A drive-through penalty that was canceled after Ferrari’s best placed GTE-Pro car had started serving it ended the Italian marque’s chances of victory at Silverstone, according to the manufacturer’s technical director.
The No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE of James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi was given a drive-through for overtaking another car under the second safety car period of the four-hour race.
Pier Guidi came around to serve the penalty within the three-lap window that he had to observe, but the penalty was canceled seconds after the Italian entered the pit lane.
At the time of the penalty, which was issued with 45 minutes to go, the Ferrari was running third behind the two Porsche 911 RSRs.
However, it subsequently dropped to fourth position, where it remained until the end of the race, finishing 16 seconds behind the race-winning No. 91 Porsche crew.
“The car [that was overtaken under SC] was not moving from the right-hand side to the left-hand side, but it decided just at the end that it had to move,” said Ferrari technical director Ferdinando Cannizzo.
“So we were already in front. When we made this notice to the race control, they actually canceled our penalty. It was too late.
“We were leading the race and we lost 25 seconds from the drive-through. We arrived with a 15-second advantage, and we could have won the race.
“When you are informed of this penalty [you have] just three laps to fix the situation. It’s not enough time – it covers five minutes. It’s a real shame, but we need to look forward now because we do not give up.”
Aston’s Works GTE-Am Crew Also Affected
The incident affected several cars, including the LMP2 class-winning Cool Racing Oreca 07 Gibson, which managed to serve its penalty without relinquishing the class lead.
Another car to come in was the No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage GTE, which was in contention for the GTE-Am podium.
AMR technical director Dan Sayers explained that few teams wanted to risk overstepping the three-lap buffer period before serving the drive-through, at risk of a further penalty.
“It was off-track or on the side of the track, or it wasn’t on the normal racing line,” Sayers told Sportscar365.
“They went past it, but then [the penalty] was rescinded even though they had taken it. Our car would have possibly won it.
“For sure, it had a negative impact, but I don’t think they can do anything now. It’s just a shame when something like that happens.
“You’ve got a finite time, so you have to take it. Or you’ve got to be very confident that you’re going to get away with it. We waited as long as we could, had to take it, and then they withdrew it.”
The No. 98 Aston Martin ended up finishing second, a lap down to the winning No. 83 AF Corse Ferrari of François Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Nicklas Nielsen.
Sources suggested that the car that was passed either went off track or was traveling extremely slowly, presumably tempting the drivers behind to overtake it.