Ferrari submit offical protest for Carlos Sainz penalty, given FIA hearing date

Sam Cooper
Fernando Alonso faces backwards after being spun by Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz. Australia April 2023.

Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso is spun backwards after tangling with Carlos Sainz. Australia April 2023.

Ferrari have submitted a protest to the FIA over the penalty awarded to Carlos Sainz in Australia and will meet with the sporting body next week.

Sainz received a five-second penalty for crashing into Fernando Alonso following the red flag restart in Melbourne but due to the closed up nature of the grid following the standing start, Sainz dropped a significant amount of places and out of the points.

The Spaniard was audibly upset at the time and was very emotional over the team radio, pleading with his race engineer to encourage the stewards to hold their decision until after the race when Sainz could speak with them.

The plea fell on deaf ears though and he was duly handed the penalty, meaning Feerari left Albert Park with zero points.

Ferrari met with the race director after the race and now, almost two weeks after the chequered flag, the FIA have confirmed they have received a letter from the Italian team protesting the decision.

The FIA said they had received a letter from Ferrari dated April 6 2023 that sought a review of the stewards decision number 46 from the Australian race weekend.

The Maranello outfit requested that the stewards “consider such request and to make a determination whether or not a significant and relevant new element exists (Article 14.3 of the Code) in relation to the decision/incident”.

The FIA has now given Ferrari a virtual hearing date on April 18 at 8am CET with a team representative and Sainz required to attend.

It seems unlikely at this stage that Sainz’s penalty would be withdrawn, which would have a knock-on effect for Lance Stroll, Sergio Perez, Lando Norris, Nico Hulkenberg, Oscar Piastri, Zhou Guanyu and Yuki Tsunoda who would all lose points, but Ferrari may be trying to set a precedent should a similar incident occur in the future.

The original penalty document stated Sainz was in breach of Appendix L, Chapter IV, Article 2 d) of the FIA International Sporting Code for causing a collision and was given a five-second penalty along with two penalty points on his superlicence. recommends

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“The Stewards reviewed positioning/marshalling system data, video, timing, telemetry, team radio and in-car video evidence and determined that on the first corner of the restart, a collision occurred between Car 55 (Sainz) and Car 14 (Alonso). We determined that Car 55 was wholly to blame for the collision,” the document read.

“Car 14 was significantly ahead of Car 55 at the first corner and nevertheless Car 55 drove into Car 14, causing it to spin and leave the track. We accordingly imposed a five-second penalty on Car 55.

“For avoidance of doubt, we took into account the fact that this collision took place at the first lap of the restart, when, by convention, the stewards would typically take a more lenient view of incidents.

“However, in this particular case, notwithstanding the fact that it was the equivalent of a first lap incident, we considered that there was sufficient gap for Car 55 to take steps to avoid the collision and failed to do so.”