Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has said that the FIA made the right decision by deciding not to reinvestigate the incident between Max Verstappen and Sir Lewis Hamilton at the 2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
Mercedes requested a review of the incident, which consisted of the Dutchman outbraking himself and forcing Hamilton well off the circuit, but the FIA today announced that they won’t be reinvestigating the matter.
In a statement released on Friday, the FIA said: “The Stewards often must make a decision quickly and on a limited set of information.
“At the time of the decision, the Stewards felt they had sufficient information to make a decision, which subsequently broadly aligned with the immediate post‐race comments of both drivers involved.
“Had they felt that the forward‐facing camera video from Car 33 was crucial in order to take a decision, they would simply have placed the incident under investigation – to be investigated after the race – and rendered a decision after this video was available. They saw no need to do so.
“The Competitor’s position is that this new Footage provides sufficient information for the Stewards to come to an altogether different conclusion than they did previously.
“However, the Stewards determine that the Footage shows nothing exceptional that is particularly different from the other angles that were available to them at the time, or that particularly changes their decision that was based on the originally available footage.
“Unlike the 2020 Austria case, in the judgement of the Stewards, there is nothing in the Footage that fundamentally changes the facts. Nor even, does this show anything that wasn’t considered by the Stewards at the time.
“Thus, the Stewards determine that the Footage, here, is not ‘significant’.”
Reacting to this, Horner said it was “obviously the right decision” and warned that reinvestigating the incident could have led to other moves being reviewed.
“It would open Pandora’s Box regarding a whole bunch of other incidents that happened in that race,” Horner said ahead of this weekend’s Qatar GP.
“I think the most important thing to do now is to focus on this race [in Qatar].”
The FIA’s latest ruling means the matter has finally been put to rest, despite many Hamilton/Mercedes fans and even some people in the paddock feeling that Verstappen’s defence warranted a penalty.
The Dutchman topped the time sheet in FP1 in Qatar, and he’ll be eager to have a strong weekend after Hamilton closed the gap to him at the top of the Drivers’ Standings last time out in Brazil.
However, with Valtteri Bottas setting the pace in FP2, Mercedes and Red Bull appear to be equally competitive at the Losail International Circuit, so we should expect a close battle this weekend.