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Formula 1

Aston Martin protests Chinese GP F1 qualifying results

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
2 min read

The Aston Martin Formula 1 team has protested the results of Chinese Grand Prix qualifying based on a potential breach of the F1 sporting regulations.

Its team representatives are reporting to the Chinese GP stewards (who include sometime Red Bull and Force India driver Vitantonio Liuzzi) after having seemingly made the case that Article 39.6 of the regs was not followed in qualifying.

The article in question reads: "Any driver whose car stops on the track during the qualifying session or the sprint qualifying session shootout will not be permitted to take any further part in that session."

While the FIA summons doc revealing the Aston protest hasn't made the exact case behind it public, the context - and the fact Ferrari representatives were also summoned shortly aftewards - makes it obvious that this relates to the circumstances in which Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz rejoined the session.

Sainz crashed coming out of the final corner on his first push lap in Q2 and was shown as stopped on the timing screens after hitting the barriers - with a message saying 'Car 55 (SAI) stopped on start/finish straight'.

But with damage to his car minor, he was able to return to the pits after the crash had brought out the red flag, and his Ferrari SF-24 was repaired well in time for the resumption of the session after track clean-up.

Sainz went on to advance to Q3, where he placed seventh - four places behind the lead Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso.

However, the other Aston, that of Lance Stroll, had come up just one place short of making Q3, so Aston will presumably feel he should've advanced if it believes Sainz shouldn't have been able to continue.

It is unclear how the stewards would be able to correct the situation if Sainz's post-crash running is deemed to have contravened the regulations.

Simply excluding him from Q2 and thus also Q3 classifications would give Stroll, as well as three drivers ahead of him and four drivers behind him, a place on the grid each, but obviously wouldn't reinstate Stroll in Q3, which he has already missed.

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