Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, Hungaroring, 2021

Aston Martin begin proceedings to protest Vettel’s disqualification

2021 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Aston Martin have informed the FIA they intend to appeal against Sebastian Vettel’s disqualification from the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Vettel lost his second place in the race after the team were unable to produce the required one-litre sample of fuel from his car. FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer was only able to acquire a 300ml sample, but Aston Martin insisted a further 1.44 litres of fuel remained in the car.

After several unsuccessful attempts to extract the additional fuel, the stewards ruled Aston Martin had failed to comply with the technical regulations. However Aston Martin has informed the FIA it intends to protest the decision.

“The FIA Technical Department representatives were asked by the stewards to seal and impound car five until such time as the notice of appeal is received or the FIA International Court of Appeal makes any determinations as relevant,” the stewards confirmed.

“In making this determination, Aston Martin hereby declare that the removal of the various components to safely transport car five to the FIA facility in no way compromises the evidence and has no impact upon the matter being appealed.”

Having served notice of their intention to appeal, Aston Martin now have 96 hours to formally confirm they intend to proceed.

Vettel’s disqualification cost Aston Martin 18 points, leaving their total for the season so far at 48. They are seventh in the championship, 20 points behind AlphaTauri.

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64 comments on “Aston Martin begin proceedings to protest Vettel’s disqualification”

  1. Not sure what they hope to achieve. The rules are crystal clear on this specific issue.

    1. They think they had left 1.7L in the car and they think they can prove it

      1. @Boudi

        The rules don’t require that the car has more than 1 liter left, but that 1 liter can be taken out at any time. Since that wasn’t possible, it’s hard to see how Aston would prevail.

        It seems to me that the only possibility is if the FIA guy didn’t allow them to connect an external pump or otherwise didn’t allow the extraction of the fuel, even though it was possible within the regulations.

        1. The rules don’t require that the car has more than 1 liter left, but that 1 liter can be taken out at any time. Since that wasn’t possible, it’s hard to see how Aston would prevail.

          Yes – that is written rule. It is written that way “at any time” to prevent teams from tampering with fuel samples, which is the spirit of the rule. Satisfied that Aston Martin has not tampered with the car or the fuel, in the spirit of the rule, they are allowing 96 hours to provide that sample. The other teams do not appear to be bothered by this which is in keeping with the virtues of sportsmanship.

          1. +1

            This does happen on occasion but not often and there’s been several times when a team filed a protest about 1L rule and was allowed to keep the orig. finish ranking after providing more info and further inspection by FIA.

        2. Reported this by accident, sorry

      2. @boudi
        i think redbull has pretty good simulator and a driver for this condition as well, they can just ask horner a favor :)

    2. With what is at stake, I can understand they want to take it to the court of appeals @inininin, especially since they “know” there was about 1,4-1,7 l of fuel somewhere in the tank, they just were not able to extract it in a timely manner (which might mean that they are still in breach of the technical directives etc.)

    3. I’m sure the fia will rescind the dsq if aston provides the 1l for testing. What matters the most is whether the fuel is legal or not.

      1. @peartree Which is now impossible until the appeal because the car’s impounded.

    4. @inininin From what I heard, procedure issues may be involved. At which point, the FIA has no way to win the case, even if there’s no more fuel in the car.

  2. I suppose there only hope is if they can get fuel out of the pipes. Does the sample have to be purely from the tank?

    1. All the rule states is that a 1l sample has to be provided. I’d expect there’s a method of draining all fuel from the car.

      1. No. The sample can’t involve draining the car dry.

        There are specific procedures in the rules that I can’t remember, but basically the 1L has to be readily accessible.

        1. Rule 6.6.4 states “The sampling procedure must not necessitate starting the engine or the removal of bodywork
          (other than the nosebox assembly and the cover over any refuelling connector).”.
          Also, part of Rule 6.6.3 states “All cars must be fitted with a –2 ‘Symetrics’ male fitting in order to facilitate fuel sampling.” I don’t know what the details of this fitting are, but my guess is it is supposed to be a last resort method (i.e. at the lowest point in the fuel tank) of extracting fuel from the tank. The remainder of Rule 6.6.3 discusses extracting fuel via a pump or such like.
          Unfortunately pointing at a fuel gauge doesn’t actually mean there is fuel in the fuel tank.

          1. @drycrust Especially since the reason the fuel is needed is to do chemical analysis. You can’t do chemical analysis on a fuel guage!

    2. @glynh

      The rules state that: “Competitors must ensure that a 1.0 litre sample of fuel may be taken from the car at any time during the Event.”


      The rules state that it must be possible to drain all fuel. However, draining seems to allow disassembly of part of the car, while sampling doesn’t allow this.

    3. @glynh No, the fuel can be from anywhere in the car as long as a recognised procedure is capable of draining it.

