Masi explains why he changed his mind about Hamilton penalty

07-07-2020 17:01 | Updated: 07-07-2020 19:44
Masi explains why he changed his mind about Hamilton penalty

The fact that Max Verstappen was allowed to start the Austrian Grand Prix from second place last Sunday was ultimately right. But the way in which the grid penalty for Lewis Hamilton came about can be called downright clumsy. Race leader Michael Masi explains what happened.

Lewis Hamilton did something wrong in both his fast laps during the third part of qualifying on Saturday. In his first lap he came too far off the track and in his second lap he ignored yellow flags. The FIA did nothing at first, but said that (in the case of the yellow flag) additional evidence only became known later.

360-degree video was the deciding factor

"We simply didn't have onboard images of Lewis' car and when Red Bull alerted us late Saturday night to that 360 degree video, that was new evidence for us" Masi says to when he's referring to this video:

Because the technology does not yet allow these images to be broadcast live, only the team (Mercedes in this case) has access to them in the first instance. "We talked about this with FOM in the afternoon (before the race)," reveals Masi. "It's not something that's available live because of the bandwidth. In fact, it has to be downloaded from the car, processed, etc."

Rule change rescue for Red Bull Racing

This made it possible to adjust the pronunciation of the tournament management. Something that is also not self-evident. A few years ago the FIA changed the rules in such a way that rulings can be changed if there is enough evidence for that. Before that Red Bull would've had bad luck.

Yet it was striking that the FIA only announced their decision so shortly before the race. The three places penalty for Hamilton was officially announced when Mercedes and Red Bull Racing had already set up their cars on the first row. So the teams were already aware of the penalty long before it officially came out.

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