The stewards, who include five-time Le Mans winner, and former F1 driver, Emanuele Pirro, deemed that Sebastian Vettel left the track at Turn 3 and rejoined at Turn 4 in an unsafe manner and forced Lewis Hamilton off track, causing the world champion to take evasive action to avoid a collision.
Handing Sebastian Vettel a 5s time penalty which was to cost him the race, they also awarded him 2 points on his licence, thereby bringing his 12 month total to 7.
Several hours after the end of the race, the Italian team notified the FIA that it intends appealing the decision, and now has 96 hours in which to decide whether to proceed or not. If it does opt to proceed with the appeal, it would either be heard by the FIA’s International Court of Appeal or the court could simply decide that the appeal is inadmissible, in-race time penalties usually considered to be among the punishments that cannot be appealed.
The penalty has split the sport, with drivers, team bosses, media and fans clearly divided, with many saying it was a racing incident and that the FIA stewards made a mistake, as the punishment was not justified.
The day after the 2019 Canadian Grand Prix, FIA steward Emanuele Pirro reacts to the decision that settled the outcome of the race, admitting that he received a lot of criticism and insults: “But thankfully also a lot of support.” – Emanuele Pirro said, as reported by the Italian media on Monday – “from Formula One drivers and also from other racing people. It hurts, however, that great former drivers like Mario Andretti and Nigel Mansell have said what they said.”
Emanuele Pirro suggests that these champions are part of a different time, when hard racing was done without even the fear of death and when tragic incidents were not uncommon: “But today this is no longer the case” – Emanuele Pirro added – “The world has changed, the races have changed. There have been thousand of battles which were made in order to improve the safety of the drivers and the way a race should be conducted is not excluded from this aspect, indeed. As a Formula One fan, a fan of racing and Ferrari in particular, I am sorry that the race ended like this. As I am sure you can understand, it is not easy to make certain decisions but sport integrity must prevail over everything else.” – Emanuele Pirro concluded.