Aston Martin set to appeal Vettel Hungarian GP disqualification - what happens next?


Aston Martin will appeal Sebastian Vettel's Hungarian Grand Prix disqualification - but what does the process look like?

Sebastian Vettel, 2021 Hungarian GP

Vettel will be hoping Aston Martin has found compelling evidence to overturn his DSQ

Grand Prix Photo

Aston Martin has confirmed its intent to appeal Sebastian Vettel’s disqualification from the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix.

The four-time world champion was stripped of his second-place finish post-race due to an insufficient amount of fuel in the car for race stewards to extract for scrutineering.

The official decision read: “Sebastian Vettel has been excluded from the result of the Hungarian Grand Prix after his Aston Martin team failed to provide sufficient fuel from his car after the race to meet regulations.

“According to the decision handed down by the FIA race stewards it was not possible to take a 1.0 litre sample of fuel from Vettel’s car after the race, stating that though “the team was given several opportunities to attempt to remove the required amount of fuel from the tank, however it was only possible to pump 0.3 litres out.”

The team announced its intention to appeal the disqualification on Thursday evening, releasing the following statement.

“After Sebastian Vettel’s drive to second place on the road in the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday August 1st, he was disqualified from the results when a 1.0-litre sample of fuel was not able to be taken from his car after the race (a requirement as set out in the FIA Formula One Technical Regulations).

“There was and is no suggestion that Vettel’s Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One™ Team AMR21 car benefited from a performance advantage from the alleged regulatory breach, or that it was deliberate.

“Since the team’s data indicated that there was more than 1.0 litre of fuel in the car after the race – 1.74 litres according to the data – the team immediately reserved its right to appeal, and has requested a right of review alongside the appeal procedure, as a result of having discovered significant new evidence relevant to the sanction which was unavailable to it at the time of the FIA stewards’ decision.”


How does the Right of Review process work?

Part of the FIA Sporting Code, the Right to Review allows teams to appeal official decisions on the provision that they can provide sufficient evidence to warrant the re-opening of decisions.

New evidence must be reported as part of the appeal process and the notification of intention to appeal must be made within 14-days of the original decision.

Evidence that teams provide must be of a high enough standard to enable the an investigation to be re-opened and satisfy four points to be considered into the case.

  • Is a new element of evidence
  • Is significant and relevant to the case/decision in question
  • Is discovered (i.e. not created)
  • Was unavailable to competitor at the time of original decision

Should the submitted evidence from the appellant reach the required standard and satisfy these four points then the investigation can be reopened and the penalty will be re-reviewed by stewards.

Has any team successfully appealed using the Right to Review?

Actually yes, Red Bull is the team that has most recently won an appeal using the Right to Review method.

Last season, following qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix, the team appealed the final lap from Lewis Hamilton that put him P2 on the grid for the race.

The Mercedes driver set his time under yellow flags following Valtteri Bottas going off ahead of him, but was set to keep his time following a stewards investigation.

Red Bull initiated the Right to Review and presented a 360-degree camera view from Hamilton’s car the race stewards had not seen prior to its decision.

The images showed Hamilton passing a yellow flag LED board before arriving at the scene and he was handed a three-place grid penalty hours ahead of lights out.


Any unsuccessful Right to Reviews?

Where to start? Red Bull has also tasted defeat in this situation and very recently. The team’s public outcry following the crash between Max Verstappen and Hamilton at this year’s British Grand Prix led to a formal Right to Review after the team felt the 10-second time penalty was not sufficient enough for the Mercedes driver.

The team came up with a presentation that included simulations of the incident and data taken from Alex Albon ‘simulating’ Hamilton’s line at Copse on a filming day the team used post-race. The case was rejected swiftly for not providing sufficient evidence that was unavailable at the time but rather fabricated evidence compiled by the team separately.

Ferrari has also faced an embarrassing rejection in front of race stewards and the case centred around Vettel and Hamilton. With the latter pressuring the former for the lead of the 2019 Canadian Grand Prix, the then-Ferrari driver slithered across the grass at Turn Four and was penalised for ‘crowding’ the Mercedes man as he rejoined the track.

Hamilton had to back out of a potential move but Ferrari argued that having been on the grass, it was a mitigating circumstance in Vettel’s loss of control rejoining the circuit. Stewards disagreed and handed him a race-costing 5-sec time penalty. Queue the post-race theatrics as Vettel stole back first place, in parc ferme at least, before Ferrari later announced it had lodged its appeal and cited compelling evidence that the stewards had missed.

The evidence turned out to be Karun Chandhok’s analysis of the incident on Sky Sports F1 after the race. Not quite fulfilling the four-point mandate required to re-open the case. That didn’t stop the team placing an Italian flag outside the doors to Maranello signifying a win.


What happens now in the Aston Martin case?

The team indicated in its statement that it believes it had sufficient fuel in the car to provide the 1L sample required by race stewards for scrutineering.

The stewards from the Hungarian Grand Prix will reconvene to hear the evidence gathered by Aston Martin before deciding whether it is substantial enough to warrant reopening the investigation into Vettel’s disqualification.

The FIA has confirmed that the hearing will take place on Monday August 9 at 3pm European time.

Should Aston Martin’s appeal be successful, Vettel will be reinstated as the P2 finisher at the Hungarian Grand Prix, if the appeal fails, the team will lose out on the vital 18 points he earned with a great drive.

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