A fan video captured the moment after qualifying
This weekend, F1 one is running in Sao Paulo, Brazil. There’s been loads of drama following Friday qualifying.
View the Max Verstappen infraction video below.
Arch rivals Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen are in a championship battle as the schedule is nearly a close. Verstappen leads that battle by under 20 points.
Hamilton grabbed the pole position in Friday qualifying. However, he’ll serve a penalty for an engine change, docking him 5 spots in the starting grid in the sprint race.
Lewis Hamilton penalty pending
Hamilton could be penalized further. After qualifying, officials noticed something wrong with the rear wing of Hamilton’s car. Specifically with the drag reduction system, which opens and closes the rear wing.
“The uppermost rear wing element adjustable positions were checked on car number 44 for compliance with Article 3.6.3 of the 2021 Formula One Technical Regulations. The requirement for the minimum distance was fulfilled,” read Bauer’s report after qualifying.”
“But the requirement for the maximum of 85mm, when the DRS system is deployed and tested in accordance with TD/011-19, were not fulfilled,” he added.
Officials confiscated the rear wing of the machine.
Just before 10pm local time on Friday, F1 officials stated that Mercedes will be called for a meeting with officials at 10:30am the next morning.
“The Stewards have adjourned the hearing relating to Document 18 of the 2021 FIA Formula 1 São Paulo Grand Prix as they await further evidence that will not be available until the morning,” an FIA spokesman said.
A statement has not yet been announced on a possible penalty.
Max Verstappen fined
In the same breath, officials announced they had also summoned Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing to a meeting with officials at 9:30am.
After qualifying, Verstappen walked behind his own car to have a look at the wing. He then walked behind Hamilton’s car to have a comparison glance as Hamilton was climbing out of the machine. Verstappen even touched Hamilton’s rear wing in the process, a direct violation of the rule book.
F1 officials wrote, “in the Parc Ferme, only the officials assigned may enter. No operation, checking, tuning or repair is allowed unless authorised by the same officials or by the applicable regulations.”
“The stewards heard from the driver of car 33 (Max Verstappen) and team representative. The stewards also examined a fan video taken from across the track, CCTV video footage taken from pit lane and in car footage from car 14, car 33, car 44 and car 77.
“In all, these videos gave a clear picture of what occurred in parc fermé following the qualifying session.”
“Verstappen exits the car, then moves to the rear of his car. He then takes his gloves off and puts his right hand at the slot-gap of the rear wing of his car. He then moves to car 44 and repeats the exercise, touching the rear wing in two places, once on either side of the DRS actuation device, but on the bottom rear side of the wing, in the area of the slot gap and never near the actuator or the end fixation points.”
F1 fine for Verstappen
“Clear, high definition video from the rear facing roll-hoop camera on car 44 shows that there is absolutely no movement of any of the wing elements on car 44 when Verstappen touches the back of the wing and the stewards are satisfied, from watching all the videos, his body position and the video of the wing, that there was insignificant force when Verstappen touched the wing.”
“It is clear to the stewards that it has become a habit of the drivers to touch cars after qualifying and the races. This was also the explanation of Verstappen, that it was simply habit to touch this area of the car which has been a point of speculation in recent races between both teams.”
“This general tendency has been seen as mostly harmless and so has not been uniformly policed. Nevertheless, it is a breach of the parc fermé regulation and has significant potential to cause harm.”
“Considering the fact that no direct harm was caused in this case, in the opinion of the stewards, and that no earlier precedent of penalties for this exists – on the one hand; but that it is a breach of the regulation and has potential for serious consequences on the other, the stewards determine to take action in this case and order a fine of €50,000.”
They added, “future breaches may incur different penalties”.