Aston Martin has failed to convince the FIA stewards to accept its right to review Sebastian Vettel’s exclusion from the Hungarian Grand Prix in which the German driver finished P2.
Vettel finished the race second on the road, but during a post-race fuel sample check, the scrutineers were unable to extract the 1-litre minimum amount of fuel from the tank of the German driver’s Aston Martin AMR21, as mandated by the regulations, with only 0.3-litres being pumped out.
The Silverstone-based outfit argued for a right to review based on “significant new evidence relevant to the sanction which was unavailable to it at the time of the FIA stewards’ decision”.
However, the “new” evidence in question – data that demonstrated that there had been a fuel pump failure that prevented the extraction of the minimum 1-litre amount of fuel – was dismissed by the stewards in Monday’s video conference hearing as the data was available after the race, although it could not be processed on site in a timely manner.
Aston Martin was initially convinced that 1.4-litres of fuel remained in the tank of Vettel’s car at the end of the race.
But the team eventually concluded upon further analysis that “an analysis of various data carried out after August 1, 2021 showed that there was actually less than 1 litre remaining at the end of the race due to an initially unnoticed malfunction in the fuel system.”
Read also: Vettel admits Aston running ‘at the back’ of F1’s midfield
The stewards crucially assumed “the fact that there was not enough fuel in the tank”, while “the question of what caused the situation was left out of consideration”.
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For the stewards, only the shortfall in fuel was therefore considered.
“Therefore, for the assessment of whether or not the 1-litre requirement was broken, it does not make a difference why there was less than 1 litre,” read the FIA’s report.
“There may be a couple of explanation why at the end of a race the remaining amount is insufficient. In any case, it remains the sole responsibility of the Competitor to ensure that the car is in conformity with the regulations at all times.”
Aston Martin still retains a right to appeal the penalty handed by the Hungarian Grand Prix stewards to the team. But the team has yet to decide whether to exercise that right or abandon the case altogether, perhaps a wiser course of action in light of Monday’s decision by the FIA stewards.
In the interim, Sebastian Vettel remains excluded from the results of the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix.
“We felt that the evidence we presented was relevant and demonstrated to the FIA that he should have been reinstated following his disqualification,” said Aston team boss Otmar Szafnauer in reaction to the stewards’ decision.
“Unfortunately, the FIA took a different view and, despite the fact that that the accuracy of our new evidence was not contested, Sebastian’s disqualification has been upheld on the basis that the new evidence was not deemed ‘relevant’.
“That is disappointing, and we will now consider our position in respect of the full appeal process.”
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