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Mercedes' Brazilian GP appeal verdict delayed till Friday

Formula 1’s race stewards have delayed until Friday their decision over whether or not to grant Mercedes right to review on Max Verstappen’s driving in Brazil.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, battles with Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, battles with Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Following the submission of fresh video evidence by Mercedes, the team had requested that the FIA look again at whether or not Verstappen broke the rules in his defence against Lewis Hamilton at last weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

The matter revolves around Verstappen’s defensive driving at Turn 4 on lap 48, when the Red Bull driver crowded out Hamilton on the exit of the corner as he too ran wide.

Mercedes took action after a new onboard video of Verstappen’s driving, which was unavailable to the stewards during the race, was released that showed the Dutchman not steering in to the corner as much as would normally be expected to.

Following a video hearing ahead of the Qatar Grand Prix, the FIA stewards spent several hours debating the matter and have now decided to adjourn for the evening.

A short statement from the FIA said: “Following today’s hearing with representatives from Mercedes and Red Bull, the stewards are now considering the matter and will publish their decision tomorrow.”

The rules of right of review are clear, and require that competitors bring "a significant and relevant new element' that was 'unavailable to the parties seeking the review at the time of the decision concerned".

F1 race director Michael Masi had revealed in the immediate aftermath of the race that the decision not to investigate Verstappen’s driving was made without looking at a forward facing onboard camera.

F1's current technology limits just one live feed off each car and, at the time of the incident, Verstappen's Red Bull was broadcasting its rear facing onboard.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, battles with Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, battles with Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

The front-facing camera footage was only available to download after the race, and that was finally made public by F1 on Tuesday.

Asked if it could be a ‘smoking gun’, Masi said: “Could be, absolutely. Possibly. But no, we didn't have access to it. And obviously, it's being downloaded. And once the commercial rights holder supplies it, we'll have a look."

While there is no doubt that the onboard video is new and was not available to parties at the time of the decision, it will be up to the stewards to decide whether or not it is relevant to the case.

The FIA could decide that it was satisfied with the external camera views that officials saw at the time of the incident.

Should the stewards grant a right of review though, then there will be a separate hearing to analyse the specific details of the case.

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