Vettel/Verstappen incident comparision "apples and oranges" - FIA

Judging Max Verstappen’s Austrian Grand Prix-winning move on Charles Leclerc alongside recent controversial Formula 1 penalties like Sebastian Vettel’s in Canada has been dismissed as comparing “apples and oranges”.

Vettel/Verstappen incident comparision "apples and oranges" - FIA

Verstappen escaped punishment after he and Leclerc made wheel-to-wheel contact that pushed Leclerc off-track while fighting for the win in Austria, as the stewards believed both drivers had a role to play in the incident.

The clash has been compared to controversial five-second penalties applied at the previous two races in Canada, where Sebastian Vettel lost victory, and France, where Daniel Ricciardo lost a points finish.

Those incidents sparked major debate over what should and should not be allowed in F1 and drew major criticism for the championship as well.

After the decision not to punish Verstappen, Ferrari F1 team boss Mattia Binotto said “clear rules” exist to prevent drivers like Leclerc being forced off the road and that these were “exactly the same rules which have been applied in past races”.

However, when asked by Motorsport.com to explain the difference, FIA F1 race director Michael Masi said comparing such incidents was “effectively trying to compare apples and oranges”.

Read Also:

In the cases of Vettel and Ricciardo, penalties were applied because they were judged to have forced their rival off-track after going off the track themseves.

Vettel went off while leading in Montreal and bounced across the grass, then was deemed to have rejoined unsafely and forced Lewis Hamilton wide as the Mercedes driver tried to pass him.

In France, Ricciardo attempted to make a pass on Lando Norris but ran deep into the chicane, went off-track with all four wheels but still tried to keep the inside line for the second part of the corner, which forced Norris to go off-track on the outside.

Unlike Vettel, Verstappen was making a legitimate overtaking attempt when his incident occurred, and unlike Ricciardo, Verstappen remained in control of the car at all times and did not leave the circuit.

“Each and every incident needs to be considered on its own merit, different corners, different profiles, different circumstances,” said Masi. “Trying to compare the three of them, they are three very different incidents.

“In the stewards’ view it was a racing incident. It was just good, hard racing from the perspective they saw.”

Verstappen had tried to pass Leclerc on the previous lap at the same place, the Turn 3 right-hander at the top of the hill, but Leclerc held on around the outside.

When asked by Motorsport.com to talk through the incident, Masi suggested that the stewards felt Verstappen had “learned what had happened a lap earlier” and the nature of the move was fundamentally different second time around.

“He went into the corner, braked later, Charles obviously saw him coming and stayed out wide,” said Masi.

“And Max, in braking a lot later, ‘late-apexed’ and at all times was pretty much on full lock and tried to power out. The same thing that happened the lap previously didn’t occur again.”

In making their decision, the panel of four stewards – which included Le Mans 24 Hours legend Tom Kristensen – looked at previous incidents and past precedent.

This included the clash between Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in Austria three years ago, at the same corner as Verstappen and Leclerc collided.

On that occasion, Rosberg – on the inside, like Verstappen – was punished, but again the incident was different because Rosberg was trying to defend the position not make an overtake.

“The big difference between the footage I’ve seen of the two is that Nico looked across on that occasion,” added Masi. “Whereas Max is very much focusing on the corner and getting out of it as quickly as possible.”

shares
comments
FIA explains why Verstappen decision took so long

Previous article

FIA explains why Verstappen decision took so long

Next article

Honda's Tanabe explains why he was late to Austria podium

Honda's Tanabe explains why he was late to Austria podium
Load comments
How Verstappen has become F1 champion material Prime

How Verstappen has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Why long-run times should please Red Bull in Austin F1 battle Prime

Why long-run times should please Red Bull in Austin F1 battle

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be set to be another close contest.

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen Prime

The six critical factors that could hand F1 2021 glory to Hamilton or Verstappen

The 2021 Formula 1 title battle is finely poised with six races remaining, as just six points separate championship leader Max Verstappen from seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton. In such a closely-fought season, the outcome could hinge on several small factors playing the way of Red Bull or Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed? Prime

Can Whitmarsh appointment help Aston succeed where its F1 rivals failed?

Aston Martin owner Lawrence Stroll is determined to make the group a billion-dollar business. MARK GALLAGHER analyses his latest play – bringing former McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh into the fold

Formula 1
Oct 22, 2021
Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner Prime

Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner

Stepping up to F1 in 1962, Jo Siffert shone with Rob Walker Racing Team and BRM before his career was abruptly ended in a fatal crash at Brands Hatch in 1971. Kevin Turner looks back at the life of Switzerland's first F1 winner on the 50th anniversary of his death

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021
What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat Prime

What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat

OPINION: Max Verstappen is back in the lead of the 2021 Formula 1 drivers’ championship, with the season’s final flyaway events set to get underway in the USA this weekend. But a defensive stance he’s recently adopted could have a lasting impact for the Red Bull driver when it comes to his chances of defeating Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes

Formula 1
Oct 21, 2021
The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest Prime

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest

Despite appearing to adjust to life as a Ferrari driver with relative ease, it was far from straightforward under the surface for Carlos Sainz. But, having made breakthroughs in rather different routes at the Russian and Turkish races, he’s now targeting even greater feats for the rest of the Formula 1 season

Formula 1
Oct 20, 2021
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Prime

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Tim Wright.

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021