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FIA confirms no action to be taken over Vettel overtake in Brazil
Posted By: James Allen  |  29 Nov 2012   |  8:00 pm GMT  |  228 comments

The FIA today confirmed that it plans to take no action over the incident in Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix in which Sebastian Vettel overtook Jean Eric Vergne, apparently under yellow flags.

Ferrari confirmed via Twitter that it had asked the question of the FIA, having reviewed the video evidence.

But a marshal waving a green flag could be seen, when the footage was viewed in slow motion, before Vettel made his move on Vergne and that satisfied the FIA’s Charlie Whiting that there was no case to answer.

Whiting told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, “If the lights are not installed at a flag post the driver responds to the first signal that is shown.

“In Vettel’s case, between the last yellow light and the green light there was a green flag being waved.

“The distance is 350 metres here. Vettel responded to the flag and did
everything right.”

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So if the green flag was waved meaning "clear track ahead", what was the purpose of the green light afterwards?


If there is yellow flags anywhere on the track they usually have flags and light on on every post. If I remember correctly in hungary they had them all thru the race, probably just in case one area was yellowed


The lights still need to clarify anything, can't complain at that.

What I don't like with all this is that Ferrari are being made the bad guys. They never sent in an official appeal, they simply asked for clarification. People that say that this is 'ruining the sport' or 'dirty play', or even 'can't face losing' are damn right wrong. They asked for clarification and I can see no reason why they would not do that. They did not state that Vettel had cheated, just wanted to check, and I feel Ferrari did this in a sensible and mature manner.

We have seen a wonderful season from so many drivers, and now the fans are ruining it with complaints at every team.


As far as I could see, after the race, "misary guts" Alonso couldn't bring himself to congratulate Vettel on his achievement + all Dominicali could do was whine about how Alo, somehow, deserved it more. At the end Vettel and Red Bull had the most points, so they deserved to win. Ferrari need to learn to their "talking" on the track, they might have a few more fans then


Plus Steve. I would like to put this to you.

Twice was Alonso crashed that resulted in two retirements, both not his fault. The second no ones fault really, and Spa, well, let us not go there.

Not once was Vettel crashed by another driver and forced to retire.

I can guarentee you that in these two races Fernando would have gained more than 3 points.

So, in theory, that way, it was Alonso that deserved it more, not Red Bull or Seb.

However, the result is what it is, and I think we should be anticipating another epic season next year. We can only hope. Bring on 2013!


Alonso went to Vettel after the race and shook his hand


I would like to seek clarification from the stewards/FIA on the following:-

Why do drivers frequently get investigated and penalised during races for accidents which are genuine racing incidents (as oppose to recklessness Grojean/Maldonado), and yet Vettel cutting across Senna and causing a collision didn't even get the stewards investigating, never mind penalising him.

Hulkenburg got a penalty for losing grip off the racing line and taking Hamilton out (which I would say is a genuine racing incident rather than recklessness) yet Vettel cuts up another driver and takes him out and there's not even an investigation???

I think they bottled it there because the stakes were so high.


Bruno made the move from way back by breaking very late you can see the replays. The move is legit but Vettel had no way of seeing it as there was already a Force India on his left blocking his view(mirrors)So Vettel couldnt have knowingly caused the accident. If you see the shots from the cars you can see the Vettel was also more than half a cars lenght ahead of bruno. So even if it were investigated it would still be ruled as a racing incident

In Hulkenburg case though i too agree it was a racing accident, he would have got away if they had banged wheels or hit each other and not caused Lewis's retirement. He should have known there was less grip on the inside line, i.e it is slippery due to the damp track conditions. That is why Lewis said after the race that he had less experience.

In the end it was a real shame because Hulkenburg would have won the race as his car was faster than either Lewis or Jenson in damp conditions


Clear track ahead.


The track was already clear.


Exactly. So what is the problem?


Track clear ahead


This is all silly and it has blown out of propotion. We had a wonderful season which ended really well with the fully deserving driver winning the championship. It is sad that there are some people still playing dirty.




How is anyone playing dirty? James already said in his previous article that FIA needs to investigate this regardless of any protest from Ferrari or anyone.

You may not like Alonso but you need to get your facts straight before making silly comments.


James did not say the FIA needs to investigate it only that they could (which they didn't) ... please get your facts straight before making silly comments..


A championship is at stake here. If there is something that could have changed the result, than rightly that needs to be looked at.

I assume the people "playing dirty" in your eyes are Ferrari and Fernando Alonso, not withstanding the fact the guy drove his heart out all season long in an inferior car, if that evidence had been brought to me I would want it clarifying too, I don't think that classes me as a "dirty player".


What i find interesting is the Alonso was against Kimi losing the championship to Hamilton on an appeal by Mclaren against irregular fuel sample found in two of the cars that finished ahead of Hamilton going as far as to say that the championship should be decided on tract and not with some appeal as it would be very unsporting.

Isnt it ironic how the tables have turned when he is the one who will benefit this time around


I believe the question is not that Ferrari is not intitled to a clarification. The question is that although they were aware of a marshall post between the two lights and knew that he most likely was waiving a green flag in lap 4, since he had been doing the same in lap 3 (and they know of no further incidents on lap 4 at that spot), they could have asked for better resolution footage (that is, if they did not already had it) and see for themselves that there was no issue.

This being said, I believe they did just that and only seeked clarification to please the Spanish and Italian press (and according to some rummours Alonso or Alonso's managment).

I think this is not good for Ferrari. Suspicions are still being raised with FIA Whiting and Ecclestone being acused of being partial. Ferrari semms have been driven (by both circunstances and themselves) into an unconfortable spot where they can be bullied by media that thrives from this sort of scandals.


Dirty? Haha.

The big thing here is that Ferrari never even put in an appeal. They seeked clarification, nothing more! So how is that dirty!

What I did not like from Sunday was Vettel's comments afterwards of how Ferrari have cheated. Come on Seb, have more maturity!


