FIA dismisses Aston Martin’s protest against qualifying results

FIA dismisses Aston Martin's protest against qualifying results

Aston Martin’s protest against the qualifying results for tomorrow’s Chinese Grand Prix has been dismissed by the FIA, therefore the original starting grid remains unchanged.

FIA race stewards have dismissed Aston Martin’s protest over the results of today’s qualifying session for the Chinese Grand Prix following Carlos Sainz’s crash, as he retains the seventh spot on tommorow’s grid.

During the second qualifying session, Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz lost control of his car after making slight contact with the gravel trap resulting in a spin but the Spaniard avoided a potentially serious crash by managing to slow his SF-24.

The driver lost his front wing after the front end of his car impacted the wall, but he managed to restart the car and get back to the pits after taking over a minute and some seconds to restart his Ferrari after the session was red-flagged.

Sainz later turned in a breathtaking performance to advance to the final qualifying round, securing the sixth grid spot for tomorrow,s Chinese Grand Prix.

After the session, Aston Martin lodged a protest against the qualifying results, claiming that there was a violation of Article 39.6 of the 2024 Formula 1 sporting regulations. According to the rule, cars that come to a stop on the track are not allowed to continue the session.

Aston Martin cited a note on the official race control system reporting that “Car 55(SAI) stopped on start/finish straight” as evidence that Sainz had indeed been formally identified as having stopped.

However, after reviewing the matter, the FIA stewards came to the conclusion that cars that have stopped on the circuit but are thereafter able to resume driving without the need for outside assistance are not considered to have “stopped” in the purpose of the regulations.

“It is clear that the plain language of Article 39.6 suggests that so long as a car ‘stops’ on the track during a qualifying session, that car should not be permitted to take further part in the session,” said the stewards’ ruling.

“However it was clear from the examples cited by a number of the team managers present and the FIA that this was not how this rule was applied by the teams and the FIA in the past.

“In the FIA’s view, what was crucial was that the car would not receive any outside assistance in order to restart (eg from marshals).”

The FIA representatives clarified that it would be permitted as long as the car could restart and continue from a halted position within reasonable time. The typical time would be around 30 seconds, though that varied depending on the circumstances.

“So long as the car was able to restart and continue from a stopped position within a reasonable time, that would ordinarily be permitted,” the statement continued. “The typical time would be around 30 seconds, though that varied depending on the circumstances.

“The teams themselves said that they had previously attempted to agree what they considered to be a reasonable length of time before a car would be considered “stopped”.

“Unfortunately, they were not able to come to a final agreement on the maximum time allowed.

“Aston also accepted that there were prior examples of cars stopping on track and being allowed to continue, despite the plain wording of Article.39.6. However, they felt that stopping, in this case, for 1minute and 17 seconds was too long and therefore should not have been permitted.

“In the above circumstances, taking into account the numerous examples where cars had stopped for different lengths of time and were permitted to restart and continue to participate in the session concerned, we considered that the decision taken by Race Control was not inconsistent with past practice nor in breach of Article 39.6.

“We considered that even if the plain wording of Article 39.6 warranted a more stark conclusion, the consistent practice in the sport to date did not warrant a setting aside of the discretion exercised by Race Control by us as Stewards.

“We accordingly dismissed the Protest.”

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