Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Monza, 2019

Stewards confirm no penalty for Vettel for running wide at Parabolica

2019 Italian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by


Sebastian Vettel has avoided a penalty for running wide at Parabolica during Q3 as the stewards have ruled he did not stray beyond the track limits.

Close inspection of Vettel’s line through the corner revealed his front-right wheel was possibly within the track limits, the stewards noted.

“The stewards reviewed multiple camera angles, some of which appeared to show that the tyres were not in contact with the white line of the track edge,” the stewards noted.

“However other angles appeared to show that part of the front ‘wheel’ (when viewed from above) may have been within the bounds of the white line. This cast an element of doubt which is considered significant enough to give the “benefit of doubt” to the driver in question.”

The decision means Vettel’s only lap time from Q3 remains valid. If it had been deleted, he would have lost several grid positions.

Vettel did not set a lap later in the session after he was held up by other cars at the start of Q3 and backed off to let Leclerc pass him.

“I was happy with the car which was really good, and I was also pleased with my lap today, but I cannot be happy with how qualifying went,” he said.

“At the end of Q3, most of us didn’t make it through to the second attempt. The lap I did on my own without a tow was good. I think we went out late and then obviously you look for a tow, but it’s clear we waited too long, so in the end there was no margin.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2019 F1 season

Browse all 2019 F1 season rticles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

51 comments on “Stewards confirm no penalty for Vettel for running wide at Parabolica”

  1. Whether it was a penalty or not, I’m pretty happy that he didn’t get one, as I hope that we can finally have another Ferrari vs. Mercedes battle at the front once more. They have been few and far between in 2019, so let’s hope that tomorrow delivers. If Vettel can jump Bottas, it will be interesting, as I don’t expect Leclerc to be able to pull away from Hamilton, so Leclerc could essentially back him into Vettel.

    1. Although in relation the incident, it did look like a penalty, but I must admit that I haven’t seen an onboard shot yet.

      1. He looked just on the line on the onboard shot.

    2. @mashiat Jump Bottas? Didn’t Bottas get his lap deleted? I saw Ham’s onboard, he was next to Kimi, I get why he’d get away with it, yellows are not instant however Bottas lap shouldn’t count and he must have broken the fia mini deltas.

      1. @peartree No, Bottas time counts, as he crossed the line before the red flag was registered in the FIA messaging system, which is the trigger for the suspension of the session.

    3. So what the stewards are telling us is they will not be consistent when it comes to the leaving the track to gain an advantage rule. I’m an Australian born and bred Aussie and didn’t Daniel Ricciardo apparently leave the track to gain an advantage on an otherwise brilliant overtake a few races ago towards the end of the race and get penalised not once but twice receiving 2x 5 second penalties for relegating him back to 9th or whatever it was he at the very least deserved and earnt the other positions fair and square and should have at the very least been allowed to finish 4th, 5th or 6th or whatever it could/should have been it was a while ago now I don’t remember the ins and out to perfection but I know what I saw and vettels tyres were no further off the track than ricciardos way back then for example that’s where I feel it’s a poorly monitored and not a consistently fair rule across the board. Penalise one penalise the other so to speak. Fair call? Or am I just the dirty white boy like Ricciardo is seen as by the stewards that we must penalise and make an example on but the German love child of the sport cannot and will never do anything worthy of a penalty the sport is an absolute unfair joke currently ah well his annual salary is 45million annual or there abouts so does he really care anymore you know what he actually still does because I know I would too that’s the australian way

  2. What a piece of ….
    They simply didn’t have the balls to penalize Ferrari at Monza. And they know it.

    But ok, we accept it and move on.

    1. @dallein Didn’t you read the explanation? They can’t hand out a penalty if they aren’t 100% sure something’s worthy of a penalty in the first place. It’s better to base decisions on definite facts rather than pure guesswork/assumptions.

    2. @dallein You watch the footage over and over again and it seems that a tyre is knicking the line, either way controversial, put gravel on that corner no weird rule side effects.