That could be because it was too late to appeal... that can only be done whithin a certain time after the race... Clarification was the only next best thing they could do.. Totally unnecesary... just give charlie a quick phone call would have done.


Couldn't agree more. Let's look forward to 2103

Bring Back Murray

I might be able to stretch it out until about 2060



See you at Silverstone in 2059 then.


While it's true that Ferrari were perfectly within their rights to ask for clarification, they were certainly not acting with the best interests of the sport in mind. But then, nobody with any knowledge of the team, would be surprised at that !

In my view, if a rule violation that occurs on track is not picked up before the chequered flag falls, that should be the end of the matter.

From that point onwards, the only rule breeches that should effect the results should be those related to post race scrutineering of the cars.


I have been following the sport since the 1.5 litre Coventry Climax era and, while I agree with you that Ferrari have a long history of 'whinging' when things don't go their way, in this case my understanding is that they were forced into some form of action by Fernando. Didn't he first sound off on some Spain based blog he runs, bringing the situation to public attention? It's my opinion, this starterd off as another version of Lewis & his ranting tweets. The team is embarrassed and have to respond, when they probably wish the guy would just shut up and take his lumps.


No team, literally none of them, are interested in what is good for the sport. They exist to win and push as far as they can to win. This is illustrated in their inability to agree on anything from resource restriction, to flexi wings, commercial rights etc. But this is what they have to be like with so much at stake.

All teams act in a way that could be deemed detrimental, when all they are doing is being extremely competitive, i.e Ferrari in this case and Massa gearbox in US, McLaren with 'spygate' and Ron Dennis denying it, Red Bull in swapping wings, supporting Vettel over Webber when clearly Vettel was at fault, designing cars not in the sprit of the rules. The list is endless with ALL teams, not just Ferrari!


You are right but everything starts at the top. I mean Bernie Ecclestone. When has Bernie done anything in the best interest of the sport and its integrity? Nerver or hardly ever. He is capable to carry on with a race in Gaza even if there is war there as long as he makes profit.


I couldn't agree more with your assessment, especially the 2 last paragraphs.


" they were certainly not acting with the best interests of the sport in mind"

What IF Vettel overtook under yellows? That wouldn't be in the best interest of the sport either. Same goes to flexi-wings and stuff. The argument goes both ways.


Your reason of RBR would've accepted only comes from something that has not happened.

2010, RBR complained about McLaren's F-duct. If anyone's on the backfoot, they'd complain, that's part of F1.

As for the video, I along with other viewers saw it, some said they saw the green flag, some didn't. I didn't see it, not that I care like I said in my other replies on James' other articles, it's just something I noticed and yet couldn't spot the green flag.


Hi Kay,

No, I think red bull would have accepted. Why?

Red Bull would have looked into it but they would have quickly seen there was nothing to the story. It really is that obvious.

They would not then challenge the FIA and they would then not also leak things to the BBC for there Journalist to write some excitable articles that leads to mass hysteria. Finally, Vettel isn't on Twitter so he wouldn't have posted pathetic cryptic posts trying to stir things up.

Vettel and red bull in contrast have said nothing and look very dignified and Alonso ends up looking like the bad loser that attacked Petrov in 2010. I'm sorry if this seems harsh but I am really frustrated as Alonso had done so much particulary in the last year to restore his credibility.


Hi Rach,

Had the situation been reversed, you think RBR wouldn't try the same?

Besides, Ferrari didn't need to do anything, FIA are obliged to look into it anyway.

Right, Ferrari made a 'clarification' request, but that's not like they're protesting. Again, reverse the situation, you think RBR wouldn't make the same request to clarify?

I am an Alonso fan, but I'm happy for Vettel to take the title, for sure I'm disappointed, but no complains here, and no I didn't go about bashing Vettel or RBR. While I also understand that millions or even billion of dollars go into each season, so any team would do the same.

Without being rude, I ask readers here to just understand the situation and it'd be the same for anyone in Ferrari's shoes.


Kay it is obvious to anyone who looked at the footage closely that there was a green flag being waved and that this was a non-issue.

This is the most pathetic and desperate attempt that I can remember by someone trying to get a major sporting event overturned. Ferrari and Alonso and his tweets should be ashamed of themselves.


Really, what about a major scrutineering violation found after the race? A car that was 50kg underweight? Would that warrant the FIA to at least look into it??


So if someone 'breaches' (a breech is on a cannon) the rules, but is not noticed until post race, they should be allowed to get away with it? Not a good message.

Obviously it is ideal if the stewards can act during the race (which half the time doesn't happen anyway, it's 'to be investigated after the race') but sometimes this can't happen. Perhaps there needs to be more race stewards assigned, maybe 3 to each sector of the circuit making 9 in total. These 3 would have jurisdiction over their particular sector and make rulings on anything that happens in their sector.


Well your view is not how the rules are written.

I think that probably in any sport if new evidence arise, the governing body has to react to it. Look at Armstrong. He lost all his titles after how many years?

And the interests of the sport should be that everyone wins fair and legal.



The teams do have sufficient manpower to make protests instanty


I can't agree. Would there have been a rule violation, it would have been the violator(and not the victim) who had not been acting in the best interest of the sport. Even if not on purpose, still you can't deny the other competitor's rights.

Limiting punishment to the race duration in such a technical sport (this is not football!) would just be an encouragement to cheat.


How is anyone playing dirty? It looked like a driver might have broken a rule during the race which the stewards missed. Not only would over-taking under yellows be breaking the rules, it would be putting the live's of Marshalls in danger. Investigating it was the right thing to do. The FIA can't just ignore things like this because it would affect the championship outcome.


+1 Couldn't have said it better myself.


If there was an infringement it should have been picked up during the race. FIA and the Marshalls have more data than the people scrutinizing unclear youtube videos. We should have a bit more faith in them.

And you also have to think about how a penalty given on lap 4 would have affected the result as opposed to one given after the race when a driver/team has no way to react to it.

