Sebastian Vettel believes the Formula 1 regulations need to change to avoid other drivers suffering the “bitter” disqualification he received in Hungary due to a fuel issue.
Aston Martin initially tried to appeal the disqualification for not being able to provide the required fuel sample at the end of the race, believing Vettel still had enough fuel in the car. Subsequent investigations suggested a fuel system failure led to a leak, but when that was dismissed as being relevant to the discrepancy, Aston withdrew the appeal and Vettel says more leniency is needed in future.
“Rules are rules and obviously we didn’t know we had a problem,” Vettel said. “When we checked the fuel wasn’t in the car and we got disqualified, but we thought it was in the car. I don’t know whether there’s a better way to handle this but I don’t think there was much that could have been done.
“It’s very bitter, because first I think we did not have an advantage; second there was no intention or no way we could explain that too little fuel was in the car. So something happened over the course of the race — I don’t know, a leakage or something — that the fuel simply wasn’t there anymore.
“Looking back I think it’s clear: the rules are as they are, and we got disqualified. I think in the circumstances I understand better, because I was the one who suffered from it — you don’t wish that to happen to anyone else and (the rules) should probably have a little bit more tolerance. But what exactly you should write down on paper in black and white I don’t know, that’s for other people to come up with.”
While Vettel says it’s strange looking back on the day now as he has good memories of the post-race celebrations, he insists losing a podium from his statistics doesn’t bother him, only the points taken away from the team.
“I think it was a great result for us as a team and a lot of points that we scored, so very disappointing. Obviously during the race we had the fuel under control, we thought, but at the very, very end — I think it was the last lap — we found out that something might not be right and we were very surprised when the fuel was not in the car. So it’s very bitter but those are the rules so we have to accept and carry on.
“I think I’m very, very lucky to be able to pick from so many (podiums). If it was zero or one then probably yes, but even then, like I said I was on the podium. It gets erased from the books but it doesn’t get erased from your memory, and I think the team feels the same way. What hurts us most is the points that we are just not able to keep and count at the end of the year.”