Ferrari insisted on Monday they were not sore losers when they asked the ruling body FIA to look into an overtaking manoeuvre of Sebastian Vettel who beat their driver Fernando Alonso for the world title.
“Congratulations go to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull because they won and we are happy to congratulate winners, hoping and wishing that next year we are on the receiving end of these compliments,” Ferrari in a statement quoted their president Luca di Montezemolo as saying the previous day at a season-ending event in Spain.
“As for the yellow flag saga, we took the simplest and most linear route, by asking the Federation to look into it, making it clear that we would accept their decision and that’s what we did.”
Ferrari asked the FIA to look into the incident at the Brazilian Grand Prix on November 25 after videos began circulating on the internet, which suggested that Vettel overtook Jean-Marc Vergne in a yellow flag danger section where passing is prohibited.
But the FIA said that Vettel had done nothing wrong as Vettel won the title three points ahead of Alonso. Had the German been found guilty of an offence, the likely 20-second penalty on his race time would have dropped him to eighth and Alonso would have won by one point.
In Valencia, di Montezemolo voiced his disappointment that their former star Michael Schumacher — who won five of his seven world titles with Ferrari — let his compatriot Vettel pass without resistance in the closing stages.
“I was expecting a slightly different final race on the part of Michael Schumacher because he is a driver with links to Ferrari through some extraordinary moments and with whom we feel very close,” he said.
Di Montezemolo also defended team order decisions during the season in favour of Alonso, saying that “I have always told my drivers (Alonso and Felipe Massa) that they are not racing for themselves but for Ferrari.” Alonso, meanwhile, defended Ferrari’s letter to FIA in Valencia.
“There were a lot of video clips on the internet and we knew our fans were asking for an explanation and so it was right for Ferrari to turn to the Federation for a clarification. We got a reply and I think everything has now calmed down,” the Spaniard said.
“I did not pay much attention to all the uproar this incident caused, but I felt we owed our fans an answer. Frankly, I’m not that interested in what the opinion is of me in Germany or elsewhere.”