FIA denies Mercedes right to review Verstappen/Hamilton Brazilian GP clash

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Mercedes had wanted the FIA to look again at its call not to evaluate whether or not Verstappen broke the rules in pushing Lewis Hamilton off track at Interlagos as they fought for the lead of the race last weekend.

To do so, it needed to show the FIA that there was new, significant and relevant new evidence that had not been available at the time of the decision.

Mercedes duly submitted forward facing onboard footage from Verstappen’s car, as well as 360-degree camera video, as part of its evidence. Neither of these were broadcast live on race day and both had to be downloaded afterwards.

After many hours of deliberation over the matter, the stewards confirmed that while the video footage was unavailable at the time of their call, so was new and was relevant, they felt it was not significant.

The stewards argued that they were satisfied that the video angles that they had available at the time of the incident from track-side cameras was enough for it to be satisfied with its decision.

And they said the situation was very different to qualifying for the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix, when a 360-degree camera angle had offered a completely different insight into the displaying of yellow flags for Lewis Hamilton.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, battles with Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, battles with Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

In a statement explaining the decision, the FIA said: “The Stewards often must make a decision quickly and on a limited set of information.

“At the time of the decision, the Stewards felt they had sufficient information to make a decision, which subsequently broadly aligned with the immediate post?race comments of both drivers involved.

“Had they felt that the forward?facing camera video from Car 33 was crucial in order to take a decision, they would simply have placed the incident under investigation – to be investigated after the race – and rendered a decision after this video was available. They saw no need to do so.

“The Competitor’s position is that this new Footage provides sufficient information for the Stewards to come to an altogether different conclusion than they did previously.

“However, the Stewards determine that the Footage shows nothing exceptional that is particularly different from the other angles that were available to them at the time, or that particularly changes their decision that was based on the originally available footage.

“Unlike the 2020 Austria case, in the judgement of the Stewards, there is nothing in the Footage that fundamentally changes the facts. Nor even, does this show anything that wasn’t considered by the Stewards at the time.

“Thus, the Stewards determine that the Footage, here, is not “Significant.””

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said that he was not surprised by the outcome.

“Completely expected,” he explained in response to the FIA verdict. “I think we wanted to trigger a discussion around it, because probably it will be a theme in the next few races. I think that objective is achieved. We didn’t really think it would go any further.”

Red Bull welcomed the call by the FIA to draw a line under the matter, with team boss Christian Horner suggesting that there was a risk of the situation getting out of control if other controversies were looked at again.

“I think it’s obviously the right decision because it would have opened Pandora’s Box regarding a whole bunch of other incidents that happened at that race,” he said.

“I think the most important thing now is to focus on this GP. It’s great to be here in Qatar. I think it’s going to be a good circuit, and we want a good clean fair fight, not just here, but in Jeddah and Abu Dhabi.”

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Formula 1