Kurt Verlin
No Comments

FIA Dismisses Red Bull Racing’s Petition for Crash Review

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page

‘I’d do it again,’ says Lewis Hamilton

Verstappen in the RB16b at the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix
Photo: Honda

The FIA has announced it will not review (again) the crash between Formula 1 drivers Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, as requested by Red Bull Racing, because the team failed to bring forward any significant new evidence that had not already been available to the stewards at the time of the British Grand Prix, where the crash took place.

Prior to the meeting, there was some debate about what new evidence Red Bull Racing would present to the stewards, as it didn’t seem like there could be anything of importance the stewards did not already have access to at the relevant time. And indeed, the statement released by F1 shows that Red Bull Racing was, to put it charitably, clutching at straws.

Crashed? This is where to get your car repaired

According to the statement, the team’s alleged “new evidence” was essentially comprised of slides it created showing the incident, slides comparing Hamilton’s move on Verstappen to his move on Leclerc in the same race, and footage of another driver — presumably Red Bull’s Alexander Albon — re-enacting Hamilton’s line during a Pirelli tire test.

This last detail made the whole thing look like a little bit of a joke. A redditor put it well. “If you no longer go for an appeals process that exists, you’re not longer a team principal,” wrote /u/Lithonaut, alluding to the famous Ayrton Senna quote about racing drivers going for gaps.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner probably knew it would lead nowhere, but he had to try — and as Helmut Marko pointed out, it was important that Verstappen see that he has the team’s backing. It wouldn’t do to have the young racing star leave for another team, after all…

Honda Performance: Civic Type R pushes lap times to the limit

Even though this seems like it should be the end of it, the controversy is probably set to go on for a while longer. In interviews leading up to the Hungarian Grand Prix, Verstappen reiterated he believes Hamilton should have received a more severe penalty, and that he found his race celebration disrespectful.

“One guy is in hospital, the other guy is waving the flag around like nothing has happened while you pushed the guy into the wall with 51 g,” Verstappen explained. “And not only that, just the whole reaction of the team. That’s not how you celebrate a win. Especially…how they got it.

Yet he also defended his championship rival in response to a leading question from a Daily Mail reporter, stating that no, he did not consider Hamilton a “dirty” driver. The crash had simply been caused by a mistake on the part of the seven-time champion, Verstappen believes.

Nonetheless, Mercedes is not convinced that the rest of the Red Bull camp will be as willing to admit that Hamilton didn’t cause the crash on purpose. Following the stewards’ decision, the team issued a statement calling for Red Bull to stop “[tarnishing] the good name and sporting integrity of Lewis Hamilton.”

Hamilton, for his part, said he would do it again. “In terms of the move, I would do it exactly the way… I did it last [time]. In terms of how I’ve reviewed it and analyzed from all my experience, and my experience obviously with over the years speaks for a lot, I wouldn’t change it.”

Talk about throwing fuel onto the fire. If Verstappen and Hamilton come together on the track again in Hungary, the F1 media circus and fandom may actually implode.