FIA dismiss Ferrari right of review appeal into Carlos Sainz’s Australia penalty

Henry Valantine
Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz in the pre-race press conference. Jeddah March 2023.

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz addresses the media ahead of the race weekend. Saudi Arabia March 2023.

The FIA have dismissed an appeal for ‘right of review’ from Ferrari into Carlos Sainz’s late penalty at the Australian Grand Prix, citing “no significant and relevant new” evidence with which to overturn their decision.

Ferrari had brought an appeal to FIA stewards to a virtual meeting on Tuesday morning after Sainz was given a five-second penalty for making contact with Fernando Alonso at the second restart at the last round in Australia, sending the Aston Martin driver into a spin.

The stewards found the Ferrari driver to be “wholly to blame” for the incident, but Sainz himself felt the penalty was “too severe”, given the race finished under yellow flag conditions and it dropped him from fourth to 12th on the road.

But after lengthy talks with the FIA on Tuesday, the stewards have now dismissed Ferrari’s case, meaning any hope for Sainz having his time penalty overturned has been extinguished.

What did Ferrari present to the FIA?

In their written reasoning behind the decision, the FIA say Ferrari presented them with telemetry from Sainz’s car at the second restart, a written account from Sainz from his perspective of the incident, and “witness statements” from other drivers, presented from post-race interviews given by Alonso and others from their view of what happened.

However, piece by piece, the stewards dismantled each part of what the Scuderia gave them as evidence – on the first point, arguing the telemetry the team gave them actually strengthened their conviction behind their choice of penalty.

They wrote: “The Stewards have access to a considerable amount of telemetry data. We were also in a position to access such data. The telemetry data presented in the Petition is at best ambiguous and in our view did not exculpate SAI but in fact corroborated our decision that he was wholly to blame for the collision.”

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Next, Ferrari looked to argue that testimony from Sainz was necessary to provide a complete view of the incident, something which the FIA disregarded, writing that: “SAI’s written witness statement is not a new significant and relevant element required to decide who was at fault for the collision.

“First, had we thought that this required a statement from SAI for us to analyse the event, we would have summoned him after the race. We did not consider it necessary then to hear from him to decide that fact.”

The stewards used the same reasoning in going on to dismiss the accounts of other drivers, claiming what others had to say was not “relevant” in the decision they ended up making.

“While the statements were made subsequent to our decision, and therefore could not have been present when we made the decision, nothing stated in those comments were significant or indeed relevant to our considerations,” the written response stated.

“We accordingly dismissed the Petition.”