F1: Formula One boss Ecclestone blasts Ferrari’s Vettel appeal as ‘complete joke’
Bernie Ecclestone has described the furore over Sebastian Vettel's alleged infringement at the Brazilian Grand Prix as "a complete joke", predicting that it will come to nothing and suggesting that it was unbecoming of Ferrari to make an issue of the incident after the event.
While the sport still awaits an official statement from the FIA, motorsport's world governing body has already briefed journalists that it does not believe there is a case to answer.
On-board footage from Vettel's car on lap four of the race clearly shows the Red Bull driver passing Jean-Eric Vergne's Toro Rosso before the green flashing light indicating the end of a yellow-flag zone, which is prohibited. But the grainy video also appears to suggest there is a marshal in the marshal's post waving a green flag about 150m before the green flashing light.
"If the lights are not installed at a flag post, the driver responds to the first signal that is shown," said race director Charlie Whiting.
Ferrari appear to dispute that interpretation and sent a letter to the governing body requesting clarification, to which they are still awaiting a response.
The deadline to lodge any sort of appeal expires today. If Vettel is found guilty of an offence, it could see him incur a time penalty which might hand the title to Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.
Ecclestone said it was a shame that the exciting denouement to the championship was now being overshadowed by the row. "It's a shame because everything had gone so well," Formula One's chief executive said. "It was a super race, a super championship. Now everyone is talking about this. The problem is that no one knows what is going on."
Ecclestone added that as far as he was aware, Ferrari's argument was flawed. "In the rules and regs normally you have to protest," the 82-year-old said.
"They (Ferrari) missed that time. Then there is the fact that a green flag was shown, which nobody seems to dispute. It's a complete joke. What they are saying in that letter is wrong. I don't think there needs to be any action taken. It's completely and utterly wrong.
"Personally, I think it's not really like Ferrari to do this. I think they badly wanted to win. But if you want to go back and see what Ferrari have done down the years... But nothing will happen. What can they do? Take civil action? Maybe. But the case is flawed before it starts. Nothing is going to happen."
Ecclestone said he planned to speak to Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo about the issue. (© Daily Telegraph, London)