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Mercedes, Red Bull to appear at F1 hearing on Thursday

Mercedes, Red Bull to appear at F1 hearing on Thursday
Max Verstappen (Internet image)

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Mercedes will make their case for a review of the decision not to penalise Max Verstappen at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix to officials on Thursday.

The Red Bull driver was not punished for forcing Lewis Hamilton off the track as the seven-time champion tried to overtake.

The hearing is to establish whether the criteria for a review of the decision have been met.

Mercedes must demonstrate there is “a significant and relevant new element” unavailable at the time of the decision.

The new evidence is believed to include on-board camera footage of the incident from both cars.

This was not released until Tuesday, nearly 48 hours after the incident took place.

Representatives from Red Bull have also been summoned to the meeting.

If stewards decide that there is significant new evidence, a second hearing will take place to review it and revisit whether Verstappen should have been penalised.

In that case, a range of potential penalties are available.

Verstappen leads Hamilton in the championship by 14 points with three races remaining, starting in Qatar this weekend.

Race director Michael Masi discussed the incident with stewards during the race on Sunday but they decided it did not merit an investigation.

After the race, Masi was asked why this decision was made given that it seemed to be inconsistent with other similar situations earlier in the season.

Among these was the decision to give McLaren’s Lando Norris a five-second penalty for pushing Red Bull’s Sergio Perez wide as they battled at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Masi said: “I disagree that it’s inconsistent. You judge each incident on its merits. Let’s not forget we have the overall ‘let them race’ principles.

“That philosophy was adopted. The proximity of the cars, where it is, the nature of the corner, the fact both cars went off, neither car lost position, was the general view of it.”

Pressed on the point that there was no argument that Hamilton had been forced off the track, Masi said: “If you keep going a little bit further, the [acceptance that there should be] give or take [when they are] side on side [is relevant].”

The F1 rules say: “Manoeuvres liable to hinder other drivers, such as deliberate crowding of a car beyond the edge of the track or any other abnormal change of direction, are strictly prohibited. Any driver who appears guilty of any of the above offences will be reported to the stewards.” (BBC)