Ferrari: We believe this evidence is quite overwhelming

Ferrari believe they have “overwhelming” new evidence to prove that FIA appointed Canadian Grand Prix stewards were wrong in imposing a five-second time penalty that stripped Sebastian Vettel of victory on the day.

Ferrari sporting director Laurent Mekies told reporters on Friday, before meeting the same stewards at the French Grand Prix, that new evidence that had emerged since the race in Montreal two weeks ago.

“We believe this evidence is quite overwhelming when it comes to establishing that Sebastian did not breach any regulations,” he said.

Asked whether it was enough to overturn the outcome of the race, Mekies said it would not be appropriate for Ferrari to comment on that ahead of the meeting.

“We are very respectful of the FIA processes and will be meeting with the stewards so I think we can probably have these discussions next weekend,” said Mekies, who worked for the governing body before joining Ferrari in September.

He expressed respect for the stewards and recognised they had a ‘very difficult job’.

The right of review calls for a team to present significant and relevant new evidence that was not available at the time of the decision.

The stewards have sole discretion to determine whether such a new element exists and will either dismiss the request or accept there is a case for a further hearing.

The decision to give Vettel a five-second penalty in Montreal, for going off track and returning in an unsafe manner while defending the lead from Lewis Hamilton, triggered a controversy that rumbles on.

Vettel, who was furious after the race and spoke of having a victory ‘stolen’, told reporters on Thursday that he had not changed his opinion of what happened.

Drivers and former champions have taken positions on either side of the divide with some suggesting that the letter of the law, while carried out by the stewards, might be in need of a change.

“There is a rule that I don’t think should be there, which is a bit too drastic and a bit too black and white and doesn’t interpret well the rules of racing, that is race hard and enjoy,” said McLaren’s Carlos Sainz.

French Grand Prix: Hamilton wins Vettel stumbles