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FIA to review Hamilton F1 Qatar track crossing incident

The FIA is launching a review into Lewis Hamilton’s actions and his punishment for crossing the track after his first corner exit from Formula 1’s Qatar Grand Prix last weekend.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, walks back after retiring from the race

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, walks back after retiring from the race

Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Hamilton was pitched out of the race at the Losail circuit after clashing with team-mate George Russell as they jostled for position on the run away from the start-line.

While Russell’s car escaped serious damage in the incident and he was able to continue, Hamilton was out on the spot and ended up in the gravel trap.

He swiftly jumped out of his Mercedes car and crossed the circuit as he tried to make his way back to the pits – which is a breach of regulations.

It was noted that he only just made it across the circuit before the lead pack came back through.

Hamilton was summoned to the stewards in Qatar to answer what happened.

Following an investigation, he was handed his first reprimand of the season and fined 50,000 Euros, of which 25,000 Euros was suspended for the remainder of the season pending no further breach of a similar nature.

But one week one from the incident, the FIA has announced that it wants to look at the matter again because it believes the incident was much more serious than perhaps originally thought.

It is understood that a key motivation is not in handing out a bigger sanction for Hamilton, but in whether penalties generally for crossing a live race track should be much greater.

The investigation is as much about setting a precedent going forward as examining what Hamilton did.

An FIA spokesman said: "The FIA is revisiting the incident in which Lewis Hamilton crossed a live track during the Qatar Grand Prix.

“The FIA notes that Lewis was apologetic during the subsequent stewards hearing in to the incident and acknowledged that the crossing was a serious safety breach.

“However, in view of his role model status, the FIA is concerned about the impression his actions may have created on younger drivers."

Sir Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14 crashes out

Sir Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14 crashes out

Photo by: Mark Sutton

The FIA’s decision to review the Qatar incident has also been thrust into the spotlight following a recent incident at the FIA’s World Karting Championship finals at Franciacorta in Italy.

British karter Joe Turney had been pitched off the track after battling for the lead, and had pushed his kart back on the track in an attempt to get going again.

He was struck by another competitor and sustained leg injuries.

While it is not thought that Hamilton will be given an increased sanction for what happened, the outcome of the FIA review is likely to be about laying out a clearer penalty directive going forward.

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In handing out the original reprimand and fine to Hamilton, the FIA had said that it believed they would be enough of a deterrent going forward.

In the hearing, the stewards noted that the seven-time champion had been sorry for what happened.

“During the hearing the driver of Car 44 was very apologetic and realized that the situation could have been very dangerous for him as well as the drivers approaching,” said the FIA at the time.

“The Stewards reinforced the fact that crossing a live track can cause extremely dangerous situations and the drivers have to be very cautious about it.”

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