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Aston Martin considering its position following FIA verdict

NEWS STORY
09/08/2021

Following today's decision by the FIA to reject Aston Martin's appeal against Sebastian Vettel's disqualification from the Hungarian Grand Prix, the team is to consider its position.

"In the original decision, the stewards only assumed the fact that there was not enough fuel in the tank," said the FIA following today's hearing. "The question of what caused that situation was left out of consideration," it added, referring to the team's claim that the mandatory litre of fuel could not be extracted due to a faulty fuel system.

"The F1 Technical Regulations unequivocally calls for a remaining amount of one litre and does not allow any exceptions under which circumstances or for what reasons it could be dispensed with," said the FIA.

"In order to be able to affirm a 'relevant' fact, Aston Martin would have had to present facts that actually more than one litre of fuel was remaining," it added. "The explanation why this requirement could not be met is not relevant to the decision as to whether a breach of the regulations has occurred."

Reacting to the decision, Aston Martin has tonight issued its own statement.

It reads:

"After Sebastian Vettel's drive to second place in the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday August 1st, he was disqualified from the results when a 1.0-litre sample of fuel was not able to be taken from his car after the race (a requirement as set out in the FIA Formula One Technical Regulations).

There was and is no suggestion that Vettel's Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ Team AMR21 car benefited from a performance advantage from the regulatory breach, or that it was deliberate.

Since the team's data indicated that there was more than 1.0 litre of fuel in the car after the race - 1.74 litres in fact - the team requested a right of review, as a result of having discovered what it deemed to be significant new evidence relevant to the sanction which was unavailable to it at the time of the FIA stewards' decision.

That review has now been completed, and, while the FIA stewards accept the team's explanation of a fuel system failure as the cause of a leak resulting in an unexpected loss of fuel, their verdict was that the team's petition for review be denied on the basis that its new evidence was not relevant to the requirement to provide 1.0 litre of fuel.

The team is now considering its position in respect of its outstanding appeal."

"Sebastian drove brilliantly in Hungary and we are pleased to have been given the opportunity to show significant new evidence that we discovered since the race," said Otmar Szafnauer.

"We felt that the evidence we presented was relevant and demonstrated to the FIA that he should have been reinstated following his disqualification.

"Unfortunately, the FIA took a different view and, despite the fact that that the accuracy of our new evidence was not contested, Sebastian's disqualification has been upheld on the basis that the new evidence was not deemed 'relevant'. That is disappointing, and we will now consider our position in respect of the full appeal process."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by kenji, 11/08/2021 1:27

"It is still unclear what the final result was....by that I mean, was it firmly established that he fuel was actually there or was it not. The last explanation that I saw indicated that there was no 'surplus 1.44litres at all and the missing fuel had been vented to atmosphere via a faulty tank pressure relief valve. It wasn't a faulty lift pump as originally thought. So, whatever the cause, the FIA required sample couldn't be provided. Team error, disqualification...same for all competitors irrespective of make. The team knew that it was marginal hence Vettel being told to stop. "

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2. Posted by Pavlo, 10/08/2021 21:18

"@Motorsport-fan - F1 is a team sport, otherwise it would be marathon (running without cars). Whatever mistake team makes - miscalculated fuel, not fastened wheel (or not unscrewed), badly designed engine - the result is the same, DNF for the driver.
Opposite is also true: perfectly implemented risky action by the team - pitstop below 2s, +10 bhp, -5 kg etc. - may give just an edge needed for the driver to stand one step higher on the podium than another driver, whose team played it safe."

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3. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 10/08/2021 13:18

"Just feel this is a team penalty and not a driver penalty as well."

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4. Posted by husoi, 10/08/2021 8:54

"This is called "throwing the toys out of the pram...""

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5. Posted by Pavlo, 10/08/2021 6:36 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 10/08/2021 7:30)

"Stewards made completely correct decision.
When there was no such rule, when the car ran out of fuel it stopped on the track. Imagine someone protesting that they should get points nevertheless? Now it's essentially the same situation, just the "threshold" is set on 1 liter instead of 0, but it's up to AMR to ensure they stay above, and totally irrelevant why they were not able to."

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6. Posted by ian_w, 10/08/2021 5:45 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 10/08/2021 7:30)

"Got to say that as disappointing it muat be for Aston-Martin, stewards got it right. Rules say, no excuses, you have to produce 1 liter sample at the end of the race. An Olympic athlete has to deliver a urine sample within 15-30 min of of finishing tbeir event too. That's the rules. If the car is underweight, it's out, too.

Maybe submit a rule change proposal for the future, but they read the book going in and are not disputing the wording or interpretation.

If they said, "but I'm incontinent and went during the race", that's too bad.

Could you imagine Red Bull / Verstappen being DQ'd for being underweight and arguing, "Well, it would have over had we not had a collision that ripped of half our bodywork!""

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7. Posted by ridikasharma, 10/08/2021 1:25 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 10/08/2021 7:30)

"This comment was removed by an administrator as it was judged to have broken the site's posting rules and etiquette."

Rating: Positive (1)

8. Posted by kenji, 09/08/2021 23:52

"This decision was always going to be made whether or not there were valid 'reasons' for the discrepancy as the rules are quite clear.... Given that they have supposedly found out why there was a fuel loss I still don't understand their conclusion. If the fuel tank pressure relief valve failed to seat properly thus allowing fuel to be emitted to atmosphere how could they overcome the performance loss from lowered tank pressure under normal racing conditions? One other point would be that the sensors monitoring the fuel usage would be registering a higher amount of fuel being used for the same performance. That loss calculated on the max amount of fuel allowed accounts for marginally in excess of 1% over the race distance. Interesting to see just where this goes....my guess is that it will be dropped."

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9. Posted by C5, 09/08/2021 21:26

"Looks like the FIA got this right. Unfortunately the fuel is evidently not there. It doesn't matter if it wasn't put in, evaporated, or if tiny aliens stole it during the pitstop. Intentionality and performance gain, or not, doesn't and shouldn't enter into the question.

If the fuel was actually there, and there was a reasonable explanation for why it couldn't be extracted, the team would have a case and I'd hope the appeals judges would be fair. It was a great drive. I wish it was there too.

Sucks big time, but that's how it is."

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