There has been a relatively lenient approach to first lap incidents over the past few seasons, with drivers sometimes benefiting when in doubt based on the “Let them race” philosophy.
However, Lewis Hamilton received a 10-second penalty following his first-lap clash with Max Verstappen in the British GP, while George Russell received a three-place main-race penalty after his clash with Carlos Sainz on the first-lap GP sprint on Saturday.
Masi says that each first lap incident is still discussed individually and that teams and drivers agreed that the FIA had to get tougher.
“There’s a clear point that the Letthe Race principles obviously treat the first lap a lot easier than the rest of the race, there’s no doubt about that,” he said. “And to let drivers find their own balance.
“But the drivers, like the teams from late last year, made it clear that last year they felt like they were a little too far out with their elbows and they had to be pulled back a bit.”
When asked whether all bets were actually made after two or three corners, Masi said that this was not the case.
“No, no, not at all. You have to think of it as what happens on the first lap. It could be turn one or six, depending on the type of track.”
Masi said there was no leeway in the duel between Hamilton and Verstappen.
“No. In these particular circumstances, no. There were clearly two cars involved in the incident, and all of the drivers earlier this year said that if there are two cars involved, if there is someone who is largely or entirely to blame, then you should be take a closer look in the first lap. “
Masi expanded on why Hamilton was punished by the stewards, citing the Mercedes driver’s later successful overtaking maneuver at Charles Leclerc in the same corner.
“I think after you look at it all, they figured it was mostly his fault,” he said. “The big part was similar to what later happened to Charles, that he could have hidden closer to the top, for example.
“And then they realized that, I think the wording was very clear according to the regulations, that it was mostly to blame. He was not seen as the sole fault, but rather predominantly to blame for the fact that he could have crept in further.
“And that may have changed the result. But we don’t know, we judge it from the incident itself.”The post The FIA had to pocket the elbows of the F1 drivers this year first appeared on monter-une-startup.