FIA delays decision on Verstappen-Hamilton incident review until Friday

2021 Qatar Grand Prix

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No decision will be taken until Friday at the earliest on Mercedes’ request for an incident between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton to be reviewed.

Mercedes confirmed on Tuesday it had submitted a request for a review of the lap 48 incident between the pair in the Sao Paulo Grand Prix. The stewards decided not to investigate the incident at the time.

Representatives of Mercedes and Red Bull were summoned to attend a hearing of the stewards at 5pm local time at Losail International Circuit, where this weekend’s race is being held.

The hearing will first decide whether the incident should be reviewed. For it to go ahead, Mercedes must demonstrate new evidence relevant to the case has arisen for the stewards to consider.

Over four hours after the hearing began, the FIA confirmed the decision will not be made known until Friday. “Following today’s hearing with representatives from Mercedes and Red Bull, the stewards are now considering the matter and will publish their decision tomorrow,” said an FIA spokesperson.

It is the second time this season one of the championship contenders has requested a review of an incident. Following the British Grand Prix Red Bull petitioned the stewards review their decision to hand Hamilton a 10-second time penalty for his collision with Verstappen. The request was declined.

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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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62 comments on “FIA delays decision on Verstappen-Hamilton incident review until Friday”

  1. Suggests it’s not clear cut that the incident should be reviewed.
    So even if it did go to review, it suggests that the incident, even with the new angle is not a clear cut penalty either.

    I think this will go to review but end up with Verstappen receiving no more than a reprimand.

    1. Four hours and overnight to review if they will review!
      I hope I’m never behind them in an ice cream parlour.

  2. Are they waiting until tomorrow to decide if they should investigate? And then if they do open an investigation will they wait until the following day to determine the outcome? Or maybe they’ll wait until the following week.

    1. They are just looking for a creative way to throw the whole thing under the carpet.
      No one expects a penalty but rather the drawing of a line as to acceptable behaviour on the race track.
      Failure to do admonish the erring driver means the stewards must be forced to apologise to Perez and Norris and several other drivers for even milder incidents.

  3. F1 needs to learn and make decisions A LOT faster.
    Hamilton’s DISQ took far too long last week yet we all knew there outcome.
    This will be reviewed, there’s no way it can’t so I don’t see what take them so long

  4. Delaying tactics – nothing more, in my humble opinion. Hoping to get this race done, so imposing a penalty is more difficult and easier to avoid.
    It was clear to anyone with any brain what Max did, and why, and it deserves a penalty – there is no doubt.
    I don’t blame him for doing it. He knows it was wrong, so does Horner, and so does almost everyone else.

    Which begs the question… Why are the stewards and the FIA so determined he gets away with it?

    1. Horner is a narcissist. When another driver does it, they should be banned, when his driver does it, he calls it hard racing.

      1. Exactly the same as Toto.

      2. Yeah, at least Toto is always objective…

  5. considering the matter

    FIA as clear-cut as ever with their use of wording, I see…

  6. I’m completely against what Max did as many on here know, but Merc should have left this and kept the feel good momentum. Even if Max gets a slight grid drop, if anything that will just galvanise him and Red Bull. I know getting the penalties and stewarding right is important, it’s a close call but I think on balance they should have left it.

    1. Hamilton received a 10 sec penalty at Silverstone yet Red Bull spent days creating a video showing why Hamilton should be penalized further. Mercedes isn’t letting this go as Max could do it every race going forward.

      1. Because Hamilton won that races after his car could be repaired AND he completely wrote off the RB16B of Max and the gearbox and engine in it… They felt the damage was too great and the actions of Hamilton were too much outside of decent racing or honest mistake for him to get away with just a 10s penalty. Here basically nothing happened. Just both went wide and Lewis won. No harm no faul

        1. For the last 25 years or so watching F1, one rule has applied to stewarding that has been said by Charlie Whiting and now Masi. Regardless of the consequences, it is the driving of the individual that must be taken into account when making stewarding decisions… i.e. did they do something wrong or not – not whether someone ended up subsequently winning or having to retire or not @w0o0dy.

