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Why F1 will not provide ‘VAR-style’ insights into penalty decisions

Why F1 will not provide ‘VAR-style’ insights into penalty decisions

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Ian Parkes & Ewan Gale

FIA race director Michael Masi has insisted F1 will not provide fans with a ‘VAR-like’ insight into stewards’ decisions in order to maintain an “independent judiciary”.

The stewards were at the centre of the drama that unfolded during the British Grand Prix as they handed Lewis Hamilton a 10-second penalty following his collision with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

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Whilst some believed it was purely a racing incident, many others – spearheaded by Red Bull – thought the stewards were too lenient.

In football, the virtual assistant referee [VAR] looks at an incident from various angles before reaching a decision. Unlike in F1, graphics are displayed to viewers showing exactly how VAR has come to its conclusion.

Asked if added insight could be given to help inform viewers of how decisions are made in F1, Masi replied: “There are a lot of TV analysts out there, with a lot of experienced former drivers that will put a perspective forward.

“The stewards will look at absolutely every single thing they have available. Unlike a VAR process that is almost done and dusted before 30 seconds, maybe a minute maximum, the stewards are very much told to take the time they need to analyse any possible element of any incident that occurs.

“The stewards need to remain as an independent judiciary and I don’t think, in their capacity, they should have any pressures. They should take their time to analyse everything based on its merits.”

Wolff and Horner “fine” to visit stewards

During the red-flag period in the aftermath of the crash, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was directed towards the stewards by Masi after claiming to have possessed evidence in Hamilton’s case before Horner responded by paying a visit of his own.

The situation prompted Horner to declare Wolff’s “lobbying” of the stewards was “unacceptable” and they should be left alone to adjudicate on situations.

But Masi has declared it “fine” for such a situation to occur.

“As we would do if we have an incident after the race, we invite the teams and the drivers to come up and appear in front of the stewards and that is one of the elements that the stewards have.

“We had the case in Monza last year where Lewis went and spoke to the stewards to understand what happened and how the whole circumstance happened during the suspension so that ability exists, there is no reason not to.”

F1

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July 22, 2021 at 08:07AM

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