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Formula 1

Aston abandons final effort to get Vettel’s podium back

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
3 min read

Aston Martin has withdrawn its appeal of Sebastian Vettel’s disqualification from second place at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Vettel lost his second podium of the season because a post-race fuel check could only extract 0.3 litres from the tank instead of the mandated 1.0-litre sample.

Aston Martin had initially contested that its estimates put the amount of fuel left in the tank at the end of the race at 1.44 litres.

Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin Hungarian Grand Prix 2021

The team initiated the appeal procedure but petitioned for a right to review as well. This is a different, quicker process than a fully-fledged appeal that allows the original stewards to reconvene and re-examine an incident in the wake of new evidence.

Aston Martin claimed it had discovered “significant new evidence relevant to the sanction which was unavailable to it at the time of the FIA stewards’ decision” but the stewards ruled that evidence as inadmissible.

The team’s evidence was considered new information, as its analysis concluded there was a fuel system failure that would have resulted in the ejection of fuel during the race.

But Vettel’s disqualification was simply because there was not enough fuel in the tank and the question of what caused that situation was left out of consideration.

It therefore did not make a difference why there was less than one litre in the tank so the discovery of an initially unnoticed malfunction was not relevant.

Having had its right of review rejected, Aston Martin could still have lodged its full-scale case with the FIA International Court of Appeal.

Based on the stewards’ verdict it would seem unlikely that Aston Martin would win a separate case given this issue is rooted firmly in compliance with a black-and-white rule.

The difference between this review hearing and an appeal is that Aston Martin could only put forward its new evidence for the right of review and there is no opportunity to push back on the stewards’ verdict.

In a full appeal hearing Aston Martin would’ve been able to present its case in full.

But Aston Martin has now decided to drop the appeal as well.

“Having considered our position and having noted the FIA stewards’ verdict that there was clear new evidence of a fuel system failure, we have nonetheless withdrawn our appeal on the basis that we believe doing so outweighs the benefits of it being heard,” the team said in a statement.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Hungarian Grand Prix Race Day Budapest, Hungary

Aston Martin’s decision means the Hungarian GP results are now final. Lewis Hamilton finishes second instead of third, which confirms his points lead over Max Verstappen increases by two points to eight.

Carlos Sainz’s second podium for Ferrari is sealed, while Fernando Alonso takes fourth position ahead of Pierre Gasly, Yuki Tsunoda, Nicholas Latifi, George Russell, Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen, who inherits a point.

Aston Martin is now behind AlphaTauri in the constructors’ championship in seventh place, and Ferrari is level with McLaren in third.

Williams gained a valuable three points on Alfa Romeo despite Raikkonen’s elevation into the top 10, further cementing eighth place in the championship.

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