heavy price for first lap exits in Belgium and Japan where he was shunted out of contention by Lotus duo Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen respectively.
The Italian giants had been further aggrieved when Vettel, accused of blocking Alonso in qualifying in Japan before going on to win the race, escaped with just a reprimand.
“We are proud of Fernando,” said Domenicali. “But we are very disappointed because the one who deserved this championship was really him. It is a shame because, after such a long season that we really fight in all conditions, we raced 18 races.”