If Formula One race director Michael Masi finds that Max Verstappen’s behavior in the Brazilian Grand Prix was acceptable, McLaren believes that driver behavior will change.
While race officials debate whether Mercedes should be given a right of appeal after Verstappen’s defensive actions at Interlagos, McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl believes the drivers’ briefing on Friday night will be more crucial.
Drivers will want clarity about what is and is not allowed now, he believes, amid worries over the FIA’s hands-off policy to the Verstappen incident and Lando Norris receiving a penalty for forcing Sergio Perez wide at the Austrian Grand Prix.
And, because Seidl is confused as to why Verstappen’s behavior was accepted but not Norris’, he sees Masi’s feedback as critical in setting a precedent.
“Looking at the comparison with Lando’s case, we definitely have some questions,” said Seidl at the Qatar Grand Prix.
“Lando got a penalty in Austria for something which, from our point of view was debatable. You can definitely argue that what happened in Austria was Lando’s corner
“It was different to what we have seen in Brazil and therefore we are very interested on, not necessarily the ruling from today, or the outcome of today’s investigation, because that’s a different process, but more understanding what Michael will brief to the drivers tonight in the drivers’ briefing, on how they see things moving forward.
“I think whatever the outcome is, it will definitely change the approach of the drivers to certain manoeuvres on track. That’s why it’s interesting to clarify.”
While Masi claims that the FIA’s decision not to investigate the Verstappen incident in Brazil was based on ‘let them race’ principles, Seidl claims that he was aware that attitudes towards sanctioning driving behavior had changed.
“That’s why it will be very interesting what the drivers will hear tonight from Michael in the drivers’ briefing,” he added.
“I think, compared to the past and some years ago, definitely we have switched more towards let them race. But again, knowing how difficult it is also to judge all the different cases, what is inconsistent is clearly the penalty for example that Lando got in Austria and what we have seen last weekend.
“That’s why I think it’s just important to clarify that every driver knows what he can do and what he can’t do.”
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