Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2019

FIA rejects claims of inconsistency in Canada and Austria penalty decisions

2019 Austrian Grand Prix

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FIA race director Michael Masi has defended the stewards’ decision not to penalise Max Verstappen in the Austrian Grand Prix after Ferrari complained the rules were interpreted differently when Sebastian Vettel was penalised in Canada.

Vettel was given a five-second time penalty after the stewards ruled he had forced Lewis Hamilton to take evasive action when he rejoined the track after going off. Verstappen was cleared after colliding with Charles Leclerc while overtaking the Ferrari to win yesterday’s race.

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto criticised the outcome, saying yesterday: “We believe that interpretation have been different in these two cases, why I think again we are unhappy with what has been the decision.”

“I think the rules for us are clear,” he added. “A collision has been created and [Leclerc] has been pushed off the track.”

However Masi pointed out the two incidents were not comparable as Vettel, unlike Verstappen, had gone off the circuit. He compared it to Daniel Ricciardo’s similar penalty for forcing Lando Norris wide on the final lap in the French Grand Prix.

“The incident in Canada, Sebastian went across the grass, was in front, it wasn’t an overtaking manoeuvre,” said Masi.

“The one with Daniel, with particularly Lando, was very much as part of Daniel going off the track and rejoining. Whereas this here was both cars were on the track, it was an overtaking manoeuvre.

“Trying to compare the three of them, they are three very different incidents. So from that end it was an overtaking manoeuvre and as the stewards rightly pointed out in their view it was a racing incident and it was one of those it was just good hard racing from the perspective that they saw.”

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97 comments on “FIA rejects claims of inconsistency in Canada and Austria penalty decisions”

  1. Neil (@neilosjames)
    1st July 2019, 13:04

    Couldn’t quite believe it when I saw all the angry Facebook comments saying it was ‘inconsistent’ and acting like the two incidents were in any way similar. Like comparing apples and oranges.

    1. Exactly

    2. the only thing comparable about the 3 of them, even tough they are very different, is that all are examples of hard racing that should’ve been left alone.

      Even Hamilton shouldn’t have been given the grid penalty, nothing came out of that block really. It’s enough they have to negotiate with preparing Pirellis tyres on its own, that sort of incident will happen every once in a while, cars can’t disappear.

    3. DAllein (@)
      1st July 2019, 16:31

      But.. but… oranges and apples are fruits and grow on trees!
      See? ;)

    4. It’s very comparable in the sense that Vettel was penalized by the letter of the law. Max did pushed an other car off the track and did caused a collision, so if you apply the letter of the law, he deserved a penalty. So it’s either you let them race or you stand by the letter of the law and you penalize both of them. Rosberg was penalized for far less in 2016 at the hairpin in Germany. So, no there is no constancy, never have been, yesterday’s was far more an obvious breakage of the rules than Canada’s. The lap before Charles got him back at turn 4, to prevent that from happening again Max drove him off road, he clearly stir into him (he knew that and complained that Charles did lol) that’s far clearer than someone going off and rejoining the track in the battle. So they spent 3 hours to state that was good hard racing (even if the regs are forbidding those maneuvers), my guess is that officials phones were pretty busy at the time because they don’t want that to happen at every race. So no, not impressed by this release Mister FIA, or OP. Max did caused a collision and ran someone off track and by doing so broke the rules, these are just facts.

      1. Max did pushed an other car off the track and did caused a collision,

        well, if you have seen the stewards motivation you see that’s not correct.
        Btw, it was LEC who steered to VER’s car and caused the touch, hardly a collision.
        The only thing i really miss in this story are the onboards from LEC’s car.

      2. Ferrari car steered away from ver and then steered right back into ver, if anything Ferrari should be penalized

      3. Neil (@neilosjames)
        1st July 2019, 20:49

        Not really, because the letter of the law was applied in both incidents.

        The rules about forcing an opponent off the circuit do not refer to drivers who take a natural line around a corner they have already ‘won’. It’s entirely acceptable to run someone out of road at the exit of a corner providing you maintain a normal or near-normal line, and it always has been. There’s no law against doing it, and it happens all the time – the only time it results in a penalty is when the driver deliberately deviates from a natural line in order to push the opponent off at the exit, and Verstappen obviously didn’t do that. Or when the opponent is ahead, and Leclerc wasn’t ahead.

        Rosberg in Germany 2016 was a late divebomb in which he went miles off the racing line due to being too late on the brakes. He forced Verstappen off the circuit, without having gained control of the corner, by taking a highly abnormal line. Much worse than what Verstappen did.

        1. @neilosjames

          The rules about forcing an opponent off the circuit do not refer to drivers who take a natural line around a corner they have already ‘won’

          The problem is that VES didn’t take the “natual line” around the corner. He was no where near the apex and hung LEC out until he had no choice but to turn. pretty much as you described the ROS/VES incident.

          1. He was not miles away from the apex and he steered a constant arc around the corner. You will see that his wheels stayed in the same position all the way through. Leclerc however steered away and then towards max and hit him. Leclerc really ought to have backed off. He did not and he hit Max. I do not think he deserved a penalty for that though it was natural racing and both came of unscathed.

