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F1: Sore losers Ferrari fail to overturn Vettel's championship

Bryan Edwards

Given Ferrari's history of stress-testing and even breaking the rules, often with the support of stewards and the FIA, it's a bit rich that they asked the FIA to review the stewards' decision over a pass by Sebastian Vettel on Verne in the Brazilian Grand Prix.

When the stewards in Japan found Vettel guilty of blocking Alonso in qualifying, they did not give him a grid penalty. He started from pole position and won. Alonso, out of the first lap, got no points. Alonso was angry that Vettel suffered no disadvantage from his actions. And his complaint is entirely justified.

And there is no doubt that Vettel's behaviour on and off the track has, this season, been less than proper.

But Ferrari - who always push the rules to breaking point and recently sabotaged one of their own cars so as to manipulate the grid after qualifying - have a history of breaking the rules, the most spectacular of which was the use of team orders when they were banned.

But something has changed: Ferrari used to be able to rely on favouritism by race stewards and the FIA, the sport's governing body to decide in the team's favour or, if that could not be done, to be lenient. However, that no longer seems to be the case.

Japan proved that. And now the stewards in Brazil and the FIA have rejected Ferrari's plea that Vettel overtook under yellow flags has been tossed out.

Ferrari studied the on-board video and saw a yellow light in the car. However, Vettel in fact passed after a green flag had been waved, making the move legal.

If he had been docked 20 seconds, Vettel would have been demoted to eighth, and Alonso would have been champion by one point.