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Max Verstappen

Why Verstappen escaped serious penalty for parc ferme breach

The stewards in Brazil have explained why Max Verstappen was not punished heavily for touching Lewis Hamilton's car in parc ferme after Friday qualifying.

Verstappen Brazil
To news overview © Getty Images/Red Bull Contentpool

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen has escaped serious penalty for a breach of the FIA International Sporting Code relating to parc ferme conditions in Brazil, after the Dutchman was seen touching the rear wing of Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes post-qualifying.

Verstappen has been fined €50,000 for the breach, but has escaped any sporting penalty.

The stewards at Interlagos have explained why they made the decision not to hit Verstappen with a more severe sanction.

"The stewards examined a fan video taken from across the track, CCTV video footage taken from pit lane and in-car footage from car 14 [Fernando Alonso], car 33 [Max Verstappen], car 44 [Lewis Hamilton] and car 77 [Valtteri Bottas]," read a statement from the stewards.

"In all, these videos gave a clear picture of what occurred in parc ferme 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."

"Insignificant force was applied"

According to Red Bull's Helmut Marko, Mercedes had alleged that Verstappen damaged the rear wing of Hamilton's car during the stewards' investigation into their separate breach of the Technical Regulations, but the stewards said there was simply no evidence of this.

"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 an insignificant force when Verstappen touched the wing," the stewards continued.

"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 ferme regulation and has significant potential to cause harm."

The verdict over the investigation into Hamilton's Drag Reduction System (DRS) issue is yet to be communicated by the stewards.

F1 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier


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