Following the announcement that the FIA have opted to reinvestigate Lewis Hamilton for crossing a live circuit during the Qatar Grand Prix, the governing body have responded to backlash and insisted that they aren’t singling out the Mercedes driver.
Hamilton crossed the first corner at the Lusail International Circuit following his collision with George Russell, which left the 103-time race winner’s car beached in the gravel and without a wheel.
He was forced to retire from the race as a result and opted to walk across the circuit to get back to the pit-lane.
Whilst he wasn’t penalised for the accident with Russell, Hamilton did receive a £34,700 fine and a reprimand for crossing a live track, something apologised for to the stewards.
It was assumed that this was the last of it; however, the FIA have decided to look into the incident amid concerns that as Hamilton has a “role model status”, his actions could have an impact on younger drivers.
The FIA’s wording saw them receive criticism for singling out the Mercedes driver, something they’ve insisted isn’t the case and that it wasn’t at all what they meant by labelling him as a “role model”.
PlanetF1.com reported that the FIA had clarified that their ‘role model’ comment actually meant that ‘any F1 driver has to set an example for younger drivers’, not just Hamilton.
Ex-Formula 1 driver Karun Chandhok took to social media when the FIA’s original statement was made and was quick to question why they didn’t take the same action against Max Verstappen when he crossed the track at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix or Logan Sargeant at the recent Japanese Grand Prix.
“Not saying this should be condoned but I’m sure Lewis isn’t the first person to do this. Didn’t [Logan] Sargeant cross the track just at the previous event in Japan?” Chandhok asked on Twitter/X.
“Bit odd to talk about precedent when other people have done it before. Max [Verstappen] at Monza 2021 is another example I think…”
Dutch driver Tom Coronel was another to vent his frustration against the governing body, who he criticised for fining Hamilton for simply crossing a live circuit after the cars had passed by.
“How on earth can you fine Hamilton for this? We’ve gone completely crazy,” he said on the Racing365 podcast. “I’m not a three-year-old child, am I? I can just cross the road, right? I’m an adult guy. There are too many rules. We are completely bombarded with rules. It’s terrible.
“The track limits case is also something strange. I just agree. I think there were 200 FIA people present in Qatar. It made no sense at all, people everywhere in white shirts with FIA on it.”