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Motorsport | Formula 1

Sebastian Vettel © Gallo Images

Ferrari quiz FIA over Vettel move



Ferrari on Thursday confirmed that they had contacted Formula One's governing body concerning a manoeuvre by Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel during the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix that won him this year's title.

"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," the Italian team said on its Twitter account @insideferrari.

There was no immediate comment from the International Automobile Federation (FIA) when contacted by AFP but a number of news outlets, including the British publication Autosport, quoted sources as saying that Ferrari's concerns were baseless.

Autosport said there was "no doubt" at the FIA that Vettel had overtaken legitimately because a green flag had already been displayed in the yellow flag sector, allowing drivers to resume passing.

No team had asked for a review of the incident, it added.

"The incident wasn't reported to stewards in the first place because it didn't seem like there was a need to report it at the time," Norman Howell, the director of communications for the International Automobile Federation (FIA), told bbc.co.uk.

"Now that Ferrari has sent us a letter asking for an explanation we will give it to them."

Britain's Daily Mail newspaper had earlier claimed that YouTube footage appeared to show Vettel, the youngest triple world champion in F1 history, overtaking Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne under yellow flags in early laps of the rain-affected race.

Overtaking under caution is outlawed and is usually punished with a drive-through penalty.

But in cases where the infringement is not spotted, the newspaper claimed, the sanction is a 20-second penalty handed out retrospectively.

Vettel was sixth in Sunday's race at the Interlagos circuit, while double world champion Fernando Alonso of Ferrari was second in his Ferrari behind winner, McLaren's Jenson Button.

The result allowed Vettel to beat Alonso in the title race by just three points.

Sunday's race and Vettel's victory had already been overshadowed by claims from Ferrari that Alonso should have been crowned champion, pointing to controversial races in Belgium and Japan to support their argument.

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali said that Alonso paid a heavy price for first lap exits in Belgium and Japan where he was shunted out of contention by Lotus duo Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen respectively.

The Italian giants had been further aggrieved when Vettel, accused of blocking Alonso in qualifying in Japan before going on to win the race, escaped with just a reprimand.

Alonso also insisted his campaign had been undermined at Spa and Suzuka.

Vettel refused to get involved in a war of words although he did allude to his rivals' controversial decision last weekend in Texas to change the gearbox on Felipe Massa's Ferrari in order to allow Alonso to enjoy a starting advantage on the grid.

"A lot of people tried to play dirty tricks but we did not get distracted by that and kept going our way and all the guys gave a big push right to the end," Vettel said.

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