    3. Probably more a case of the guy who painted the white line got it wrong. See VET did nothing wrong!

  3. Well. With the recently renewed drive to let them race, and given the fact the stewards only got to this hours after the lap was set (and given he lost out in the Q3 last run, which might have given him pole), and given the rules aren’t ‘ball (contact point) is on the line, or not’ but in terms of all off the car being completely outside of the track or not, I am inclined to agree that he can keep the lap for this Monza weekend.

    Also, had they ruled differently, I’d have been miffed it took them so long to confirm knowledge that might have influenced the rest of Q3, as I can’t believe Ferrari wouldn’t have sent him out to do a banker lap. So, let sleeping ponies lie, and hope they refine this rule (just use the contact patch please, that’s a lot more clear cut).

    1. I can’t believe Ferrari wouldn’t have sent him out to do a banker lap

      @bosyber – you didn’t watch Monaco qualifying, did you? ;)

      Humour apart, makes one wonder if F1 should implement sensor loops (like what is used to trip the timer at the start/finish line) on critical parts of the circuit (i.e. where an advantage can be gained), and rely on the white line only for less/non critical parts of the circuit.

      1. LOL, indeed @phylyp, Ferrari often defies reason, that much is true :)

        Sensor loops with LED’s that light up from the pressure, so we can all see it? Seems to me it could get pretty annoying ‘and why not there?’ ‘ we had no money – eh, did not think that part was critical’ And also, I doubt it would do anything but shift heated discussions of who’s lap should be disallowed or not to how accurate it is, etc.

    2. @bosyber @phylyp

      Actually the rules are based on contact, and it seems the stewards haven’t read—or don’t understand—the rulebook. The regs clearly state that the car must be in contact with the white line, not “within” or “over” it:

      From the sporting regs:

      Drivers will be judged to have left the track if no part of the car remains in contact with it and, for the avoidance of doubt, any white lines defining the track edges are considered to be part of the track but the kerbs are not.

      This should have been an easy call. If any image shows at any time all four tyres not in contact with the line—which the stewards acknowledge is the case—then overhead views are irrelevant and the track limits have been violated. There is no “element of doubt” according to the rules.

      I’m very disappointed, but not surprised that the stewards do not seem to recall the wording of this regulation, as cars also routinely leave the track by running all four wheels onto the kerbs and are never penalized for it.

      1. @markzastrow thanks for just looking up the rules as written, I guess we all, including the stewards, often forget that possibility! Yeah, that gives it a bit more than a tad of Monza special deciding.

        1. @bosyber Yeah, I’d have to agree. Frankly, I was surprised when I found it just how clearly it was written—I admire whoever drafted it!

          1. Thanks for the rules quotation. I asked that question in the Live Chat at the time, as I reached the same conclusion as the stewards. Sadly, they then clearly didn’t bother looking at the rule they were employed to enforce…

            Incidentally, the rule may need to be more open ended, as they currently outlaw more creative overtaking moves like this classic: :)


          2. @markzastrow @alesici it seems it is a tad more complicated, and the error might not be solely on the stewards, according to (didn’t find a clear 1st source):

            … the issue was complicated by Version 3 of the Race Director’s Note issued by the FIA’s Michael Masi, and which was updated to alert the teams to the possibility of penalties for running wide at Parabolica.

            However, in it there was a reference not to contact, but to the wheels being over the white line.

            Masi wrote: “A laptime achieved during any practice session or the race by leaving the track (all four wheels over the white track edge line) on the outside of Turn 11 [Parabolica] will result in that laptime and the immediately following laptime being invalidated by the stewards.

            In reviewing the video evidence the stewards noted that the side view showed that Vettel’s car was indeed not in contact with the track, as the contact patch of his tyres was outside the line.

            However, on-board and overhead views indicated the “wheels”, which protrude beyond the tyre contact patch, were still atop the white line, as mentioned in the race director’s notes.

            Given this apparent anomaly, and the fact that the offence was related directly to the notes, the stewards felt obliged to give Vettel the benefit of the doubt.