  2. If they are so convinced of an error, they should consult their barrister Mr. Chandok and appeal again.

  3. They were never gonna punish their golden boy with all those dutch there it would cause a riot, despite how dirty max move was

    1. The only dirty thing here is that the Ferrari boys are lying on themselves before anyone else by trying to claim Ferrari’s first win of the season whether it comes by cheating or not. Get a life man. Ferrari fans AND BINOTTO are cry babies and drama queens nowadays. This remind me of his interview yesterday where he said Ferrari is ashamed that teams didn’t go back to 2018 tyres. it says everything, consistent stupid silly comments from him recently. even better than the FIA consistency

    2. Saying that Verstappen is a golden boy and gets special treatment is a joke. He’s been given a lot of penalties in his time, FIA are clearly not afraid to punish him.

      1. True, on many occasion FIA have pulled him out of cool down room. If anything FIA has been very strict with Max and even though he threw a tantrum he seems to have learnt from all those penalties and this year he has been a very intelligent racer.

    3. Veratappen gets penalties on a regular basis, what you talking about? lol

      1. Like 5% penalty per infraction done since he arrived to f1. So lots of penalties…. jajajajaja. He even used violence when he tasted his own medicine.

        1. tony mansell
          1st July 2019, 17:04

          And he got a penalty for that no?

          1. He went on an “all inclusive” PR day for the FIA. I hope he didn’t struggle too much going through it.

    4. Are you saying it’s risky business in Monza soon and should avoid for safety reason from the home of tiffosi?

  4. Ferrari should be unhappy that they aren’t quick enough, not unhappy with the stewarding decisions.

  5. Matteo (@m-bagattini)
    1st July 2019, 13:22

    So now “it was just good hard racing”? But a couple of races ago they were all for strict rules application… was the hot weather enough to bend those very upright stewards? Binotto was asking for the same scale to be used, not stating that the episodes were the same.

    The farce is that there are so many cases now of inconsistency that they simply can’t be consistent anymore. Every decision will have a backlog of similar cases where said decision was the same or the right opposite.

    What leaves a bitter taste in my mouth is that Max would still have passed Charles. Charles was defending in a clean way; I understand that expecting a clean maneuver from Max is asking too much, but for a while it was good racing within the rules.

    If that wasn’t “causing a collision” and “forcing another car off track”…

    1. I agree. I am ok that VER-LEc incident is deemed so – just racing.
      But last races showed us some different interpretation on less clear events.

    2. So now “it was just good hard racing”? But a couple of races ago they were all for strict rules application

      As the FIA have said, these are 2 very different incidents. If a driver is rejoining the racetrack after making a mistake and going off track, he should have to be more careful: while off the track he is no longer racing.

      I don’t, personally, believe Vettel should have been punished in the circumstances, but it is not a comparable incident in any form.

    3. If you think it is inconsistent you should provide examples of the same kind of incident where there was a punishment.

      I can’t think of one.

      1. Slavisa (@sylversurferr)
        1st July 2019, 23:13

        GP Germany 2016, Rosberg move on Verstappen 100% identical, 5sec penalty + 2 penalty points on licence.

          1. Yep, if anything Rosberg had the pass completed before the corner and it was just Max moving under braking that caused Rosberg to slow a bit more and let Max stay nearly side-by-side. Hard-but-fair racing? Apparently not when it’s Rosberg behind the wheel.

        1. I see these examples of Rosberg vs Verstappen and Rosberg vs Hamilton (Austria 2016) used a lot in comparison to this incident, but it is not the same. Even Michael Masi says so.

          Verstappen and Hamilton were prevented to turn in by Rosberg, while Verstappen did not prevent Leclerc from turning in, but just squeezed him out at the exit of the corner by going wide. What happens a lot in F1. It used to be one of Hamiltons signature overtake/defend moves.

          1. So Rosberg prevented the others from turning in by putting his car in the way of them staying on track. Max, on the other hand, squeezed the other drivers by putting his car in the way of them staying on track.
            Completely different.

          2. Yep, completely different as it is allowed to let your car roll to the outside on turn exit, but not on turn entry when there is a car next to you.

            Why was for example Norris overtake on Raikkonen this race not under investigation?
            Or Verstappens overtake on Vettel in Brasil 2016?
            Because these were completely legit moves and they were the same as Verstappens overtake on Leclerc

  6. Well this will keep the F1 press going until Silverstone!

    1. Yes… but only in Italy :o)

  7. I’d say the way the 2 incidents are comparable is this: in Canada they ignored the spirit of the rules and went with the letter of the law(and then some) to justify the penalty. In Austria they decided that the spirit of the rules applied, when clearly the letter of the rules state otherwise. It’s there that the inconsistency lies. I’m all for let them race, but then apply common sense in a consistent manner.

    1. If you want to be a bit subtler about it, in both cases the driver’s intention was being assessed. In Canada, Vettel was judged to have blocked Hamilton on purpose (as well as rejoining the track dangerously) and his steering and throttle inputs, as well as mirror use, were analysed to reach that conclusion. In Austria, Verstappen was found to have been following the racing line with no indication (including mirror use) suggesting he’d been focused on blocking rather than getting round the corner as fast as he could – which according to the steward report was decisive.

      You could argue that in both cases the stewards favoured the attacking driver (with Ferrari defendin in both), and so maybe they want to encourage or give the benefit to passing manoeuvres, but it’s hardly a big sample.

      1. @david-br Not to start a whole thing on this, but are you sure the stewards stated that SV blocked LH ‘on purpose?’

        1. What defending did LEC do when he let VER a lot of space, yet he was pushed off-track?! He was ”defending” when they started to brake and entered the corner, after that VER had the car in front and was the defender. So, LEC’s situation is similar to HAM’s situation, not VET’s.

