The start of the 2021 season was difficult for Sebastian Vettel in the new house and, even as things improved visibly, there was still a great moment to be really used to mark the arrival of the four-time champion at Aston Martin. It came in Hungary, very lucky under the circumstances, yes, but a second place and going to the podium to register. Too bad for them that it only lasted a few hours: just on Sunday, the FIA announced the disqualification of Vettel. Now the story of what happened appears more fully.
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The reason for the exclusion was quite clear: Vettel didn’t have enough fuel required by the FIA, not even close, actually, after arriving at inspection. A simple decision. The FIA requires 1 liter of fuel in the tank after the race is over, but car #5 had only 0.3 liters.
“The tank should have been leaked out to the FIA stewards if we wanted to have a chance,” the Aston Martin sports manager told the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport, which brought the information.
According to the vehicle, some of the fuel that should have been there evaporated due to a failure in the fuel tank. Something that was only made clear in an analysis carried out at the Silverstone factory after the race.
Anyway, the problem started earlier. Aston Martin added too much fuel before the start at Hungaroring. With the realization of what was happening, he gave the order to Vettel to use the ‘Fuel Burning Mode’, present in all cars and used mainly in classification, but to be used for a long period.
“Because of the rain, the race was slower than we thought at the beginning. When you decide the amount of fuel you’re going to use, you can’t change it even after the restart”, he said.
Still, everything looked normal. “Only on the last lap was it clear that something was wrong,” said Vettel. The fuel pump was already showing negative pressure, but the engineering team’s calculations suggested there was enough fuel. Vettel finished the race and took the car back to the pit-lane. There wasn’t enough.
What if he had done the same thing as George Russell, who stopped at the track just after the checkered flag? According to Stevenson, you can’t say for sure, “but it would have been tight”. The magazine says Russell had about 0.9 l in the tank, a figure that, despite being under-required, causes the FIA to turn a blind eye to the justification that about 0.1 l is always expected to get stuck in the tank.
Without the 18 points scored by Vettel initially in Hungary, Aston Martin arrives for the second part of the season in seventh place in the Constructors’ World Cup and 29 and 20 points, respectively, behind Alpine and AlphaTauri.
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