Typically these events are a matter of routine and they’re over pretty rapidly, however this one ran on for some time because the dialogue rapidly turned to the racing guidelines, and particularly the fallout of the Max Verstappen/Lewis Hamilton incident within the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
That matter had been mentioned earlier within the day by the unique FIA stewards of the Interlagos occasion. They rejected the request of a proper to assessment submitted by Mercedes, primarily on the premise that the onboard footage from Verstappen’s automobile that they didn’t have on the time wouldn’t have modified their minds and led to a penalty for the Dutchman.
The hope of the drivers was that the assessment by the stewards – or the method that led to the assessment being rejected – would carry some readability on what’s and what isn’t allowed when racing wheel-to-wheel.
The next briefing gave everybody an opportunity to air their views, and different earlier incidents have been introduced up and dissected, together with one other in Brazil that earned Yuki Tsunoda a penalty after his collision with Lance Stroll.
There was additionally a chat about why the Verstappen onboard video was not accessible to the stewards on the time, with Ross Brawn giving an evidence on behalf of F1.
Verstappen, who naturally felt vindicated after the Interlagos stewards backed their unique determination to not formally examine the Flip 4 affair, understandably noticed the Friday dialogue as Positive.
“I believe it’s at all times attempting to align everybody in having the identical course of in the best way you suppose,” he stated after qualifying in Qatar on Saturday.
“Everyone seems to be totally different, proper? And all people I believe has their very own approach of racing and defending and overtaking, and naturally it’s very arduous for the FIA as effectively to, how do you say it? To get everybody on the identical line.
“In fact, they resolve however each driver has a distinct opinion. And I believe yesterday it was all about sharing their opinions, after which the FIA explaining their technique of thought behind it.
“So, I believe we got here a great distance, and it was a really lengthy briefing. So, yeah, I believe on the finish it was fairly clear.”
Max Verstappen, Crimson Bull Racing, within the put up Qualifying Press Convention
Photograph by: FIA Pool
Nevertheless, few of Verstappen’s colleagues weren’t as upbeat. Sitting subsequent to him as he spoke these phrases Hamilton was quite much less enthusiastic concerning the consequence of the briefing.
“No, it’s not clear,” he stated. “Each driver, apart from Max, was asking only for readability, most drivers have been asking for readability, but it surely wasn’t very clear. So, yeah, it’s nonetheless not clear what the bounds of the observe are. It’s clearly not the white line anymore, when overtaking, however… yeah, we simply go for it.
“We simply ask for consistency. So, if it’s the identical because the final race then it needs to be the identical for all of us in these eventualities, and it’s tremendous.”
The thrust of Masi’s argument, as has at all times been the case, is that each incident is totally different and needs to be judged by itself deserves.
There’s some logic to that strategy, but it surely leaves many drivers questioning why outwardly comparable conditions can generate very totally different outcomes within the stewards’ room.
George Russell was not shy about suggesting that Verstappen had overstepped the mark in Brazil, and will have been penalised.
“I believe, sadly, there was no consequence from Friday,” stated the GPDA director. “I do recognize it’s essential to choose each single particular person case-by-case, and circuit-by-circuit.
“However for me that was not even near the road, it was effectively past the road, what went on. If that have been the final lap of the race, in my view that may have been a slam-dunk penalty for Max. You may’t simply outbrake your self 25 metres and do this.
“Equally the incident with Tsunoda and Stroll, there was no approach Tsunoda ought to have been penalised for that. He had completely the fitting to go for the transfer, wasn’t uncontrolled, wasn’t locking up, and he nonetheless comfortably made the apex.
“That was somewhat bit unlucky I believe for all of us drivers, the result of some outcomes final week.”
Max Verstappen, Crimson Bull Racing RB16B, battles with Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12
Photograph by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images
Russell instructed that there was no penalty for Verstappen as a result of ultimately, it didn’t make any distinction to the result – a stark distinction to the conflict at Silverstone, for instance, when the Mercedes driver was penalised.
“I believe Max wasn’t punished purely as a result of Lewis received the race,” stated Russell. “The results shouldn’t be an element within the punishment, or the judgement of the incident. You need to choose the incident on a case-by-case foundation.
“That’s what they’ve at all times advised us, it’s not the results of that incident, it’s the incident itself. I don’t know, actually. On the finish of the day, all of us wish to race arduous, however that was arduous and unfair, and we would like arduous, truthful racing.”
Carlos Sainz Jr admitted that he nonetheless doesn’t know the place the boundaries lie, and echoed Russell in saying that the Friday debate hadn’t introduced that much-needed readability.
“I agree with George,” stated the Spaniard. “It appears like over the winter there’s going to be some extra deep conversations about how we go racing as a sport, if the automobile on the within ought to go away house to a automobile on the surface in any case or not.
“And we have to rethink a bit the entire strategy, as a result of the best way it has been working this 12 months, I believe, it is fairly clear that the drivers we do not totally perceive what will occur relying on what you do.
