How Can Mercedes Appeal If There Was No Investigation? – WTF1

How Can Mercedes Appeal If There Was No Investigation?

Here we go again! Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen battle it out on track and they’ll fight it out in the stewards’ office as well. After the stewards ruled that no investigation was necessary for their Turn 4 incident at the Brazilian Grand Prix, Mercedes’ frustrations boiled over and they’ve now requested a Right of Review. 

The Silver Arrows’ statement on Twitter said: “The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team confirms that we have today requested a Right of Review under Article 14. 1. 1 of the International Sporting Code, in relation to the Turn 4 incident between Car 44 and Car 33 on lap 48 of the 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix, on the basis of new evidence unavailable to the Stewards at the time of their decision.”

So what does this mean?

Firstly, a Right of Review and an appeal aren’t the same thing. To put it simply, Mercedes are asking the stewards to take another look at the incident. To do this, there must be new evidence available that wasn’t there when the decision was originally made and an investigation doesn’t need to have happened at the time. Article 14.1.1 of the FIA’s International Sporting Code says:

“If, in […] a significant and relevant new element is discovered which was unavailable to the parties seeking the review at the time of the decision concerned, the stewards who have given a ruling or, failing this, those designated by the FIA, may decide to re-examine their decision following a petition for review.”

Should the stewards think it’s worth checking over again, they can grant them an appeal, where both sides can argue their case for or against a penalty. Think of the Right of Review as stage one.

This means the stewards now have the opportunity to decide if this “significant and relevant new element” exists. Interestingly, their decision on this cannot be appealed.

Shockingly, FIA Race Director Michael Masi revealed that the stewards didn’t have Verstappen’s onboard camera at the time, which could show whether the Red Bull pushed the Mercedes off the track when going side-by-side at Turn 4 in Interlagos. The new footage seems to show Verstappen late on the brakes and slow to turn in and this is what the reigning Constructors’ Champions want answered.

A Right to Review does not reverse any earlier decisions and if a time penalty or penalty points had been given, they would still apply until the decision was reversed on appeal.

Thoughts on the incident between the two title contenders are heavily split and it looks as thought the final few races of 2021 are going to be drama-filled to the end.

Should the stewards investigate the Max/Lewis incident? Let us know in the comments below.

13 thoughts on “How Can Mercedes Appeal If There Was No Investigation?

  • A quick question. What penalties are available for the stewards in a post race decision?

    In other words, if the stewards decided that the incident is worthy of a penalty, and if it is a time penalty. Can that time penalty be added to the race time post race?
    Or would the driver (Max in this case) be able to argue if the penalty was given during the race, he would have had opportunity to create a gap between him and the next driver (Bottas in this case), and as the penalty is given post race, he has been denied the fair opportunity?
    Or would the penalty have to be something like a grid penalty for the next GP, points on the license or fine?

    I can’t find anything online that states what options the stewards would have

    • It will probably some grid penalty like they did with Bottas. If I recall correctly Michael Massi said that they cannot give time penalties after the end of the event. So it would either be a grid penalty or something harsher.

      • If they did give a grid penalty, do you reckon RB would take a new engine at the same time?
        Last three races should be power circuits

        • I think it depends how many grid places it would be. In a 3-place grid penalty it might not be worthy to do so. Things might change with a 10-place grid penalty.

          RB has a good car and reasons to expect to finish in the points, so the difference between a 10 or 15 place penalty might not be too big when compared with the benefits of having a brand new power unit.

          They could do some damage limitation in the next race and go all guns blazing in the last two

          • I just hope the championship can be decided on the track and not in the stewards room or via politics. Its been such a good season so far!

          • Me too, mate. This season has been awesome so far. Would you agree this is the best season in the hybrid era?

          • I would probably agree. It is certainly the best challenge Mercedes have had to face. 2017 & 2018 Ferrari started strong, but faded. and apart from those two years, its been a silver arrows dominance.
            Redbull this year really have kept the championship alive and us guessing who could win it.
            I am British, so obviously would love Lewis to be an 8th time champ, but I have to be honest that I feel Max has done the most to deserve the championship this season, and I hope he does go on to do that.
            He has driven awesomely this year, yes he has been a little aggressive at times, but who out of past champions hasn’t?
            I feel he has also had the most bad luck, but is still leading the points.
            I just hope the last three are as thrilling as most of this years races have been.

