FIA trying to avoid "silly, menial" penalties in Formula 1

Formula 1 race director Michael Masi says the FIA is trying to avoid bogging the championship down with pedantic punishments

FIA trying to avoid "silly, menial" penalties in Formula 1

Masi took on the FIA F1 race director role following the shock death of Charlie Whiting on the eve of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Stewards' decisions have been in the spotlight lately following the five-second time penalty that cost Sebastian Vettel Canadian Grand Prix victory, and the decision not to penalise Max Verstappen for his clash with Charles Leclerc during their Austrian GP lead fight.

Masi said it was important to understand that the interpretation of the F1 rules was evolving.

"Even with incidents and bits and pieces in practice, we're very much trying to do our best that silly, menial things - as much as they are - that maybe two or three years ago would have earned a penalty, these days don't have an impact or as much of an impact," said Masi.

"I hate people going back a number of years, because the rulebook's evolved, the manner in which they've been interpreted has evolved with everyone being involved in that discussion.

"When we start talking about precedent and incidents occurring three years ago, what may have been a breach then because of the way it's been interpreted has evolved and may have become lessened in some ways.

"It's a balancing act."

The outcome of the Austrian GP case was positioned as an important one for F1, which had received major scrutiny and criticism for stewards' decisions on the most significant battles in the previous two grands prix.

Asked by Autosport if it was fair to assume the so-called 'greater good' of F1 played no part in the decision not to give Verstappen a penalty that would have taken his race win away, Masi suggested that the primary role of the FIA in encouraging better racing is to set the rules and interpret them where possible, not turn a blind eye.

"F1, the FIA, teams and the drivers are very much all partners in making sure this is a success, and as strong as possible," said Masi.

"But at the end of the day, from a regulatory side we've got a rulebook and a set of rules to apply.

"There's various other process and discussions to go through if they [the rules] change, and when they change, and how they change.

"But that's part of our role in ensuring those rules are applied."

Masi said the pressure has not increased or affected officials in the wake of the outcry over Vettel's penalty in Montreal.

"The pressure's always there on all of us," he said.

"From the stewards end they sit there and consider everything on its merit. "I don't personally feel there's any added pressure as a result of Canada or any other incident that's occurred.

"They are all esteemed ladies and gentlemen in fields of their own, they are all experienced stewards, and that's part of the role of being an umpire at the end of the day."

Ex-F1 driver Jos Verstappen said that the stewards made the right decision in not penalising his son, Max, for the incident because "exciting racing" is "what people want to see".

"I think Max deserved this win, and it is the right decision," said Jos Verstappen.

"Everyone wants to see racing. This is what F1 is for and this is what it is."

shares
comments
The driver thrust up Red Bull's junior queue
Previous article

The driver thrust up Red Bull's junior queue

Next article

Pat Fry heading for McLaren F1 exit, gardening leave period begins

Pat Fry heading for McLaren F1 exit, gardening leave period begins
Load comments
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Plus

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at
 Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as BEN ANDERSON discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren  Plus

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren 

From being lapped by his own team-mate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Plus

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing windtunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher Plus

The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles at a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay Plus

Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021’s title fight climax Plus

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021’s title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Qatar Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021
How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage Plus

How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage

There was simply no stopping Lewis Hamilton on Formula 1's first visit to Qatar. The Mercedes driver eased to pole position and led every lap to secure an utterly dominant victory - even without a key Mercedes weapon in his arsenal to increase the heat on Red Bull heading into the final two races of the gripping 2021 title race

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021