FIA examining whether Stroll committed rules breaches in Qatar

Formula 1

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Lance Stroll’s actions during the Qatar Grand Prix weekend are under investigation by the FIA.

The governing body’s compliance officer is in discussions with the Aston Martin driver over whether its regulations were broken. The remit of the compliance officer includes ensuring whether competitors abide by the FIA’s Code of Ethics.

The FIA has not specified what Stroll might have done which attracted their attention.

However Stroll was widely criticised after footage of him apparently pushing his trainer Henry Howe was broadcast on the Formula 1 world television feed at the end of the first qualifying session for the Qatar Grand Prix.

Stroll told media on Saturday there was no ill feeling between him and Howe were following the incident. “He’s a bro,” said Stroll. “We go through the frustrations together and we ride together, so we’re cool.”

Following Sunday’s grand prix Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack said the incident would be discussed with the driver, who is the son of the team’s owner Lawrence Stroll.

Stroll also revealed on Sunday night that he was “passing out in the car” at times during the grand prix. Several drivers described how seriously they suffered from the unexpectedly hot and humid conditions during the race.

Krack suggested his driver may not have meant he literally lost consciousness during the race. “We need to be careful with saying that because I don’t think you can drive a car like that being passed out,” he said. “But I need to speak to him to find out what he really means.”

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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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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47 comments on “FIA examining whether Stroll committed rules breaches in Qatar”

  1. Pathetic. They are treating 2 men who know each other as if they were two kindergarten children and needed third party arbitration from the care takers literally for nothing. Pa-the-tic.

    1. I think thIs is not about policing a shoving. I think this is about him not respecting his media-related duties. One or two word answers are not OK. He is a professional. All drivers have bad days, but he was arrogant during the interview, IMHO. If FIA lets this fly,… it could morph into a dangerous precedent.

      1. Billy Rae Flop
        11th October 2023, 0:15

        Ok se gave short answers is that it? Maybe we should get Kimi to replace lance with his long answers

    2. Agreed, this is pathetic. I am not a Stroll fan, but this is what happens when fans overreact about everything on social media. Soon, we won’t be able to race in temperatures above 90 Fahrenheit again simply because one race in the past 40 years brewed up a perfect storm of unlikely factors that lead to unacceptable physical exertion.

      1. Nick T. Not to mention 90 or low-30s aren’t even bad per se or anything new, so more about unusually high humidity level.

      2. It’s not about the ambient temperature and/or humidity – it’s about the perceived temperature inside the car! Drivers said they felt like they were in a sauna, and some were quoted as saying it was 60-80 degrees C in the car! Imagine being in that temperature for an hour and a half in your car, let alone a race car! Alonso’s seat was burning him – that was the heat in the cockpit. This is the biggest issue and other open wheel racing series like IndyCar (Nashville race) have the same problem.

    3. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
      11th October 2023, 9:53

      Children watch F1. Are you suggesting they “Grow Up”?

      1. Not only do today’s children already know all the worst words, but they are the ones supplying them to the adults.

        And it shouldn’t need explaining – but clearly the comment was about taking responsibility for one’s own use of language, rather than a third party apologising on behalf of someone else without their consent or approval.

    4. @asd What if this is something he does regularly (pushing people around him), but it was the first time we saw it?

  2. FIA really has nothing better to do than care about a driver’s & his trainer’s relationship or what happened between them, which wasn’t even serious in the end.

    1. @jerejj I think a soft intervention is necessary here, even if it just sitting down and having a chat rather than a formal investigation. The issue here (to me at least) is that given Lance’s implicit status in the team, there is a serious power dynamic mismatch which may never be properly addressed for subconscious reasons. Therefore, the FIA stepping in in this instance helps Lance know he can’t abuse his position, even if he doesn’t mean to.

      His interview to me wasn’t an issue by the way. Expecting people to give expansive answers soon after a difficult situation is a bit much, would rather they had a chance to take some time and be more considered.

      1. There is video of the 1998 Belgium grand prix where Coulthard and Schumacher had to be pulled apart by the pit crews. Compared to that this was nonexistent.

