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FIA stewards reject Ferrari’s call for review of Vettel’s Mexico penalty

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The FIA stewards have rejected Ferrari’s call for Sebastian Vettel’s Mexican Grand Prix penalty to be reviewed, saying that there are “no new elements” in the case.

Vettel was handed a 10-second time penalty following the race in Mexico City last month for moving under braking while defending his position from Daniel Ricciardo.

Vettel had originally been classified third, but was demoted to fifth in the final standings as a result of the penalty.

Ferrari announced on Thursday that it had submitted a request to the FIA’s stewards from Mexico to review the penalty, claiming that “a number of new elements have come to light”.

However, the FIA has now confirmed that no review will be undertaken, rejecting the appeal made by the team.

“The Stewards of the 2016 Mexican Grand Prix convened a hearing today at 1645 hrs Brazil time to hear a request from the Entrant of Car 5, Scuderia Ferrari, to review the decision in Document 38 from that event,” a statement from the FIA reads.

“The request was lodged in accordance with Article 14.1 of the FIA International Sporting Code. The hearing was conducted by teleconference. Scuderia Ferrari was represented by Mr. Jock Clear. Red Bull Racing was represented by Mr. Christian Horner and Mr. Jonathan Wheatiey.

“Scuderia Ferrari argued in its written submission that the ‘new element’, in accordance with Article 14.1, existed. In its verbal submissions it also argued that there were two ‘new elements’.

“Sspecifically the Scuderia argued that the Race Director, pursuant to Article 27.4 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations, had the ‘power’ to instruct the driver of Car 33 Max Verstappen, to give back the alleged advantage he had gained when leaving the track on a previous lap to that of the incident involving Car 5 and Car 3 driven by Daniel Riccardo.

“Scuderia Ferrari also argued that the GPS data it presented was a ‘new element’. The Stewards heard extensive verbal submission and argument for at parties.

“In relation to the matter of the Race Director having the ‘power’ to instruct the driver of Car 33 to give back the alleged advantage, we note firstly that the relevant article gives the Race Director ‘absolute authority’ to allow the driver to give back a position. It does not imply an obligation to do so. The fact that the Race Director did not exercise his discretion is not relevant to the decision taken in Document 38.

“In relation to the GPS data we note that this data is available to teams during the race. It is also available to, and referred to by, the stewards, in the Stewards Room during the race.

“When asked if the GPS data in any way contradicted the telemetry and other evidence that the Stewards concluded showed that the driver of Car 5 had steered whilst under braking at Turn 4, Mr. Clear conceded that it did not.

“Article 14.2 of the international Sporting Code gives the Stewards the sole discretion to determine if a new element exists.

“Having received all the written and verbal submissions and carefully considered them. the Stewards decide there is no new element.”

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.