REVEALED: Mystery Behind the Missing Fuel That Led to Aston Martin Driver Vettel’s Disqualification

Published 08/02/2021, 8:30 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Austrian Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – July 4, 2021 Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel before the race Pool via REUTERS/Christian Bruna


An entertaining race in every aspect, the drama from the Hungarian GP continues well after the teams packed up. Amidst the celebration, a few hours after the Hungarian GP, the FIA announced that Sebastian Vettel had been disqualified from the race. The Aston Martin driver stood on the podium after a well-earned P2; now, Vettel may have to give up his trophy to Lewis Hamilton over fuel issues with the FIA.

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However, Aston Martin have filed an appeal against the disqualification. Team principal Otmar Szafnauer said, “I can confirm an intent to appeal. Once we learn more, then if we have grounds we will appeal, and if not, we’ll drop it. But we have 96 hours.”

He explained that 1.44litres of fuel should still be there in the car.

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Formula One F1 – Hungarian Grand Prix – Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary – August 1, 2021 Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel in action REUTERS/Florion Goga

After the race ended, Vettel had to run to parc ferme as his car suffered an issue with the lift pump. This could be one reason the FIA haven’t been able to get the amount of fuel they need. Otmar said, “It looks like, I don’t know… for some reason, the lift pumps wouldn’t get the fuel out of the car.” 

So, either these faulty fuel pumps or a leak in the car may be to blame.

Aston Martin now have 96 hours to show the FIA that the fuel was there. The car is currently impounded in Budapest and will be taken over to the FIA facility in France. The team is confident in their calculations, so it’s a waiting game for Seb.

The missing fuel in the Aston Martin

The FIA guidelines require cars to provide a 1L fuel sample at the end of the race, and Seb’s Aston Martin could only provide 300ml. This simply implies that there was lesser fuel put into the car –  this is a problem because it makes the machine lighter and would give the driver an advantage.

The Steward’s verdict declared: “After the race, it was not possible to take a 1.0-liter sample of fuel from car 5. The team was given several opportunities to attempt to remove the required amount of fuel from the tank, however, it was only possible to pump 0.3 liters out.”

Nevertheless, Aston Martin has their math ready. Szafnauer explained, “We measure the fuel that goes in and the fuel flow meter that we have in the car, which is mandated by the FIA, measures how much fuel gets used.”

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Looking at those numbers, the team concluded they should leave 1.74L worth of fuel in the British car.

However, an issue is that the FIA rules state that the 1l has to be physically derived from the car. Szafnauer stands firm, stating, “It is an old rule that goes back to the days before we had all this metering and all the measurements.

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It’s no doubt that Aston Martin will fervidly fight for their second podium. The team have been working hard to get their points and will not be willing to lose 18 points so easily. It all lies in the hands of the FIA now, and whether they will understand the team’s plea for reconsideration.

Watch this story: Biggest Crashes From 2020 Featuring Leclerc, Vettel & Grosjean

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Shreya Sanjeev

340 articles

Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

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