I do believe drivers/teams who break rules should be punished regardless of the outcome of the championship. But it would be better if it could be done during the race as soon as the offence committed is spotted.

Thankfully no offence was committed here though and I hope we can stop thinking about this now now look forward to next year.


No marshals were in danger. Double waved yellows means marshal it was only single on this disputed occasion on track plus the yellow was for Maldonado who stopped before turn three and vettel overtook before turn four. Besides its a fact that he passed following a green flag. Safety was not an issue where he paased


I'm sorry, but stating the opposite after you just been provided with reason and explanation is a bit deluded.

If you just arguing for the sake of arguing, I see your point. Otherwise, I can see how you make it stick in your mind - you just plainly remove the fact that marshal waved green flag?

Are you going to argue with policeman who is telling you to go while traffic light is red?



I think it's the timing of it which gives rise to claims of sour grapes, and the manner in which it has played out. The footage has been available since Sunday, and all the teams receive live information on the circuit tracker as to where cars are on track - were they in any doubt at the time, they could have queried it at the meeting. Similarly, they could have queried it with the FIA in a more discreet manner, rather than conducting the whole affair via the media as appears to have been the case. Both do little to make Ferrari look good, as Bernie Ecclestone has commented on (and for once I agree with him).


Are you saying that Ferrari didn't know about the green flag, or how a driver must act with that signals?

What Ferrari did here was a very bad joke.



The footage raised doubts and F1 community (and Ferrari as a part of it, as well as fans) had every right to seek clarification. To do so was in no way sour grapes nor playing dirty. In my view the only dirty play here is to discredit those seeking clarification.


The footage did not raise any doubts within the F1 community, only the bad quality of the videos in youtube did. I am pretty sure that Ferrari never thought about it until the media (spanish mainly and then some italians) pressure them to do it. Even then all they did was ask for a clarification from the FIA so that the local press would not acuse them of staying idle.





Yes, they have a right to seek clarification. 'cause they are alonso fans. No doubt.

The fact is, Vettel has an eagle eye, seeing every detail on dark and rain.

The whole thing started in spanish media


Shouldn't they have asked for clarification on Sunday? The TV footage available to the teams could have clarified all outstanding issues.


I like that analysis of the situation!

I think the reason the matter arose was because (on video) it is tough to see the flag, and that the dashboard lights were on until the green light.

As you say; Clarification, and not Sour Grapes


I totally agreed! clear rules, clear facts, not trying to spoil the party just making sure that everybody played by the rules. This just shows that the F1 championship is at the highest level and standard possible.

Once the facts show that Vettel was right then we are all fine and bind to his deserved title.


No - I'm sorry - it is sour grapes. Ferrari and Alonso in particular shall forever have a black mark on their careers as a result of this season. It will go down in the history book as one of the whiniest teams in professional sports. Unable to accept the failure of their team and driver they wish to accomplish off the track what they could not do on track. I wish there was some record of how many time Ferrari brough these so called "incidents" to the attention of the stewards as this is not the first time this season by any strech. I've come to expect this from Ferrari and Alonso. Sorry Freddie you were beat fair and square. By a less talented driver by your own account. Deal with it.


But how do we know that she saw the flag first?


It does not matter whether he saw the flag or not. You cannot be penalised for not breaking the rules. Just as a person cannot be guilty for driving at 60 mph even though he may have thought it was a 30 mph zone when in fact it was a 60 mph zone


These guys can read a pitboard at full speed, their brains are conditioned from their early teens to watch for the flags and then react accordingly.

Jeremy Clarkson did a doc about racing drivers visual processes while driving, how they picked these things up automatically. Can't remember the name now, but it had Colin McKray, Schumi and Ross Braun in it. One of his best.


Yeah great post. It was like at the end of FP1 in Brazil where Hamilton asked race control about the marshall who was standing out towards the track. These guys are so sharp.

I don't think the onboard cameras give a good feeling as to the visability a driver gets.


Does it matter if HE saw the flag or not? Then penalty isn't passing when you think there is a yellow flag out and you really shouldn't...


It's very clear as he activated KERS that very instant. He's a F1 driver, which means he looks far ahead, while you guys were still admiring the yellow light, Sebastian already spotted the flag and and the green light on the end of the straight and made his move.


good explanation


Indeed, people forget how misleading this onboard cameras are, I mean they're not even HD! Hopefully they'll fix that next year.


It doesn't matter. There was a green flag.


There was a green flag? Lucky you, I can see nothing! Just a shade that might have been manipulated.

Indeed take a look at this:

Lap 3:

Lap 4:

Lap 5:


Alvaro you should have gone to specsavers


A good thing you are not a Marshall then


Further up on the left there is a martial waving a green flage mate.

I think people are so frustrated about the way this is going down because from comments like this its obvious people aren't reading facts or logical explanations and just want a penalty to deny vettel the WDC regardless of what happened.


A FLAG on the left, not a LIGHT on the right. You are looking in the wrong place.


@Alvaro : go to your doctor, and put away the big circle on your pic's the marshal box on the left ......

Yes, you dont know it, you can see anything .....that is the fact

The race was about drivers and marshals, not you, not audiences ....


"A shade that might have been manipulated"


This is F1, not JFK.


The question is whether there was a green flag on the left-hand-side of the circuit near pit exit, not what colour the light boards on the right-hand-side of the circuit c.50 metres before it were. Comparisons between the boards on different laps, therefore, is with respect somewhat irrelevant. Also, if you're willing to suggest the video has been manipulated somehow to include a marshal that wasn't there, it does raise questions about the veracity of the remainder of it (such as the light board). The FIA has reviewed the video (presumably from source via FOM) and has determined there was a green flag being waved. That, ultimately, is what matters.


For starters, that's actually on the opposite side of the track to the marshal with the flag.


It was a physical cloth flag on the left, not a light.


Your missing the point, he is not overtaking in that shot of lap 4. He will overtake a little later tough when he has passed a marshal waving a flag on the LEFT hand side of the the track which comes after the yellow light.