        2. @w0o0dy Are you saying, you’re perfectly OK with a driver forcing a rival 25m off-track to avoid being overtaken?

          1. @scbriml: not per se, but everything depends on the circumstances. Max and Lewis both tried to brake late. Max probably misjudged the grip on the inside and controlled the understeer after braking as straight as possible for as long as he could. It wasn’t enough so he slid wide… It happens. Lewis was past him in no-time so there really wasn’t a point to hand out a penalty.. as I said: no harm no foul should apply here

          2. I think the bit that most people can see is that Max really didn’t “misjudge the grip” @w0o0dy, firstly because it’s obvious and secondly he didn’t even say that himself about the incident. Anyway, it doesn’t matter as I say I wish Mercedes hadn’t really bothered reviewing it.

          3. @w0o0dy – the only person who broke late was Verstappen. Hamilton was geared up to make the corner, the only reason Verstappen even looks like he is along side into the corner is due to how late he broke and subsequently forced Hamilton off as well as himself.

            F1 stewards have put themselves in an impossible situation, if they do nothing then it causes future problems if they do something it affects a very fierce competitive battle that F1 has craved for years.

            We’ll see which way the sphincter will blow…

      2. Mercedes isn’t letting this go as Max could do it every race going forward.

        There are easier and faster ways to solve that. Just bring it up during the drivers briefing.

        What Mercedes want is any of the below (multiple answers possible):
        – get a penalty for Max;
        – upset Max/RBR;
        – linger on their own frustrations of what happened after Silverstone.

  7. How surprising.

    1. Not!

      If FIA can issue a 24 place disqualification on the basis of an alledged 0.2 mm infringement, they can surely issue a 5 place disqualification to Verstappen and not over-think its impact on the championship.

      It seems to me the sudden turn of form from Redbull is something contrived, for the entertainment of the sport. Dont ask me how, but just compare this season to last, and factor in the absence of the usual rivals Ferrrai, who are currently non starters. The Redbull were needed if only for show. Now we have this situation which only exist as a result of this ‘contrived’ competition.

      History will of course only record the barest of facts.

  8. I smell a Rat…

  9. TBH I am getting a bit tired of this as its turning more into a court drama than a sport. I said the same after the Silverstone incident and after Monza. Let them race it out. First one driver crashes one, the next the other and whoever manages to make fewer mistakes and limit the damage wins (as long as nobody gets hurt). Maybe even it will prompt teams to make cars stronger etc. Even in Brazil I dont know what took such a long time to review and decide before a decision was made, except create fake tension and newlines over the course of two days.

  10. Tragic. Honestly pathetic. They can’t even decide on if they should review something in 4 hours?!

    If they don’t want to penalise Max then just open the investigation and rule him not at fault. Dragging out a decision on if it will even be investigated is just none sense. It should have been an hour at most to hear both sides and decide, not over 4 hours and an over night decision.

    The cynic in me is thinking they want to work out the running order this weekend before deciding any potential punishment. If RedBull are easily quickest a grid drop doesn’t seem as bad. If Mercedes seem dominant again then they can drop it.

    1. Agreed.

      Im sick of it.

      Most viewers are either:
      – Hamilton fans and think Verstappen is guilty
      Or
      – Verstappen fans and think he’s innocent.

      The FIA are make this into a reality TV drama.

    2. The cynic in me is thinking along the lines of, with the new rules next year the FIA and Liberty ensuring the advertising going something like…

      ‘New F1, New Champion, New TV price plans available now’

  11. F1 is stuck and was probably hoping to reach an agreement between the teams for no penalty but a promise that the tactic not be repeated. Neither team blinked. It should have been investigated during the race at a minimum and probably should have been a give back the position penalty as a minimum punishment. F1 looks completely foolish for now having to give a penalty for something that they originally didn’t investigate. Idiots

  12. It will go nowhere on a technicality that has nothing to do with racing, but with a lot of loud voices; including from a number of current drivers, they need to say something about the practice of running someone off the track so blatantly.
    I think they will give an opinion on the practice that makes it clear that it is unacceptable, but rule that you cannot bring ‘new’ evidence; no matter how compelling, when there has been no investigation in the first place.

