Hearing day: What can be expected in the controversial Ferrari Sainz case?

Ferrari will be heard on Tuesday in the case of Carlos Sainz’s penalty at the Australian Grand Prix. We review what the process is, what Scuderia can do, and what its prospects are.

the case

During the last standing restart of the Australian Grand Prix, Carlos Sainz collided with Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin at the first corner and spun out. The FIA ​​slapped Spain with a 5-second penalty and two penalty points.

It was justified as follows:

“Car #14 was well ahead of car #55 at the first corner. Car #55 collided with car 14, causing it to spin and leave the lane. Accordingly, we penalize car 55 with a 5-second penalty. For the avoidance of doubt, we have taken into account that the collision occurred On the first lap of a restart, that’s when the court is generally more lenient with accidents.” However, in this case, without ignoring the fact that this corresponds to a lap one crash, we saw that there was enough room for the #55 car to avoid a spin, but it didn’t. that.”

What did Sainz and Ferrari complain about?

The FIA ​​made its decision even during the red flag period after the accidents, hearing Carlos Sainz almost wait to nod and listen to his position. After what happened, the contestant described the ruling as “the most unfair decision” and “the most disgraceful” that he had seen in sports.

Like him, his boss, Frédéric Vasseur, also felt the FIA ​​could have at least waited until the end of the race to make a decision and, since it wasn’t a podium finisher, could have given Sainz time to listen.

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Ferrari also complained about two other accidents at the same corner, but they were not penalized. Pierre Gasly was cleared of the collision with Esteban Ocon after speaking to both Frenchmen and they agreed it was a race-incident. Meanwhile, Logan Sargeant’s collision with Nic de Vries wasn’t even investigated.

Carlos Sainz (Photo: EPA/Simon Baker)

What did Ferrari offer and what comes next?

Even after making the contest result official, teams can appeal the rulings in the form of a request for revision. This could be done on the basis of the emergence of “new and relevant” evidence that was not yet available to the FIA ​​at the time of the ruling.

The federation has accepted Ferrari’s request, and in the first round of the hearing on Tuesday morning, a decision will be made on whether there is “new and relevant” evidence. If not, the case will be closed, if yes, it will be reopened, and the judges in Australia will make a new decision on the incident taking into account these new aspects. Even then, they can support the original ruling, but they can also change it.

The session started at 8 am CET and will take place in the form of an online conference.

What could be Ferrari’s new manual?

This is the main question. Depending on the team’s communication, the red team might come up with penalties that were not the same in Gasly’s and Sargent’s cases; It is not excluded that he also puts his own telemetry data on the table; But he might even try to present Saenz’s account as a new guide for the judges.

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Carlos Sainz (Photo: Ferrari)

What are Ferrari’s chances?

Based on the past, this is not enough. The FIA ​​rarely changes its original position in similar cases, and usually something extraordinary happens for this to happen. The key to Fernando Alonso’s podium in Jeddah was the question of interpretation of the rules and version of the previous team managers’ meeting. Last year in Austin, it was also because of questions about the interpretation of the rules that Fernando Alonso was later penalized after a Haas caution, although that sentence was eventually overturned due to an official error in the caution.

In 2021, the FIA ​​rejected four already existing review requests in the first round (in the absence of new and relevant evidence), in 2018 Williams also made such an application unsuccessfully, and in 2019 Ferrari was also given up when It was Sebastian Vettel who tried to win in Canada.

At the time, the Reds tried to convince the FIA ​​that the time penalty was wrong for Vettel, who left the track and “dangerously” got back on it, referring to TV expert Karun Chandhok’s analysis. At the time, the association considered the previous competitor’s analysis to be personal outside opinion and therefore irrelevant. In addition, the Reds’ additional arguments were not considered acceptable.

What would change if Sainz regained his position?

Sainz originally finished 4th in Melbourne, but his five-second penalty dropped him to 12th. If the FIA ​​revokes his penalty, the order of the other 8 riders, 7 of whom will lose points, will change as follows:

  1. Carlos Sainz +12 points
  2. Lance Stroll -3 points
  3. 2 points, Sergio Perez
  4. Lando Norris -2 points
  5. Nico Hulkenberg -2, 2 points
  6. Oscar Piastri -2, 2 points
  7. Chu Kuan Yew -1 point
  8. Tsunoda Gouki -1 point
  9. Valtteri Bottas
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