Aston Martin formally requests review of Vettel’s disqualification

2021 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Aston Martin will press ahead with its efforts to overturn Sebastian Vettel’s disqualification from the Hungarian Grand Prix, the team has confirmed.

Vettel equalled his best finish of the season with second place on Sunday but lost the result when his car failed a technical inspection. Aston Martin were unable to provide the required one-litre fuel sample as only 300ml could be drawn from the car.

The team originally served notification of its intention to protest the decision on Sunday evening.

“After Sebastian Vettel’s drive to second place on the road in the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday August 1st, he was disqualified from the results when a one-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),” said the team in a statement.

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

Aston Martin has requested a review of the decision in the same way Red Bull did following Lewis Hamilton’s penalty for colliding with Max Verstappen during the British Grand Prix. In order for a review to take place it must persuade the stewards that it can supply relevant new information.

“Since the team’s data indicated that there was more than one litre of fuel in the car after the race – 1.74 litres according to the data – the team immediately reserved its right to appeal, and has requested a right of review alongside the appeal procedure, as a result of having discovered significant new evidence relevant to the sanction which was unavailable to it at the time of the FIA stewards’ decision,” it said.

Vettel’s disqualification and potential reinstatement if Aston Martin succeed in overturning the decision has ramifications for the championship fight. His removal from second place in the classification promoted Hamilton to that position. Although his championship rival Verstappen was also promoted, to ninth position, Hamilton gained two points more than his rival from the change and now leads the drivers’ championship by eight points.

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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...

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35 comments on “Aston Martin formally requests review of Vettel’s disqualification”

  1. I can only imagine that as volume varies according to temperature, the ‘significant new evidence relevant to the sanction’ is that if you heat the 300ml drawn from the car enough, magically you get a litre….

    1. It does seem odd that the regulation states a volume, and not a mass as it does for the total available, to avoid exactly this issue.

      1. @dkor

        Do you think that they understand how to measure mass rather than weight?

    2. If fuel expanded that much our cars would be exploding

      1. It will only expand that much when it is very little relative to the volume of the tank.

      2. Does you car hold 100 kilograms of fuel? That’s 133 liters at 15C.
        If gasoline did not fluctuate in volume by such huge amounts, gasoline pumps would not have “volume corrected to 15C” and be adjusted for different seasons.

          1. I’m having difficulty telling which commenters dismiss thermal expansion, and which do not. But just to put some numbers to it: thermal expansion of petrol by volume is about 950×10^-6 per degree Celsius. That means that for example, when its temperature increases 5 degrees Celsius, its volume increases by 0.475%. When pumping €60 of petrol, that could mean a difference of €0.28, enough for some people to feel cheated. It should be clear why pumps must have a calibrated delivery.
            Now, on fuel expansion in Vettel’s car: with the above expansion coefficient anyone can calculate how much it needs to be heated in order to have 300ml-at-15-Celsius expand to 1 litre. Spoiler alert: it’s past the boiling temperature of every one of the components of petrol.
            Note: while F1 fuel is not ordinary petrol, it doesn’t differ from it that much that the thermal expansion coefficient is wildly different

  2. Well looking forward to see how they have a newly discovered (possible I guess from investigating the car) explanation that shows there was sufficient fuel and either FIA or out of their control issue meant it could not be retrieved.

    Would be nice to see a correct application of the procedure.

    1. Having read the relevant regulations, I believe the correct procedure was followed. In fact, of what I’ve read is correct, they actually allowed the team to partially dismantle the car to attempt to get the sample, which is not allowed by the regulations.

      Nothing in the rule book days that they must have 1l left in the car. The requirement is that they must be able to provide a 1l sample on request, though a specific connector on the car, without removing any bodywork. They are allowed to use an external pump if required, with some specific requirements, but that’s it. I couldn’t see an appeal being successful even if they could prove they still had 50l in the car, because the regulations don’t care about that, or whether a part had failed, or any such details, just that a 1l sample can be provided on request, which it clearly couldn’t.

      Saying that, even as a Hamilton fan, I really hope this is successful somehow. Seb deserved that finish.

      1. Indeed, and even as a hamilton fan those 2 points seem very minor to protest about, the chance the championship is decided by 2 points is minuscule (won’t happen).

        1. I know it’s not easy for a Hamilton fan to understand, but the world doesn’t spin around your favorite driver. The protest is an attempt to recover a podium and 18 points for AMR and SV, not to take 2 points aways from Lewis.
          If feels so weird to need to explain the obvious, but here it is.

          1. Bit of a harsh comment here @dusty, they were just pointing out that even though their favourite driver would be at a disadvantage, they would like another driver to benefit because of how well they drove, a sign of impartiality IMO

          2. Well said Dusty!

  3. If the necessary sample couldn’t be retrieved and the car cannot be opened up to collect more, I don’t think they have a leg to stand on. Anyway …

    Aston Martin don’t know when to stop digging.

    1. @proesterchen Absolutely correct. The stewards even said the team couldn’t use the “no performance benefit” excuse, and yet there it is!

      Even as a Hamilton fan, I wanted to see Vettel keep his well deserved P2, but I can’t see this appeal going anywhere.

      What concerns me is that Vettel went into fuel saving mode for the last few laps and was then told to stop on track. It’s clear the team knew it was touch and go on fuel.

    2. It only is succesfull if they can show where the other 1400 gram can retrieved and that the FIA did something wrong with that like the tube was in the wrong chamber orso.

