FIA Race Director Michael Masi commented on the most important moments of the Portuguese weekend, which required the intervention of either the stewards or the organizers of the Grand Prix, and also spoke about the preparations for the stage in Imola.
Q: During the race, it was decided that the incident, which involved Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, does not require an investigation and any sanctions. And if it hadn’t happened on the first lap, would the stewards have interpreted it differently?
Michael Massi: I’ll give a very simple answer: quite likely. Of course, we treat the incidents on the first circle a little more leniently, and this was just such a case.
Q: The incident between Lance Stroll and Lando Norris was very similar to the one that happened on Friday with the participation of the same Stroll and Verstappen. Why then no sanctions were applied on Friday?
Michael Massey: The fact is that that incident happened during training. The sessions are completely different, the circumstances in which these two incidents occurred are also.
Q: Racers believe that penalty points should be given only in case of dangerous incidents. Is it possible to say that the stewards look at it differently, after all three drivers received penalty points for breaking the limits of the track?
Michael Massey: No, to begin with, I’ll say that I don’t think so. Secondly, we discussed all this with the drivers. At the beginning of the year, the FIA, together with the sporting directors of the teams, revises the table of penalty points, and also discusses the instructions for stewards, which they then follow. As a result, we come to a consensus on fines and penalty points.
All this is reviewed every year. From the point of view of the teams, it is not surprising that penalty points are given for such violations. Also, these topics are raised at pilot briefings, and in preparation for 2021, all this will once again be reviewed. But it is clear that we are not going to change anything in the middle of the championship. And the riders are informed about this.
Q: There is still a lot of talk about non-compliance with the limits of the track, and there were a lot of similar violations during the weekend. How is the FIA going to control this in the future? Will there be any new methods that you are going to discuss in the offseason for this?
Michael Massey: The topic remains relevant for some time, various solutions are being studied – this is the use of special sensors, and the installation of curbs of different types, and the organization of departure zones. All this is not so simple. Sensors are now used, including on the Portuguese track, but can this be considered an ideal solution? Probably not. But it is the best in the given circumstances, and it seems to be quite effective.
From the point of view of teams, a consistent approach is now being taken that applies equally to all machines. We have always said that we will apply it on one condition: if it will be possible to do it consistently and constantly.
New technical solutions and everything else connected with this are constantly being reviewed, and for this it is not necessary to wait for the off-season – we are already doing this and will be doing it in the future.
Question: On Saturday there was an incident involving a damaged drainage grid. If Formula 1 is to return to this track in the future, are you going to demand that its owners redo something? For example, have you changed the configuration of the pit lane exit?
Michael Massey: Perhaps we would like to see a number of changes. If we talk about leaving the pit lane, then definitely need to study if there are any other solutions that can simplify everything. There are also sections on the track where we would like to install double curbs. Perhaps it makes sense to somehow reconstruct the drainage system – in general, there are a number of points in which some improvement can be achieved. And it does not depend on whether Formula 1 returns to this track or not.
Q: If we do come back here, are you going to explore the possibility of using an alternative, slower 1st turn configuration?
Michael Massey: On Friday, we discussed this with the drivers: indeed, now we have used one of two possible options. Now, together with the FIA, we will analyze everything and see if this was the best cornering configuration, whether the length of the DRS zone was optimal – we always do this. While I’m not ready to say which of the configurations will be used next time, but definitely, we will assess how everything went this weekend in the general race point of view.
Q: Next weekend we will have a race in Imola: have there been any changes on this track aimed at improving safety standards?
Michael Massi: Yes, a number of such changes were made there. First of all, they were associated with the alteration of fences along the entire perimeter of the route. We did this together with the management of the Enzo and Dino Ferrari race track, and according to the latest information I received, they coped with it perfectly.
Some of the work in Imola was done in advance, some needed to be done now, and I have no reason to worry about security issues. Therefore, now we are looking forward to the first weekend, which will be held in Imola on a two-day program.
Question: Did the transition to the two-day program give an additional headache?
Michael Massey: To have a two-day weekend on a more concise program, it took significant changes to the Sporting Regulations, which requires approval at the level of the FIA World Motor Sport Council. The fact is that not all points of the Friday program can be waived, for example, usually a pilot’s briefing takes place after the end of the first day of training.
In Imola, one such briefing is scheduled for Friday evening, and it will only talk about the specifics of the coming weekend. Then, after Saturday’s training, and it will be the only one, there will be another briefing, at which issues related to the track, if any, will be discussed. I wonder how it all goes …
Question: How many DRS zones will there be in Imola?
Michael Massey: Only one.