            Well. In any normal rules situation, I’d think the established written rules of the larger sports organisation and the specific sport in question agreeing on a certain specific, shouldn’t be overruled by a later amendment to the rule specific to a certain event within that sport, but rather assumed to hold greater validity so the impromptu rules lack of specificity, would be taken as meaning the well established way to determine out of bounds. But, this being F1, things never are that simple, are they!

          3. @bosyber That does put a different spin on things! Would seem like an oversight on Masi’s part to write a directive that specifies a different means of determining a track limits violation from the one already existing in the rulebook…

      2. I don’t think your interpretation is wrong, but my reading of the ruling is that rather than interpreting the rules differently, they couldn’t see whether or not the tyre was making contact with the line underneath.

  4. That’s the right spirit we like to see applied! Bravo, Stewards – and thank you for letting them race!

    1. Get rid of the rule then. You can’t have a rule and then apply it as and when you feel like it. They’ve got cameras all over these cars; they pussed out of applying the penalty because they feared the fallout of Vettel spitting his dum-dum again.

      1. The stewards said their was an element of doubt; not a simple black or white decision.

        Just red.

      2. I had a look to see if I could find a picture of Vettel’s “near” excursion off the track and couldn’t find one, which is interesting considering the importance of the event. And no, that picture above isn’t of the event in question. Vettel was on the other side of the track (the green tyre barrier should be present as well). When I looked at my original Sky sports video feed the event happened with 6:57 remaining, but also there was a similar “near excursion” off the track with 7:27 of the session remaining which doesn’t seem to have been noticed.
        The rule is a car has to go completely off the track to be considered off the track, which means having all 4 wheels beyond the track limits. The Stewards checked “multiple camera angles” and concluded Vettel hadn’t broken the rules. The Sky race commentators also have access to lots of video feeds, one of which included the onboard camera (which shows his tyre was just on the white line) and so if, by chance the Stewards said Vettel hadn’t broken the rules when in fact he had, the Sky race commentators (and lots of other people) would have noticed.

        1. The onboard camera sees only the top of the tire, and from that angle, yes, it did look as though the tiniest bit of the outside edge of the contact patch may have been on the line — But, re-read…the onboard sees only the top of the tire, not the contact patch. Several other angles showed it differently. I think the concensus was that all 4 tires were out. Well, except amongst the stewards.

          In a sport that measures into the milliseconds, I find it ludicrous the stewards could find neither one still photo nor one video frame that showed it conclusively one way or the other. In fact, I think they did, and it ended up as ash in a waste basket.

          Rulings like this are unacceptable. Car is either ON the racing surface or OFF the racing surface. Get with it FIA stewards … You can’t be just a little bit pregnant.

  5. Just watched it again and I have to admit it’s very close indeed. I know it’s Ferrari at Monza, but I think fair enough tbh.

    1. They should show the evidence / camera angles they looked at to come to the ruling then. The one and only look we got seemed to show he was outside.

    2. Looking at the replay and magnified picture on twitter: the base of the tire was beyond the line. But there is obviously an offset compared to the section of the rim… I think the uncertainty is that the section of the tire/rim may indeed have been overing over the line. Bottom line: this was a question of millimetre, they have no complete evidence that some part of the car was not on the limit (instead of beyond the limit) and therefore they cannot give him a penalty.
      Seems fair to me…

  6. Just put some grass there, I’m so tired of these track limits controversies.

    1. +1, entirely with you…

    2. There should be gravel or grass beond the tracklimits everywhere…..

  7. From the offboard angle they showed from behind the car during the broadcast it did seem like had all 4 wheels over the white line.

    However from the OnBoard shot (Link below) it does look like part of the front tyre may have been on the white line so I can see how they couldn’t be 100% sure either way.

  8. I thought it should have bern penalised at first look. But if they were to do that it should have beeb immediate, given it could alter the subsequent qualifying decisions.

    Either had to be immediate (or shortly after) penalty or none. Worked out well.