            Who is your money on for the title?

          • I would bet on Lewis, he’s in great form and has the advantage of a fresher power unit.

            That said, I agree with you. I would love to see Lewis win an 8th title. He’s a superb driver and has proven time and again that he can deliver even in the most difficult situations.

            I’m Brazilian and he seems to have a genuine respect for Senna and my country, so I have a huge sympathy for him.

            Max, on the other hand, is a new player that has scored sometimes even with an inferior car so I think that having him win a title this year might make things more interesting for next season.

            Having RB win this year might force the mercs to come to the 2022 season with the knife on their teeth to take back the title.

            He has driven awesomely this year, yes he has been a little aggressive at times, but who out of past champions hasn’t?

            Exactly! And all the good rivalries have those aggressive moments. Lauda/Hunt, Senna/Prost, Schumacher/Hill, Vettel/Alonso are all examples of that. To me it just makes things more exciting.

            I’m looking forward to the next few races

          • The fresher power unit is a bit of an unknown I feel. Just how much do the Merc’s drop off?
            RB have only replaced Max’ engine once and that was because the new engine he had was damaged in his Silverstone crash, But Merc have had to add two engines for each driver. Will Hamilton still have the power difference he had in Brasil for the last three?? Or will the drop off be too great?

            I totally agree with you that the greatest rivalries have had these ‘moments’, and I much prefer the drivers to sort in out on the track rather than in the stewards room.

            Do you feel this season the stewards have been a bit too much ‘by the book’ and not let people race? I worry with the build up of protests, reporting of areas that they want investigating and teams radioing Masey during the races to try to get other teams penalised will make it all a bit clinical. Yes, there are regulations and the regulations are there to make it safe and fair, but some common sense needs to come in to it. I think all drivers and teams are trying to push for penalties for rivals. And I am not keen on it at all.

          • Your question about the engines is a good one. The engine difference might explain part of Hamilton’s performance in Interlagos and, if that’s the case, that could be even more evident in Qatar and its fast corners and long straights.

            It’s interesting to see that Mercedes is using more PU elements than the other teams. Hamilton is on his 5th ICE, Bottas on his 6th whereas Vertappen is on his 4th and that, like you said, is because one of his engines was damaged in Silverstone.

            I think you have a point when you say that this new engine might not give a lasting advantage to Mercedes. And if the PU usage is a reliable data, we can infer from it that a new Mercedes PU is a nice advantage to have but that advantage wanes very quickly.

            On the other hand I just read something about RB saying they will protest against Mercedes’ rear wing in Qatar. Apparently they think Mercedes’ rear wings are flexing more that what it is allowed by regulations and that effect is specially strong in the end of long straights. That, in their view, would explain how to pass almost all other cars in the end of Interlagos main straight. What do you think?

            About the stewards, I think their stringency has fluctuated over the year. In some races they have issued penalties for the simplest of infractions but as the championship progressed they adopted a more laissez fair approach. I don’t know but maybe they just don’t want to have the championship be decided in a technical meeting between engineers and lawyers.

            How do you feel about the stewards so far? To me a more “let them race” approach is better and the stewards should punish only when things escalate like in Silverstone. What do you think?

  • The stewards definitely know that they made a mistake even if they don’t want to admit it. But I assume, they will simply reject it anyway, just like they did with Red Bull about the Silverstone incident. I can’t think of a protest that has ever been successful.

    • The right to review was not rejected by the stewards in the case of Silverstone. In that specific case the stewards had made a decision on the incident and a penalty was issued. The penalty issued to Hamilton for predominantly being at fault was then appealed by Red Bull and was subsequently rejected by the stewards.
      In this case (Brazil) the right to review is the first step. If the stewards allow the new significant evidence to be reviewed, only thereafter can a protest then be lodged as is my understanding.

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