German media source Spiegel have run an article tonight claiming it was Alonso's manager who was pressing for the clarification....


Who is this manager you speak of? 🙂

Is it Flavio Flav?


Nooo!!! Flavio IS NOT his manager. His manager is a fellow Spaniard who is also manager of other Spain´s athlets.


Isn't Flavio Briatore Alonso's manager?


Possibly instructed by Alonso


+111. Agree


Possibly an invention of German Spiegel.


Fine. Nice that this has eventually been settled as well.

For what ever really happened within 400m at 200mph, in the rain, with a much slower car - Vettel's advantage was not as huge as the punishment would have been the other way round.


It's not about gaining an advantage - the yellow flag rules are there for safety reasons, and flouting them is a very serious issue indeed.


The green flag was there too. End of discussion


Then I do wonder if it is true that Alonso slid wide during a yellow. This suggests to me he did not slow enough for yellow conditions and should be punished...


What are Ferrari going to do though? They still have the right to do something about it, even if it seems daft to us. They might have an argument we haven't thought about it. Is there anything to be read into the fact that Ferrari have not responded to the FIA's statement?


FIA did respond.they unequivocally state that it a green flag was waving.


Hopefully, what Ferrari 'are going to do' is design and produce a better car for 2013


As far as I read, is the FIA who didn't responded to Ferrari's letter, not the other way around..


That would alianate Vettel completely. James said on during free practice he believed there is some agreement between them for after Alonso's retirement.


I suppose Ferrari could insist that green is yellow, up is down and the red bull employs witch doctors to hypnotize marshals into changing flags...

But I'd assume they have a tiny bit more self respect than that...


Now that you mention "hypnotize marshals into changing flags", see from 46 secs to 60 secs in this video

I don't really understand this sport. But I must admit that I am a newbie. I guess FOM or FIA or whoever is in charge of this should explain better the rules about flags and so...


love it funny


It has been confirmed? Really? When? Where? Where is the official view on the matter? Where are the radio conversations? Where are the irrefutable proofs, the High-res pictures showing the marshall and the green flag?

I can still remember all the material that was made public when the Crashgate... Where are all the evidences now? This is it? Are they going to remain silent just passing some key words to the media close to them? That's it? REALLY?


The FIA is giving the official view - through Charlie whiting. What radio conversations? Vettel isn't going to go on his broken radio and ask every time he sees a green flag is he? And what hi res images? You think every car is covered in two hundred hi res stills cameras taking an angle on everything at every moment?

Get over it. It's hardly swept under the carpet. It was a legal move in a race. Ferrari asked for it to be reviewed, the FIA did so and pointed out that as the Marshall had confirmed the green flag already that's what Vettel was reacting to.

Alonso needs to focus on 2013 now.


Actually... I think the Red Bull car in particular has a lot of cameras all over it (for Newey to monitor his creation, not for the broadcast of course). 😉


Very well put. There is no radio traffic because he passed under greens. Otherwise every time he passes he would have to radio in to check.


He overtook after a green flag (as agreed by the FIA) so no other proof needed.


This is all too absurd.. I kind of wanted Alonso to win it.. but he didn't. Vettel did it, he made F1 history and he deserves it. All this craziness. He drove some storming races this year, as did Raikkonen, Button, Alonso, Hamilton, Webber, Maldonado, Grosjean, Kobayashi, Perez, Massa ... god knows who else. It has been a proper season to remember ... And I'll certainly remember it! Roll on 2013!! I can't wait!


I'm with you on this, AndyK!


Bernie has slammed Ferrari for this..this is awesome!!


Alonso cannot get a nice sleep until Nov 30


Green flag visible. End of


I think the marshal may have had the wrong flag out in all the confusion. Either way it was out and from what has been said, that is all that matters. I hope the FIA are not making a decision for fear of being humiliated as some news agencies/twitterers have suggested, its even more humiliating if they take no action simply because whats done is done.

Alonso will take it to the RB's next year for sure and I cannot wait to see it.


Pastor's car is stranded well before the flag. The track is clear between the flag and light. I see no error.


I suspect red bull will have something more like a 2011 season next year with the lack of rule changes. I doubt Alonso will be as big a threat next year simply because red bull were on the back foot start of this season.

Next year I think vettels only real threats will either be Button if Mclaren continue their speed dominance from the end of this season and if button can step up his quali pace and possibly Hamilton if Mercedes pull something insane out of the bag. Sadly I think even raikkonen will struggle unless the coca-cola deal with lotus helps them up their development rate to match RBR and mclaren.

I'd love to be wrong of course!


I have the same feeling as well, because this year Red Bull wasn't dominant as in 2011. Comparing qualy pace and race pace, it seems that at some point Red Bull just went to improve their DDRS but for race pace the car wasn't perfect (generally struggling on harder tyres, compared to other front runners).

Mclaren will be fast. Really fast, I can add. The problem will be qualifying...


McLaren had a great car all year (apart from the bits that were breaking), and towards the end were showing great form. Even Button, who'd struggled at times during the year, was on it towards the end (including of course a great drive and win at Brazil). But aside from McLaren (particularly Button), there doesn't look to be any significant threat to RB and Vettel going for a 4th pair of titles. Kimi might put in a bit of a challenge if Lotus can step it up a bit, but even then I don't imagine it'd be a real shot at the title.

If Ferrari can produce a competitive car, I hope Massa retains his late-2012 form into next year. I'd love to see Massa leading Alonso in the points to the point where Alonso is relagated to being Massa's lackey.


I agree Vettel is probably going to dominate 2013. His only competition (Hamilton) has moved to one of the worst teams on the grid and it's very unlikely that Alonso will get that lucky two years in a row.


If Ferrari will sort out their wind tunnel issues and get some qualifying pace, RBR won't be able to do anything.

Considering how poor Ferrari has been in qualy this year, their race pace was pretty good. So if they start on the first row and with the starts and the reliability they are having..nobody will catch them, or will be very hard.

