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McLaren Piastri's protest against F1 track limits dismissed as 'unacceptable'

McLaren's protest against Oscar Piastri's penalty for an alleged breach of track limits during qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix was dismissed by FIA stewards as being inadmissible.

The Woking-based team formally complained in regards to the qualifying results because they were unhappy with Piastri's penalty and the lack of third place on the grid.

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After asking the FIA ​​to make clear how clear the evidence against Piastri was, the organization said the allegedly blurred images from a racetrack camera and from a helicopter, which were also affected by shadows, didn’t fully explain the case.

Team Principal Andrea Stella said: “Our approach to racing is that we don't want what we don't deserve.

“But when the punishment is so severe, clear evidence is needed in the interests of the sport – not in the interests of McLaren.”

Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL38

Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL38

Photo: Andy Hone / Motorsport images

However, following a hearing before the stewards on Saturday evening, and before the FIA ​​stewards had even considered the evidence against Piastri, the protest was dismissed on procedural grounds.

Firstly, the FIA ​​stated that, in accordance with the FIA ​​International Sporting Code, decisions made by stewards are usually not subject to appeal.

The FIA ​​further found that certain features of the protest submitted justified its rejection.

These include, amongst others, the incontrovertible fact that it was addressed to the Competition Director and never to the Chairman of the Stewards, it didn’t specify any significant provisions against which the protest was being protested, it didn’t specify against whom the protest was filed and it didn’t indicate the doubts of the protesting party.

Andrea Stella, principal of the McLaren F1 Team

Andrea Stella, principal of the McLaren F1 Team

Photo: Mark Sutton / Motorsports images

Stella made it clear that McLaren desired to make sure Piastri had actually crossed the white lines marking the sting of the track, but had seen no evidence to verify this.

“We wanted to look beyond a reasonable doubt to the evidence that the car exceeded the limits of the track,” he said. “I cannot say that it has been fulfilled beyond any doubt.”

He added: “In this case, every thing is blurred and covered in shadow.

“It's a lot to come here, compete, get qualifying laps, and when a penalty is as severe as having a lap removed, we have to make sure the penalty is enforced beyond a reasonable doubt.”

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