Stewards reject Mercedes' appeal into incident between Hamilton and Verstappen in Sao Paulo GP
The FIA on Friday dismissed Mercedes' request to re-examine the call not to penalise Red Bull's Max Verstappen over his controversial defence of Lewis Hamilton, on Lap 48 of last week's Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
The FIA on Friday dismissed Mercedes' request to re-examine the call not to penalise Red Bull's Max Verstappen over his controversial defence of Lewis Hamilton, on Lap 48 of last week's Sao Paulo Grand Prix. Verstappen and Hamilton both ran wide at Turn 4 at Interlagos as the Dutchman stayed ahead. The move was noted by the Race Director, but the stewards decided at the time that no investigation was necessary. Hamilton later overtook Verstappen to win the race.
But on Tuesday Mercedes announced they were seeking a Right of Review of that decision not to investigate Verstappen's actions, based on what they said was new evidence available. The stewards heard from representatives from Mercedes and Red Bull on Thursday in Qatar, then deliberated overnight, before reaching a decision on Friday after first practice for this weekend's Grand Prix.
Their denial of Mercedes' request means Verstappen is not at risk of any kind of retrospective penalty and the full race result from Brazil stands. After announcing their decision the stewards explained, as per formula1.com: "There will always be some angles of video footage, because of limits in both technology and bandwidth, that are unavailable at the time."
"Whether or not stewards' decisions are considered to be right or wrong, and just as with referees' decisions in soccer, it does not seem desirable to be able to review any or all such in-race discretionary decisions up to two weeks after the fact and the stewards therefore seriously doubt that the intent of the Right of Review in the ISC [International Sporting Code] is to enable competitors to seek a review of such discretionary decisions that do not follow on from a formal inquiry by the stewards and do not result in a published document." Although the stewards agreed the onboard camera footage was technically new and relevant evidence, they disagreed that it was "significant" in this case.
Their statement 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 [Verstappen] 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."
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