Jean-Eric Vergne’s sixth place at Singapore is under threat with Force India confirming they believe that Toro Rosso didn’t apply his first five-second penalty correctly.
The Frenchman finished sixth at the Marina Bay Street Circuit despite being handed two five-second penalties for exceeding track limits. The first one he took fairly early in the race while the second penalty was added to his post-race time.
However, there are question marks over the first penalty with Force India asking the FIA to review it following new evidence that he wasn’t stationary for the full five seconds.
Article 16.3a of the Sporting Regulations states: “The driver must enter the pit lane, stop at his pit for at least five seconds and then re-join the race. The relevant driver may however elect not to stop, provided he carries out no further pit stop before the end of the race. In such cases five seconds will be added to the elapsed race time of the driver concerned.”
Force India believe Toro Rosso started working on the car before the five seconds had elapsed.
“The rule is that you can’t start work on the car from the time you stop until five seconds have elapsed and we believe, by reviewing some video evidence after the race, that Toro Rosso started to remove those wheels at about 4.4 seconds,” Force India’s Chief Operating Officer Otmar Szafnauer told Sky Sports F1.
“So he really didn’t serve the five-second penalty so we are asking the FIA to review it in light of new evidence.”
Stewards are allowed to re-examine cases if a “new element” comes to light and Force India believe they have a case.
“The FIA wouldn’t brush something like that under the carpet, it is a sporting regulation that they didn’t comply with so it is pretty cut and dry,” Szafnauer added.
“You just have to time it and add the appropriate five seconds to his race time. I think the rule is if you don’t serve it in a pit-stop then it is just added on, so it’s pretty simple to me. As far as the process I am not that sure, but I believe the stewards here can judge that too.”
Should Vergne be punished, then Force India’s Sergio Perez is likely to move up one place to seventh as he was 2.2s behind the Frenchman in eighth.