Aston Martin protests qualifying results after Sainz incident

Aston Martin protests qualifying results after Sainz incident

Aston Martin have lodged a protest against the results of today’s qualifying session claiming a potential breach of the F1 sporting regulations over the handling of Carlos Sainz Jnr’s crash.

Aston Martin has protested the qualifying results of the Chinese Grand Prix on Saturday, claiming that Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz shouldn’t have been allowed to continue the session after his stoppage in the second qualifying round.

The incident triggered a red flag but Sainz was ultimately able to start his car and make his way back to the pits, where his Ferrari team completed the necessary repairs in time to finish Q2 and advance safely into Q3.

However, Aston Martin took notice of the Scuderia’s actions and protested the qualifying results pointing out a breach of the F1 sporting regulations. Its team representatives reported to the Chinese Grand Prix stewards after having seemingly made the case that Article 39.6 of the regs was not followed.

The article states: “Any driver whose car stops on the track during the qualifying session or the sprint qualifying will not be permitted to take any further part in that session.”

The intention of the regulation is to stop drivers from receiving outside assistance—such as a tow truck or marshal—to resume a session that has been interrupted by a red flag. However, in a situation where a driver resumes driving the car on his own is clearly not covered by the article.

Sainz went on to qualify in the third round and placed seventh, four spots behind Fernando Alonso in the leading Aston Martin. But Lance Stroll in the second Aston finished only one spot short of qualifying for Q3, therefore, the team feels if Sainz shouldn’t have been allowed to continue, then their driver should have advanced.

“I just did a simple mistake,” said Sainz as he explained his crash. “Hit the inside kerb a bit too hard that threw me a bit off line, touched the gravel on the exit, clipped the gravel and spun.

“Then right in the last moment before hitting the wall I managed to turn the wheel a bit and crash in a better angle than what I was. In the direction that I was going, probably this saved the day, because it was looking bad at one point.

“From there on, did a very strong lap in Q2 to recover from that moment for the confidence more or less back, if you can call it like that, and put together some decent laps.”

If Sainz’s running after the incident is found to have violated the regulations, it will be unclear how the stewards would be able to make things right.

Stroll would receive a spot on the grid along with the three drivers in front of him and the four behind him if he were simply removed from the Q2 and consequently Q3 categories. However, this would not reinstate Stroll to the Q3, which he has already missed.

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