Stewards explain decision not to penalise Vettel jump-start

Suzuka, Japan

Japanese Grand Prix – The stewards have explained their decision not to hand any punishment for Sebastian Vettel’s movement at the start of the race.

Starting on pole position, Vettel lost a position to the fast-starting Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas at the start of the Japanese Grand Prix, and went on to finish the race in second place.

The Ferrari driver lost a position at the start of the race, but video evidence showed that Vettel moved before the five lights went out on the grid.

Despite Vettel not gaining an advantage by the stuttered start, such moves have previously been punished by the stewards, prompting many to believe that an in-race penalty was forthcoming.

However, the verdict from the stewards was that Vettel’s movements were within the allowable tolerances of the sport’s start system.

“The Stewards reviewed video evidence and the jump-start report based on the information from the FIA approved and supplied transponder fitted to each car,” a statement read.

“Whilst the video shows some movement that movement was within the acceptable tolerance of the F1 jump start system which formerly defines a jump start per Article 36.13(a) of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations.

“Competitors are reminded that they have the right to appeal certain decisions of the Stewards, in accordance with Article 15 of the FIA International Sporting Code and Article 9.1.1 of the FIA Judicial and Disciplinary Rules, within the applicable time limits.”

The decision was made early on in the race not to penalise Vettel, leaving the Ferrari driver to race freely against Hamilton for second place., but Vettel conceded after the race that Ferrari lost their chances staying ahead of Mercedes on the opening lap.

“The lights were on for a long time, but it was my mistake. I lost the momentum there, so it ended up worse than if I would’ve made just a bad start,” said Vettel.

“[If you have two cars in first and second] then you can play a little bit more, but ultimately Mercedes were faster so you tend to find a way past if you are that much faster. The question is could they have got past two [Ferrari] cars and not just one. I just didn’t have a good start and, I guess, Charles’ wasn’t great either.”

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Luke Murphy

As an FIA-accredited motor sport journalist, degree-level Motorsport Engineer and amateur karter, Luke's passion for motor sport is evident. He is one of the editors at FormulaSpy and one of the longest-standing members of the team.

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