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Formula 1 Australian GP

Ferrari requests right of review over Sainz Australian GP F1 penalty

Ferrari has requested a right of review in the wake of Carlos Sainz’s penalty in the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23, Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23

The Spaniard was given a five-second penalty by the stewards for causing a collision with Fernando Alonso at the chaotic restart after the second red flag, which saw a string of incidents generate a third red flag.

The penalty was awarded before the resumption for the single lap run to the chequered flag behind the safety car. An emotional Sainz made it clear on team radio that he felt he should have been given a chance to explain the incident to the stewards.

In contrast, the collision between Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon that happened just seconds after the Sainz and Alonso clash was investigated after the race, resulting in no further action. In addition, a crash between Logan Sargeant and Nyck de Vries that saw both drivers end up in the gravel was not subject to a formal investigation.

For the resumption the cars were put back in the previous grid order, minus any missing cars, with Sainz in fourth place.

He subsequently crossed the line still fourth on the road, but with the whole field stacked up behind him he dropped to 12th in the final classification as the penalty clicked in.

If the penalty is ultimately rescinded Sainz would potentially get his fourth place back and the drivers behind him – Lance Stroll, Sergio Perez, Lando Norris, Nico Hulkenberg, Oscar Piastri, Zhou Guanyu and Yuki Tsunoda – would all drop back a place and lose points.

“As we are discussing with the FIA, and we sent the report to the FIA, I don't want to disclose any details of this discussion,” said team boss Fred Vasseur.

“The only thing is that about Gasly/Ocon, and for sure we had Sargeant/De Vries at Turn 1, and the reaction of the stewards was not the same. But I want to avoid making any comment.”

Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal and General Manager, Scuderia Ferrari

Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal and General Manager, Scuderia Ferrari

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

The review process, last used in F1 when Aston Martin made an immediate challenge to Alonso’s penalty on Sunday night in Jeddah, involves two steps.

Firstly the stewards have to decide whether there is a case to be answered and specifically if there is “significant and relevant new element” and if they decide to proceed, they then make a decision based on that new evidence.

“The process is that first they will have a look on our petition to see if they can re-open the case,” said Vasseur. “Then we'll have a second hearing a bit later, with the same stewards or the stewards of the next meeting, about the decision itself.

“What we can expect is at least to have an open discussion with them, and also for the good of the sport to avoid this kind of decision when you have three cases on the same corner, and not the same decision.

“The biggest frustration was from Carlos, and you heard it on the radio, to not have a hearing.

“Because the case was very special, and in this case, I think it would have made sense considering that it was the race was over, it was not affecting the podium, to have a hearing, as Gasly and Ocon had.”

Ferrari’s new evidence may revolve around car data that was not immediately available to the stewards at the time, although Vasseur declined to reveal any details.

He added: “It's up to the stewards to what is the right penalty, but for me at least for Carlos, for the team, to reopen the discussion, it’s a first step. The outcome of this will be up to the FIA. We have our argument for sure, but I will keep the argument for the FIA.

“For sure we are expecting the review of the decision, because it's a petition for review, and we are not going to get the same decision.”

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23, Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari SF-23, Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR23

Photo by: Lionel Ng / Motorsport Images

Vasseur acknowledged that it’s not always easy for officials to make a call on collisions, especially in the heat of the moment.

“I don't want to blame someone,” he said. “On the racing incidents, and I'm doing this job for 33 years now, each time that we had a crash on track I think you have two versions, always, with a different feedback and a different outcome, depending on the drivers.

“It means that it's not an easy job. And also that it's difficult to take a decision when it's during the race. We are always asking to take decisions during the race.

“This case was probably a bit particular with the three red flags, with the two starts, and the last start with one lap behind the safety car.

“It's where the frustration came from, because we had the feeling that the Ocon and Gasly situation was treated a bit differently.”

Regarding the timing of any FIA hearing, he said: “They have the lead on the situation now. And it's up to them to decide the first hearing about the fact that they can receive or not the request.

“It's up to them to decide when they want to do it. It could be in Baku, or it could be before. We prefer to do it before, and be focused on something else in Baku.

“They have to do it in a short period. It's true that for once that we have four weeks between the two races, and it's a bit more flexible. With Kimi [Raikkonen] two years ago at Alfa Romeo we did the hearings at the next race.”

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