Time will tell.


Well, those small rule changes we have are not in Red Bull favour. Double DRS is gone and the use of DRS in qualifying is limited. If you take this away from them, they are not much faster than Ferrari right now. I'm not so sure they will dominate 2013... McLaren looks fast, especially if Button can drive like he did in 2011.


I fear you may be right, although the McLaren will be very fast, if the drivers can be consistent.

Ferrari is the great unknown.


Hope Button or Perez is fast and dependable. If not, perhaps McLaren could sign-up Kimi or Alonso(?!).

I recall Senna, Prost et al moving on to teams with faster cars when they felt that they could improve their WDC chances. Senna moving on to Williams was on hindsight a fateful decision.


The one thing Ferrari did build this year is a very reliable car - that was partly Alonsos saving grace early on. Though seeing Vettels car withstand the damage in brazil and even go faster suggests Neweys cars are tougher than expected. It was only really the Renault engine that let them down.

I hope, just for entertainments sake, Mercedes put together something more like the 2009 brawn like you suggest below or that button buckles down and learns to adapt by boosting his aggression in quali. I'm a mclaren fan but I'd be happy to support any challenge to vettel to prevent a dull 2011 repeat.


Hamilton joining Mercedes next year was probably the best news Vettel has heard all year, (apart from winning WDC but yet again!). One less formidable contender to deal with 2013.


Yes - unless the team builds another car like the 2009 one....


Is anyone going to buy HRT?


No, because they don't have a commercial offer from Bernie, so there's no income from the sport to underpin it.

I think Thesan thought that F1 would float soon and that they would somehow benefit from that. Didn't work out and now they are cutting their losses


Button & Perez seem like genuinely nice guys and clearly excellent drivers, but presuming Red Bull do not take a massive step backwards, Mclaren will surely need to find lightening one lap pace to put either on pole with Button achieving just 1 of Mclarens 8 poles this year.


Ferrari did develop quite a new car for this season compared to 2011. They had much trouble in the first races. It should be reasonable to assume that they don't have as much trouble understanding how to develop this car for 2013. Rules don't change that much.

I think it'll be all about understanding the tires again.


Won't the ban of unlimited DRS in qualifying play into Ferrari's benefit? I really hope so...


the green flag doesn´nt exist


Like the second shooter on the grassy noll..



So who have I got my breakdown cover with then?


Photoshopped it out have you?


What makes you say that?


If one is so convinced that there are no green flags despite clear evidence then one might as well come up with some ridiculous hallucinating story


So does the aunt next door always looking at you funny...


So, let me get the facts straight. Ferrari ask to the FIA and the FIA answers to the British media? Is this for real?


because answering to spanish media will be pointless.


Brittish media contacted the FIA for comment on the news story they planned to publish. The FIA responded.


Imo, there was no case to begin with. All these arguement has been based on one very poor quality video clip. FIA obviously had tons more info then that super slowmo youtube vid. Hahahaha...

Fans, get over it!


I agree.. I somehow don't think that FAI and all the F1 team rely on a video posted on youtube by a fan. This would have been at hand on race day and after.


Indeed there was a case! The poor quality of the video was for the green flag, not for the yellow light!


Not only 1 clip. Why is Vettel's on-board light shows yellow? Why is the FIA circuit map shows all that sector in yellow?

They need to clarify this.

Look, I don't want the FIA to find Vettel guilty and take his title away, but what if that sector was yellow and the marshall was waiving the wrong flag?

Then the dash light and the FIA circuit map would be right.

This would be no fault of Vettel, as he went for the move once he saw the green flag, but this kind of issues need to be sorted out!


If the marshall was waiving the wrong flag then Vettel could not have guessed it and could not get a penalty, now could he?

The marshall had been waiving that flag for over a lap there is no mistake, get over it.


Maybe you need to read my whole post before throwing your anger at me.

"This would be no fault of Vettel, as he went for the move once he saw the green flag"

There is a mistake, either that marshall or the dash/FIA circuit lights. They contradict, therefore there is a mistake.


Good. I hope the FIA learn from this. They need to have a final result at the checkered flag. Only if there is an issue on the penultimate or final lap should it be decided after the race. And this should take less than 30 minutes (post-race). After that, the results should be FINAL.



Except there's the whole need for scrutineering after the race to ensure the cars are within the regulations...



I hate these post race penalties. If there is a punishment to be handed out as a result of a racing incident then do it during the race. In this day and age with dozens of camera angles, streamig telemetry, etc. there no reason why it can't be done. Very little stands to be gained from these post race discussions. Imagine the results of the world cup being overturned a week later? What other sport would allow this?


Kimi's 2003 Brazil win was also awarded to Fisi(?) post the race day.


Lance Armstrong and cycling.

Ben Johnson and 100m Olympics.

There were a couple of other lady sprinters too I believe.


First of all Whiting is not the FIA. This case requires an official clarification of the FIA, not some comments in a german magazine. We are talking about a lot of money involved. This is not joke Mr E. Why do I have to believe to anybody that he passes Vergne in a legal way? I need to see probes!


Whiting is the FIA he represents them. If he cannot make that statement no one can


Clearly Charlie Whiting is not 'the FIA'. He does represent them though in the role of race director and is authorised to act on their behalf.

You do not have to believe that the pass was legal, even though a green flag can be clearly seen, in the same way you do not have to believe that the moon landings ever happened.


As hoped(see post at:, the FIA did the right thing; the evidence is insufficient to alter the standings of the race.


So has anyone actually seen this green flag? Is this like Kenedy and that guy who no one actually saw, but everyone claims he is in a different spot? 🙂


Dude, look at the videos. The green flag is clear, particularly front the rear view.


