“You can’t compare them at all”– FIA Race Director Michael Masi explains that two penalties to both drivers at Silverstone and Monza are different.
Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton’s collision brought a new conflict between Red Bull and Mercedes in the world title race. The FIA found Verstappen the primary cause of the crash and penalised him with a three-place grid penalty for the Russian Grand Prix.
But FIA is reportedly being criticised for not giving a similar penalty to Hamilton at Silverstone, where he was charged by FIA to cause a 51g crash on the Dutchman but was given a 10-second penalty.
Responding to this argument, FIA race director Michael Masi has claimed that the two incidents are not comparable, as both drivers in Monza were retired, unlike in Silverstone.
“I think one of the things that we’ve generally agreed amongst the teams is that a five-second or a 10-second penalty, give or take, is there or thereabouts between the two of them,” said Masi.
“So you know, you need to look at it based on if they had continued, it would have been the time penalty in the race. However, they didn’t,” he added.
“In Silverstone, you can’t compare them at all, you’ve got two cars taken out in one incident, versus one car taken out in another incident. So you know, as in they stopped, they could not continue to serve the penalty is what I’m trying to explain.”
“So a grid penalty, as we’ve seen, is what’s applied for this year, as we’ve agreed with all of the teams, is applied for when someone doesn’t continue.”
Further, Masi is also not worried about Verstappen and Hamilton’s future battles turning into more accidents, and he only wants to focus on the competition between the two.
“I think the pattern of escalation is a perception for some, depending on which person you’re looking at supporting,” said Masi. “I think if you ask though, Christian [Horner], you’d probably get a completely different perspective on it.”
“So you know from that one, I’m not going to get into the games. We have a very close, exciting championship between two fantastic drivers. And that’s the part we should all be focusing on.”