  13. Nothing should happen why let penalties ruin an otherwise exciting title fight.

    1. Because F1 is not destruction derby.

    2. @f1fan-2000

      why it didnt come out of the hard racing in silverstone? why 0.2mm out of 85mm clearance became issue when a rival changed the very same part three times in a row in parc ferme situation without issue? why ham perez lec norris and countless others were punished in same albeit with least intents punished, while blatant intent and purposes were obvious here goes unpunished and effect the title fight? ham lost 3 very crucial points from sprint race, if this goes unpunished max gains extra 3 points for lack of punishment! That is 6 points difference. Mind if i remind ham lost wdc in 2007 with 1 points! not even pointing out the financial intensive of those points to a team!

      Let them race when it suits to one team/driver, but get all hell loose when it is another? This is not the first time max did this kind of driving, almost everyone in the field had a taste of his driving style including his own team mates… if they keep petting his back and saying good job max, well done max, he will kill someone! this is not an exaggeration! he almost did it kill kimi or seriously injured him in SPA. he almost got himself killed in silverstone… why do we need to wait until he does it?

    3. Also want to add it is not about title fight, as FIA so into safety, and quick to be on top of ham’s seat belt on the cool down lap of a finished race, yet no investigation for an intended and failed collision drive.

      max is dives inside someone and goes over someone’s head, he is right
      max is outside dive blindly into inside, put himself into the wall, he is right
      max is outside, bumps and push someone , he is right
      max is inside, bumps and push someone off he is right
      max parks in front of someone cause a collusion, he is right
      max is in middle of road he is right.

      when is he ever wrong? what is it to do with title? other than being favored so many times and spared penalties to give him better chance in the title fight…

  14. In football the ref makes decisions there and then. Even when the ref gets it wrong, people accept it. This because everyone understands the process: one guy decides on the spot- end of. No closed doors, no friendly phone calls, etc, etc.
    Stewarding is the worst part of F1 for me. I actually cope better with DRS and the difficulty to follow the car in front than the state of stewarding.

    1. I heard they have this new thing in football called VAR.

      1. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
        18th November 2021, 19:49

        Yeah and how successful has that been. Also come watch a league 1 match no such thing as VAR.

        1. Yup! No VAR here at the Abbey Stadium! Still… this isn’t football, that move was over the top and the stewards did not have all the data available to make an informed decision. Now they do.

      2. I don’t mind VAR in football or Hawkeye in tennis. There are clear rules and the technology tells you where you stand.

    2. I like the way you think. We have to accept that F1 is a referee sport in a way. The refs decide on the spot and the referee is always right. Indeed there is a thing called VAR or hawkeye, but that only takes a few minutes so it is still in the moment. We don’t want goals to be overruled days after the match by the referee, even if it is based on correct facts or not. Match is over, move on.

  15. FIA being like me when I study, I can’t move on one chapter after 4 hours of studying

  16. I do not understand why it is taking so long. First, for the onboard video to appear. Second, for the FIA to make up their mind of what is a clear-cut case. What other evidence do they need from Mercedes?

    I highly recommend everyone to watch Jolyon Palmer’s take on the incident on the official F1 website.

  17. To me it’s pretty clear, VES needs to get penalised or he is going to keep doing it.

    In reality FIA need more time to come up with an excuse on why they are not investigating , this is why it’s taking so long.

    1. Charles today is getting ready to change his approach if there is no penalty.

      It is opening the door to a tactic in racing that may look spectacular and exciting but might cause more Silverstones.