I'm not even looking for it, if James says it there, I believe him, if James says its not there I'd worry for Vettel because it means it isn't. Ferrari fans see yellow all around the circuit, why because the track was slippy all afternoon. All overtakes were done under these yellow lights. Ferrari fans will be studying footage and will produce at best dubious clips and images for good debate. The FIA are controlling a race with the same kind of tech they have on airport runways most likely, the best of the best. If a sauber pass's a force india, its not on tv, but if it happens under yellow, the FIA know about it. If you go to the back of the grid, it won't even be on camera to the public, but the FIA will know about it, and the public won't care. If Vettel passed illegally, the authorities would have known, same as Ferrari would have known.


Jimmy Hoffa is waving it!!! I'm not sure if it is Elvis Or Jimmy but im 100% sure its eing waved


I saw it :v


Vettel saw it.


Yes, there is a link to the video of it in the previous article. It's green and it's being waved ! There is also a yellow/red flag being shown but not waved.

Also of note is people are mistaking an amber non flashing light (slippery track warning) with a flashing yellow.


The green flag was being waved from the grassy knoll. :^)


@brace Very hard to see. Look after the video removed by FOM

And why are is Charlie confirming matters to a German publication. The FIA have a website and Ferrari say they have sent a letter.


Hopefully James does not mind a link to Sky Sports' website as they have provided a clear and concise analysis of the incident that should provide answers to some of the posts above:


James posted the video in the first post.


i am so confused. you have yellow lights, green lights, green flags, dashboard lights, why have the yellow light is some jerk is waving a green flag. why don't they just have flags or maybe just lights.


Your comment is very insulting, without marshalls we wouldn't get racing!! Why call him names?

James this should be removed!!


Good thing you're not racing then!


It's amazing how some people can't see what's in front of them. Unbelievable. There WAS a green flag and everything is legal.

Vettel is a triple world champion rightfully.


For anyone still questioning it, You can clearly see the green flag been waved at the marshall post on the left of this animation:


For better or for worst FIA has spoken and they have the last word. Having said that Vettel better get ready to show up next season with 100 bodyguards specially at the Spain and Italy GP. I don´t think he is going to have a warm welcome by the fans.


The entire issue seems just like another attempt to take away some of Red Bull's momentum

I think Ross Brawn's comments re "Red Bull title joy will be shortlived" are trying to do the same thing

Personally, I don't really mind at all - keeps us all entertained during the off season


Why is nobody talking about the fact he was going at full throttle well inside the yellow flag zone with Kers activated? Is that not a safety issue? He was racing when others were moving with caution-I guess next year everyone will be going full throttle through yellows and I zagging to make a move down the road- yeah that souns safe. And why do they have those lights in the car? I think the moment those lights go on, your throttle should be cut off to 10% or something.


I think it's time to let this one drop.

There will be plenty more "controversy" in 2013...that's F1!


Absolutely agree James there are far too many dopey comments to be credible


So for next year Alonso's mind game with Vettel is going to be about the green/yellow flag, right?


Ferrari deliberately brought a penalty upon Massa to win one grid place for their #1 and now they keep on complaining about a non-issue? No wonder that team is so little respected by the british racing teams and so many F1 fans.


It's been well established that, even with a grainy green flag video, Vettel likely did nothing wrong so a punishment for him would be somewhat harsh. So I'm hoping to move the discussion into the next phase. What exactly were the race stewards doing between laps 1 and 20? Possibly the most exciting 20 laps ever, easy to get distracted but still, stewards officiate, they don't spectate. A brief chronology of what I can gather the stewards did wrong. Lap1, turn 4. An incident where two cars retired because of a crash, involving more cars. There was seemingly no investigation of this incident? Why? Lap 3, the DRS zone is under yellows, until Sebastian Vettel arrives and is given a green flag. How was the straight unsafe for the leaders but safe for back markers. Lap 4. All the FIA systems show the Straight between 3 and 4 under yellow flags, the DRS is disabled for everyone but a green flag is shown to Sebastian Vettel. Again, what happened in the 30 seconds from leader to Vettel arriving that changed the track condition from unsafe to safe? Somewhere about lap 6 or 7, Grosjean has a crash in which he hit the wall at about 9G. Doesnt this usually automatically trigger a safety car so the medical car has a clear track to the driver?Lap 8, in changeable and challenging conditions, the stewards put out oily/slippery surface flags, whilst some parts of the track are yellow flagged, confusing commentators and presumably drivers. Then for 12 laps or so, the track has debris everywhere but it takes until lap 20 to decide on a safety car, once a driver has suffered a puncture when it was clear from the TV pics, that certain corners were like a stock car race. And then we have the race restart after the safety car, where race control put out a message saying DRS activated when there is 2 laps grace. Also, should DRS have been available at all during the race considering the conditions

All this leads me to the uneasy question of Did the race stewards lose control of the most important race of the season? Did they put any drivers lives at risk? And at any point, Did the stewards make choices differently because of the championship being at stake?

Would love an answer from James on this. Get a feeling from someone on the inside!


Interesting question. There was a lot going on, certainly


It was fantastic action, very difficult to keep up with. But wa it too much for the stewards to handle?


To be honest, it is not the footage but how FIA and Bernie handled this that starts to really make me believe that Vettel actually infringed a yellow flag.


So who is that Marshall that waved that flag? I wonder how much Red Bull payed him to wave a green flag under yellow flags to get Seb past Vergne?


The marshal has apparently confirmed he received a clear track signal and was waving the green flag. Besides can you imagine a marshal helping an enemy of massa in brazil? They wouldn't have gotten out of the track alive!

(unless massa paid the marshal to very subtly defeat alonso therefore ensuring massa was not fully relegated to triple champion Alonsos helper in 2013? Now that's a conspiracy theory for you 😉 ha ha.


Are you serious?


How about the Toro Rossos letting Vettel slip by? Why isn't this penalised by the FIA as unsportsmanlike conduct? Team orders is one thing, but orders between sister teams is another level.

Am I wrong?


Tim how are you going to prove he let him by he may have had a problem like visor misted up or foot slipped off accelerator?


Mate, that's what stewards are for.