          There was some purpose in VER move for sure. 1 lap earlier the situation unfolded pretty much the same, only that VER let a little patch of track and the kerbs at LEC’s disposal. VER got his car almost completely ahead of LEC, but somehow LEC managed to repass him under acceleration. So, next lap, everything was the same, but the part where VER leaves a little track space and the kerbs to LEC. In order not to have a repeat of the previous lap, VER went directly for the kerbs and probably LEC thought things were going to unfold the same way, but instead of leaving him the kerbs, VER bumped him.

          1. @mg1982 I’d revise that a little. The next time around was not the same. Max was much more alongside him much earlier in the corner and took ownership of it. And it was not Max that bumped CL, it was CL that steered into him while Max still had his steering wheel aimed to the right. Yes Max ran CL wide, but only after taking ownership of the corner. The onus was on CL to back off or have no choice but to go wide.

          2. He was ‘more alongside’ than he had been the previous time, but Leclerc was still slightly ahead as they entered the corner – and had already turned in while still ahead.
            ‘Ownership’ is a pretty odd way to talk about it.

            The decision was very finely balanced, but basically it legitimises a late dive down the inside which leaves the defending driver no room to make the corner. Fair enough if that’s the new rule – and it is a new precedent – but I would not be in the least surprised to hear Max complain when he is on the receiving end next time.

          3. @Nigel No ‘ownership’ is exactly what the commentators immediately remarked on, as in, Max took the inside line and was plenty alongside CL who was on the outside, and because of how he did it Max had complete control and ownership of the real estate to go ahead and take his chosen line out of the corner. There was no ‘late dive’ by Max. He was alongside CL plenty before even getting to the apex. A late dive becomes iffy because it can often mean the bloke doing the late dive didn’t really have the right to stick his nose in, as in, suddenly he appears when the leading driver had already committed to turning in, typically towards the apex. CL left all kinds of opportunity for Max to go inside, right alongside CL, and Max didn’t even have to hug the apex to do so. No late dive, no locking brakes, just a line that dominated CL’s line and allowed him by, legally as per the stewards’ determination.

          4. If the inside car has the right to own the racingline from apex to the exit of the corner, we will never see cars overtake on the outside anymore…. Cars going around the outside is among the best passes in racing.
            In really highspeed corners I can understand, but this was a relatively slow speed corner.
            I bet If this was a battle for 8th place and none of the involved had their name written in all the grandstands, there would have been a penalty

      2. Verstappen deliberately pushed Leclerc off, he wasnt on the racing line to begin with, watch which how much tighter line he took 1 lap earlier.

    2. @dasman
      I’m surprised more people haven’t seen that the inconsistency is that in Montreal the stewards went with the letter of the law and in Austria they went with the spirit of the law which is inconsistent.

    3. Matteo (@m-bagattini)
      1st July 2019, 15:12

      @dasman completely agree. That’s what I was trying to say without using the right words. Letter and spirit really convey the meaning.

      1. Please enlighten me as to what letter of the rules was ignored in favour of the spirit of the rules yesterday.

        1. Matteo (@m-bagattini)
          2nd July 2019, 9:17

          @robbie aren’t there “causing a collision” and “forcing another driver off track” rules? At least it’s the message that appears from time to time after a penalty has been assigned. Didn’t Verstappen caused a collision (they collided because he went a lot deep and took a very late apex)? Didn’t Verstappen forced Leclerc outside the boundaries of the track (without being actually in front of him)?

          They didn’t follow those rules literally, because it was – I quote Masi – “good hard racing”. Like “good hard racing” is something we can measure.

          1. @m-bagattini No in this case Max was deemed to have done good hard racing which is measurable because it didn’t cross the boundary into something penalty worthy. He obviously didn’t cause a collision or he would have been penalized. It was CL that steered into him once he had already chosen to go wide rather than back off, and for whatever reason he steered right, right into Max, which was the only thing that was going to happen by him doing that at that point. Max forced CL to make a choice, not to go wide. CL could have backed off and tried to go inside Max instead. It’s subtle, they investigated, and concluded it was good hard racing.

  8. Max’s move was brilliant! Approaching the bend it looked like he would either go outside or attempt to stay behind and get a good run out of the bend. Because he made a late dart for the inside Leclerc couldn’t cut back and was trapped on the outside. He was always getting forced out when Max held the racing line.
    I’m a HUGE Leclerc fan and was really impressed with his defense against a much faster car at that point (and in the hands of Max)
    I think a more appropriate response from Binnoto would be, well that’s tough racing, we’ve had a few decisions that didn’t go our way but we’ll get them next time. Much more sporting and the next time he has a legitimate complaint he won’t be “The boy who cried Wolf!”

    1. @twentyseven Exactly, it just looked a great move to me at the time and I was initially surprised it had been contested. Max earned the pass with the dummy that pushed Leclerc to the outside of the corner and then braked superbly inside.

      1. There was no dummy. The line LEC took until the middle of the corner is the racing line, and not the line VER took (on the inside). He took that line (cause it’s the racing line!) every lap of the race so, previous lap too.

        1. @mg1982 It’s not the same though. If you check the two attempted passes, on the second Leclerc goes much wider left, even off the track slightly, before turning in. It’s a weird move given Verstappen had tried to pass him on the inside the previous lap. It seems Leclerc had either gone that far left to block VER passing on the outside (as VER had positioned himself right behind LEC on approaching the corner) or he’d decided to take the corner at an earier and shallower angle, which meant that the ideal line would then cut across where VER would be (rather than LEC following the corner round the outside as on the previous lap). That difference in LEC’s angle into the corner may well be why the stewards held them both responsible for the collision.