      1. Charles was bumped off track by max, and gone unpunished, he knows well!

    2. You really think he stops when he is pusnished? No he will take it even further

  18. So tired of these constant investigations & penalties. We never needed such things in the past & the racing was better because of it.

    If a driver did something another felt was wrong they discussed it afterwards & the FIA only ever got involved if it was absolutely necessary. Can you imagine how many great, memorable moments from the past would have been penalised or simply never happened under today’s over-regulation.

    Such a shame that the nanny state culture has also made it into the sport. Just let them race.

    1. What then happens when a driver never listens or choses not to remember the conversations.

    2. Schumacher took Damon Hill out to win the world championship and didn’t get punished. That’s the kind of memorable things that happened in this beautiful past. Just like Prost and Senna hitting each other. Memorable and exciting but not something I enjoyed in the least.

      1. Memorable? Sure. Beautiful? No way!
        I really don’t mind how the FIA deal with such incidents but consistency is a must!! And on that basis VER deserves a penalty. He defended his position off track! What is difficult to understand about this incident? Its clear cut. Especially now VERs on board has been released.
        If we want to go to “survival of the fittest” approach to racing then lets do it… but make sure everybody knows this is how it will be and make sure consistent penalties are handed out.

  19. Jay (@slightlycrusty)
    18th November 2021, 20:00

    What a farce, almost every driver, current and ex, has described it as one of the clearest examples of crowding another car off track of the whole season. Yet after 4 hours, they need to go away and think on it. Either the stewards are not impartial or, more likely I fear, they’re not competent. The whole system of stewarding needs to be reviewed, it’s not working.

    1. @slightlycrusty +1
      They seem scared of deciding anything. If they’re happy with the SP race decision, so be it, just say so already. Alternatively admit the review. There’s no justification for delaying on a decision to reconsider or not! What evidence is there to assess? Most current drivers seem to have thought it was a penalty, or at the very least are asking what are the rules then? It’s left most people linked to the sport confused. Which is precisely why clarification is needed.

  20. Are they quizzing Tonio Liuzzi on his loyalties first? Curious he was working with Masi and on the stewards panel at both Interlagos and Monza….

  21. Just goes to show how much Charlie Whiting is missed. This kinda baloney never happened on his watch.

    1. +1

      I said this earlier today, the whole FIA control/stewards thing seems to have fallen from grace since Charlie passed. RIP.

  22. If they don’t look at this then all drivers know it’s fair to force opponents off the track when defending a place as long as they’re racing, “let them race” after all.

    Say hi!

    I expect the FIA will say they should have told Verstappen to let Hamilton by but it’s not appropriate the give a penalty now.

  23. The delay is so they can figure out a way to not penalize Max. I get their intent … they don’t want to be the one’s deciding the championship against Max. The problem is that all the drivers (except Max) see this as extremely unfair, since they get penalized for infractions nowhere near as bad.

    If the FIA/Stewards don’t do something about it, then this will be standard operating procedure going forward. Max even said so today, that he would do it again. So if they don’t want to see Max driving other people 10 meters off the track to prevent a pass, then they need to do something about it now. If they don’t put some pain in it, i.e. not just a reprimand, Max will continue to do it. And if it is deemed ok for Max, other drivers will start doing the same. I personally don’t want to see racing go down this path. It isn’t hard “fair” racing. It is dirty racing. I don’t care which driver does it. But this kind of “defense” is not good for racing.

    1. +1
      The more I think about it the more I realise that this is all part of the ‘Show’ narrative that F1 seems to be embracing at the cost of it being a Sport. Liberty, Netflix and the FIA want all this drama as it brings in a new audience who care little for racing but like a good ‘Show’. And whats better for the ‘Show’ than the last races turning into a dirty crashfest with all the drama that goes with it, but as my Gran would say when playing as a kid ” Watch out, it’ll only end in tears”

    2. @sidziner The race director messed this one up. So the incident was noted. The stewards decided not to investigate but at that point Masi should have gone with what he said had been his instinct, namely to show Verstappen a b+w flag. Red Bull and Verstappen would have just shrugged, but he’d have been on a warning and, probably, wouldn’t have gone for the weaving later. Lesson learned. Mercedes would have grumbled but once Lewis had got past, the issue would be pretty much over. Afterwards they ask for the race director to remind drivers for the next race that pushing another driver, and yourself, wide to defend isn’t acceptable. As it hasn’t been on other occasions previously.

