FIA insists Vettel’s overtaking manoeuvres at Interlagos were legal
By Berthold Bouman
According to reports from Autosport and the German Auto, Motor und Sport magazine the FIA has deemed Vettel’s overtaking manoeuvres during the Brazilian Grand Prix were legal. On Tuesday videos surfaced in which Vettel apparently overtakes Kamui Kobayashi and later Jean-Eric Vergne under yellow.
The first video of the incident with Kobayashi shows Vettel overtaking the Sauber under yellow, but after a thorough analysis of the footage it is clearly visible the yellow light is not flashing, which means overtaking is allowed. When yellow flags are waved, or a yellow light is flashing, overtaking is not allowed.
It is also clear a track marshal is waving a red-yellow striped flag, with means, “caution, slippery surface,” just metres ahead of the yellow light. The FIA concluded Vettel had not done anything wrong overtaking Kobayashi as the yellow light and the red-yellow striped flag were just a warning for the slippery conditions.
The second video (see below) that surfaced is a bit more difficult to interpret, as in the rain it is more difficult to see whether the lights were green or yellow. The first flashing yellow light can be seen on the left, some 2 seconds after the start of the video.
The second light on the right (0:10) is further away from the track as it is positioned behind the run-off area, while the first one is next to the track, in a higher position and more visible. Vettel apparently overtakes Vergne under yellow, however, the FIA has told several media outlets there was a green flag waving at a marshal post before Vettel overtook Vergne — which makes the move legitimate.
Earlier today Ferrari were considering filing an official appeal and Luca Colajanni said, “We’re looking at the video. We have until tomorrow to file an appeal.” But later today Ferrari said on their official Twitter account, “Ferrari asked, by means of a letter, for a clarification from FIA regarding VET’s overtaking move on VER during lap 4 of the Brazilian GP.” Which means Ferrari has only asked for clarification, and did not file an appeal after all.