    2. AntonioCorleone
      1st July 2019, 17:48

      Binotto in an interview with Sky Sports F1 said that according to the current rules that are in place now, the move was 100% illegal, but he also said that he liked the way the drivers fought on track and said that the rules needed to change, because as the rules are now, the only overtakes we will see are clean DRS passes.
      I personaly think that Binotto is right on both points. Under current regulations, the move was 1 million percent illegal. If not for causing a collision, than for pushing a car off track and should have been penalised by law but if you judge it by emotions and for the racing it definitely its just a racing incident.

      1. Sorry… but did you not see that LC turned into MV in that incident. MV had the corner won CL should have backed off.

        1. Slavisa (@sylversurferr)
          1st July 2019, 23:20

          Stop embarrassing yourself.

  9. There is no inconsistency because the incidents are completely different. The Leclerc/Verstappen incident is actually more akin to the Hamilton/Rosberg incident from Austin 2015 (the first corner incident where Hamilton forced Rosberg wide when overtaking at turn 1). There was no penalty in that incident either, if you try hang it out round the outside that is the risk you run.

    I would have preferred a Leclerc victory, but Verstappen was (for once) totally blameless in my eyes.

    1. @Geemac, I disagree. Leclerc wasn’t hanging it out around the outside, he was on the racing line. Verstappen moved to the inside and Leclerc chose to give him room. He could have driven right toward the apex and crashed them both. They were alongside each other the entire way through the corner, yet Verstappen gets to run wide because he took a suboptimal entry angle in order to attack?

      If Leclerc has to give room, so should Verstappen. I don’t mind the contact, what I mind is that Verstappen didn’t leave Leclerc room. And moreso than this incident, that is seen as the norm and acceptable.

      1. No, Max had already done plenty to own the corner. There was nothing suboptimal about his entry and he was fully in control the whole time. He had gotten himself well beside if not even a bit ahead of CL quite early in the corner. He forced CL’s hand to either go wide or back off. CL chose not to back off so went wide instead and then steered into Max in an attempt to get back on track I guess, or what have you…I mean…turning right was only going to amount to hitting Max and that’s what he did. Max was under no obligation to leave CL room after having taken ownership of the corner. The squeeze upon exiting a corner is very common and as per yesterday’s non-penalty has been reinforced thus.

        1. So.. using this ‘own the corner’ argument could explain every dirty movement from now on… The fact is, Verstappen would never complete that curve the way he did if he was alone. Leclerc was ahead of him on the start and Verstappen deliberated brake much later to NOT LET HIM space to complete it. This is not a clean move.

          1. @christian I think you couldn’t be more wrong. Max was in absolute control the whole time. Are you implying he needed to bounce off CL to stay on track? I think you better watch Max’s on-board again. If it was not a clean move there would have been a penalty.

          2. You know… If I am that wrong as you say they wouldn’t take so much time to decide for punishment or not. They were in doubt. They were fearing all the rant about Vettel on Canada. ‘He was in absolute control all the time’… this is so subjective and vague. The thing is pretty much objective: if Verstappen had played clean wouldn’t have brake that later knowing there was a car at his side. He did that to block CL and make sure he would be OUT OF TRACK and I sincerely don’t understand why so many people consider it as a clean move. It was a sutil move, of course, not so gross as Rosberg’s on 2016.

        2. @christian The length of time the stewards took does not indicate they were in doubt as per your big assumption. They were gathering all the necessary data and had to interview the drivers and then weigh their comments too.

          As you said, it is subtle, and in this case Max did it right. Max didn’t dive bomb, he had the inside line and was fully alongside CL at the entry to the corner and that entitled him to continue on a line of his choice upon exit. He chose to go wide and CL chose to stay on his outside rather than backing out and trying to undercut wide running Max.

      2. @hobo: agree. LEC was on the racing line until the middle of the corner, but VER pushed him off the racing directly off-track. Previous lap he did leave LEC a little track space and the kerbs and provided enough traction for LEC to repass him. That’s why I think the following lap he did it on purpose: he took a wider line and rode the kerbs their entire length, although the racing line means the car should start riding the kerbs when 30% of the kerbs length is already behind. So, the move borrowed a little bit from ROS move of forgetting to steer right.

        1. How did he push him off line? Did he crash into him or make any other contact. I think not. If there had been gravel instead of tarmac run off then LEC would have lifted. He knew MV had the corner.

          He should have been driving more defensively. Not leaving enough room to get a bus through.

          1. What’s all rhis “owned the corner…”?
            If the inside car allways has the right to close the door halfway into a corner, whats the point of being on the outside? You are allways doomed to loose.
            If two drivers are alongside, they both should leave space.

          2. @khm On slow corners passing on the outside is rare and risky but at least would require being ahead in order to own the right to a line. Max was gaining on CL before the corner and had more momentum. Max was well alongside CL entering the corner and was going faster and so took a line of his choosing as per his right, while leaving CL the option to either back out or go wide. Not every time are these circumstances going to be replicated. In this case Max took command of the corner and the race.

          3. @khm If you look at these examples, then you see who owns the corner and the line .. and see that the car on the outside has to yield.

