Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto has insisted that the protest his team filed after the Monaco Grand Prix was simply a request for clarification of the rules, rather than a ploy to penalise Red Bull.
Polesitter Charles Leclerc lost the lead of the race after a series of strategic errors by Ferrari, ultimately sending him down to fourth.
Sergio Perez pitted from Wets to Inters early on in the race after the start was delayed by rain and, instead of going long to transition to Slicks later on in the race, Leclerc was called in several laps after the Mexican, with the 32-year-old executing the undercut on him.
Team-mate Carlos Sainz did decide to go longer, but he and Leclerc ended up pitting for Hards at the same time, so the Monegasque lost yet more ground, allowing Max Verstappen to jump up to third.
As the Dutchman came out of the pits though, his wheel was on the pit exit line, causing suspicion that he might be penalised by the stewards.
It then transpired that Perez had done the same thing, so Ferrari filed a protest after the Mexican had gone on to beat Sainz to the victory.
In his race notes before the weekend, race director Eduardo Freitas told the drivers that they had to stay “to the right” of the line on their way out of the pits, but the FIA International Sporting Code [ISC] dictates that competitors must not “cross” it.
Having a wheel on the line technically still counts as being within it, which is the reason the reigning champion was not penalised.
This confusion is the reason Ferrari referred the matter to the stewards, and Binotto reiterates that he was not striving to cost Red Bull the win.
“We filed the protests because we think it’s right to get clarification,” he told RacingNews365.com.
“The intent of the protest isn’t really a protest against Red Bull itself, but the aim is primarily a search for clarification on a topic that is very important to us.
“We believe that both Red Bull drivers drove on the yellow line when exiting the pit lane. In the past, this was always penalized with a five-second penalty.”
Having locked out the front row in qualifying, the Italian was disappointed to end up second and fourth, and he sympathised with a frustrated Leclerc.
“Certainly disappointing for the result,” Binotto told Sky Sports.
“I understand fully the disappointment of Charles as well, he was first.
“Finishing fourth means that something was wrong in the decisions we made.
“Clearly we need to review, we will do it, I believe that we underestimated the pace of the Intermediates at that stage.
“We could have called I think a lap earlier Charles, or later on we should have left him maybe outside, simply moving on with the extreme wet going then directly on the dry.
“These are mistakes that may happen, more important is lesson learned to understand why they happened, and I’m pretty sure that as a process we will do it.”
The stewards threw Ferrari’s protest out, and Perez kept his win, with Verstappen in third.