Verstappen was called to see the stewards on Saturday morning in Brazil after a fan video emerged showing him inspect and touch the rear wing on title rival Hamilton’s car after qualifying.
The hearing took place at 9:30am at Interlagos. Verstappen was joined by Red Bull sporting director Jonathan Wheatley for the meeting with the stewards, which lasted less than half an hour.
In a subsequent bulletin issued by the FIA, it was confirmed that Verstappen had received a €50,000 fine for breaching Article 2.5.1 of the International Sporting Code.
Article 2.5.1 of the ISC reads: “Inside the Parc Fermé, only the officials assigned may enter. No operation, checking, tuning or repair is allowed unless authorised by the same officials or by the applicable regulations.”
The stewards spoke with Verstappen and analysed the fan video footage, as well as onboard camera footage from the cars of Verstappen, Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Fernando Alonso.
Importantly, the stewards note that there was “insignificant force when Verstappen touched the wing” of Hamilton’s car, linking to the ongoing investigation into the Mercedes’ DRS failing the post-session checks.
The stewards acknowledged that inspecting and touching other cars has become “a habit for drivers” that was “mostly harmless”, but nevertheless noted it was a breach of the parc ferme regulation and “has significant potential to cause harm”.
As a result, the stewards felt it was important to take action and fine Verstappen €50,000, as well as adding it “is intended that all teams and drivers take notice that future breaches may incur different penalties from the Stewards of those events.”
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
It means that Verstappen will keep second place on the grid for the sprint race, and would be in line to inherit pole position should Hamilton be excluded from the qualifying results.
Verstappen qualified second behind Mercedes driver Hamilton at Interlagos, finishing four-tenths of a second adrift as the title contenders locked out the front row for the sprint race on Saturday.
But Hamilton’s sprint race pole was thrown into doubt after the FIA found the DRS on his Mercedes was not in conformity with the technical regulations.
The hearing was adjourned until Saturday morning, and took place at 10:30am local time in Brazil, with no decision yet being announced.
Verstappen will head into Saturday’s 24-lap sprint at Interlagos with a 19-point lead over Hamilton in the drivers’ championship, with three points on offer to the winner of the Saturday race.
The result of the sprint race will then set the grid for Sunday, but Hamilton will take a five-place grid drop regardless of the stewards’ ruling on his wing due to an engine penalty.