F1 Brazilian Grand Prix

Interlagos, Sao Paulo

  • Track Length 4.309 km
  • Lap Record 1:11.473
  • Laps 71

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  • Michael Schumacher

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FIA set to clear Sebastian Vettel over his disputed overtake in Brazil

Last Updated: 29/11/12 5:57pm

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Sebastian Vettel: FIA says the Red Bull driver has"no case to answer"

Sebastian Vettel: FIA says the Red Bull driver has"no case to answer"

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The FIA are set to confirm that Sebastian Vettel has "no case to answer" in relation to his disputed overtaking manoeuvre in Sunday's season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix.

Vettel recovered from a first-lap spin to claw his way through the field and clinch a sixth-place finish which earned him a third successive Formula One world title, pipping Ferrari's Fernando Alonso by just three points.

But Ferrari believed the Red Bull driver may have illegally passed Jean-Eric Vergne under a yellow flag at Interlagos and sought clarification from the FIA on the incident.

If found guilty of an illegal overtake Vettel would have been demoted to eighth place, which would have handed the title to Alonso, but the sport's governing body have studied video footage and are expected to confirm that the German is in the clear.

The images suggest that trackside lights were flashing yellow when Vettel passed Vergne's Toro Rosso on the fourth lap, but a marshall can be seen waving a green flag moments before he completed the manoeuvre.

FIA regulations make it clear that flags take precedence over lights, which has since been confirmed by F1 race director Charlie Whiting.


"If the lights are not installed at a flag post, the driver responds to the first signal that is shown," Whiting said. "In Vettel's case, between the last yellow light and the green light there was a green flag being waved.

"The distance is 350 metres here. Vettel responded to the flag and did everything right."

"They were satisfied at the time that Vettel did not overtake under yellow flags and as far as they are concerned it is case closed."
Ted Kravitz

Sky Sports F1 pundit Ted Kravitz also believes the onboard footage from Vettel's Red Bull was misleading, and that the German has overtaken legally.

"It was actually a trick of the TV screen," Kravitz told Sky Sports News. "All the attention is on the light panels which are around the circuit and they supplement the marshals' flags that you get on any track.

"If a marshal holds out a yellow flag, then you are not supposed to overtake and that is what people thought they were seeing.

"But actually the green light board was in the wrong place - there was a marshal flag before it saying that the danger zone had passed and we have had that confirmation from the FIA that no infraction ever took place.

"They were satisfied at the time that Vettel did not overtake under yellow flags and as far as they are concerned it is case closed."

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Vettel yellow flag controversy

Sebastian Vettel: Was never worried about yellow flag incident

Vettel targets fourth title

Sebastian Vettel says he is as motivated as ever and never doubted his controversial overtaking manoeuvre in Brazil.

Fernando Alonso: Says Ferrari were right to seek clarification

Alonso: Fans deserved answer

Fernando Alonso has echoed his Ferrari bosses in insisting the team "owed our fans an answer" over the flag controversy.

Stefano Domenicali: Said Ferrari wanted "the matter completely cleared up"

Domenicali defends FIA query

Ferrari's team boss has defended their decision to ask for clarification of Sebastian Vettel's controversial overtake.

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