Vettel’s disqualification stands as Aston Martin drop appeal bid

2021 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Aston Martin has abandoned its effort to overturn Sebastian Vettel’s disqualification from the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Vettel lost his second place finish in the race after the team were unable to supply a one-litre sample of fuel as required by the rules. Only 300ml was obtained from the Aston Martin.

The team initially submitted a request for a review of the decision and reserved the right to an appeal. However after considering a submission from Aston Martin the FIA rejected its call for a review.

Aston Martin originally claimed Vettel’s car had contained more than the 300ml extracted by the stewards. However on further examination the team discovered an error in the fuel system meant there was less fuel onboard than they realised.

The team responded to the FIA’s decision by stating it would consider whether to take its appeal further. It has now confirmed it will not proceed.

“Having considered our position and having noted the FIA stewards’ verdict that there was clear new evidence of a fuel system failure, we have nonetheless withdrawn our appeal on the basis that we believe doing so outweighs the benefits of it being heard,” it said in a statement.

Vettel’s second place finish equalled his best result of the season, which he also scored in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton inherited his second place finish while Carlos Sainz Jnr took the final podium position.

Had Aston Martin succeeded in overturning Vettel’s disqualification, the team would have moved up to sixth in the constructors championship ahead of AlphaTauri.

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Keith Collantine
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50 comments on “Vettel’s disqualification stands as Aston Martin drop appeal bid”

  1. I feel bad for him and the team. I don’t believe this was a deliberate thing at all.

    1. It very, VERY likely wasn’t deliberate at all, but that’s not the point. Rules are rules and this was a pretty open and shut, black and white case of a breach of the technical regulations.

      At first Aston were certain there wasn’t, now they reluctantly agree there was and admit their appeal didn’t have a leg to stand on so have dropped it.

      Shame for Vettel, but that’s just how tech regs need to be.

      1. @mrcento I am not sure how they could have thought that they hadn’t breached the regulations. The regulations require them to provide a 1l sample, which they couldn’t do. Whether this was down to faulty components, damage, bad design, the fuel being in the wrong place, or anything else doesn’t actually matter.

        I think they were hoping they could convince the stewards to accept mitigating circumstances and reverse the decision in spite of them being in breach. This was highly unlikely to succeed.

    2. It wasnt deliberate. They calculated there should be 1.7 liter left but a fuel sensor was broken that caused a higher usage

  2. It was stupid to appeal in the first place as they would need to explain why their system can’t produce the required amount and also why there is a discrepancy in the actual amount versus reported amount. Don’t think that it is vettel’s fault but didn’t his car have similar fuel discrepancy in Brazil a few years ago?

    1. didn’t his car have similar fuel discrepancy in Brazil a few years ago?

      If so, other car, team, engine.

      1. Just a coincidence. But over 2 years, 20 drivers, 20 cars, 10 teams, only 1 driver has had this issue twice and I can’t recall any other driver having had this issue during the timeframe.

        1. Well probably vettel is in the habit of changing the fuel flow unnoticed during the race. Probably something he picked up in his ferrari years..
          /sarcasm

    2. @jimfromus I think you are mistaken, as Vettel has not previously been disqualified from a race before due to being unable to provide the minimum fuel sample.

    3. @anon Yes, not in a race, but 2012 Abu Dhabi GP qualifying. The same happened for Hamilton in the Spanish GP equivalent session, also in 2012.
      @jimfromus

    4. Well, that is why they did not appeal in the end, right @jimfromus – they detracted the appeal before it ever got judged on. Since a team has to file for an appeal almost immediately after the race, there really is no reason not to do so in such a case. This is exactly why there is a time between announcing you want to appeal and then deciding to go ahead. It allows for fact finding in between and for heads to cool.

      I figure the reason they wanted to test the review first was exactly because of this – between the Sunday of the race, where they were adamant that there should be at least 1,5 l of fuel in the car, they found out that there actually had been that failure in the unit and the fuel had been jettisoned, as a result of which there was NOT enough fuel in. The verdict on that request for review was pretty clear and made any further appeal seem senseless. So they didn’t go through with it.