  4. Well, I am happy to be surprised by AM actually producing something significant that amounts to new evidence to sway the stewards.

    1. @bascb But it doesn’t matter if the team think they have new, significant evidence, it’s what the stewards think that matters. See RB’s request for a review of Hamilton’s penalty at Silverstone. They were convinced as well.

      1. Ahm, @scbriml that’s why my comment mentioned “something significant that amounts to new evidence”.

        See, nothing about the team thinking or hoping, but about reality. Btw, I seriously doubt RB ever believed that the stuff they brought to the stewards would be significant, but they could afford to make a point.

  5. Whether there was an advantage gained or not is irrelevant as per the stewards initial decision and based on the accounts that are available, the team spent a significant amount of time trying to extract the remaining fuel for the stewards by all legal means. Since then, the car was impounded by the FIA so that would indicate the “significant new evidence” might come from somewhere else..?
    If the fuel flow meter was mis-calibrated for a much lower fuel temperature then the margin of error might be just enough to account for the missing 1.44 liters on 100 or so kilograms of fuel that car started with. Maybe someone can do the math to verify?

    1. But since the Ferrari non-cheating case there are two flow meters, and I assume it has been checked that they had very similar outputs, so it is known how much was used in the race.

  6. I fail to what new evidence they could have, the rules state they have to give a 1tr fuel sample to FIA

    They failed to do so, after being given plenty of time to do so

    That’s case closed

    1. @the-edge Indeed. If the car only had enough fuel left for a 0.3 L sample, they can’t physically get the remaining 0.7.

  7. I can’t see this going anywhere. The rule isn’t to show there was at least 1 litre in the car, the rule is that 1 litre must be able to be drawn from the car. If it can’t for whatever reason then the rule has been broken

    They’re also not allowed to take the car apart in order to drain the fuel from fuel lines and everything else so i can’t possibly see what new evidence they can produce

    Reply moderated
    1. Couldn’t agree more!

      Reply moderated
  8. I’m glad they tried for it, but like always rules are a joke (in my opinion if the stewards make a mistake you shouldn’t need new evidence to make them reevaluate it) and so can never be optimist with stuff like this.

    1. I think the rule that there must be new evidence is to stop countless silly protests @esploratore and there isn’t any reason to believe that the stewards made a mistake in this instance anyway, it’s the team’s responsibility to make sure that the right amount of fuel can be retrieved

  9. Well, they can try I suppose but these comments seem desperate to me: “There was and is no suggestion that Vettel’s Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team AMR21 car benefited from a performance advantage from the alleged regulatory breach, or that it was deliberate.”

    No one ever suggested that, it’s just that there wasn’t enough fuel in the car for a sample. It doesn’t matter what your data says, there wasn’t enough fuel! Very odd, I will be flabbergasted if this is overturned.

    1. @john-h

      It’s not even whether there is enough fuel. If it was, I could see them being able to prove there was and a fault prevented them from being able to provide it.

      The rules are specifically that a 1l sample must be provided by a very specific method. If they could only provide 300ml, it doesn’t even matter if there was 50l remaining in the car, they would not have complied with the regulations.

      I think the only possible way here would be for them to present evidence that the FIA delegate didn’t follow the correct procedure or there was a fault with the FIA’s equipment and that prevented the sample from being provided.

  10. AM could have designed a system of internal pumps and tubing that shuffles fuel around inside the complex shape of the fuel tank. I would be surprised if they haven’t. If some part of that system has failed and the remaining fuel is stuck inside a chamber that can not be reached from outside, then maybe, just maybe, they can get away with this. If they can prove that something has failed outside of their control, and the system is legal in the first place, then maybe the stewards could see it as a sort of force majeure type of incident. If the FIA is satisfied the team had done what they could to design a technical solution that allows for fuel extraction at any time but that failed in a way that wasn’t their fault. Hard to prove, and even harder to convince the stewards of, but with the slimmest of chance for success then why not try. Personally I hope they succeed, but realistically I don’t think they will.

    1. but with the slimmest of chance for success then why not try

      In some sports, because the appeals process takes up extra resources and funding, if you appeal and are unsuccessful (and essentially can be found to have wasted the regulators’ time) you can actually end up with a more severe penalty. I’m unsure whether this tends to happen in F1 tho

      @robert If they’ve created some complex system that has failed, then surely it’s their fault that the fuel couldn’t be extracted? As good it would be to see Vettel rewarded for his excellent drive, it really does need to be some incredibly good, credible new evidence to see this overturned, and the team creating some overly complex system shouldn’t be sufficient. I, like you, would be surprised if they can provide good enough evidence to get a successful appeal.

  11. You also have to ask, “Would AM have continued this appeal if there was a race next w/end?”

  12. 2012 spainish gp qualifying, Lewis was allegedly 50ml under the fueled = stripped of pole before Ron Dennis could provide evidence that the car wasn’t under fueled and cashtor maldanardo ended up winning under suspicious circumstances(car was cremated in the garage before it could be could be scrutineered
    ).

    2021 Aston stroll f1 caught post race MASSIVELY under fueling the the car by a to give a huge race altering performance gain = ?

    I personally think 2012 race was 100% fixed as a birthday gift for Frank Williams 70th from bernie but this is 2021 and F1 is under different management so Liberty and FIA need to take a strong stance on cheating. $troll f1 need to be subjected to the harshest punishment as a deterrent to other teams that this is not acceptable!

    1. Cash? Maldonado’s incidents and reputation were more known than his cash.

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