Formula E

Appeal inadmissible: Porsche appeal against record penalty at Formula E race in London rejected

Tobias Wirtz

Tobias Wirtz

The TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team has failed in its final possible appeal to challenge the record time penalty imposed on its driver Antonio Felix da Costa at the London E-Prix. The International Court of Appeal of the FIA declared the appeal inadmissible. The result of the Formula E race therefore stands - Porsche retains fourth place in the 2023 overall standings.

Antonio Felix da Costa crossed the finish line in second place in Saturday's London E-Prix race, but dropped to the back of the field due to a time penalty of three minutes. The race stewards handed out the penalty because the tyre pressure in the Portuguese driver's right front tyre had fallen below the minimum pressure specified by tyre manufacturer Hankook in the final phase of the race.

As the loss of pressure was proven to have been caused by external damage to the tyre, Porsche took legal action against the penalty. After an initial appeal failed, the case went before the International Court of Appeal.

After a hearing held on 7 November, the FIA has now published the Court's decision. The judgement: Porsche's appeal is declared inadmissible. The FIA has listed a total of 15 pages of information about the incident, witness statements and extracts from the regulations. This list comprises a total of 72 points.

"No clear evidence" of arbitrariness presented

The decisive factor in the Court of Appeal's decision was the fact that time penalties imposed by the race stewards are not contestable if they are provided for in the Sporting Regulations and were neither imposed on the assumption of false facts nor considered arbitrary. Porsche argued that such a high time penalty was tantamount to a disqualification. In the event of a disqualification, a driver is generally entitled to a hearing.

After the infringement of the rules was undisputed - according to the FIA measurements, the minimum pressure was undercut by up to 0.35 bar - and the Sporting Regulations provide for the imposition of a time penalty, the court considered whether the penalty was arbitrary.

This was denied: "It is true that the 3-minute penalty was unusual, but no clear evidence (of arbitrariness) was presented to the court. If (the team) had been able to show that the stewards had deliberately imposed a disproportionate time penalty instead of disqualifying the driver to deny him the right to be heard, the court might have come to a different conclusion."

Porsche "disappointed", but accepts decision

At the request of e-Formula.news, a Porsche spokesperson explained: "We accept the court's decision, but are disappointed that our appeal was not allowed, as we would have liked to put forward our arguments in the interests of the sport. We are looking ahead and our full focus is on the upcoming season."

With the judgement, it is now also finally clear that Antonio Felix da Costa finished the season in ninth place in the overall standings. Porsche finished fourth in the team standings. With the 18 additional points that a cancellation of the penalty would have brought, the Portuguese driver would have finished fifth. In this case, Porsche would have overtaken its customer team Andretti and finished the season in third place, which would presumably have brought in millions in prize money.

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