Vettel has 'no case to answer'

  • Last Updated: November 29 2012, 16:22 GMT

Sebastian Vettel's fears over potentially losing his third Formula One world title to an on-track infringement have been dismissed by the FIA.

Sebastian Vettel: Was entitled to overtake
Sebastian Vettel: Was entitled to overtake

Four days after an enthralling title fight concluded with Sunday's dramatic Brazilian Grand Prix, motor sport's governing body have confirmed Vettel is in the clear over a disputed overtake.

The FIA will now confirm their findings to Ferrari, who had written a letter seeking clarification of Vettel's lap-four pass at Interlagos on Jean-Eric Vergne's Toro Rosso.

Vettel made history on Sunday when he became the youngest three-time champion at the age of just 25, beating Ferrari's Fernando Alonso to the title by three points.

However, there lurked the prospect of the FIA being forced to review an incident which, if Vettel had been found guilty, could have led to a retrospective 20-second drive-through penalty being applied to his elapsed race time.

The consequence of which would have demoted Vettel from sixth to eighth on the race classification, and with it losing his third consecutive title by a point to Alonso.

The FIA, however, has confirmed there is "no case to answer", ensuring a swift conclusion to a potentially unsavoury end to the season.

The case in point had centred on footage from Vettel's car which appeared to suggest an illegal move on Vergne in a yellow-flag zone in which no overtaking is allowed.

At the time, Vettel was attempting to battle his way back through the field after a first-lap incident with Williams' Bruno Senna which had spun him around and relegated him to the rear of the pack.

Come the start of lap four, and with yellow flags in place following an accident involving the second Williams of Pastor Maldonado, video shows Vettel passing Vergne on the straight between turns three and four.

In Vettel's case a yellow light was flashing at turn two and again at turn three, while at the same time lights and the word 'flag' appear on the cockpit system of his Red Bull.

The images are not helped due to the grainy footage and with water on the lens from drizzle over Interlagos.

What can only be made out via enhancement is that 200 metres into the straight Vettel passes a marshal's post where a green flag was being waved, allowing him to make a move on Vergne.

Vettel completes it prior to passing another marshal's post at the end of the straight displaying a green light, at which time the indicators in his cockpit also disappear.

Under FIA regulations as flags take precedence over lights, which are a supplementary aid, Vettel is in the clear.

Race director Charlie Whiting has since confirmed the findings, saying: "If the lights are not installed at a flag post, the driver responds to the first signal that is shown.

"In Vettel's case, between the last yellow light and the green light there was a green flag being waved.

"The distance is 350 metres here. Vettel responded to the flag and did everything right."


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