Formula 1’s race management is being more stringent in dealing with incidents during the Grand Prix’s first round. Race director Michael Masi says that the drivers might be less wide this year, especially in the first round.
In the recent seasons, incidents during the first round were dealt with fairly mildly. Race management frequently followed the principle of “let them race” when finding a place in the first round. But during the Grand Prix of Great Britain it turned out twice that the FIA is not blindly condoning everything this season. George Russell, who collided with Carlos Sainz in the first lap of Saturday’s sprint race, was handed a three place grid penalty for Sunday’s Grand Prix. After his collision on the first lap with Carlos Sainz, Lewis Hamilton received a 10-second penalty.
Michael Masi, race director, stated that more aggressive action will be taken this time around, mainly because of requests from drivers and teams. Masi, when asked about the race, stated that “Obviously we’re handling incidents in the first lap in an easier way than the rest,” Motorsport.com. “But the drivers, just like the teams, made it clear at last year’s end that they had worked too hard with their elbows and needed to be pulled in more.”
Masi was asked if the verdict on Sunday’s Hamilton-Verstappen incident was harsher than before. “In that particular circumstance, no. The incident clearly involved two cars. From the beginning of the year, all the drivers stated that there were two cars involved in the incident and that it was important to determine if one or both are at fault. Even in the first round.”
Hamilton was penalized for a 10 second time violation, but he was able later to win the race and catch Verstappen in F1 championship. Masi explained that the collision had significant consequences for Verstappen who was heavily crash-landed and greatly affected the race’s outcome. However, the penalty could not be taken into account by the stewards. “We review [altijd]”The incident itself,” concluded The Australian.