F1: Vettel Loses Podium After Button Pass, Hard Ruling Admits Whiting Photo:

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TMR Team | Jul, 24 2012 | 2 Comments
  • Vettel loses podium after Button pass, Hard Ruling Admits Whiting
  • Red Bull saga - track spat or high-stakes politics?
  • Technical bosses meet to discuss Red Bull rules saga
  • Hamilton hopes Kovalainen gets fast car for 2013

Vettel loses podium after Button pass

Stewards demoted Sebastian Vettel from second to fifth after ruling his late-race pass on Jenson Button at Hockenheim was illegal.

Hot on the heels of Sunday's other controversy about the Red Bull's engine software, the team broke the post-race drive-through penalty news with a statement entitled 'Never a dull moment".

McLaren's Button, who is promoted from third to second, called the stewards' decision "straightforward".

"The rules state that you can't go off the track to gain an advantage," he said.

German Vettel and his boss Christian Horner tried to argue the case, but Button insisted: "There's nothing to say really, I think the TV cameras say it all."

The TV cameras also captured Vettel describing as "stupid" Lewis Hamilton's decision to overtake him, despite being lapped.

"That was not nice of him," said the German. "It's a bit stupid to disturb the leaders. I think that potentially lost us the position to Jenson."

Charlie Whiting, the highest ranking FIA official at Grands Prix, has admitted the penalty was harsh.

Reigning world champion Vettel was demoted from second to fifth after stewards ruled he gained an unfair advantage by passing Jenson Button while off the track.

The penalty imposed was a drive-through, which because handed down after the race was converted to a 20-second race time addition.

"It was disproportionate to the offence," said David Coulthard, who according to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said that sort of move happens regularly in DTM.

Whiting does not disagree.

"The punishment is very hard," he admitted when asked about Vettel's demotion.

"Unfortunately at the moment we have nothing else to choose from."

It is believed the FIA is looking into introducing a raft of new penalties, including a mechanism that could delay a driver for as little as five seconds in total.

"Work is still ongoing as per the technicalities," Auto Motor und Sport said.



Red Bull saga - track spat or high-stakes politics?

Lewis Hamilton questioned world champion Sebastian Vettel's maturity after the Red Bull driver called him "stupid" at Hockenheim.

German Vettel disliked the way Hamilton overtook him despite being a lap down during the German GP.

"That was not nice of him," said Vettel. "It's a bit stupid to disturb the leaders."

When told about the 25-year-old's comments, Briton Hamilton responded: "Hmm. Maturity has come through I guess. It shows his maturity."

Vettel even suggested Hamilton had made the move in order to disturb him in his battle with the sister McLaren of Jenson Button.

But Button insisted: "He (Hamilton) is allowed to do that."

McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh also defended the 2008 world champion.

"Racing drivers race. If that's stupid, I don't know what else is.

"He was quicker, overtook and pulled away, so I'm not quite sure of the stupidity. That's for others to comment on I suppose."

Indeed, others sensed more - even F1's high-stakes politics - was at play.

Rumours were swirling in the paddock that tensions between the two camps had swelled again, amid suggestions it was McLaren who blew the whistle on Red Bull's iffy engine maps.

"That's the nature of formula one," said Red Bull boss Christian Horner. "You are always going to get other teams who will speculate that you have done wrong."

Writing for Der Spiegel, correspondent Ralf Bach smelled an even bigger rat, with the pre-race torque map controversy and Vettel's post-race penalty all in the mix.

The conspiracy theory is that the FIA is clamping down on Red Bull amid the reigning world champions' refusal to agree new cost-limit regulations.

Referring to Vettel's penalised pass on Jenson Button, Dr Helmut Marko observed that, "... normally, the race director would have sent an email that he should have let Button back past.

"Not this time," the Austrian said.

The post-race drive through penalty cost Vettel not only second place, but also third and fourth.



Technical bosses meet to discuss Red Bull rules saga

F1 technical directors are meeting on Monday, Germany's Auto Motor und Sport has reported.

Undoubtedly at the very top of the agenda will be the Red Bull engine mapping saga that gripped the Hockenheim paddock mere hours before Sunday's German GP

Ultimately, the FIA admitted it could not penalise the team, though stewards insisted they did not "accept all the arguments" put forward by Red Bull.

The suggestion is that Red Bull adhered to the letter of the law, but not the "spirit".

"There is no clause in the regulations that refers to the spirit of the regulations," insisted team boss Christian Horner.

"The rules are in black and white and, having looked at the evidence, the FIA were fully satisfied."

But a cleaning-up of the rules is now regarded as likely.

"This must be stopped," Peter Sauber said clearly. "Otherwise all that happens is a lot of money is thrown out of the window.

"And that is clearly what the FIA wanted to avoid with the new rules," he added.

Even Martin Whitmarsh, the head of the powerful McLaren team, agreed that leaving the current rules alone would lead to "an arms race" that will cost "a lot of money".



Hamilton hopes Kovalainen gets fast car for 2013

Lewis Hamilton would be happy to share the podium once again with his former McLaren teammate, Heikki Kovalainen.

Paddock speculation has linked Finn Kovalainen, who was Hamilton's teammate in 2008 and 2009, with a return to the upper half of the grid for 2013.

Kovalainen, 30, struggled during his stints with Renault and McLaren, winning just a single race, but he has rebuilt his reputation with start-up stragglers Caterham.

Hamilton and Kovalainen each celebrated their 100th GP weekend at Hockenheim, but both suffered races they would rather forget.

Indeed, Hamilton said on the radio that he would like to retire his damaged McLaren, and later stood by his desire to give up.

"I don't understand the point in driving around in a broken car. I was just driving for the sake of driving," said the Briton.

Kovalainen also struggled at Hockenheim, but Hamilton nonetheless tipped him as a contender for a much better car in 2013.

"Heikki has shown himself to be one of the fastest drivers," he is quoted by the Finnish broadcaster MTV3.

"Unfortunately, he does not have a very good car now, but he's still shown many times that he is strong, consistent, mentally focused and very fast," said Hamilton.

"I really hope he will get the chance to have a faster car, so that we can be racing against each other once again."


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