Formula 1 Racing

Why stewards rejected Ferrari’s protest over “questionable” Spa Six Hours restart · RaceFans

James Calado (GBR) / Alessandro Pier Guidi (ITA) / Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA) #51 AF Corse Ferrari 499, Spa, 2024

Ferrari’s protest over the restart of Saturday’s Six Hours of Spa was thrown out on a technicality.

The team’s cars were running first and second when the race was red-flagged due to a huge crash which launched Earl Bamber’s Cadillac into a barrier at Kemmel. He and WRT BMW’s Sean Gelael emerged from the crash unscathed but the clean-up and repair operation took around one and three-quarter hours, pushing the race close to its Six Hour duration.

However race control took the decision to restart the race for the majority of the remaining race time. It therefore ended almost eight hours after it started.

By then Ferrari’s cars had slipped to third and fourth, and victory went to the Jota Porsche of Callum Ilott and Will Stevens. “We consider the decision to extend the race beyond six hours questionable,” said Ferrari’s head of endurance race cars Ferdinando Cannizzo. “We feel a lot of regret because we believe the outcome should have been different.”

Ferrari looked set for a one-two during the stoppage

Ferrari lodged a protest against the stewards’ decision to resume the race “for a period of one hour and 44 minutes.” The stewards cited article 14.3.1 of the sporting regulations for this decision, which states they “may take the decision to stop and/or modify the race time set,” which “may not exceed the time of the competition.”

Did Ferrari have a point? The race winners’ time – 5hr 57’31.542 – did not exceed the upper limit specified for this event.

However they believed the time spent under the red flags should have been included in the overall race time, as is commonplace in F1.

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“At 6.55 pm, the restart was announced,” the team noted. “However, this included the recovery of the one hour and 44 minutes of suspension rather than just the five minutes remaining until the natural end of the event.

The barrier repairs took almost two hours

“At the restart, Ferrari number 51 first had to make an emergency stop, followed by a final pit stop, like its ‘sister’ car number 50. In the finale, despite the Italian drivers’ excellent lap times, they could not overtake Porsches number 12 and six, which finished first and second, respectively. These Porsches had made their fourth pit stop before the suspension.”

WEC’s rules on race durations work differently to those seen in other series like F1. While the maximum time limit is the same for every grand prix, WEC…

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