Formula 1’s governing body the FIA has rejected Mercedes’ right to review over its decision not to investigate Max Verstappen’s defensive driving in last weekend’s Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
Mercedes announced earlier in the week it had requested a review of the Interlagos incident between Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton on Lap 48 when the pair fought for the race lead.
The Brackley-based outfit indicated their intention was for the FIA to revaluate whether its call to not penalise Verstappen for pushing Hamilton wide at Turn 4 should have been overturned.
FIA race director Michael Masi revealed after Sunday’s race that the stewards made its decision without having access to Verstappen’s onboard camera, admitting it could have proved a critical piece of footage.
As part of its evidence, Mercedes submitted the forward-facing camera of Verstappen’s car, as well as the 360 degree camera.
In order for the matter to be taken further, Mercedes had to show the FIA the evidence it had provided was significant and new, relevant information that wasn’t available to race control at the time.
Following a hearing on Thursday in Qatar, it was announced following the opening practice session that the video footage submitted was both relevant and new, but wasn’t significant to demand further analysis.
While Verstappen’s onboard hadn’t been available at the time of making a decision on the incident, the stewards argued the track-side cameras it had access to were satisfactory with its call to not investigate the matter.
It referenced last year’s Austrian Grand Prix as an example of when video footage offered a different insight, when Lewis Hamilton was penalised for not slowing for yellow flags in qualifying.
Explaining its decision in a statement, 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”.”