FIA Race Director Michael Masi explains why Lewis Hamilton’s penalty points were removed and comments on his ‘they are trying to stop me’ post-race comment.
After speaking to Hamilton and Mercedes after the race, the stewards decided to remove 2 penalty points that were originally awarded to the Briton and fine Mercedes €25,000 instead, as it was the team that told Hamilton it was ok to do practice starts from a location that was not allowed.
Race Director Michael Masi further explains the decision.
“The stewards after the race heard from the team, and the driver of car 44,” Masi said.
“Lewis and Mercedes spoke to the stewards, at which point it was actually a team instruction to Lewis where he could perform the practice starts.
“On that basis the stewards have just now rescinded the penalty points on both those decisions, because they thought it was inappropriate – and as a result, have fined the team €25,000 for that instruction.
“Effectively, yes, it was him driving the car, however, a contributing factor was that his team instructed him to do so at that point, and therefore, they saw fit to revise their decision accordingly.”
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Masi also stated that drivers and teams were informed where the practice start zone was, in the notes that were distributed prior to the event.
“The practice start location is obviously very circuit specific, and detailed in the event notes.
“So at every other event Lewis along with all the other drivers has complied with the requirements of where they perform a practice start in accordance with the race director instructions.
“I would say that the reason why we determine where the practice start location is for the safety of all drivers.
“Everybody is aware of what is actually happening. So we determine its location for a deliberate reason.
“Generally, we actually don’t paint a box, we just specify the location and have done even before my time, from my understanding.
“It’s very much a circuit specific element of where it is. I think today was just a simple error from that perspective.”
The Race Director also commented on Hamilton’s post-race statement that the FIA was trying to ‘stop him’.
“From my perspective it’s very simple that if Lewis wants to raise something, as I have said to him before, and said to all the drivers, numerous times the door is always open, and I’m more than happy to discuss anything.
“But I think from an FIA perspective, we are there as a sporting regulator, to administer the regulations.
“We have the stewards as an independent judiciary to adjudicate those, and therefore there was an infringement and it doesn’t matter if it was Lewis Hamilton or any other one of the 19 drivers.
“If a breach has occurred of the regulations, they will consider it on its merits, adjudicate it equitably and fairly in the circumstances taking all the key elements into account,” concluded Masi.