F1 race director Michael Masi has shot down suggestions Max Verstappen should have been penalised for his actions in Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix, rejecting the notion the Dutchman warrants the same sort of punishment given to Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo at the previous two races.
Defending the race stewards against claims of inconsistency, Masi suggested comparing Verstappen’s lap-69 pass on Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to the incidents involving Vettel and Ricciardo was like comparing “apples and oranges.”
As first reported by ESPNF1 and FormulaPassion, Masi argued “The incident in Canada, Sebastian went across the grass, he was in front, it wasn’t an overtaking manoeuvre. The one with Daniel with Lando was very much part of Daniel going off the track and rejoining.
“This here [in Austria] was not, both cars were off the track, it was an overtaking manoeuvre. Trying to compare the three of them, they are three very different incidents. It was an overtaking manoeuvre and as the stewards rightly pointed out, in my view, it was a racing incident and it was one of those that was good, hard racing from the perspective they saw.”
Already a hot topic prior to Austria, Sunday’s race has only seen the scrutiny over F1’s race stewardship further intensify. Reaction across the internet, while generally in favour of the outcome, has been largely critical of the difficulties judging such incidents under the current FIA sporting code.
For their part, the Italian media has been much less kind, with the likes of Gazzetta dello Sport blasting the non-penalty as “a decision that undermines the credibility of Formula 1.”
Big Question: Are the stewards being inconsistent?