Michael Masi disagrees with Lewis Hamilton, saying that the racing rules and etiquettes ‘are not clear anymore’.
A lot of controversies followed the incident between Hamilton and Max Verstappen at Interlagos. Verstappen appeared to squeeze the British driver off track while defending his lead. However, the stewards decided not to penalize the Red Bull driver.
Hamilton’s team Mercedes later requested a ‘right for review’, which was also rejected by the FIA. A lot of people, including Lewis and his team principal Toto Wolff have criticized this decision. Drivers and fans are expecting the governing body of F1 to be more consistent and clear with the verdicts they hand out.
Heading into the Qatar GP F1 drivers are still unsure about exactly how the ‘racing rules’ will be applied: https://t.co/mwr2BhzlLY
— Adam Cooper (@adamcooperF1) November 21, 2021
The 7-time World Champion did not hold out when he was asked about FIA’s decision. After the driver’s briefing in Qatar last weekend, he asked for more clarity from the stewards.
“Every driver, I think, except for Max, was asking for clarity, but it wasn’t very clear. It’s still not clear what the limits of that track are. It’s clearly not the white line anymore when overtaking, so we just go for it.” he said.
Michael Masi defends the stewards’ decision
FIA Race Director Masi stated that the drivers were clearly explaining why Verstappen wasn’t penalized. He also said that many of them disagreed with it but that the rules were made clear to them.
“I think it’s been made clear to them what is expected,” Masi said. “I think some of them agree, some of them disagree. That’s always with every one of them. They have agreed and disagreed all the way through.
“We’ve given them some overall guidance, but also been very clear on the fact that each and every case will be judged on its merits.” he added.
The stewarding process has not changed, says Masi
Masi said that the FIA are not being lenient on any driver and that they are strictly following the sport’s rules. He spoke about this after many people suggested that the FIA were getting more relaxed with their decisions because of the title fight between Verstappen and Hamilton.
“We’re not more relaxed. We’re looking at each and every incident on its merits as we have done with each and every one,” Masi continued. “There is a panel of independent stewards, contrary to what many people think. I’m not the one sitting there as judge and jury.”
— Motorsport.com (@Motorsport) November 22, 2021
“We have a look. We have a panel of stewards that review each and every incident. Then, as we saw last weekend, they determine if it’s worthy of an investigation. If they do, they get investigated and then determine if there’s a breach or not.”
“You need to look at the whole situation, the weather, the run-off, etc., etc.” Masi concluded.