Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Suzuka, 2016

Two-week wait for Verstappen protest verdict

2016 Japanese Grand Prix

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The final result of the Japanese Grand Prix is to remain in doubt for two weeks as stewards will not rule on Mercedes’ protest against Max Verstappen until the United States Grand Prix.

Verstappen finished in second place ahead of Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton. However the team brought a protest against the Red Bull driver for a defensive move he made on the penultimate lap.

Start, Suzuka, 2016
2016 Japanese Grand Prix in pictures
“The stewards convened a hearing of the protest lodged by Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team against the driver of car 33, Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing,” the stewards announced in a statement.

“The protest was lodged in accordance with Article 13.4.4 of the International Sporting Code. At the commencement of the hearing the stewards noted that neither driver was in attendance and hence was unable to give or refute any evidence.”

“After hearing initial comments by representatives of Mercedes, the stewards decide that in order to ensure fairness and afford both drivers the opportunity to be heard, the matter should be deferred and in accordance with Article 11.9.2.s of the International Sporting Code, the Stewards delegate their authority to the stewards of the 2016 United States Formula One Grand Prix. Both team representatives agreed to this.”

Update: Mercedes have withdrawn the protest

2016 Japanese Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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30 comments on “Two-week wait for Verstappen protest verdict”

  1. The stewards have planes to catch 😁

    1. Both the protest and the process, by the way.

      1. Totally agree.

    2. Wait til there’s a train wreck…..it wont be then.

  2. As I said, considering the stewards and Whiting had a talk with Verstappen after the race and everything was copacetic, this is ridiculous.

  3. spafrancorchamps
    9th October 2016, 11:23

    Nonsense! If neither party shows up to make a statement, you make a decision based on the information that you do have! A provisional result for two weeks? That’s madness! In no other sports this kind of stuff occures. How can F1 still take itself serious?

  4. Was the move in the breaking zone or just before? Would Hamilton have pulled it off anyway?

    1. Don’t think so. And even if he did, the next chicane corner would’ve been in favor of Verstappen..

      1. spafrancorchamps
        9th October 2016, 12:18

        But it would have hurt his exit out of that corner.

  5. LOL I assume this event was already seen by the stewards + Charlie W spoke to VES about it.

    Can’t blame Merc for trying of course

    1. Yes but informal. There will be new stewards in Austin and they have to make a official statement about Max his driving.

  6. Was Verstappen doing that when he was in the Toro Rosso? I don’t remember such questionable moves from him then. While I enjoy the fact that overtaking is more difficult than usual with this “technique”, I still think it may end up badly. When, in the near future, he has to defend against Sainz or Vandoorne or some other driver who is not as experienced and cool as the current front-runners, we may not see the same driving reactions we saw from Hamilton and Raikkonen.

    1. No but he did in F3 and was never penalized for it then either because….wait for it….. it is NOT ILLIGAL!

      (search Verstappen F3 Spa and Hockenheim for examples, I’m sure you’ll find them)

  7. To wait 2 weeks is dumb. I hate these, you watch the race and then 3 hours later the result changed. Its really frustrating

  8. The Kimi incidents were far worse and at high speed, but no action was needed.
    It seems to me, Max has some mighty or scary friends in the right places.
    But if a “Max-move” happens in a slow corner to Lewis, another of the governing favourites, the stewards need the time to hear what the high office has to say.
    I guess they all had “planes to catch” :p

    1. He has Heineken. I think it’s not coincidence that Heineken came to formula a second mAx was promoted to RBR

      1. Nah, Randstad recruitment agencies (Williams) and Shell (Ferrari) are both Dutch companies too and have been in F1 before Max. In fact, they don’t sponsor VES at all.

        Max has said in Dutch media many times before that he is not going to sign with Dutch multinationals now and let them ride him because they weren’t willing to help him out when he needed the sponsorship money in his karting/F3 days.

        He has also said he’s going to stay loyal to his early sponsors that did help him: Jumbo (Dutch supermarket with no international branches at all) and Exact (Dutch IT company, but probably international orientated, idk). Those two are now are on the front row for mere pennies so to speak. The only other commercial partner so far after he joined F1 are Dutch pay-TV channel Ziggo Sports who broadcast the races in the Netherlands (and btw are a Dutch subsidary of Liberty Global who now own F1 as whole)

        1. Wow it great argument,
          I will try one more. I still believe that Heineken is highly motivated that only Dutch on grid do well. I wouldn’t be surprised if Heineken give a little bit pressure to Eccleston to give a little bit more rule free for Max.

          But probably main reason of these things are every race changing judge’s..

          1. Listen, Heineken spending over $200 million over 3 years just to make a smallmarket coutnry drink their beer more would be incredible prove of incompetence.

            The kid could be from north pole for all they care! They use F1 to market themselves in key area’s were F1 is looking to expand to.

            The European beer market is highly saturated and brands like Heineken seek growth in regions like Asia, South America and Africa and as a European brand there is probably still a lot of marketshare to win in North America.

  9. And it’s been withdrawn.

  10. That’s sad but if the drivers are not present, then you’ve no choice in terms of the verdict.

    To me, the move was similar to Hungary and Spa and I can’t only blame Max, like I’ve said time and time again, these new generation drivers are from the video game generation and have developed their race craft around safety of the tracks and hence don’t realise it. We saw the same swipes from Sainz and I won’t be surprised to see the same from Ocon when he gets a midfield car. GP2, GP3, F3 and others are no different.

    FIA really needs to address this before it’s too late and becomes a norm.

  11. This is weird, but there was no need for Verstappen to protect that inside line in the first place. There is no way you can overtake in such a tight chicane. He might have ended up like Fisichella in 2005, who defended the inside line and thereby compromised his exit, which allowed Räikkönen to outdrag him on the following straight.

    1. The move was on. Max needed to block the inside. Lewis was tucked right in behind him for the first time at that corner in those 8 laps. I think it spoke to how difficult it is to pass in F1 when the differentiation in performance is not large on race day. Hamilton had battered his tyres by then. Good drives by both. Fair outcome.

    2. What do you mean ” There is no way you can overtake in such a tight chicane”?!

      We’ve seen plenty of overtaking there in the past and not in the least that incredibly awesome move around the outside from Hulkenberg this very race.

  12. Here are a few short predictions:
    1. Verstappen will be cleared (rightly so in this case).
    2. Verstappen will beat Ricciardo convincingly next year (with commentators saying that he now has his eye in at Red Bull even though it will be Management favouring him).
    3. F1 are using him as a marketing tool with orange banks – t-shirts, etc sold competing with the red banks of Ferrrai.
    4. Verstappen is the new golden boy protected from any moves by any other driver.
    5. Verstappen beats an experienced driver to the championship next year.

    It’s a marketing machine and I would do the same. Young guy at coolest F1 brand to bring in more fans. In fact the more aggressive the better for the marketing machine. Take a screenshot of this comment and watch this space.

    1. You forgot one option:
      6. Mercedes withdraws the protest and admit there is nothing wrong here. Even Hamilton wrote on Twitter: “Max drove well, end of. We move on”

      1. No – absolutely not.
        Why are you trying to spin the facts?
        Hamilton NEVER acknowledged that Max drove well…!?!

        Hamilton wrote:
        “There is no protest from myself. Just heard the team had but I told them it is not what we do. We are champions, we move on. End of!”.
        Source, Hamilton’s own his own twitter account page:
        https://twitter.com/LewisHamilton/status/785072506289827840

        All credit to Hamilton!

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