About two weeks ago in Hungary: Esteban Ocon won the Formula 1 race there, ahead of Sebastian Vettel. Which initially left many fans energized as neither Lewis Hamilton nor Max Verstappen were finally victorious. But soon after, there was a rude awakening.
Vettel had very little fuel on board when he crossed the finish line. Article 6.6.2 of the FIA Technical Regulations requires at least one liter of gasoline so you can take three specific fuel samples after the race.
The first sample is analyzed by the FIA. A second sample is sent to an independent testing laboratory to rule out sources of error. A third sample remains with the team. But Vettel only had 0.3 liters in his tank, which was clearly too little, so it’s a violation of the rule.
Vettel’s disqualification is correct because of the rules
Certainly, if Vettel had not been picked up by the race hosts after the Hungarian Grand Prix, he could have kept second place. Where there is no plaintiff, there is no judge. But: Vettel’s Aston Martin team has been arrested.
A radio message from his box a few laps before the end was treacherous. It was said that Vettel should save fuel. At this point, Aston Martin was probably already aware that the precious fluid might be running out.
The deciding factor was that Vettel parked his Formula 1 car next to the track after the race and ran back to the pits. At this point at the latest, the stewards were alerted and checked his car.
The amount of fuel in the car was very low. Vettel was disqualified soon after the race. It is a right decision, albeit bitter, because the rules must be followed by everyone.
However: Vettel’s disqualification does serious damage to Formula 1. To put it more drastically: it destroys the sport.
Vettel can reach the podium this season
Because: There is finally a race where the other drivers are on top of the podium, but then Formula 1 shoots itself in the leg. If Vettel’s tank had not been checked, he would have stayed in second place. Hamilton wouldn’t have hurt for third place.
In the fight for the world title, the original position with Ocon at the top, Vettel in second and Hamilton in third didn’t change anything, as Verstappen was far behind in Hungary. But as it is, Formula 1 takes the stress out of itself.
The FIA should be able to take more proportionate decisions
Perhaps Vettel could have been fined or otherwise punished rather than taking second place away from him. With regard to more exciting competition, more flexibility in the punishment of offenses would be desirable. Means: The FIA must allow itself to be able to show more sensitivity.
It is precisely at this point that decision makers will have to rethink controversial rules such as fuel specifications so that they can make more proportionate decisions in the future.
Although Vettel’s elimination was correct, it was very difficult. Especially when you remember that Hamilton dropped Verstappen at Silverstone at 300 km/h and received – only – a 10-second penalty.
Much more important than second place in Hungary for Vettel anyway, he has now shown what is in his Aston Martin. The four-time world champion is far from becoming obsolete. With a little luck, Vettel could reach the podium this season.
Provided he has enough fuel in the tank.