The FIA opted against upholding the protests lodged against Red Bull’s two drivers by Ferrari after the Monaco Grand Prix. What was their rationale?
Ferrari were unsuccessful in their bid to protest the first and third-place finishes of the two Red Bull drivers in Monte Carlo after Sergio Perez had claimed victory with Max Verstappen finishing third.
The Scuderia lodged individual protests against the two drivers, “seeking clarification” over Perez and Verstappen touching the yellow line delineating the pit lane exit coming out of Turn 1.
The Sporting Regulations stipulate drivers must not cross the line and given the lack of clarity over the situation, Ferrari opted to lodge protests which threatened the two Red Bulls’ podium finishes.
Red Bull were represented by Sporting Director Jonathan Wheatley, while Ferrari sent along Wheatley’s counterpart, Inaki Rueda. Also in attendance was the FIA’s race director for Monaco, Eduardo Freitas.
Ferrari’s argument was that coming out of the pits, Verstappen put part of his left front and rear tyres on the left-hand side of the line coming out of the pits. Ferrari pointed out a similar case in which AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda was given time penalties for crossing the white line on entry to the pits in Austria in 2021.
Ferrari pointed out that in the Race Director’s notes for Monaco (Article 11.1), Freitas had outlined what drivers must do when exiting the pits.
“In accordance with Chapter 4 (Section 5) of Appendix L to the ISC (International Sporting Code), drivers must keep to the right of the solid yellow line at the pit exit when leaving the pits and stay to the right of this line until it finishes after Turn 1,” is the exact wording of that instruction.
Given Perez and Verstappen did not obey this stipulation, Ferrari felt this was sufficient grounds for a protest.
Red Bull’s defence was that in both cases, the cars were still to the right of the line and that regardless, they had not committed a breach of the International Sporting Code.
Both sides agreed the left-hand tyres of both cars had been on the line, with part of the tyre on the tarmac to the left of the line.
However, the stewards opted against upholding the protests, with the reason being down to the wording of the race director’s notes not being fully aligned with the wording of the Sporting Code.
Appendix L of the ISC states that “at the pit exit, a car ‘must not cross the line painted on the track at the pit exit’.
The stewards ruled that according to the regulations, the race director’s job is to “observe and uphold all the provisions of the Code and the Sporting Regulations”. While Freitas’ notes for Monaco contained the stipulation to remain to the right of the line, these notes merely serve as an addendum to the regulations but do not take precedent over the wording of the ISC or the Sporting Regulations.
As a result, neither Perez nor Verstappen committed any breach of the overriding rulebook, that being the ISC, and as a result Ferrari’s protests were not upheld.
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