Alfa Romeo has called for a review of the penalty that cost Kimi Raikkonen a points finish in last month's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
The Finn finished 9th on the road, but dropped to 13th after Imola stewards imposed a 30s time penalty.
On the lap before the re-start following the race suspension, Raikkonen spun at Turn 3. Art 42.6 of the Sporting Regulations indicates that a driver may retake his position, so long as he does so prior to the first safety car line (SC1). At first the team instructed Raikkonen to do so, but then told him to hold his position.
Art 42.6 then indicates that should a driver fail to take his position he must enter the pit lane and can only re-join the race once the whole field has passed the pit exit.
Art 42.12 indicates that during a rolling start, once the safety car turns its lights out, "no driver may overtake another car on the track until he passes the line..."
In this case, Raikkonen caught up to the cars ahead of him between Turn 13 and 14, but the safety car turned its lights out at approximately Turn 10. This would appear to be a contradictory instruction and the team instructed the Finn to not regain his position, fearing that this would create a safety issue in the wet conditions.
They radioed the Race Director, but there was no time for a response between their call and the restart.
The stewards considered it to be a further contradiction that when the cars are behind the safety car during a safety car period, they are prohibited from passing, but when they are behind the safety car for a restart, they are permitted to - even though the reasons for a rolling start are that the track conditions don't permit a standing start.
However, the rule requiring a car to enter the pit lane if it fails to regain its position is consistent amongst several championships, and has been in the Sporting Regulations for several years and has been consistently applied.
The penalty is a mandatory penalty, and therefore the stewards considered they had no alternative but to apply the penalty for reasons of consistency.
While the offence usually warrants a 10s stop-and-go time penalty, as this was assessed after the race it was converted to a 30 second time penalty in accordance with Art 38.3 of the Sporting Regulations, thereby dropping the Finn from 9th to 13th.
"Kimi went off behind the safety car and at that point he lost positions," explained Alfa's head of trackside engineering, Xevi Pujolar, according to Motorsport.com. "We always aimed to recover the position.
"We asked Kimi to recover the position, and also he was asking if he should recover the position. It was a bit of a question mark, between if it is a formation lap, or if we are behind the safety car. And then, with a bit of confusion, we asked clarification to the FIA.
"While we were waiting for the clarification, we said just 'standby' (to Kimi). Unfortunately, we got our answer too late. So, we stayed on the position that we were. And after that, the result was that we had the penalty."
FIA's International Sporting Code states that a penalty can be reviewed if "a significant and relevant new element is discovered which was unavailable to the parties seeking the review at the time of the decision concerned", and it is understood that Alfa Romeo has indeed called for such a review.
The team will hold a video conference with FIA stewards this evening (Saturday) to discuss whether a review is valid, and if the new element can be admitted.
Check out our Saturday gallery from Portimao, here.