Ferrari are considering an appeal against an over-taking manoeuvre by Sebastian Vettel at Monday's (NZT) chaotic Brazilian Grand Prix which could see the German stripped of his title, it was reported on today.
The Daily Mail claimed that YouTube footage appeared to show Vettel, the youngest triple world champion in Formula One history, overtaking Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne under yellow flags in the early laps of the rain-affected race at Interlagos.
Overtaking under caution is outlawed and is usually punished with a drive-through penalty.
However, in cases where the infringement is not spotted, the newspaper claimed, the sanction is a 20-second penalty handed out retrospectively.
Vettel was sixth in Sunday's season-ending race while double world champion Fernando Alonso was second in his Ferrari behind winner, McLaren's Jenson Button.
The result allowed Vettel to beat Alonso in the title race by just three points.
The aftermath of Sunday's thrilling race in Sao Paulo was overshadowed by Ferrari insisting that Alonso should have been crowned champion, pointing to controversial races in Belgium and Japan to support their argument.
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali said that Alonso paid a heavy price for first lap exits in Belgium and Japan where he was shunted out of contention by Lotus duo Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen respectively.
The Italian giants had been further aggrieved when Vettel, accused of blocking Alonso in qualifying in Japan before going on to win the race, escaped with just a reprimand.
"We are proud of Fernando," said Domenicali. "But we are very disappointed because the one who deserved this championship was really him.
"It is a shame because, after such a long season that we really fight in all conditions, we raced 18 races and not 20 - and being second by three points is not a lot.
"Watch the facts. Zero points in two races (Belgium and Japan) so we have done what we have done with 18 races. The others had 20 - and the points were over 20 races. These are facts, not words."
Alonso also insisted his campaign had been undermined at Spa and Suzuka.
"The championship was not lost here," said the two-time champion. "The championship was lost when (Romain) Grosjean flew over my head (at Spa) or when Vettel surprisingly only got a reprimand after qualifying in Japan."
Vettel refused to get involved in a war of words although he did allude to his rivals' controversial decision last weekend in Texas to change the gearbox on Felipe Massa's Ferrari in order to allow Alonso to enjoy a starting advantage on the grid.
"A lot of people tried to play dirty tricks but we did not get distracted by that and kept going our way and all the guys gave a big push right to the end," Vettel said.