Aston Martin have lodged a protest against the Austrian Grand Prix result claiming many track limit violations have gone unpunished.
Aston Martin’s protest was upheld by the FIA who have served more penalties post race affecting eight drivers, Lewis Hamilton, Carlos Sainz, Pierre Gasly, Esteban Ocon, Yuki Tsunoda, Alex Albon, Logan Sargeant and Nyck de Vries.
Aston Martin who lodged the protest have benefitted as Fernando Alonso who finished the race in sixth will now be classified as fifth. Lance Stroll who finished tenth will be classified ninth.
Aston Martin’s points haul from Austria becomes 12, instead of nine, while Mercedes – who are directly fighting Aston Martin for second in the Constructors’ Championship kept their ten points.
How the protest panned out
In a brazen challenge to FIA led Formula 1 race direction and the deleted laps fiasco that marred Sunday’s race in Spielberg, Aston Martin are requesting the FIA to look into several incidents of track violations that they claim went unnoticed, in addition to the 100 the stewards already dealt with over the 71-lap race.
The FIA said in a statement following the protest: “A protest has been lodged by Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team against the provisional classification.
“The protest claims that a number of cars were not penalized for a breach of Article 33.3 of the Sporting Regulations.
“A hearing will be conducted at 1830 hrs (1730 BST),” the statement revealed. “In the meantime, the Stewards, having become aware of the existence of a number of deleted laps (due to exceeding track limits) that were drawn to our attention after the receipt of the protest, have requested Race Control to perform a reconciliation of all deleted laps with penalties applied.
“We note that Race Control dealt with in excess of 100 deleted laps during the race,” the FIA concluded.
Fernando Alonso finished the Austrian Grand Prix in sixth place while Lance Stroll took a single point after finishing tenth.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner, whose drivers Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez finished the race first and third, commented on the track limits matter in Austria.
He told Sky Sports F1: “The track limits thing needs to be looked at because it makes us look a little bit amateurish.
“With so many drivers breaking those limits its just too easy. I think it’s something that needs to be looked at here for next year. Either the kerbs or maybe a bit of gravel on the other side of the kerb could just tidy that up, he added.
FIA wants gravel traps installed at Turn 9 and 10
One hour after the FIA started their review meeting, an updated statement was issued; is said: “Regarding the track limits infringements at the 2023 FIA Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix, we note that due to the specifics of the circuit layout and the propensity of many drivers to repeatedly drive outside of the boundaries of the track, an unprecedented situation arose which resulted in all potential infringements not being able to be reviewed during the race.
“Prior to the submission of a Protest against the result, we had already begun a full review of the track limits infringements, which is ongoing.
“During the Grand Prix, Race Control was tasked with reviewing well over 1200 instances where a car was reported as potentially leaving the track.
“The results will be updated once the review of those which were not able to be reviewed during the race is complete.
“In order to address the issue for future events we will renew our recommendation to the circuit to add a gravel trap at the exit of turns 9 and 10.
“We note that while this is not a straightforward solution in relation to other series that race here, it has proved to be very effective at other corners and circuits with similar issues,” the new statement concluded.
The FIA uphold the protest, new penalties to be issued
The FIA announced the Aston Martin protest was upheld in a new statement that said: “The protest was lodged against the accuracy of the Provisional Classification. The Stewards first considered if the protest was admissible.
“The Stewards determined that as it was lodged on time and complied with the requirements of Chapter 13 of the FIA International Sporting Code, it was an admissible protest.
“An examination of the list of deleted lap times provided to the Stewards by Race Control, revealed that a number of track limit infringements had not previously been referred to the Stewards for potential penalty.
“It was determined that some of these infringements warranted a penalty that was not previously applied when the Provisional Classification was published.
“These penalties will be reflected in the Final Classification. Accordingly, the Protest is upheld and the Protest Fee is returned to the Competitor,” the latest FIA statement concluded.
Eight drivers get penalties
As per document 75 issued by the FIA eight drivers receive post race penalties following Aston Martin’s protest. (screen grab from document below)