“And yeah, let’s have a look at the final three races. Hopefully there should not too many extra episodes like this, like what occurred in Brazil or in Austria, on the contrary, and see if we will enhance as a sport for subsequent 12 months.”
After they’re making these split-second, instinctive selections within the warmth of battle drivers wish to perceive the place the bounds are, and the way far they will push them.
“We have to know,” stated Sainz. “I must know if I can push the automobile on the surface broad. And what am I going to get if I accomplish that? Do you have got a warning coming in the event you do it as soon as?
“Do you have got truly a chance to do it a few instances and then you definitely get a warning after which you are able to do it a fourth time? Are you going to get a penalty right away like in Austria?
“That is what we do not know was a sport or as drivers, and we have been in search of for solutions. We kind of bought some from Michael [Masi], however we all know that typically Michael and stewards should not at all times precisely the identical. So we’ll see going into subsequent 12 months, I believe subsequent 12 months we should always do a superb step.
“I believe as a sport we have to try to make it as a lot black and white as doable.”
Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo Racing C41, Fernando Alonso, Alpine A521, and Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo Racing C41
Photograph by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
There’s been a number of discuss how asphalt run-off areas invite extra aggressive behaviour, and likewise how gravel traps on the surface damage the motive force pushed broad much more – doubtlessly producing a more durable response towards the motive force doing the leaning.
“My humble opinion as a racing driver it needs to be no distinction,” stated Sainz. “As a result of outdoors of the observe we’re at all times going to have totally different run-off areas. And we should always try to, for the followers to know the game, for drivers to know the racing, should not have an effect on what’s on the opposite aspect of the kerb.”
Fernando Alonso was concerned in an incident with Kimi Raikkonen in Austin (pictured above) that went unpunished on the time. Subsequently Masi advised the drivers within the Mexico briefing that the Alpine driver leaned an excessive amount of on the Finn, and that Raikkonen was additionally within the incorrect for finishing a cross off observe. Alonso been left annoyed by a number of selections this 12 months.
“I believe we’re all agreed that we want extra consistency, we want black and white guidelines,” he stated. “As a result of when they’re gray, typically you are feeling you might be benefitting from them, and typically you’ve been the unhealthy [guy] or the fool on-track once more.
“It’s higher when it’s black and white. Let’s see if we will enhance altogether. I believe it’s not solely an FIA challenge, it’s drivers, groups, FIA, we have to work collectively to have a greater rule.”
Requested if the Friday dialogue had made issues clearer, he stated: “It relies upon. Clearly after they clarify it, they are saying why they do that, with the explanations. OK, comprehensible, however we’re all saying why different instances you thought the alternative? However they’re at all times proper. That’s the downside!”
Like others Lando Norris was in two minds as to the place the bounds now stand.
“I believe some issues are a bit extra clear, some issues not,” he stated. “I believe what is obvious is that not each incident would be the similar, even when it appears equivalent, so it is arduous to know what the totally different circumstances are.
“I believe most issues have been cleared up, but it surely’s arduous to form of ever give a particular level and say that is what you’ll be able to and might’t do.”
Michael Masi, Race Director walks the observe
Photograph by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Drivers have appreciated the “allow them to race” rules which have been in use in recent times, and which Masi confirmed have been utilized by the stewards to the Flip 4 incident in Brazil. Nevertheless, they are not utilized persistently.
“It is proper a penalty needs to be given, however a number of years in the past we did desire a bit extra of a freedom to race,” stated Daniel Ricciardo. “And if somebody has you over, then alright you have got the fitting to have him over sooner or later.
“I’m all up for that, so I do not wish to get too dulled in on what penalty is what, however I believe the blatant ones will at all times get a penalty and perhaps those which are somewhat extra 50/50, then yeah, you may see some get away with it. I am okay with it for essentially the most half.”
The similar guidelines ought to apply equally to drivers up and down the sector. Nevertheless, inevitably, the main target in Qatar and within the two races that observe shall be on the Verstappen/Hamilton battle, and the potential flashpoint of yet one more on-track conflict between the pair.
Masi and the FIA stewards shall be below intense scrutiny as they struggle to make sure truthful play, and it received’t be a simple job.
“I believe it’s very harmful,” Mercedes boss Toto Wolff famous on Saturday night. “I believe what occurred yesterday [the decision to reject the review] and likewise in Brazil is kicking the ball within the excessive grass, and hoping the ball disappears.
“If we have been to have a controversial scenario in any of the three races which are to return, are you able to think about the polarisation and the controversy this may create, simply just because it wasn’t clearly formulated?
“I’d have wished that even when the result was unfavourable for us in Brazil, by way of the speedy judgement, I’d have taken that if the resultant evaluation would have been it’s not on. As a result of I believe that may have been simpler for everyone for the subsequent races.”
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 1st place, and Max Verstappen, Crimson Bull Racing, 2nd place, congratulate one another in Parc Ferme
Photograph by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images