Auto Racing: Ferrari will not appeal over F1 controversy

2012-12-01T00:00:00Z Auto Racing: Ferrari will not appeal over F1 controversyThe Associated Press The Associated Press
December 01, 2012 12:00 am  • 

MARANELLO, Italy - Ferrari dropped its plans to appeal a pass that F1 champion Sebastian Vettel made at the Brazilian Grand Prix after receiving clarification from Formula One's governing body on Friday.

Ferrari was considering an appeal after video from Sunday's race appeared to show that Vettel passed Jean-Eric Vergne while a yellow caution light was on.

"The request for a clarification from the FIA came about through the need to shed light on the circumstances of the move, which came out on the Internet only a few days after the race," Ferrari said in a statement. "The letter to the FIA was in no way intended to undermine the legality of the race result.

"We received tens of thousands of queries relating to this matter from all over the world, and it was incumbent on us to take the matter further, asking the federation to look into an incident that could have cast a shadow over the championship in the eyes of all Formula One enthusiasts, not just Ferrari fans. Ferrari duly takes note of the reply sent by the FIA this morning and therefore considers the matter now closed."

If a rules breach had been proven, Vettel would have been hit with a 20-second penalty, moving him from sixth place to eighth in the race and giving Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso the F1 title by one point.

Alonso finished second in the race at Interlagos, but Vettel's sixth place was enough to give him his third straight F1 title by three points. The 25-year-old German became F1's youngest three-time champion.

Vettel appeared to be in big trouble when he was bumped shortly after the start of the race and spun. He dropped to last place before he could turn his car around and begin to chase the leaders. He steadily worked his way up the field despite a slightly damaged car and no radio communication.

It was during Vettel's climb back through the field that the alleged illegal overtake of Vergne occurred.

When there is a yellow caution flag or light, it signals danger on the track and drivers must slow down and not overtake. If a driver does overtake, he is penalized with a drive-thru or a 20-second penalty in the final results if the infraction is discovered after the race is over.

Gordon on Bowyer: 'He won't even look at me'

LAS VEGAS - Not even the party atmosphere in Las Vegas can cut the tension between Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer.

The two drivers haven't spoken since Gordon intentionally wrecked Bowyer at Phoenix on Nov. 11, an incident that triggered a garage-area melee between the drivers' crews and earned Gordon a $100,000 fine from NASCAR.

Gordon said Thursday that the season-ending activities this week in Las Vegas have been "awkward" because he and Bowyer haven't socialized. Bowyer is popular among the other drivers and considered the life of the party.

"It's been awkward because I've always had a good relationship with him, we've always talked and had fun," Gordon said. "That's obviously not the case. I thought he might have gotten over it at least enough to look at me, but he won't even look at me, and when you are in this type of environment, that's going to be odd."

Bowyer, meanwhile, still doesn't want to discuss the incident. He and Gordon spoke in the NASCAR hauler at Phoenix but haven't talked since.

Bowyer would not talk about it with reporters during the season finale at Homestead and this week indicated he's not ready to resolve the issue with Gordon. He three times tried to change the subject, even once attempting to instead talk about nightclubs before finally growing exasperated.

"Good God," he said. "Is that my story I have to talk about?"

When told it was the story until it's resolved, Bowyer indicated he's not ready to resolve the issue with Gordon.

"I ain't resolving it," he said.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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