            – Hamilton vs. Rosberg in Canada 2016: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLKydkckiAI
            – Vettel vs Verstappen and Verstappen vs Vettel in Brazil 2016: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYnSoECUNB0

  10. I can’t wait to see Ferrari’s new Candok video evidence.

    Also looking forward to Vettel falling in love F1 and applauding stewards decision to allow “racing” to happen again. You know, that thing he has been moaning about for the last three weeks? The Stewarts were listening to his wishes!!!! Who needs rules am I right?

    They wanted more “racing”, they got it.

  11. Team principals should show a good example and not criticise the referee in a rant but make a proper and dignified appeal if they believe a wrong decision has been made.

    The fact Ferrari are not appealing the decision shows they are either venting their spleen in a tantrum or trying to pressure the stewards in advance of the next time. They clearly resent the end of Ferrari International Assistance. And thank the Lord that really shameful period is long gone.

    This childish behaviour, throwing toys out of the cot while declining an appeal, brings the sport into disrepute. Those who do not behave soberly, politely and properly who are part of a grid team, should be penalised as happens in other sports.

    Binotto should have a one race ban as a penalty for his petulant undermining of the stewards.

  12. Neil (@neilosjames)
    1st July 2019, 14:36

    It could be that my memory isn’t what it once was, but… can anyone provide an example of a driver who was ahead or level at the apex, taking a close-to-normal line (so, not doing a crazy divebomb), being penalised for forcing a rival off the track at the exit?

    This sort of overtake happens in most races but no one cares because the guy on the outside usually accepts the corner is lost and backs down. Even when they don’t, no one usually cares… Magnussen did it to Grosjean twice in Spain, and Sainz did it to him once, and no one (except perhaps Grosjean) complained at all. No penalties, and I don’t think they even investigated it.

    I can understand if you take a crazy line and deliberately force someone off (like Rosberg did to Hamilton at this corner in 2016) but in all my time watching F1, I can’t think of a single example of a driver being punished for leaving a rival in a closing wedge at a corner exit.

    1. @neilosjames – Neither can I. I mention it above (and on another article). They were fully alongside the entire corner, Leclerc left room on the inside, but Verstappen left no room on the outside—and this is seen as perfectly fine. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

      1. By the time Max was leaving no room it was when he had already well owned the corner by being fully alongside if not slightly ahead, and that is when the owner of the corner can force the hand of the rival. Max took ownership and forced CL to either go wide or back off. Max earned the real estate.

        This is not slot cars where each driver has his own lane and is not to ever be impeded. Drivers need to leave room upon entry to corners if two cars have any part of each other that is side by side, but they are not obliged to leave room after they have taken control of a corner and have earned the right to exit the corner as they see fit in order to confirm their pass and carry on up the road.

        Obviously as confirmed by the non-penalty one does not always need to leave a car width of space at all times with all rivals at all corners, particularly on exit. Upon entry, you can’t make more than one move and/or block someone, particularly after they have committed to braking already, and you need to leave space. Upon exit and acceleration, different story.

        1. Remember what Alain Prost said after hitting Ayrton Senna on Suzuka 1989? “It was my corner”. Hmmm…

        2. @Robbie – First, the lack of a penalty does not mean that something amiss did not occur. Are you really arguing that the Stewards are without fault 100% of the time? I don’t think you actually want to stake that claim, but that is essentially what you are saying.

          Second, I’m not crucifying Max. I know that what he did is what many (most? all?) drivers do on corner exit, which is to drive toward the edge of the track, leaving the rival to slow down or crash (or leave the circuit, at which point they will have to concede the place so it’s the same as slowing down). So if the question or comment was, “Did Max do anything crazy or abnormal here?” My answer would be, “No.” But that wasn’t my point.

          Third, my point was that this practice (because unless someone can point it out in the rules it is merely an accepted convention that drivers, teams, and stewards look the other way on) doesn’t make sense to me. I get that it exists, but I don’t get why this is somehow seen as fair. If the lead cannot weave and block (not touching you!!) why can the attacking driver just push the other off the track?

          You said:

          Drivers need to leave room upon entry to corners if two cars have any part of each other that is side by side, but they are not obliged to leave room after they have taken control of a corner and have earned the right to exit the corner as they see fit in order to confirm their pass and carry on up the road.

          Is this a written rule or is this just a description of what occurs? If it is the latter, then all you’re telling me is what I already know.

          So, humor me for a second. On a standard 90ish degree corner the general driving line is wide entry, corner apex, wide exit, right? (something like this) If I am approaching the corner wide left, someone comes alongside, they aren’t on the driving line, but I am obliged to give them space on corner entry by not going to the apex as I might want. Why do they then get to choose their corner exit regardless of where I am? Why shouldn’t the driver who was never on the racing line to begin with have to turn tighter than normal to allow me space? I get that isn’t how it happens most of the time, but that alone doesn’t make it fair or sporting or clean.

          Last, there is a youtube clip of it (here) that shows most angles. At no point was VER clearly ahead. There may have been a moment or two with inches/cm of a lead but nothing where you could say “Yep, VER ahead” through the entire corner prior to contact. Also, VER was not on full lock through the corner. Meaning, he could have gone further right. And I understand you may say, drivers don’t have to do that. I got that. What I don’t get is, why?

          To be clear, I really don’t care about this incident. It could have gone either way and I wouldn’t have minded. But it’s the larger practice of driving each other off the track and that being allowable that I don’t agree with or really understand.