  3. “Having considered our position and having noted the FIA stewards’ verdict that there was clear new evidence of a fuel system failure, we have nonetheless withdrawn our appeal on the basis that we believe doing so outweighs the benefits of it being heard,” it said in a statement.

    The PR spin on this statement is nauseating. The full verdict of the FIA was that although there was evidence of a fuel system failure, that it was irrelevant as they still failed to comply with the regulation of providing a 1 litre fuel sample post race, regardless of the cause. They are trying to make it sound like they proved their case but have decided against appealing further, when in fact the FIA showed that they never had grounds to appeal in the first place.

    It’s unfortunate for them but no more unfortunate than a small technical issue that results in a dnf. But I would have a lot more sympathy for them as a team if they took it on the chin and stopped trying to make themselves out to be the victims, as they did with the floor regulation change earlier in the year too.

    1. Sounds like Andrew Cuomo’s speech writer works for Aston Martin too.

  4. Very bizarre they appealed this. I hope it’s not a case of boy who cried wolf in the future. Some pretty odd decisions by this team I have to say.

  5. So walking through some recent FIA decisions, what have we learned? You can knock of a car leading a race, by accident or on purpose, and you get a 5 second penalty BUT if you have a bone-a-fide mechanical problem which results in less fuel you are outright disqualified! Good to see that the so-called “rational” thinking at the FIA continues, nice to see some things in this world never change!

    Reply moderated
    1. The Hamilton/Verstappen contact was handled using the sporting regulations which allow for various different types of penalty depending on the type of incident, circumstances etc..

      Vettel was disqualified because it was an infringement of the technical regulations & any infringement of the technical regulations is & always has been disqualification & that is the case in most categories.

      I’d also add that most within F1 both teams & drivers felt that if anything the 5 second penalty Hamilton got was a bit harsh as most felt it was nothing more than a racing incident that didn’t warrant a penalty. Red Bull & Verstappen were essentially the only one’s arguing that it was too lenient.

      1. That’s a 10 sec, both of you got the amount wrong, still irrelevant amount ofc.

    2. No, what we have “learned” is that failing to comply with technical regulations, whether on purpose or accidentally, by design or due to a fault, gets you a disqualification.

      Note: I put “learned” in quotes because everyone who has followed F1 for even a short amount of time should know that this is the case, and there is no leeway, no stewards discretion. It’s the most black and white part of the rules there is, and it’s been around since the day dot.

      1. Agreed. If Kurt’s only learnt that technical infringements lead to DSQ, then I’m afraid he still has a lot to learn about F1.

  6. To be fair, if my driver was second on the podium I’d have taken a punt and appealed it too.

    But it did seem pretty open and shut, it’s a shame, but rules are rules.

  7. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
    12th August 2021, 16:50

    Unless they could magically prove the 0.3 litres they provided was actually 1 litre everything else was inconsequential.
    Really becoming quite unlikeable this team.

    1. Unlikeable cause they get stolen a good result and appeal? Mercedes must be soooooo likeable then.

      1. While I am really disappointed for Seb and Aston, the result was in no way “stolen”. It appears that the team had a fault which caused their car to not comply with the regulations. If the car doesn’t comply with the technical regulations, it’s disqualified. It’s pretty much the same as if there was a fault which caused the car to crash from 2nd place ending in a DNF, or a fault with the engine which led to retirement.

        That said, I don’t feel Aston are really that unlikeable, nor that this is a reason they could be considered to be. Any team, in their position, would have tried to get the place back if they had the slightest hope. I think, in this case, they hoped that the FIA would take showing a fault as mitigating circumstances. It wasn’t likely, but it was well worth the shot. However, seeing the response to their submission, they saw that it wasn’t going to succeed and dropped it.

    2. I think that on Sunday they were still certain that there must have been more fuel in the car @fullcoursecaution. And you have to announce that you want to appeal more or less immediately after the verdict is published, so it made sense to do so at that time.

      After that they must have found the failure that happened during the race, so they asked for a review, which clearly showed that any appeal would be a failure. So they detracted it. Nothing wrong with that.

  8. The appeal should still be about the penalty harshness. If FIA could check the legality of fuel with the 0.3L that was available, it’s completely unbefitting to get 18 pts penalty just for breaking the letter of the law.