  3. They will squeeze the car like a lemon.

  4. Fair to appeal, DQs for this are ridiculous when people can just take opponents out and get a slap on the wrist (rules say that, hence it’s time to re-write them).

    1. One is a racing incident the other is a technical infringement. They are very different things that are incomparable.

      It is like comparing a runner impeding another runner compared to a runner testing positive for drugs.

      1. Trying to explain that to Esploratore is like trying to squeeze a litre of fuel out of a ball bearing.

        1. And again ad hominem.
          Please stop that!

          1. Why? You do it constantly. You very rarely counter an argument or point of view with a considered view or pertinent information. You seem to be completely unaware that most posters treat you the way you treat them.

    2. @esploratore1 I hope your pain eases over the summer break.

      1. And again ad hominem.
        Please stop that!

    3. @esploratore1 More like a pointless appeal. Technical rules are technical rules, always a DSQ, no leeway. Therefore incomparable to the chain-reaction incidents caused by Bottas and Stroll.

      1. @jerejj Not true, as Team Silverstone knows well.

        USA 2001. Back when Aston Martin was called Jordan. Their lead driver, Jarno Trulli, finished the race in 5th. Then his car got disqualified for a worn plank.

        Jordan launched an appeal, to general astonishment.

        Then they won the appeal. Despite everyone agreeing that the plank was worn to the extent originally measured.

        Jordan’s appeal was upheld because all scrutineering documents have to be signed by all stewards. However, Jordan knew that one of the stewards wasn’t in the room to have signed the document… …because a senior Jordan staffer was sharing a plane home with said steward at the time. The FIA procedure had therefore not been followed. This automatically invalidates any FIA objection based on the faulty procedure. This is meant to enforce honest conduct on the FIA’s part, and as far as I know no F1 stewards have ever had their signatures forged since.

        If a procedure by the FIA was broken in this instance, the appeal is not only not pointless, but open-and-shut in Aston Martin’s favour.

  5. Sorry guys, I’m going to have to pull rank, and overrule on this one.

    Vettel to remain in second, and Hamilton in third.

    1. I,m with you on this one.

  6. A precedent could be the BAR race ban where the stewards drained all the fuel to prove the dry weight of the car did not meet the minimum weight, not just the fuel that was easily extractable.

    1. And they found a second fuel tank, which was also illegal…

  7. wow, so another 3 points to Hamilton, and an extra point to verstappen….

    What they are saying in effect is, Aston Martin is using more fuel in order to achieve their race pace.
    I wonder if the same test was done on the Ferraris?

    1. What they are saying in effect is, Aston Martin is using more fuel in order to achieve their race pace.

      Not at all. Or rather, that doesn’t matter at all in this case. We don’t know how much fuel they started with so you can’t draw such a conclusion. This is simply an infringement of that technical requirement to be able to provide a litre of fuel at any time during the event. Standard rule/procedure that’s been in place for a long time and that got Lewis disqualified from qualifying after he planted his McLaren on pole some 9 years ago. As an aside, that was probably one of the many things that could have influenced his decision to switch teams (a move that some commenter on this site now thinks was a pact with the devil).

    2. No, it isn’t about Aston Martin was using more fuel, but more about finding whether the fuel has been tampered/doped or not. It is possible that somehow a team can inject something into the fuel during the race to make it more performant. This is why they always need to check the fuel after the race.
      An extra liter worth of fuel is probably only going to impact a car 0.1 over a single lap at best, which is basically nothing considering Vettel was basically stuck behind Ocon for the whole race.
      This is mainly either a bit of incompetence from Aston Martin in calibrating their fuel indicator or there was actually something wrong with it. Vettel probably could’ve easily do a bit of lift and coast while still maintaining his 2nd place if he know that the fuel is not enough.

    3. @Ajaxn No, they’re saying Aston Martin either didn’t put enough fuel in to handle the part of the running that isn’t controlled by the fuel limit, or that they didn’t ensure that fuel was constantly accessible.

  8. Get the car suspended upside down and give it a good shake!
    I hope they can resolve the issue and have the penalty rescinded.
    Otherwise that’s the 2nd time Sainz has missed out on a podium ceremony!

  9. surprising there is need for appeal or discussions about how remaining fuel is measured. Shouldnt be grey areas here.

    1. The rules aren’t clear on how long it may take to extract the fuel, nor the position that the car is in, so technically, if you need to invert the car and it takes 10 hours to extract the fuel, that is still legal.

      1. Yer… your wrong about that

    2. @Phil If there’s been a breach of procedure, there is a need for appeal.

      If the procedure was done correctly, there is not.

  10. On one hand it is more points for Hamilton on the other aston doesn’t just lose a position or the podium they lose 18 points.

    1. Yes, 2 points are probably irrelevant in the title fight when hamilton probably gained 53 or so on verstappen through bad luck on his part so far, it’s more of a big hit for vettel and a good result taken away.