          1. This is a very well reasoned response – thank you for posting it. It appears that Robbie’s stock answer is “doesn’t matter Max owned corner”, but you’re right that it’s not a very satisfactory response, and the move itself doesn’t seem particularly fair (it’s a block-pass, and unlike in motorcycling, the driver on the outside can’t really counter a block-pass by pulling an over-under pass to take back their position – these cars are just too big to make that kind of manoeuvre work on the majority of corners). The ruling would suggest that this type of pass is now explicitly allowed, so it will be interesting to see how many drivers are happy to escort the car on the outside off the road from here on in, and where the steward draw the line. From a purely personal perspective, it advantages my favoured driver (Ricciardo), given his propensity for late-braking passes to gain places, but it will be interesting to see how it affects racing from now on.

          2. @hobo Max didn’t drive CL off the track. Max gained the right to that corner by being inside and alongside CL in plenty of time. CL is the one that chose to not back off and rather go wide.

            @HR There is no new rule here. Just because you think Max should have been penalized doesn’t mean there is now a new rule. The same rule still applies and Max did everything right. If you want precedence on that see LH and the number of times he has done the same without penalty. If the driver, yes, takes ownership of the corner, owns the real estate early enough without a desperate dive bomb for example, but rather a proper insertion into the inside of the corner alongside another car, then it is he who has the choice of exit lines and it is the driver who has to either back off or not back off and go wide that has to adapt.

          3. @robbie – All you are saying is what happened. I know what happened. I provided a link to a replay with many angles of what happened. I promise you, I get what happened. Max drove alongside and then drove to the edge of the track. What I don’t get is why that is okay.

            The drivers are prescribed as to how they can block or not block going into a corner. Maybe that is okay maybe that is seen as too many rules, I don’t know, but those are the rules. But as soon as you come alongside you own the corner? Why? Where is this written? Or is this just an unwritten rule that fully advantages attackers and not defenders?

            As for others doing it, I know. That is why I’m asking about the practice, not this single example. So, I am not sure if you are a Max-fanatic, or just REALLY think he is in the right in this particular instance, but set that aside, please. I know Hamilton has done it many times as well as many, many other drivers. But this time the stewards were involved. So they have a chance to speak on it and it does somewhat start to set a precedent. And if they happen to make a similar ruling in the future, they may further cement it. Given that, I want to discuss why is blocking on exit or pushing wide okay, but not blocking or pushing wide on entry?

          4. @hobo Of course I am no expert, just an experienced ‘armchairer’ but I think I can answer you with confidence. F1, and I assume most racing series, want to invite racing. If they did not have rules about blocking, especially under braking into corners, then mayhem would ensue. Any bloke, even the worst driver in racing history, could just weave and bob his way as he leads cars towards a corner, even cutting in front of a bloke who had already committed to braking for said corner, and even the best driver in the world couldn’t get by.

            There has to be rules and/or an etiquette such as the one move and then back to his line, and not making that one move after one’s rival has already committed to braking and would therefore be handcuffed to evade said bloke jumping in front. Max got his wrist slapped for this a few years ago.

            So we need there to be an art to passing coming up to corners, as well as an art to defending, such that it is ‘controlled mayhem’ shall we say, but once a driver has won the corner, that is it…he has won the corner and the right to exit on his chosen line, with the driver who has lost the corner responsible to back off and/or go inside or outside.

            So there is a rule that allows both drivers need to leave space going into a corner, to invite racing and defending, but then at some point a driver may have won the corner at which point his exit line is his to choose. Not to be repetitive but CL left plenty of room for Max to go inside, fair game, and Max didn’t even need to hug the apex, and he didn’t. We agree that Max was so alongside that he even was slightly ahead at a point before CL went off track. So this is what was considered fair game. Both drivers had left each other room, but Max had won the corner by having the inside and being alongside well enough and in enough time that there was no desperation to his move shall we say. CL left it wide open for Max to do so. After a driver, indeed both drivers together have fairly competed with each other going into the corner, which is what is looked for, then in this case Max, with the inside line and I would say the momentum, had won the right to choose his line of exit. This is why Horner used the term checkmate. Max legally took the corner from CL and therefore was entitled to squeeze him on exit.

            So the big difference between entry and exit is that both drivers need to respectfully give each other the opportunity to compete for the corner, which happened in Austria, and then it is fair game upon exit. It wouldn’t be racing if both drivers involved in corners had to pretend it was slot cars and always give each other their own lane even on exit. The idea is both drivers are allowed to race themselves into the corner and try to win the corner. Once they do that ala Max et al, the exit is his to choose. If squeezing, blocking, multiple-moving, serving in front of a car already under braking were allowed, it would be smash up derby before they even got to apexes, and there would never be any passes at all, and it would also be very dangerous.

            Max didn’t drive CL off the track other than he took his line by winning the corner and CL chose to put himself where he did. CL would have been much better off taking the apex so that Max couldn’t get the inside line, but instead CL left the inside wide open, and Max had the pace to win the corner.

          5. @robbie – Appreciate the measured response, honestly. And I won’t belabor my reply, but suffice to say, that isn’t enough for me. I’ll make 2 points. You stated:

            …once a driver has won the corner, that is it…he has won the corner and the right to exit on his chosen line, with the driver who has lost the corner responsible to back off and/or go inside or outside.

