Masi defends stewards' delays on F1 driving offences

FIA Formula 1 race director Michael Masi has responded to criticism over delays in making decisions on driving offences by insisting that it's better to take time to get it right.

Masi defends stewards' delays on F1 driving offences

Masi was quizzed on the contrast between the near instantaneous decision on Daniil Kvyat in Mexico – where the Russian was given a 10-second penalty for his last lap collision with Nico Hulkenberg just minutes after the flag – and the situation with Charles Leclerc in Japan, where a penalty was for his first lap clash with Max Verstappen was only confirmed some time after a post-race investigation.

Masi says decisions can only be made quickly if its clear cut, and if it's not, the stewards would rather wait and talk to the drivers involved.

"In the stewards view, if they've got an element of doubt, they will wait until after the race," he said. "And it's purely up to the panel of stewards to determine that.

"Do we want a decision that could be incorrect, or do we want the right decision? The thing is if we want the right decision, in their view, including the four of them, if they want to get the understanding of the drivers, of their end, that's their prerogative.

"That's why the four of them sit in a room and have a look at everything. If there's something they'd like to get a better understanding of, then go for it.

"The Kvyat one, having had a chat to the stewards, it could not have been more clear. I think to use their terminology, it could not have been more black and white. The Leclerc one they thought there was a bit more to it, and they wanted to get the input from both drivers."

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Asked if there was any pressure from Liberty to make quick decisions, he said: "No, none at all. I think all of us overall have a desire that when the chequered flag drops, you'd like to know, I don't think there's any doubting that one in a philosophical sense.

"However, if it's going to the point of do we want the right decision, and it takes a little bit longer to take the right decision, so be it. No different in some regards to a technical matter that's found after the race. Then guess what, it changes the result.

"If it's clear it's one path, if it's not clear, it's not clear. As I said our aim is to get the right decisions. Sometimes they may take a little bit longer than we all like, but I'm still a fan of having the right decision rather than a penalty being applied wrongly."

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Author Adam Cooper
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