Formula 1 race director Michael Masi has revealed the FIA were not able to look at onboard footage of Max Verstappen’s controversial battle with Lewis Hamilton before taking no action.
Race leader Verstappen came under attack from Hamilton on Lap 48, with the two going side-by-side into Turn 4.
Verstappen braked late in an attempt to hold his position, running wide off the track which left Hamilton with no choice but to take evasive action to avoid making contract with the Red Bull driver.
The incident was placed under investigation by race control, but ultimately it was decided no action was necessary.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff called the decision to not penalise Verstappen as “laughable”, while Red Bull F1 chief Christian Horner felt it was “just hard racing”.
Although replays of the incident were shown on the world feed, none provided footage of Verstappen’s onboard, which Masi confirmed wasn’t available to the stewards when making a call on the matter.
“No, it was only that the cameras that are broadcast, as I’ve said before, which is basically what we have access to throughout,” Masi said, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
Masi said the FIA was yet to obtain footage of the 360 degree cameras on both cars, as well as on the onboards, that it will analyse after the weekend.
“The forward facing, the 360, there’s all of the camera angles that we don’t get live that will be downloaded and we’ll have a look at them post-race,” he said. “It hasn’t been obtained yet. It’s been requested.”
Masi admitted the front facing camera, that also wasn’t accessible to race control, could show crucial evidence from the incident.
“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.”
Despite Mercedes’ outrage that Verstappen escaped without a penalty for forcing Hamilton off track, Masi denied there was an inconsistency compared to other recent decisions.
“I’d disagree that it’s inconsistent,” Masi said. “You have a look at it, and as I’ve said many times before, you judge the incident on its merits, and you have a look at all of it.
“And let’s not forget, we have the overall let them race principles, and looking at it all, with all of the angles that we had available, that philosophy was adopted.”
Asked why the let them race philosophy was applied in this instance, Masi replied: “I think if you look proximity of the cars, getting into the apex, where it is, nature of the corner. The fact that both cars went off, neither car lost position or anything like that, that was probably the general view of it.”
Masi did concede, however, that he did consider showing Verstappen the black and white flag to warn him over his aggressive defence.
“I did, it certainly came into my mind, and then I sort of looked at it a few more times, and it wasn’t far off a black and white flag, to be brutally honest, for Max.”