            Not to be pedantic but that leaves a lot undefined. 1) Does “winning the corner” simply mean on the inside? If the rule is that inside on corner = your corner, then every divebomb that doesn’t result in an accident is now winning the corner.* That’s problematic. It also means that if I see you coming and I move to the inside, you had better stay behind me because I will run you off the track. However, if winning the corner means being ahead, then he didn’t win the corner prior to contact, and THAT is an issue.

            2) Why does winning the corner allow you to drive your rival off the track or drive whatever exit line you wish? At no other point in the race are you allowed to drive a rival offtrack. You have to leave a car’s width if they are alongside. But in a corner you can just drive how you want if you are ahead? Again, Max was the attacker here. He wasn’t in the corner, someone else appeared and he drove a normal line because he didn’t expect anyone else to be there. Charles was alongside the entire way. To me, you should have to leave space, the exit of a corner is not a magic area where rules disappear.

            But I do appreciate the conversation and opinion on the topic.

            * To be clear, I do not think Max bombed up the inside, it was a great move. And Charles should have closed the door so this wasn’t an option.

          6. @hobo I appreciate the conversation too. I would say no, winning the corner doesn’t mean just being on the inside, even with a dive bomb. It’s about positioning, intent, degree of desperation perhaps, momentum, control etc not necessarily in that order. How much is one car alongside another? By 2 cm of the front wing of the inside car? At what speed? Only matching? Then there is no ownership of the inside of the corner for that, and the outside driver has the ownership of the real estate.

            A dive-bomb is the more risky obviously, and has a good change of either succeeding or ending in tears, and little in between. Less control, often an overzealous attempt that requires cooperation from the defender to avoid contact? Higher risk.

            In between my two different examples above would be the more racy moves, even if just penalty free. I don’t need to re-describe the amount of car Max had beside CL’s, but also the amount of room Max had without even having to hug the apex whatsoever. Positioning by Max but left room to gain said position by CL. Control, momentum, nothing desperate about it. CL was given time to see what Max was doing and had a fair enough chance to react. CL wasn’t stamping his authority on the corner when he took such a wide line, and allowed Max with enough momentum and control to stamp his authority on it. I’d love to know their speed differences throughout the entry and middle of the corner.

            Sorry to repeat the scenario as I had said I didn’t need to, but I couldn’t help it in trying to describe what is imho the crux of it. The degrees of raciness/reasonableness and command. Actually how best to describe the differences is to see the Max of Monaco and previous races last year where his overzealousness, and lack of positioning and control, albeit with momentum lol, saw him in trouble. There was more a degree of desperation that too often resulted in tears. The difference now in intent with control, positioning, and momentum made Austria happen. As you said, Max was the attacker, and to me alongside doesn’t automatically make both of them the in-command driver stamping his authority on the corner. CL’s best comeback was to vear into Max as Max was I’m quite sure already accelerating more quickly out of the corner due to said stamping of authority. Yeah Max moved CL over, after meeting the conditions I’ve described, but he didn’t run him off the track like an out of control hooligan lol. Or a Max of ‘old’.

            As to leaving space at all times? I just think that is asking too much of drivers to have to curtail their intent, momentum, desire to command the corner and win the race, have enforced upon them a fear of racing for fear of a sure penalty for any human effort to stamp authority and risk overstepping, since there is no ownership of real estate allowed. Purely slot car like, not that there isn’t racing with slot cars too though. And slot car set makers have always included crossover pieces including for the new digital slot car era.

            But some passes are like that in F1 too. Often in high speed corners, no? Two blokes side by side with fairly equal everything in terms of my descriptors, both knowing they can’t put the other in a position of being unable to react in time to a move without high speed high risk consequences likely for both. So they stay in their lanes.

    2. Slavisa (@sylversurferr)
      1st July 2019, 23:22

      Your memory is bad.
      GP Germany 2016, Rosberg move on Verstappen was 100% identical, and he got 5 sec penalty for it.

      1. @Slavisa
        I understand why you may think this but it is not identical at all. If you look at the footage you can clearly see that ROS made a late dive and deliberately pushed VER wide in that occasion. VER was much further ahead when entering the corner (which is a big deal!!) and therfore had the racing line and even tried to steer in at the beginning of the corner. Because of the late dive of ROS (who wasn’t next to VER at that time but still half a car length behind VER) VER had to stop turning in and was forced to go straight ahead to the outside of the corner. VER by the way didn’t steer in, didn’t cause a collision and took the line outside the track. ROS steered in much later than VER did in Austria taking the outside line in the entire corner (already at the beginning of the corner missing the apex as far as he could). Even though there are some similarities it is not identical and a separate incident. VER in Austria was almost completely next to LEC at the entry of the corner and because of his late breaking in combination with his track position going into the corner you can argue that he risks missing the apex slightly (but nowhere near the miss of ROS in Germany). LEC only tried to enter the corner aprox at the same time VER did. When VER was already next or even slightly ahead of LEC. The way in which VER an LEC are steering in clearly indicate that both have their respective racing lines, but because of the track position of VER he would always come on top. Even though it was a little cheaky the move of VER was hard but smart racing and frankly all drivers have done it!! Most drivers on the outside line however are smart enough to back out.

      2. @sylversurferr – it was pretty darn similar. Except I don’t think there was even contact. Interesting.

  13. geargrinder
    1st July 2019, 14:55

    We are missing the moderating voice of Charlie Whiting, who had the experience and authority to not always strictly interpret the rules. This season has seen a drift back to stricter interpretation, which is very difficult to do because the sport is not black and white.