  11. If the fuel is there, why did they stop the car?

    1. begs the question in it?

      they knew there was not enough fuel? or they knew the gauge was wrong so again they knew there was not enough fuel…

      many people penalized for this in similar situations… there is no ifs or buts in this really… hamilton is for one. sympathy is one thing, but if they go emotional on penalties there is no reason for penalties, someone can decide based on their mood…

    2. @JK Same reason as the Williamses – to make sure there was enough fuel. This is allowed in the rules, by the way.

  12. It seems ridiculous that we don’t know who came second in a race the following day. This should at the very least be resolved within a few hours of the finish.

    1. It was. Vettel was disqualified. However, there is a right of appeal.
      What do you want?
      No right of appeal? That just means that if the stewards make a mistake, tough.
      Quicker appeal, like an hour? How are they supposed to come up with a thorough and independent appeal process on the same day?

      All results of all sessions outside of practice are always, and I mean ALWAYS, subject to change until confirmed by scrutineering checks. This one will just take a little longer because Aston think they can prove the stewards made a mistake.

      We’ll see.

    2. @Gmacz The FIA tried…

  13. The FIA admitted way back in 1999 that they only need a pippet’s worth to test…but rules are rules and all cars need 1.0l of fuel that can be removed at any time during an event. Drain the tank, the lines, the pump, the filter – the lot.

    That said, what Otmar Szafnauer seemed to imply was that, by their calculations, the fuel flow readings indicated that 1.44l were still in the car. Where did this fuel go? If they started with 110l and end up with 1.44l (but actually only find 0.3l) then I find that margin surprisingly high (~1%).

    Perhaps it started with slightly less than 110l, like a weight measurement issue?

    1. @joshgeake

      The fuel is (presumably) somewhere in the car, but can only be extracted by taking off some bodywork and draining the car. If it cannot be drained, the car violates another rule.

      An issue is that draining the car is not a legal way to get the fuel for the sample.

    2. @joshgeake They definitely need more than a pipette, because they need to make sure the fuel is consistent across its sample.

  14. On Twitter (I can only find one source) word is that “There’s 1.4L still in the system and they can’t extract due to a faulty fuel pump”. Let’s see.

  15. What’s the matter with this team… Sure it sucks, but rules are rules

  16. The luck HAM has….. UNBELIEVABLE!!!

    1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      2nd August 2021, 11:24

      It gives even more luck to Williams in terms of extra points gained.

  17. “At any times” meaning here is – the fuel should be available at any times without any hocus-pocus.

  18. What’s the use in appealing, given they won’t get their way anyway? Waste of time.
    Technical reg breaches are always a DSQ without leeway.
    Teams should more often merely accept outcomes against them rather than keep on pushing further.

  19. Vettel won by his racing skills and should keep his second place. Some things leave me speechless!
    It’s a joke compared to Hamilton’s 10 second penalty for ramming Verstappen last week!

    1. it doesn’t matter by what he won

  20. So why should the driver be penalised surely it’s the teams responsibility to mange this – so penalise them in the constructors champ but let Vettel have the 2nd as a driver ( we’ll deserved as he drive a great race as it turned out)

    1. @Frow67 If the car breaches the technical regulations, then in the FIA’s view it should never have been in the race.

    2. @Frow67

      same/similar reason why teams like ferrari doesnt cheat with the fuel/measurements etc… bar/honda was banned while having a second fuel tank in the car. also they dont add extra special “oil” in there to gain 1-2kmh extra speed or mileage… this is one of the areas teams cant really complain… because it is way to clearer and not open to interpretation at all, you have to have 1lt, and it should be easily extracted whenever requested end of story.

      vettel is asked to stop over the radio: they knew there was not gonna be enough fuel, if they really thought 1.4lt was in the car, it would go to parc ferme easily… or they could excuse themselves with 800-900ml fuel saying fuel gauge was wrong and what not… 0.3lt is not excusuable with faulty pump :) if the pump is faulty car will cut off like crazy due to misfires and what not protection measures in the ecu…

      1. Not at all. If the car was reporting that there was 1.4l of fuel left, it makes perect sense to stop the car on track. Asking an F1 car to do a lap around Hungaroring (even a slowdown one) on less than half a litre of fuel is probably too much. So of course they would stop the car to avoid the risk altogether.

        They wouldn’t have known about the fuel ‘gauge’ error until the car was back. If the gauge is faulty at all. It sounds to me like AM still believe there is the remaining 0.7l in there somewhere.

        You are also assuming a lot about the fuel pump. or even whether it is the main fuel pump that is used to extract the fuel. Most cars have had fuel pumps which switch between idle and normal running pump speeds for decades. I am sure an F1 fuel pump is vastly more complicated than you suggest. Nevermind the differenes between it working when the engine is running and not.

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