Formula 1: Mercedes review request of Max Verstappen's Brazil move rejected

Formula 1: Mercedes review request of Max Verstappen’s Brazil move rejected

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Formula 1 officials have rejected Mercedes’ request for a review of Max Verstappen’s driving during the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

Stewards in Brazil ruled that there was no investigation necessary after Verstappen appeared to force Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes wide.

Governing body the FIA said Mercedes’ appeal failed the test of raising significant new evidence into the case.

Hamilton later passed Verstappen to win the race last Sunday.

Mercedes had asked for the review on the basis that on-board camera footage from both cars had not been available when stewards made their decision not to investigate during the race.

The incident in question happened on lap 48 of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix at Interlagos.

Hamilton tried to overtake Verstappen around the outside of Turn Four but the Red Bull driver ran wide and both ended up off the track in the run-off area.

The Mercedes driver passed Verstappen 11 laps later and went on to win, cutting his deficit to the Dutchman in the championship to 14 points.

The Brazilian Grand Prix stewards were reconvened to hear Mercedes’ request for a “right of review”.

They determined that the on-board camera footage did meet the tests required of it being “new”, “unavailable at the time of the decision” and “relevant”. But they said it was not “significant”.

The ruling said: “There is nothing in the footage that fundamentally changes the facts. Nor even does this show anything that wasn’t considered by the stewards at the time.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said it was the “right decision”.

Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff said the verdict was “completely expected” and that the team had succeeded in their aim of raising the matter as a point of discussion in the context of the intense title fight between the two drivers in the final three races of the season.

“It is more about the principle and the philosophy,” Wolff said. “If it stays that way, it means overtaking from the outside is pretty much not possible any more because the inside controls the corner completely. You can see some of the drivers have expressed the same opinion.

“It is really important to understand what’s on and what’s not on because we don’t want this championship to be decided by a controversial situation that ends up in the stewards’ room. That’s why now is the time to clarify the rules.”

On Thursday, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc made the same point, saying: “If this is allowed then overtaking on the outside is going to be very difficult.”

The drivers are expected to discuss the issue at their briefing with race director Michael Masi later on Friday.

The F1 rules say: “Manoeuvres liable to hinder other drivers, such as deliberate crowding of a car beyond the edge of the track or any other abnormal change of direction, are strictly prohibited.”

More to follow.