  14. Bruno Verrari
    1st July 2019, 15:29

    I disagree: the Montreal stewards judged it by the rule book, while the Austrians by the spirit of the sporting regulations – which is totally inconsistent. They should be judged by the same – not the way it best hurts Verrari!
    Personally, I’m FOR letting them race- by consistent conventions.

    1. I’ll ask again then as I did above…yesterday where did the stewards ignore the letter of the law in favour of the spirit?

  15. The VER VS Lec is simply a racing incident and it’s OK, but in CAN the situation is same ; and Ferrari is right Vettel look to mirror after maneuver & handle his Ferrari after his mistake…and LW go outside to improve his position …and whatever J Palmer said …it’s a incident ..but just that …without that steward decision , and one less on Ricciardo in France or decision against UK Golden boy in Austria we got better racing in Canada..better title race …and not auto school procession for points..

    And yes there is plenty inconsistencies …and Ferrari in this case was victim with Renault …and a litle less Mercedes and Racing point..Therefore among other things, we don’t have legendary races from 70’s…in all 1998 season we have less penalty than in Austria alone

  16. It’s ridiculous.

    They’ve ruled that if you are inside you can push the outside off the track.

    Which means every driver that can get alongside on entry now has the right to block the other driver.

    This will at least make the next race more interesting as drivers “explore” diving into the inside to make a “pass” complete before the apex…

    1. tony mansell
      1st July 2019, 17:09

      More interesting is good. A lot of petty coat raisers on here, red ones, that are the first to complain about boring races. Get on with it, its not ballet. Topline sport isn’t for old ladies but it appears it is a spectator sport for them

    2. Neil (@neilosjames)
      1st July 2019, 19:06

      They’ve ruled that if you are inside you can push the outside off the track.

      As long as you take a close-to-normal line, it’s always been OK to do that if you’re level or ahead at the apex.

  17. Ben (@scuderia29)
    1st July 2019, 18:26

    “it was just good hard racing”
    But canada wasn’t..there wasn’t even contact in canada. I don’t believe verstappen should have been penalised, nor should Vettel have been in Canada, the incidents are different, but the stewards flip flop from “it was just good hard racing” to “well under article 247b under section 45 of the 1996 bla bla bla it was a punishable offence”

    These are inconsistent interpretations of how wheel to wheel racing can be conducted.

    1. In Canada VET cut the corner, went completely off track onto the grass, and on reentering the track nearly collided with HAM had HAM not braked hard. That was not wheel to wheel racing. And it was completely different to the LEC/VER incident in Austria. VET deserved a penalty, VER did not.

  18. NeverElectric
    1st July 2019, 21:17

    Seems pretty clear that Verstappen pushed Leclerc off the track. Shoving another driver off the track is not “hard racing”, it’s not “racing” at all.
    If the FIA say this is ok, fine – but then they need to stick to that interpretation. They are now splitting hairs about who was in front, who was behind, this and that – I know a shove when I see one. And if this is how racing is going to be, cool – let’s not see other drivers getting penalised for doing more or less the same thing.

    1. LEC wasn’t pushed off track. Sure, they banged each others’ wheels but LEC drove off track rather than continue to crash into VER who was completely alongside and edging ahead. See seconds 00:09 – 00:10 and 00:27 – 00:28 on https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/article.watch-all-the-angles-of-verstappens-late-pass-on-leclerc.3lQxAo1jZf7AVzIeNT3fcV.html

  19. There’s a lot of nitpicking being done with snapshots of the whole situation. VER made the inside line timely and entered fractionally, yet convincingly ahead of LEC.

    The door was left open by the Ferrari-driver, where after he failed to capitalize on exit momentum, after being tested again in the very same turn, this time less forgivingly.

    VERs line, although seeming rather wide, proved predictable and clean in the end. Since when is a skillfully earned positional advantage a bad thing? Recent two defining incidents simply pale in comparison in that sense.

    Stuff like this happens offscreen quite occasionally and nobody bats an eyelash, except the teams; rather reasonable when fighting for the cheese.

    Point being: due to recent events, this is used as a scapegoat to undermine the system in place. Mixed signals don’t go well with rollercoaster emotions, so let’s not mix the facts with the conjured disgust of a painful loss.

    I’m truly feeling sorry for LEC (and Ferrari) fans, but the lack of defining race pace and error prone decision-making are the real boogie men standing in the way of a rather needed victory.

    Sure, the FIA, given their status, is at the bleeding edge of polarizing decisions, but for the most part they are doing a relatively decent job. Undermining their expertise or blaming VER after the ordeal is nothing more than a resonating cry for real change.

  20. Karma is a bitch. Ferrari and their fans complained after Canada that F1 needs to let the drivers race and settle it out on the circuit. And then they end up on the losing end of letting the drivers race and are complaining again.
    That being said, if F1 truly felt that both drivers were at fault for the incident, both drivers should have received a 5 second penalty. If those cars weren’t perfectly side by side, the bump would have caused a horrific accident when the open wheels touch. I started with karma is a bitch and I will end with that because by the end of the season we will see this type of incident resulting in an accident and it is the fault of F1 for not enforcing these rules that were put in place for safety.

  21. i think we as fans (or not) get it abit wrong especially when we feel someone “deserves” a win… fastest in practice, pole, leading the race for many laps does make 1 want the driver to win. but usually the person who wins is the person who finishes the race 1st and has no penalties against him which could drop him down the order. and also 1 who defends his position fairly.

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