    2. Give them a little more time, they will get into your kitchen habits.

  3. Doubt it. It will be deemed an internal team matter. If it was against someone else like Max shoving Ocon in Brazil a few years back in a very aggressive manner they’d investigate it.

  4. I’m not a fan of this quote:

    Stroll told media on Saturday there was no ill feeling between him and Howe were following the incident. “He’s a bro,” said Stroll. “We go through the frustrations together and we ride together, so we’re cool.”

    So there’s no apology or any sign of contrition? It’s pretty much says “he’s my friend and male so what I did was acceptable”.

    Given the power deferential between any driver and a trainer or mechanic then it’s even worse. Oh and his dad owns the team.

    1. Billy Rae Flop
      11th October 2023, 0:17

      Why would he need to apologize publicly, but I suppose if that’s normal nowadays

      1. Public apologies have 2 reasons to happen and I do dislike public anything because more often than not they feel acted.
        If your action are visible in any media then you are responsible for them to whoever witnesses them.
        Here there was physical violence shown on the footage that was played back…
        But secondly if you have made a mistake in the public eye, it is valuable for you / and your career to own up and learn.
        That lesson is also valuable to the public who can see the right way to handle inappropriate behaviour.

        1. I meant there was no physical violence shown.

    2. Since Lance is “bros” with all the employees of Aston Martin, its all fine. I look forward to all his mechanics laughing their rear ends off when he bins it, his engineers smacking him around when he gets another Q1 exit, Alonso bullying him off track for being an absolute clown and his PR people posting memes about his ‘F1 racing calibre’ as a form of banter on social media.

      I’d also like to see how many of the mechanics, engineers and PR personnel still have their jobs after their “bro” antics.

  5. I would imagine it may be more about the “passing out” and continuing to drive at 200 mph.
    If that did indeed happen and the team knew and didn’t retire him immediately that’d be more than serious.

  6. Adrian Jezierski
    11th October 2023, 1:21

    “He’s a bro,” said Stroll. “We go through the frustrations together and we ride together, so we’re cool.” This is exactly what bullies say… especially over privileged ones that have no business competing in the pinnacle of motorsports. Let’s hear what Howe has to say about the situation. I bet he doesn’t think that they’re “Bro’s”. The FIA should make an example of Lance. Violence in the workplace is unacceptable…not in the factory or on world wide broadcast.

  7. Surely this has to be article 1, either dignity or harassment for the push, anybody could report it and the FIA would be obliged to investigate given the evidence captured on camera… Having a look at it though, I wish this was for article 3, conflict of interest and levelled at Stroll Sr.

    If it’s article 4 confidentiality and they’re saying he shouldn’t have said those comments about passing out, that would be really disappointing.

    Either way I’d be betting on a no finding outcome incoming…

  8. I can tell right away that he broke FIA rules. They should ideally give him a significant fine to discourage this kind of behaviour.

  9. I think Verstappen got four days of FIA community service for shoving another person in the paddock, so it would be quite normal to give Stroll the same.

    1. Well, Lance’s was a leave-me-alone-shoving to a close team member, while Verstappen’s was an aggressive-bully shoving of an opponent. So quite different, I’d say.

      1. So you can hit a team member but not an opponent who ran you off track?
        Just to be clear about your position..

  10. The push is an internal matter for me. People under high pressure sometimes snap and boil over. Especially when triggered. Howe did nothing wrong, but his actions or words seem to trigger something. Many times people throw things around, kick something or start yelling at the unfortunate person who has a message at that wrong time.

    That is why usually when people are very mad or frustrated it’s best to leave them alone till they calm down. Lance is also human and by the looks of it under a lot of pressure and he has trouble dealing with it. Now it has happened, it’s a time to reflect, learn and grow. Fore some reason a lot of people always have impossible standards for other people, while often they themselves aren’t even close to it. I doubt many have been under the pressure F1 drivers have.

    I think it’s a good idea that FIA has a chat to explain that press conferences should be professional. Lance isn’t the first to do this and some drivers even haven’t shown up after a bad day.

