Potential controversy over Vettel title?

In a sport that has had its fair share of rows off the track as well as on it, there could be another potential controversy that engulfs Formula One after a new video which has come to light appearing to show newly crowned triple world champion Sebastian Vettel passing a Toro Rosso under yellow flags.

The video, uploaded to Youtube on Tuesday, shows Vettel appearing to follow the Toro Rosso through two yellow flag zones in the first sector of the Interlagos circuit before passing it on the back straight, completing the move before both cars get to the green light to show that racing is once again permitted.

The incident may well attract the attention of Ferrari, whose driver Fernando Alonso lost the drivers’ championship to Vettel by three points, and a potential protest to the FIA could follow.

Any protest is likely to open a huge can of worms, as a penalty for Vettel could cost the German the championship and hand the title to Alonso. It is unlikely the FIA would choose to take such action, although it is certainly possible given there appears to be an infringement from Vettel.

There was confusion after the race on Sunday over whether Vettel had passed Kamui Kobayashi under yellow flags, but the move was later clarified by the FIA as having occurred in a part of the circuit where a red and yellow flag was showing warning the drivers of slippery track conditions and the incident was not investigated.

Although it is unusual for protests to be made this long after a race has finished, an incident of this kind is not without precedent. Lewis Hamilton was investigated by the FIA following the 2007 Japanese Grand Prix after video footage captured by a fan showed him driving erratically behind the safety car, allegedly causing a collision between Vettel and Mark Webber. Hamilton was eventually cleared of all wrongdoing.

Whatever the outcome of this, it will be very interesting to see what happens if the story develops.

Stephen D’Albiac

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