The stewards of the Las Vegas Grand Prix say they do not have the power to accept a request from Ferrari not to penalise Carlos Sainz Jnr after repairing parts of his car.
Sainz’s power unit and survival cell suffered irreparable damage when he struck a loose water valve cover early in first practice at the Las Vegas Strip Circuit. As the damage was caused by reasons outside the team’s control, Ferrari asked the stewards to let them replace Sainz’s energy store using a new component without incurring a penalty.
However after discussions with a representative of Ferrari and the FIA’s single seater director Nikolas Tombazis, the stewards said they could not grant the team’s request. They explained the rules make a penalty for Sainz mandatory in these circumstances and they do not have the power to overrule them.
The stewards made it clear they sympathised with Ferrari’s situation as the damage had been caused by a fault on the Las Vegas track.
“The stewards note that if they had the authority to grant a derogation in what they consider in this case to be mitigating, unusual and unfortunate circumstances, they would have done so, however the regulations do not allow such action,” they stated.
The full consequences for Sainz will depend on exactly which parts Ferrari decides to change and what they are replaced with.
Ferrari team principal Frederic Vasseur did not rule out seeking compensation for the damage Sainz’s car sustained when he spoke in the FIA press conference after the curtailed practice session. “We’ll have time to discuss about this,” he said.
Stewards’ decision on Ferrari’s request for Sainz
Having received a report from the FIA Technical Delegate concerning Car 55 (Document 16) stating that the Survival Cell, Internal Combustion Engine, Energy Store and Control Electronics were damaged beyond repair following an impact with a foreign object; and having received a request from the Competitor requesting a derogation of the Sporting Regulations in order to allow a replacement of the Energy Store from outside the pool, without penalty; and having heard from the team representative, the director [of the] FIA single seater department, having viewed video evidence and examined the Team’s declaration sheet, the stewards, determine that notwithstanding the fact that the damage was caused by highly unusual external circumstances, Article 2.1 of the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations obliges all officials, including the stewards, to apply the regulations as they are written.
Accordingly, the mandatory penalty specified under Article 28.3 of the Sporting Regulations must be applied.
The stewards note that if they had the authority to grant a derogation in what they consider in this case to be mitigating, unusual and unfortunate circumstances, they would have done so, however the regulations do not allow such action.
Competitors are reminded that they have the right to appeal certain decisions of the Stewards, in accordance with Article 15 of the FIA International Sporting Code and Chapter 4 of the FIA Judicial and Disciplinary Rules, within the applicable time limits.
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