Date: 29th November 2012 at 8:49am
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The Formula One community went into meltdown on Wednesday night when reports appeared that could potentially change the result of the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Crucially for the 2012 Formula One World Championship, if the result was altered, it would completely change the dynamics of the title picture, taking a third consecutive F1 title away from Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and hand it to Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.

How could this possibly happen so long after the event you ask? Well the one incident under review is Sebastian Vettel’s overtaking manoeuvre on lap four.

Vettel passed Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne, while the Formula One live world feed was showing various different replays of the start, so it was generally missed in the middle of a frantic start to the race, but via the various on board camera’s the pass was seen by some eagle eyed watchers and is now available online via the BBC website.

The video footage shows Vettel passing a yellow caution light, whilst a yellow light is also visible on his steering wheel, this means that passing is forbidden, however Vettel made the overtake anyway, hundreds of yards before the green track-side light.

The penalty for such a move would be a drive through penalty if penalised during the race, or a post-race time penalty of 20 seconds.

If penalised during the race the time lost on track because of the drive through would have been easily made up during the safety car period, or of course if it had been a late decision by the race stewards Mark Webber would have slowed to enable Vettel to have gained another place.

But as 20 second post-race penalty is the only available option now, that would result in Vettel dropping down to eighth place and hand Alonso the title.

Whilst that part of the video is self evident, slow it down frame by frame and on the inside of the track at the marshals post there would appear to be a green flag being waved by a track side marshal before Vettel makes the move.

This of course changes things entirely as that takes precedence over the fact that a yellow light was showing on Vettel’s steering wheel.

If that is a green flag then the overtaking move is legal and the race result will stand.

With such big ramifications over this one incident, could we see the title decided in the FIA Court of Appeal? We have to know either way by Friday at the latest according to FIA regulation Article 179b: ‘The period during which an appeal in review may be brought expires on 30 November of the year during which the decision that is liable to review has been handed down, if that decision is likely to have an effect on the result of a championship.’

 

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