    Shame that F1 is still a minefield where just appealing means you could incur the wrath of FIA, where you might get penalized further, or even be picked out more in other incidents as if the lordships don’t take kindly to riff-raff questioning their divine rulings, such as was obvious in the Mosley era, but still seemingly a culture retained to this day.

    1. @balue Breaking the technical regs means disqualification, which is right (if your cars don’t conform to the technical specifications of the championship then they have no right to compete). It is not the same as the sporting regulations where different penalties are available depending on severity, culpability etc. There is no less harsh penalty that could be substituted.

      1. So, let’s say you have illegal brake ducts you should be disqualified from all races where you used them…
        Oh wait.. No not black and white but completely grey…
        Or your engine has excessive oil burning but you are leading the wcc.. No grey again
        Or…

        1. The brake ducts were not illegal, they complied 100% with the technical regulations.

          The team broke the sporting regulations in how they acquired the designs, but that’s completely different. The stewards and the FIA have discretion in sporting infringements.

          1. @drmouse ignore his baseless accusations… also he was pointing at Mercedes most likely with the oil non sense, as ferrari were using excessive fuel flow, (everyone were doing oil burning to some degree, people claimed mercedes were using more, but when it was regulated/limited, it was others that got the worst effect)

            Brake duct issue was not whether it was illegal or not, it was legal, but how it was obtained, was a grey area, because they had agreements in place had legal right to access when it was allowed, but wasnt used, they got what they paid for after it was deemed not permitted. If they used the design before it was banned obtaining, probably there would not be any issue, but misunderstanding of technicality etc it was complicated, however they were penalized for it. if they are as clear as day all the time, then cheats found years later should get u auto ban from all the previous years if you wanna be fair… cheating is cheating…

            AM case was clear as day! It was very obvious the way vet was asked to stop, probably they knew they were running low/tight on fuel but proceeded full on due to ham threat! thought it may slide…

        2. As for Ferrari, if the FIA could have proved that their engine was operating illegally, they would have been disqualified. It is believed that the entire reason for the “agreement” over it was that the FIA knew they were doing something wrong but couldn’t prove it. The only other option open to them was to either ignore it or punish them without proof…

          As wrong as the “agreement” feels, it was the best they could do when Ferrari wouldn’t cooperate.

      2. Why? A grid drop could easily be done. It’s still about gaining an advantage. Bottas got a grid drop giving Mercedes an advantage they could not even dream of creating technically, even if they tried.

        If the fuel could still be checked in this case, it was not even an advantage gained. There is absolutely no reason for the harshest penalty possible to metered out. I’m surprised this is even a controversial stance.

        1. @balue

          If the fuel could still be checked in this case

          It couldn’t though, At least not as accurately as is required.

          The reason they require 1ltr is because there are certain additives which become harder to detect with a smaller sample, With a smaller sample the result of the test is deemed to be less accurate. It’s a rule most categories have.

          And while in this case it may have been something unintentional caused by a component issue if you give this a pass then it sets a precedent which another team could try to use in the future. It’s the same reason the FIA are just as hard on even tiny infractions of brake duct or bodywork dimensions, Even if it’s an honest mistake if you let them off they know somebody else will use that decision in the future to try & game the system because that is what these teams do. Remember that the people like Charlie Whiting who helped come up with much of the foundation of the technical regulations knew how teams thought because they had used those things to game the system when they were running teams/cars, That was why many ex mechanics & team personnel were brought into the FIA to write & police the technical regulations.

        2. Even if the tests could be done with a smaller sample, that doesn’t matter to the rules. It doesn’t even matter whether the fuel is there or not, only that a smaller of the correct size is provided. As it is in the technical regulations, there is no penalty available except disqualification. They couldn’t give a grid drop, tone penalty, or anything else. If any team breaks the technical regulations in any way for any reason, they are disqualified, and that’s the end of it. No excuses, no exceptions.

        3. Balue, Frankly I was surprised Ocon did not get disqualified due to incorrect parking after the race. That would have moved Hamilton onto the top podium position. Politically correct!

