Ferrari are considering an appeal against an overtaking maneuver by Sebastian Vettel at Sunday’s chaotic Brazilian Grand Prix which could see him stripped of his title, it was reported on Wednesday.
The Daily Mail claimed that YouTube footage appeared to show Vettel, the youngest triple world champion in Formula One history, overtaking Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne under yellow flags in the early laps of the rain-affected race at Interlagos.
Overtaking under caution is outlawed and is usually punished with a drive-through penalty.
However, in cases where the infringement is not spotted, the newspaper claimed, the sanction is a 20-second penalty handed out retrospectively.
Vettel was sixth in last Sunday’s season-ending race, while double world champion Fernando Alonso was second in his Ferrari behind McLaren’s Jenson Button.
The result allowed Vettel to beat Alonso in the title race by just three points.
The aftermath of the thrilling race in Sao Paulo was overshadowed by Ferrari insisting that Alonso should have been crowned champion.
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali said that Alonso paid a heavy price for first-lap exits in Belgium and Japan, where he was shunted out of contention by Lotus duo Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen respectively.
The Italian giants had been further aggrieved when Vettel, accused of blocking Alonso in qualifying in Japan before going on to win the race, escaped with just a reprimand.
Vettel refused to get involved in a war of words, although he did allude to his rivals’ controversial decision in Texas to change the gearbox on Felipe Massa’s Ferrari to allow Alonso to enjoy a starting advantage on the grid.
“A lot of people tried to play dirty tricks, but we did not get distracted by that and kept going our way, and all the guys gave a big push right to the end,” Vettel said.