    Imagine penalising Vettel afyer q3 ended when it was obvious he was in the top 4 fastest and didn’t get a chance to set a representative lap time. Would have been so stupid given it’s clear 4th is the minimum he would have achieved under all circumstances

  9. I understand that you can’t impose a penalty if you’re not 100% sure someone failed to stay within the limits.

    But if you’re looking at the last fibre of rubber on the inside of the front tyre to see if it touched the line or not while the rest of the car is clearly outside the track, maybe you are just trying to find an excuse NOT to. mpose a penalty.

    The wheel “may” have touched the line but in that fine grey area, it was millimeters inside. This isn’t tennis, there’s no Hawk Eye, a 2 meters wide car was just slightly inside, anywhere else but in Italy it’s a penalty for the Ferrari driver.

    Their explanation is bonkers.

    1. The white line is part of the track, so if a wheel was touching the white line he was not off the track.
      F1 should have a HawkEye (or other electronic means of monitoring the track limits), to avoud these discussions, but I agree with their explanation.

      If it is not clear, then no penalty should be awarded. I couldn’t see he was off.

      1. @silfen “F1 should have a HawkEye (or other electronic means of monitoring the track limits), to avoud these discussions, but I agree with their explanation”.

        Or, um… grass?

      2. I think it is quite clear no part of the tyre was ‘touching’ the line anymore @silfen, what the decision claims is that some part of the wheel might have been above a bit of the line (and yes/no not clear cut from the footage), and thus he might have been partly inside.

        As the post by @markzastrow above shows, the rules about being outside of the track say ‘in contact’ (with the track) though, so that uncertainty they quote is nonsensical. But hey, Monza.

        1. Is it clear? It seems impossible to see under the wheel to check whether or not the tyre is just touching the line.

    2. I assure you, fer, that if there’s a penalty to give to a driver at home, stewards can and WILL give it, a standout recent example is a 3 places grid penalty on ricciardo in australia 2018 for not slowing down enough with red flag in practice, there’s many other examples, just don’t remember atm.

      1. And this also goes for bosyber!

  10. If you are penalising someone you need to be sure of the infraction. Fair decision.

    What I’d like an explanation for is why Bottas time was reinstated.

    1. Because he crossed the line before the red flag was registered in the FIA messsging system, which is the official moment of the suspension of the session.

  11. This is 2019. Don’t set a rule if you don’t have the sensors to ensure consistent enforcement.

  12. If one camera angle shows that he’s over is that not Objective enough? They have to go find OTHER camera angles that show he may not over the line create confusion? Seems backwards. Designers should have goalie gloves sticking out of the hubs of wheels, that way will never REALLY know if the “ puck crossed the line”

  13. Think that’s the right call… if sufficient doubt exists on a purely black-and-white issue like leaving the track and gaining an advantage (and it obviously does in this case), a penalty for something that was so close it won’t have given any lap time benefit anyway would just be silly.

  14. If going wide or cutting the track is automatic penalty then f1 should have automatic system for it which detects the cuts. Trying to see from a video whether a car is too many millimeters over a line or not is just just as too subjective.

  15. It is weird that the proof video is not available for everyone to see … talking about being in the 21st century, in the pinnacle of motorsport. My comment of the day is the following: “Just put some grass there, I’m so tired of these track limits controversies.”

  16. Vettel very clearly went over the line. There is no doubt to anyone with eyes.

    Leclerc got away with unsafe release earlier in the year also.

    Throw out these rules, and let everyone race equally if you aren’t going to be consistent. Otherwise, the FIA looks like a complete farce.

  17. Farce.

  18. Daniel Ricciardo got nailed to the cross for it a few races ago ok no complete evidence in its entirety to yes or no on or beyond the track limits but remember the age old saying what does the audience see what does the common folk see when looking remember a good referee/umpire is one whom isn’t noticed so if it was obviously a point seen by audience if in an area of grandstand 🏟 section of the track then perhaps is was outside track limits but if not many really noticed nor pointed it out nor made a big deal of it then perhaps rule towards the no penalty you know what I mean right?

Comments are closed.