          1. If you were really surprised at that, you have a lot to learn about F1…

    2. Nah, I’m with red-andy too. The technical regulations need to be black and white, no grey areas please @balue.

    3. @balue, I agree with @red-andy and @john-h
      Technical rules are technical rules, so DSQ is hardly a harsh penalty.

      1. @jerejj

        Technical rules are technical rules, so DSQ is hardly a harsh penalty.

        That doesn’t even make sense

        1. it makes sense. It’s the agreed to penalty, not harsh or lenient but by the book.

  9. It’s unsurprising given the rules are pretty clear on it and the punishment it carries so there was no way around the penalty. But that said this says a lot about the severity of the punishment. For a team consistently fighting for podiums and wins the loss of one 2nd place is painful but not a disaster but for where Aston Martin are currently competing it’s quite a heavy blow – especially for something that was an error and not malicious.

    I realise giving out proportional penalties is a difficult subject but surely this kind of thing shows that the current system isn’t helpful, being uncompromisingly painful for some things but light on others and the performance differential between the teams meaning punishments end up either crushing or inconsequential. It creates an unfair system.

    1. @rocketpanda Choosing penalty severity based on pecking order would make things messy and risk opening a can of worms, so better not go this route. Since F1 isn’t a spec series, a penalty impact inevitably varies, no matter how unfair the system may look.

    2. @rocketpanda
      “especially for something that was an error and not malicious.” you can never prove anything when you think emotional. do you really believe the team doesnt know how much fuel the car is burning and at what rate? they raced hard from the get go, expected to burn more than usual it must show on their data, it is not like car suddenly tried to burn all its fuel in the last lap… they fuel the cars within limits you can put more fuel (within limits) but you cant use more than allowed + 1lt sample! if you check Vet’s lap times, he was pretty much full on (throttle, based on his lap time consistency). Did the team suddenly saw drop in fuel level? do you think this is what happened?

      1. Didn’t the AM Pit radio SV that he needed to “save fuel” ?
        I also understood they had him stop immediately after the race to avoid the cool-down lap on the basis that he was short of fuel.
        This would imply that the Team knew he was low and there might be a problem.
        Should this be the case, some of the blame falls to the driver. Not that SV would intentionally disregard Team Orders (yes, a wee bit of sarcasm).

    3. @rocketpanda may I point out that there’s nothing in the regulations stating that a technical infringemente implies a DSQ? Unless I’ve missed something, it’s up for the stewards to decide. A DSQ is the standard punishment, and it has been used for consistency (which I think it’s ok, albeit unusual for the FIA), but it’s not the only option at all.

      1. @warheart
        Interesting, if true. I have only ever seen a technical breach punished by DSQ, and I’m sure I’ve heard commentators and team principals saying it’s the only option in the past.

        Personally, I would say that it comes under article 5.5 of the sporting regulations:

        Events are reserved for Formula One cars as defined in the Technical Regulations.

        If a car doesn’t meet the technical regulations, it is not a Formula One car so is not eligible for the event. That would mean it must be disqualified. However, I did expect to find a specific rule saying that a car in breach must be disqualified…

  10. A wise move. No point wasting time on something if the odds are against you anyway.
    Technical rule breach is a technical rule breach, so a justified DSQ, based on previous precedents.

  11. In the end of it all, the Aston Martin Cognizant has been in the headlines for the last 12 days, which is great for the sponsors.

    1. So, @x1znet you were the one not laid off during the recent great cogni AXE ?
      Anyways, It is tearful to learn that Seb’s hardwork was in vain . He did the whole race trying to catch Ocon and without spinning once.
      Moreover, it should have been Alonso instead of Sainz for third place for the courage he took to Hamilton trying to pass him. No driver on the grid who has raced in F1 after Hamilton could do this defense, this is the masterclass of a few like Fernando, Kimi, Kobayashi and Petrov (Seb too, to some extent).

  12. Dale Wickenheiser
    19th August 2021, 15:05

    My question is – why does it matter how much fuel is left at the end of the race? It seems to me that drivers needing to ‘save’ fuel results in less aggressive racing. Like saving their tires. Is this a safety issue? ie; they don’t want cars running out of gas during the race because that requires a safety car to get them off the track?

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