    1. Apologies @Addme, I hit the report button by mistake when I meant to hit Reply.
      What I wanted to say was, regarding the press conference thing: He gave six words in response to three questions… that’s about three more than Kimi ever gave and no one ever called HIM ‘unprofessional’ :o)

      1. I agree in a way that Kimi rarely had a lot to say, but Lance had very agressieve and frustrated body langue, making it clear he didn’t want to talk.

        Kimi was a man of little words. Though you could get him to talk a bit more with some follow-up questions. It was hard work with Kimi, but not because his reluctance to talk, just his ideas about answers were different then what the reporter thinks they should be.

  11. The public has an unsatiable thirst for seeing every little incident on and off the track. What’s worse, it also thinks it needs to comment on everything and anything what’s shown without context or knowledge, and want these athletes to behave like they would when raising their kids. Sorry, if you want perfect rollmodels for the kids, do NOT look at professional athletes.
    Oh and a little tip for FIA: get rid of all the cameras in the paddock and the onboard radio messages. Saves everyone a lot of trouble.

    1. @tielemst

    2. COTD and year for me.

    3. PS: the awkwardness of how they always linger on someone’s face in the garage for an uncomfortably long period is totally cringe (be it a TP, reserve driver, girlfriend, CEO, VIP guest, etc.).

      1. I guess that’s so they can edit it in some out of context comments in DTS better :-)

    4. DTS will string an entire episode out of that one.

  12. Hard to judge since we do not know what the issue is. If it is one of the suggested issues, I think it would be fair to label it a witch hunt and F1 continuous down the path ridiculing itself. Let’s see.

    1. Continues (ahum) #editbuttonanyone?

      1. I’d love an edit button too.

        Anyway, you made a good reply citing a quote from bob2 I didn’t see until way too late about the Hamilton fine. So, I’ll add my very late reply/comment here:

        I am also a club racer and most times we’re out of the car due to an incident, we’re too far from a station to be directed by a marshal as to when to cross and I’ve never actually seen a driver go up to a station to ask permission to cross a track to get back to the pits if they’re close to the pits. Moreover, I can assure you from being a club race myself, it’s much easier at a track to see and especially hear if a car is within a light year of you than when crossing a normal street. I am not bothered that he was fined though.

        1. Thanks for adding that perspective. In the end the fine won’t mean much to him and the FIA can have a nice dinner using it I guess.

          1. The fines should go to supporting victims of Grosjean crashes.

  13. What Lance did was totally wrong … but … that trainer really was getting in his face.
    It was obvious to everyone that Lance was in a seriously bad mood, throwing his wheel around etc.
    If you continue to annoy an angry dog then you can’t complain if it bites you.

  14. The shove may come to nothing as only a fraction of a moment was seen and the team can probably explain it away with enough reasonable doubt so that no punishment is given.

    I do recall after the race hearing the comments about “passing out in the car” and wondered if anything would happen as a result as it felt like admitting that this could be seen as knowingly allowing dangerous driving on track.

  15. I’ve been very critical of Lance Stroll of late, but I have some empathy with him on this one and I think the FIA need to leave this alone and let the team sort it out among themselves. Many drivers were physically ill by the end of that race, and when you’re feeling like crap and then get demoted out of the points for running wide when you could barely stay conscious, well, that’s got to be hard for anyone to stay rational. If I’m feeling terrible and I just want to go and lie down and someone’s telling me I have to go and get weighed or whatever it was, I can easily see myself reacting without thinking. I expect he was thinking “Just p**s off and leave me alone”, but unfortunately it was his hands and not his mouth that said it. I’m not condoning it, but I certainly understand it and I don’t think it’s something that calls for people who aren’t racers treating him like a naughty schoolboy.

    1. This wasn’t after the race though, this was after Q1 of qualifying in which Lance did all of two flying laps and a set of out- and in-laps. So I don’t think this particular excuse works well.

  16. I don’t know why they can’t hand out heavier penalties. Maybe it’s time to bring back stop and go penalty. I think 10 second stop and go ( or 30 sec added to race time) should eliminate it.

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