17 June 2019

Why would Ferrari ask for a review?

Ferrari has decided to ask for a review of the decision by the FIA Stewards at the Canadian Grand Prix. The right to review is based on “a new element” being discovered, which might impact on the original ruling.

The decision will be made by the same stewards as and when they can reconvene and listen to the relevant arguments and make a judgement based on the “facts and elements brought before them”. If the stewards do not believe that there is a new element involved, they have the right to increase the penalty if they believe the review is a waste of time.

If Ferrari can convince the stewards that new evidence is sufficient to annul the penalty, Vettel will gain seven points and Hamilton will lose them. Thus the gap would be 48 points rather than 62. This is pretty unlikely based on what we currently know. It must also be noted that a penalty might cost Vettel points, although the risk is low as the fourth-placed Valtteri Bottas was classified 47.385s behind the penalised Vettel and the stewards cannot impose a penalty willy-nilly. The worst case scenario is probably that Vettel could be pushed back to third place behind Charles Leclerc. This would not impact on Ferrari as the team will get second and third places whatever the case. Vettel might lose three points if he drops a place. In the overall scheme of things, three points is not a great risk as Vettel has 100 points and right now Lewis Hamilton has 162.

It is hard to imagine that Ferrari will have any data that the stewards will consider to be important enough to overturn the penalty. In the old days, political pressure might have been applied and changes might have been made, but it would be a disaster of the highest order for the FIA to play such games, having spent years trying to build up the credibility of the stewards as being an independent force. If one assumes (and hopes) that this is not going to happen, one might conclude that Ferrari is playing to the crowd, trying to win sympathy.

It would be smarter to be concentrating on making the car faster…

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