Honestly, I don't think it's right for anyone to pull over for another car unless they're getting blue flags. Team orders are allowed and that's fine, but now it's sister teams and cars with the same engine, etc. It ruins the racing.

ice cream is faster than you

So there is nothing to clarify in the first place as FIA pointed out there is no case to answer due to the green flag waved which signals the end of yellow zone.

I bet by now Ferrari wishes they didnt open pandoras box by asking for clarification and making this public just minutes before the FIA made its "NO CASE TO ANSWER" announcement. FIA was even polite to Ferrari by not naming them as the party who asked for clarification. Talk about shooting in your own foot, Ferrari. I asume they have to follow some protocoll now which means needless work for days/weeks to clear up this mess. Anybody knows the outcome anyway so they will not be pleased for having to waste time with this.

Just shows you how desperate Ferrari and Alonso are to start the promised era of domination and that all is not well in Ferrariland. From 2014 Mercedes might become a big factor too making this Ferrari Alonso era less and less likely to be a success.


Surely its unfair to give a 20s penalty when the race ends under SC.Yes I'm a Vettel fan, but it would be exesive punishment to any driver.


Sometimes it would appear that Fernando reveals an unattractive side of his character by in this case insisting that Ferrari try protesting Vettel's passing move on JEV.

Ferrari was apparently tempted to give in to the Dark Side and go along with him until the Emperor slapped them down, like you'd smack a dog on its muzzle when it barked at the wrong moment.


For Ferrari, it has been a year of Complains and Protests... The fact of the matter is that they had a Bulletproof car and rather Thanking the people who built the most reliable car on the grid with a rate of development second to none (gauging by surge in Massa's performance) all they did is offend countries they visited (India through their Italian Navy Flag) Threw mud on all their competitors (through Alonso). I must say, for the first time since Michael and Kimi era, the brand of Ferrari has been tarnished.

If only they would shut up concentrate on what they are doing they'll be so much better off.

Lewis learnt this and corrected himself and there has been an unprecedented surge in his popularity and fan base.

And of course, Mr. Raikkonen's fan base is partly for his spine chilling speed and partly for his out of the car personality.

I think Ferrari should learn from Lotus who has gained the most popularity this year, coming out of nowhere by doing nothing but enjoying racing, enjoying being there and enjoying Kimi.


I agree. Lotus seem to be a "fun team". That's not a bad image for marketing.

Ferrari is starting to be viewed in Alonso's image - a bit of a whiner.

Red Bull need to coach SV so that youthful exuberance doesn't get translated as cocky in public.

McLaren is and has been for the longest time - cold and calculating, but recently seemingly unreliable.

Just my personal take!


Couldn't agree more with you on your Mclaren's take. That's why the Finns - Hakkinen and Raikkonen fitted so sublimely in Mclaren's cold... both were cold and spine chillingly quick.


I am really disappointed in Ferrari and Alonso. His cryptic tweets really are an embarrassment. What is the biggest shame is that over the last year Alonso had come across in a really good way. Also, Ferrari under Stefano really looked like they had changed. Such a shame.


When Ferrari didn't request clarification you said that they were manipulating the fans and disrespecting the sport. Now that the FIA has made a clear statement it's a shame.

You think supporting the driver makes Stefano look bad, you think calling another event a racing incident makes him look bad.

I am not responding to anything in this post other than to point out that there is an anti Ferrari crowd out there that have made up their minds long before seeing or understanding the facts.


Ha, if you think that I am anti Ferrari then you have no idea. Just because I disagree with how they have handled this affair doesn't make me anti ferrari.

How ferrari have handled this has been wrong and as reports today seem to indicate you may even find that the current leader of Ferrari also thinks so. Does that now make him anti Ferrari? No, it makes him aware how desperate this whole episode has been for all involved.


Rach( I think you´re the same Rach from the BBC website) The only thing Ferrari did wrong was not to be able to buil a competitive car. And the paid a big price and they deserve it. Unfortunately Alonso was a casualty.

The race in Brazil was controversial. There is no doubt. I´m not talking about flags and lights only. There were other things. For example FIA didn´t investigate the crash between Senna and Vettel. Ferrari didn´t start the complaint. It was Sky with the Kobashashi overtake. Then other things began to surface with the What about Vergne? What about Vettels DRS and KERS in yellow flag zones? What about Vettel overtaking Pic? Ferrari only asked for clarification of the Vergne case.


Hi Anne,

No, I have never posted on the BBC.

I don't agree with you and if you see my other posts on here you will see my reasons why. The only thing I will mention with regard to your post is that you actually missed off one of the main failures of the stewards and that was Alonso going wide and out of control under yellows at turn 1?


Hi Anne

I'm sorry but your reply only emphasises why alonso and Ferrari are wrong on this whole matter.


A lot of cars during the race went off track. That´s not unusual with a wet track. But Alonso didn´t overtake anybody. Do we have to penalize Raikkonen for going on a excurssion? I don´t think so


Domenicali cleared this today by saying the clarification request was made because of the fans so that there wouldn't be any question marks over this matter.

I think Domenicali is a reasonable guy. For example, when Alonso criticised Kimi of their collision which took Alonso out, Domenicali said Kimi did nothing wrong.


He didn't need to ask for clarification to clear Vettels name, he just needed for Feraair to come out and say straight away, there is no need for any investigation as we at Ferrai are happy that the race was won in a fair manner.


I'm sorry but if that is true that is ridiculous and it makes Stefano look even worse! Personally, I think this smacks more of Alonso than Stefano because as you say I think he is a decent chap who has done a lot to restore Ferrari's reputation. This whole episode is really poor for Alonso and Ferrari.


I agree fireman


I think Domenicali is just in a difficult situation.


James, do you think this is bad losing/sour grapes/mind games from Ferrari?

Alonso and Ferrari must have known where the marshal post waving the green flag was, given that they raced at the Brazilian GP too...if they didn't, they are clearly incompetent, which I don't belive for a second. Vettel clearly knew the rules, hence why he passed there.

