Ferrari quiz FIA over Vettel win
BAD SPORTSMANSHIP OR LEGITIMATE CLAIM?: Was Fernando Alonso robbed of the 2012 Drivers' Championship? Click here for an enhanced view on YouTube.
PARIS, France - Earlier in 2012 we reported that Ferrari was grumbling over Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel's victory at the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix. Now the Italian team has asked Formula 1's governing body to investigate.
Ferrari confirmed that they had contacted the International Automobile Federation (FIA) due to a manoeuvre by Vettel during the season-ending Brazilian GP which secured the Red Bull ace the 2012 Drivers' title as well as his third consecutive championship.
'NO DOUBT' BY THE FIA
On its Twitter account, Ferrari posted: "Ferrari asked, by means of a letter, for a clarification from FIA regarding Vettel's overtaking move on Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso) during lap four of the Brazilian GP."
There was no comment from the FIA when contacted by AFP but a number of news outlets, including British publication Autosport, quoted sources as saying that Ferrari's concerns were baseless.
Autosport said there was "no doubt" by the FIA, that Vettel had overtaken legitimately because a green flag had already been displayed in the yellow flag sector, allowing drivers to resume passing.
Watch the overtaking video
No team had asked for a review of the incident.
Norman Howell, director of communications for the FIA, said: "The incident wasn't reported to stewards in the first place because it didn't seem like there was a need to report it at the time. Now that Ferrari has sent us a letter asking for an explanation we will give it to them."
ROBBED OR SOUR GRAPES?
The Daily Mail claimed that YouTube footage appeared to show Vettel, the youngest F1 triple World champion yet, overtaking Vergne under yellow flags in early laps of the rain-affected race.
Overtaking under caution is outlawed and is usually punished with a drive-through penalty. In cases where the infringement is not spotted, the sanction is a 20-second penalty handed out retrospectively.
Vettel was sixth during the 2012 race at the Interlagos circuit, Alonso second behind race winner McLaren's Jenson Button.
The result meant Vettel beat Alonso in the title race by three points.
The 2012 Brazilian GP and Vettel's victory had already been overshadowed by claims by Ferrari that Alonso should have been crowned champion. Ferrari brought up controversial races in the 2012 Belgian and Japanese GP's to support its argument.
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali said Alonso paid a heavy price for first-lap exits in Belgium and Japan where he was shunted out of contention by Lotus duo Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen respectively.
Ferrari was also angered when Vettel, accused of blocking Alonso in qualifying in Japan before going on to win the race, escaped with just a reprimand.
Alonso insisted his campaign had been undermined at Spa and Suzuka.
Vettel refused to get involved in a war of words although he did allude to his rivals' controversial decision during the 2012 US GP, to change the gearbox on Felipe Massa's Ferrari to allow Alonso to enjoy a starting advantage on the grid.
Vettel said: "A lot of people tried to play dirty tricks but we did not get distracted by that and kept going our way and all the guys gave a big push right to the end."
Do you believe Ferrari's claims to be legitimate or is this just another case of bad sportsmanship by the Italian team? Email us and we'll publish your thoughts on Wheels24.
Click here to watch the video!