SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium — Sebastian Vettel believes Formula One could take a more common sense approach to the kind of technical infringement which saw him stripped of second position and disqualified from the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Vettel finished second in Budapest but was thrown out of the race several hours later, as his car did not have enough fuel to provide a sample to the FIA as required in the regulations. Aston Martin’s appeal to have the decision overturned was unsuccessful.
The disqualification came after Vettel had celebrated on the podium. Vettel was frustrated to see Aston Martin miss out on a big result.
“It’s obviously bitter,” Vettel said on Thursday ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix, the first race after the summer break which immediately followed the Budapest race.
“I think it was a great result for us as a team and a lot of points that we scored so very disappointing but I don’t think there’s much that we could have done. Obviously during the race we had the fuel under control, we thought so, but at the very, very end — I think it was the last lap — we found out that something might not be right and we were very surprised when the fuel was not in the car.
“So it’s very bitter but those are the rules so we have to accept and carry on. It was a very big day because also big points for us but we obviously have lots of races as I said before now and we try to squeeze some points in those.”
While it broke the letter of the law, Vettel pointed out that it is unlikely his team gained a performance advantage from the infringement.
“Well I guess rules are rules and obviously we didn’t know we had a problem to be honest. When we checked the fuel wasn’t in the car and we got disqualified but we thought it was in the car so I don’t know for future whether there’s a better way to handle this but I don’t think there was much that could have been done.
“It’s very bitter because first I think we did not have an advantage; second there was no intention or no way we could explain that too little fuel was in the car. So something happened over the course of the race — I don’t know, a leakage or something — that the fuel simply wasn’t there anymore. I don’t know, it’s probably more for the future.
“Looking back I think it’s clear, the rules are as they are, and we got disqualified. Looking forwards obviously it’s very bitter and I think in the circumstances I understand better because I was the one who suffered from it you don’t wish that to happen to anyone else and it should probably have a little bit more tolerance.
“But what exactly you should write down on paper in black and white I don’t know, that’s for other people to come up with.”
The F1 season continues with the Belgian Grand Prix on Aug. 29, live on ESPN2 at 8.55AM ET.