The Australian GP is now the second race of 2023 where the final results have been contested, following Ferrari’s appeal for a right to review the penalty applied to Carlos Sainz in Melbourne.
Unlike Aston Martin’s success in reinstating Alonso’s Jeddah podium, Ferrari has failed to reverse the FIA’s decision from Albert Park.
The Spanish driver performed solidly in Australia, recovering from an untimely early red flag and climbing his way into a respectable fourth place.
However, Sainz’s hard work was undone after he missed his braking point and hit Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso into turn 1 at the final standing start of the race.
The 28-year-old pleaded with his race engineer for a chance to speak with the FIA and overturn his 5-second penalty whilst in the pit lane, describing the decision as “unacceptable” and ” too severe ” .
His frustration was still visible when he went to the media pen post-race, where Sainz declared it was “the most unfair penalty I’ve seen in my life.”
In isolation, the FIA’s penalty seems reasonable – considering that Sainz was objectively responsible for making contact with Alonso and causing the Double World Champion to spin.
However, there were a few exceptional circumstances that influenced the mixed reaction to the penalty.
Primarily, questions have been raised about why the contact between Logan Sargeant and Nyck de Vries during the restart was not investigated.
The rookie quite clearly missed his braking point and collided into the back of De Vries’ AT04, explaining post-race that he apologised to the AlphaTauri driver for the incident.
Although this incident was independent of the decision to penalize Sainz, it is understandable why this discrepancy has become a talking point.
Fred Vasseur mentioned this in a press conference after Australia, where he briefly mentioned that these two incidents were treated differently by the FIA.
Alpine’s overturning of Fernando Alonso’s penalty from last year’s American GP shows that appeals can be successful.
Still, new evidence typically needs to be provided for a decision to be reversed – and this is where Ferrari’s appeal failed.
The stewards explained their decision to reject Ferrari’s appeal:
“There is no significant and relevant new element which was unavailable to the parties seeking the review at the time of the decision concerned.
“The Petition is therefore dismissed.”
This decision is hardly a surprise, although Fred Vasseur conceded weeks ago that Ferrari was also seeking open dialogue and clarification from the process.
In any case, the Italian squad must lick its wounds and reset ahead of the upcoming Grand Prix in Baku.