F1 title doubt as video suggests Vettel overtook illegally

Nov 29, 2012

Did Sebastian Vettel overtake on yellow caution light? Drivers' championship could pass to Fernando Alonso

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EDITOR'S UPDATE 3PM: Since this item was posted, FIA has made it clear it does not believe Vettel committed an illegal overtaking manoeuvre. Ferrari is awaiting official clarification on the issue.

A VIDEO which appears to show Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel making an illegal overtaking manoeuvre at the Brazilian Grand Prix could see the German stripped of his Formula 1 world title.

Vettel made a spectacular comeback at Interlagos last week after a prang with the Williams car of Bruno Senna during the first lap sent the German spinning and ensured he began the second lap in last place.

But Vettel made his way up through the field, and although he only finished sixth, the eight points were enough to give him his third drivers' championship.

However, a video from the cockpit of Jean-Eric Vergne, who drives for Red Bull's sister team Toro Rosso, now threatens to hand the championship to the Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso, who came second in the 2012 title race, only three points behind Vettel.

The video appears to show Vettel passing Vergne while yellow 'caution' lights flash on the Frenchman's dashboard and on the circuit, the BBC reports.

During yellow flag conditions, overtaking is forbidden. It is possible that Vettel had seen a trackside marshal waving a green flag before he overtook his rival. If this is the case then the marshal's green flag takes precedence over the yellow lights flashing on Vettel's dashboard and the German is in the clear.

The footage is being keenly studied by Ferrari. If Vettel is shown to be guilty as charged, he will be handed a 20-second penalty. This would relegate him to eighth place in the Brazil Grand Prix and hand the championship to Alonso, who came second in what was the final race of the season.

If Ferrari believe they have enough evidence to make a challenge, they have until 30 November to lodge a complaint with Formula 1's governing body FIA.

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