FIA Formula 3 European Championship | Round 6
Venue: Norisring (Germany) | Date: 13 July 2013 | Weather: Sunny
By Mattias Persson
The first FIA Formula 3 European Championship race of the weekend at the Norisring was shrouded in confusion, after 12 drivers received post-race penalties and Felix was let out of the official results - having finished second on the road - pending an appeal over a fuel sample irregularity following qualifying.
The confusion struck already before the race had even begun, as Mücke Motorsport were informed by FIA officials that a post-qualifying fuel sample taken from Felix's car had shown signs of a yet-to-be-identified anomaly.
With the team feeling confident that the fuel was entirely compliant with all aspects of the technical regulations, the outfit lodged an official appeal over a decision to disqualify Felix from qualifying, allowing him to take up the pole position grid slot he had earned yesterday.
While racing under appeal, however, any potential points would be unregistered until a B test of the fuel sample is carried out and potentially proves no wrongdoing.
Once the on-track action got underway, Felix lost a position off the line for the first time this year, as Raffaele Marciello grabbed the lead on the run to Turn 1. From there, Felix shadowed his title rival throughout, eventually finishing second on the road but not taking to the podium due to the fuel debacle.
The confusion, however, had only just begun. Right after the race, Marciello seemed to be the undisputed winner ahead of Prema Powerteam colleagues Alex Lynn (effectively third on the road behind Felix) and Lucas Auer. An hour afterwards, however, the FIA issued a revised results list identifying Tom Blomqvist - who originally finished the race in eighth place - as a surprise winner ahead of Harry Tincknell and André Rudersdorf.
The reason was a raft of post-race penalties, in which all the drivers in the top seven - interestingly with Felix being the only exception - had 20 seconds added to their race time due to ignoring yellow flags as they passed Tatiana Calderón's stricken Double R machine on the exit of Turn 1 in the closing stages.
As a result, Marciello was demoted to fifth, with Lynn seventh and Auer eighth.
It is worth noting that, with Felix being the only frontrunner to have respected the yellow flags, he will be reinstated not in second place, but in first, should the B fuel sample prove negative. In the meantime, Felix will continue to race under appeal in today's second race, and probably also in the concluding event tomorrow.
Race 2 gets underway at 17.30 local time, with Felix set to start from third on the grid.
QUOTE | FELIX
"I'm quite confused at the moment. The team is absolutely sure that the fuel used in my car yesterday was perfectly correct, and we can't see how any sample could show signs of something else. We will simply have to wait for the FIA's decision, and all I can do now is to treat this weekend like any other and push to the maximum.
"I didn't make a great start this time and lost a place to Raffaele off the line, but from there on, we were very closely matched. When the yellow flags flew, the team informed me very clearly about the situation, and I actively decided to slow down quite a lot to not incur a penalty. I'm looking forward to the second race this afternoon."
Results (top five)
NOTE: Several hours after the race, seven of the 12 drivers penalised for yellow-flag infringements had their penalties rescinded, reinstating Marciello as the winner. Furthermore, Felix was later reinstalled on all Norisring results as the FIA closed the fuel sample saga by stating that no wrongdoing had been made.
View full results