      Instead virtually all the drivers are complaining that they don’t know what the rules are anymore. The stewards are under pressure and apparently scared to voice any opinion. And an issue that would have been over in ten minutes in the race has dragged on for a week. And Verstappen is promising more of the same. All because of Masi’s failure to act.

      1. @david-br, I agree that a very large part of the problem is Masi. He lacks any consistency, and his contortions to try to explain the contradicting decisions made from race to race are laughable.

        I also agree that a B&W would have worked with a stern warning that this will not be tolerated in the future. As you say, Merc would be grumbling at the time, but since Ham made it past, they would be ok with it.

        The problem is that by doing nothing, Masi has indicated that there was nothing wrong with what Max did. Max has been very vocal that he doesnt think he’s done anything wrong and he would do it again. So it WILL happen again in the future. I don’t like it, but if the rule makers say it’s ok, then so be it. But it has to be consistent for every driver, not just Max.

        Masi’s inconsistent rulings and explanations have caused massive confusion for everyone, and he is quickly making a farce of the sport.

        1. Yep, the problem was Masi and Max. The race director should not be able to tell the stewards to to ignore an on-track incident. As Max has indicated it is his intention to carry on weaving and attempting to drive other drivers off circuit, and let’s be clear, Hamilton’s reactions avoided a collision, Max needs to be penalised. Strip the second place from him. A disqualification is the only way he will learn that dangerous driving is not acceptable. It will also force him to attempt to win races, not force Lewis to lose them to achieve the WDC. Remember Schumacher was stripped of his points for a whole season for attempting to win a WDC through collision, so there is a precedent.

    3. It seems to me this sort of thing only happens when Max is leading the World Drivers’ Championship. If he had less points than Lewis then it wouldn’t have happened. If the Stewards won’t make a decision that affects the outcome of the WDC then they aren’t doing their job. The question for them isn’t “Will this affect the outcome of the Word Drivers’ Championship”, but “Does our decision threaten the credibility of the WDC?”. Every decision they make that threatens the credibility of the WDC is a wrong decision. Saying Max did nothing wrong threatens the credibility of the WDC, so it was a wrong decision.
      Max knew that if he drove this particular way Lewis would complete his overtaking manoeuvre and win the race and gain more WDC points than he did; and if he drove that particular way Lewis might be crashed out of the race, he might get a time penalty, and he’d finish the race with an increased points advantage over Lewis. Which of those two difficult options do you think Max decided was the better choice? The video makes it obvious Max chose to drive in a way that threatened Lewis’s chances of completing the race in the points.
      So now the Stewards have decided that if you are fighting for position with a competitor who threatens your points advantage then you have the right to make up your own rules. Or have I got that wrong? I’d happily say I was wrong, but will the Stewards say they got it wrong.

  24. They really milking every dispute between Mercedes and Redbull to gain exposure. It’s becoming a soap opera.

  25. So, the Stewards have been comprehensively caught with their knickers down!!
    Does the review panel comprise the same original stewards?
    If i understand correctly, the original decision was made WITHOUT vital footage NOR telemetry.
    Always led to believe that this was available to the Stupids immediately. So why not here??

    Anyhow, the ‘guest drive steward’ should never, ever be part of a steward’s panel, again. Anyone with an ounce of commonsense/nous can see VER’s car changes angle at a critical point. To make a decision without the vital info to understand/confirm that is totally inexcusable.

    I want only a fair & just decision, but this r-e-a-l-l-y smells of cover up.
    The stewards should be mindful that their decision WILL set a precedent.

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