Ferrari must have known that there was no chance of any protest being successful...the whole thing is a complete non-event.

Must say, I wanted Alonso to win on Sunday, given his performance over the year. But Vettel drove superbly, and Ferrari's antics now make me glad they lost.



Certainly they verified everything with Charley before they removed gearbox seal at Austin, certainly they could verify SV JEV pass with FIA authority and themself give clarification to the fans, that would be brave step from their side and now unfortunatelly for everybody harmed themself.


What a horrible situation. Red Bull know Vettel is partly in the wrong but will never admit to it. Ferrari would love to appeal but never would for the negative PR it would generate and the FIA seem to be making up rules as they go along as changing the result would undermine their credibility. There are definitely no winners in this and unfortunately the only loser is the sport of F1


Also, what rules are being made up as they go along? The same rules existed in Australia and Brazil!


Why do these expensive cars have all this modern technology on the steering wheel if it can be over ridden by one man and his flag. This technology has been used all season but in light of this race there is now no point in having it. As an Alonso fan I don't want the result changing as it would turn F1 into a joke but it raises questions as to why the cars have this system?


Had you not thought that if it is raining really hard and there is a lot of spray, the lights on the steering wheel may be all they can see?


Just where is Vettel partly in the wrong? It has been proved beyond all doubt that he did nothing wrong!


Vettel's error was to come down across and into Senna. Debatable as to severity of incident but based on previous 19 races I would say this was the old "causing an avoidable collision". As a Vettel fan I wish he would have had a drive through penalty at that time to clear any doubt later given the fact he may have still finished with enough points. There was still lots of race left. The ongoing issue of flags and illegal passing is redundant and as JA said "it's time to let this one drop."


I would say that the winners and losers here are pretty clear cut:

Winners = Vettel (WDC), Red Bull (WCC) & The objectivity of factual evidence.

Losers = Alonso (WDC Runner up - aka the first loser), Ferrari (ditto) & The subjectivity of blinkered fans.


One good thing about this saga is that many F1 fans (or is it just me) learnt of the rule about flags vs lights.

I'll be watching out for flags next season with a better understanding of when they override lights!


I would say blowing this out of proportion also adds to making this season what it has been. I don't see anything wrong if Ferrari only asked for clarification even though they ought to have done it at Brazil. It feels like the clarification seeking was instigated by Fernando Alonso otherwise.

Lets hope 2013 would even offer more than 2012 has offered.


There is not a surprise the FIA answer. I have not intention at all to question Vettel's championship, but it's interesting to notice the truth about Sebastian's maneouvre. This is:

The green flag was intended for pit stop cars exit. The FIA arguments are a big excuse for their incompetence, imagine to mention Ecclestone outburst against Ferrari. This is a very bad joke. One more time Fe, one more time they do it again.


Uhuh, so under your interpretation cars coming out of the pits are clear to race but everyone else was under yellows?


You exit from the pits===green flag.

You enter on the track===yellow flag. I think it's clear on the video, there's no need to interpretation at all. End from my part.


Is this a joke? Please watch the video. Words here are useless.


Sergio, If you ever watched a GP you would know that there are lights at the pit exit Red & Green.

Flags are the prime indicator on the track.


Sergio, What position do you hold at the FIA to know that the green flag was at the the pit exit?


My word James the desperation and bitterness being shown by a significant number of the Ferrari fans on this page is truly astounding!

Are you not tempted to mod-out those posting circular arguments that do not contribute to useful debate?

It is a real shame that some users of this fine site are detracting from what was one of the closest and most exciting final races in the recent history of the sport (at least since Lewis & Massa), just because their "horse" didn't win.

I for one am glad Vettel won his third title and secured his place at the table of true greats of this sport. It's no less than he deserves after the fantastic performances he has delivered in his relatively short career.

I would hope that his constant detractors will now give him the credit he deserves as the youngest triple world champion in the sports history, but I fear that they will somehow try to carry this manufactured controversy over to label his achievement as tainted.

Only time will tell I guess.


I think you'll find equal circular logic on both sides. I understand the Ferrari fans a bit more easily than the anti crowd who don't care who wins as long as it isn't an Italian car or Spanish driver.

To me you are all Europeans and all fans of F1 so it's difficult to understand all the visceral emotions based on so little difference.


Tempted, yes. But they don't cross the line.

That said in 2013 we will have new mod procedure to deal with the 80,000 + comments annually we are now getting. This will be tighter and aimed at keeping debate positive and engaging.


I look forward to it

Roll on 2013


Hi James, this is a different Chris!! Can I draw your attention to post number 19, where the Marshall holding the flag takes a very nasty and bitter insult!! That should be removed!! Formula one marshalling has been perfected by the British (Infact it's great whatever formula your watching in the uk, which is not true of marshilling outside f1 in other countries), and it's one of the great things about our motor sport heritage!! There's probably marshalls that post here!! I appreciate that the post is aimed at one marshal, but he stood there in horrid weather and no doubt did a perfect job!! (sorry for my rant)


Just a big note of thanks James. My goodness I have never understood how you can spend so many hours reviewing the chatter from us armchair fans.


Why if Ferrari don't want to belittle vettel's championship, why do they keep saying Alonso is the best and he deserved the title because he did two races less, to be honest I think they have done everything to be belittle it


Obviously Alonso needs that kind of support.


People are blaming Ferrari for seeking clarification. I, instead, wish they would have launched an appeal, and had argued that that the dashboard lights were still 'yellow' until Vettel had crossed over a painted line on the circuit ( a line which would have signalled the end of the yellow flag zone) Why should a human marshal, who could have, in this case or in any other case, waved a flag in error, take precedence over the FIA ECU itself? SInce the yellow lights were still on, Vettel knew that he was still in the 'yellow flag zone', and could have waited until the lights turned off to pass...he didn't though and hence he illegally passed under yellow flags. It's a shame Whiting and the rest of the FIA were/still are partial. For this reason, Alonso should have been champion.

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