FIA president Jean Todt was asked about Lewis Hamilton missing the Prize-Giving Gala and he mentioned the possibility of a penalty.
Under the FIA rules top 3 drivers from all of their championships are required to attend the Prize-Giving Gala.
Yesterday ahead of the Gala, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said him and Lewis Hamilton will not be attending, because of the controversy surrounding the ending of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, that saw Hamilton lose the world title to Max Verstappen, after race director Michael Masi failed to follow FIA rules and protocols.
During the pre-ceremony press conference, Verstappen, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner and FIA president Jean Todt were asked several questions about the ending of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and the fact that championship runner-up Lewis Hamilton is not present.
Todt then snapped back at reporters for choosing to continue this line of questioning.
“I think tonight we should celebrate, rather than trying to get into any kind of controversy. There is no point. What would it give,” asked the Frenchman.
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“I think, in a way, I feel sorry, because Mercedes should have much more reward, as eight-time world champion for the manufacturers is unique.
“But this young guy [Verstappen] has made an outstanding job, and that’s what we should focus on, rather than saying ‘Are we going to punish [Hamilton] because he’s not coming?’”
“Honestly, I don’t think that’s the platform to speak, we should be above that,” concluded Todt.
It’s interesting that Todt himself mentioned the possibility of a penalty for not attending the Gala, without any mention from the reporters.
However, ultimately there will probably not be any penalties handed out because it is an explosive situation as it is, and it’s doubtful the FIA would want to make it any worse.