The Ferrari Formula One team asked the sport’s ruling body for clarification after video showed Sebastian Vettel may have passed another racing car illegally on the way to winning the championship at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The footage from the Nov. 25 race shows Vettel passing Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne on a stretch of Sao Paulo’s Interlagos circuit between a yellow light -- when overtaking is prohibited -- and a green light.
A retroactive penalty could push the Red Bull Racing driver down the standings and hand the title to Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.
Ferrari, which sent the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile a letter late yesterday, has until the end of tomorrow to decide whether to appeal, Ferrari team spokesman Luca Colajanni said by telephone.
The FIA says Vettel’s pass was legitimate because a race official was waving a green flag in the 150 meters between the two lights, Autosport.com reported, citing unidentified sources from the ruling body.
FIA spokesman Norman Howell didn’t immediately return an e-mail seeking comment.
Vettel, 25, finished the Brazilian race in sixth place to win the title by three points over Alonso, who finished second in the rain-swept event.
It was the third straight title for the German, who passed Ayrton Senna’s mark as the youngest three-time champion.