After Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen’s collision on Lap 1 of the British Grand Prix, both Red Bull team boss Christian Horner and Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff could be heard on the rasio lobbying their case to race director Michael Masi.
At first Masi said this kind of reaction from team bosses is to be expected in a close fight such as the one between Red Bull and Mercedes.
“You’ve got such a close championship which is fantastic for Formula 1, you’ve got two magnificent drivers fighting it out for the World Championship,” Masi explained.
“As a regulator, you’re always going to come out like any referee in any sporting competition so there’s always going to be an element of it.
“But whatever sniping is happening between Mercedes and Red Bull behind closed doors is not of concern to us. We judge it on what happens out there on the sporting field or on the track.”
Masi was then asked if he found calls from team principals during the race to be frustrating.
“No, no frustration, obviously that’s part of what they do, it comes about in various waves depending on what it is.
“There were a couple of instances there, be it with Mercedes or Red Bull, where I said just hang five and I’ll get back to you, which you probably didn’t hear, you only heard the ones you heard on the radio.
“Everyone is looking after their own patches of turf so to speak, as you’d expect. But from my perspective, I treat them all equally, balance up what we’ve got to do and set certain priorities in my mind of what you’ve got before you and need to prioritise accordingly.”
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However, there has been a lot of talk after the race about the radio call from Toto Wolff to Michael Masi, where the Austrian said he will be going to the stewards to discuss the collision between Lewis and Max.
“I think I was told after the accident that Christian, in particular, had a pretty erratic discussion with the race director,” Wolff explained after the race.
“So I contacted the race director and he advised me to go to the stewards, or to speak to the stewards directly, which I did.”
Upon hearing that Wolff went to the stewards, Red Bull boss Christian Horner also went there to make sure his side of the story is heard. Afterwards Horner was not happy with Wolff’s actions.
“I don’t think the stewards should be interfered with,” Horner said.
“They need to be clear headed to be able to make those decisions. I went to see the stewards because I’d heard that Toto was up there, presenting a case.
“You want it to be fair and balanced, and I don’t think anybody should be allowed to see the stewards,” concluded the Briton.
Well, despite Masi said, the FIA has now issued a warning to Formula 1 teams saying there will be penalties for those who speak to the stewards during live investigations, if they don’t have prior approval.
If teams don’t comply they could face sanctions under Article 12.2.1.i of the FIA’s International Sporting Code. These sanctions could range from a reprimand to a disqualification.