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Formula One 2021 - DRAMA - #Michael Messy

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Technical infringements are usually a slam dunk so if he's DQ's that's probably the title race over.  Max will bank an easy three points tomorrow and no doubt win from pole in the race. I guess on the plus side he's got an extra 24 laps to make up the deficit that he wouldn't have in a non sprint weekend. 

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Title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen are under investigation after Hamilton romped to pole position for the 'sprint' qualifying race at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

Hamilton's Mercedes car was referred to the stewards for an alleged technical infringement on its rear wing.

Verstappen is also set to appear in front of stewards on Saturday morning for an alleged breach of the FIA's International Sporting Code concerning rules on working on the cars after qualifying.


Video footage posted by a fan on social media showed Verstappen seemingly checking with his hands the rear wings of his Red Bull and Hamilton's Mercedes after they had parked up.

Article 2.5.1 of the sporting code states that "no operation, checking, tuning or repair is allowed" in that secure area once the cars have stopped after qualifying unless authorised by officials.



What a ridiculous turn of events especially when Red Bull apparently protested the Mercedes rear wing before qualifying. But if Max touched and moved the rear wings of both cars I can't see how that isn't a technical infringement as well according to the rules. 

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First off, I can’t imagine Max doing anything that would have changed the way the Merc wing operated when tested.


However he has put himself in a precarious position as he’s given Merc a great argument. It’s now going to be hard not to also penalise Max in some way. 


If this was a case of the same happening with say an Alpine and Mclaren or a Hass and a Alfa driver I’m pretty sure it would all be done and dusted by now. But these are the championship rivals, a few races from the end.

I may be very wrong but I think they will try their best to penalise them both the same or throw the whole thing out. The outcome of this investigation could have huge monetary ramifications. You know pressure is being applied by the teams, by Liberty. Hell I wouldn’t be surprised if the circuit promoters from remaining races haven’t had a little call to Liberty to exert some pressure - they don’t want their race to be a dead rubber. Not saying it’s right but I bet it’s happening. F1 is entertainment after all. The money wants eyeballs on the show right to the last second.

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I hope the discrepancy on Merc's DRS is very minimal and they have a reasonable explanation for it even if they do still get penalised. It would be disappointing to learn that they were deliberately cheating. 

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Correction. The original Red Bull protest was about the Mercedes wing flexing too much under load at 250kph. It's just a coincidence they discovered a problem with Hamilton's DRS after the session. I assume Max knew about the original protest so unless he saw something during qualifying I don't know why he checked Hamilton's wing. 

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16 minutes ago, mexos said:

I know nothing about betting, is that bad value for putting a bet on Bottas?


I reckon its potentially decent value. £5 returning £37.5 when he's arguably in the fastest car and the cars ahead of him are facing potential (and in one case a definite 5 place grid drop) penalties. If something happens to Ham and Ver you'd think Bottas is best placed to pick up the pieces. 


I mean, it's Bottas though so I wouldn't put your life savings on it. 

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1 hour ago, Blue said:

I hope the discrepancy on Merc's DRS is very minimal and they have a reasonable explanation for it even if they do still get penalised. It would be disappointing to learn that they were deliberately cheating. 


According to some reddit comments, there was barely any difference between Hamilton and Bottas on the straights and Hamilton made up most of his time in sector 2 anyway.

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Good autosport article on the whole thing. 


I'm on mobile but will see if I can copy and paste. https://www.autosport.com/f1/news/the-key-issues-behind-the-hamilton-verstappen-f1-investigations/6776601/





The key issues behind the Hamilton/Verstappen F1 investigations


The key issues behind the Hamilton/Verstappen F1 investigations


Jonathan Noble

Nov 13, 2021, 9:24 AM

The 2021 Formula 1 championship battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen took a dramatic twist at the Brazilian Grand Prix as both drivers were placed under' investigation following qualifying.

A series of remarkable events immediately after Friday's Q3 session has left the paddock waiting to hear if either the Mercedes or Red Bull driver are punished ahead of Saturday’s sprint race.

Hamilton’s Mercedes has been referred to the stewards for an alleged rules breach with his DRS, while Verstappen has been summoned to answer accusations he touched his rival’s rear wing illegally in parc ferme.

Both incidents are likely to be treated very seriously and, amid an incredibly close title fight, the stewards’ decisions have huge implications.

Here we summarise the key issues.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

What’s wrong with Hamilton’s DRS?

Early on Friday evening, the FIA’s technical delegate Jo Bauer sent a note to the stewards saying he believed Hamilton’s rear wing was not in compliance with the rules.

In the note, Bauer wrote: “The requirement for the minimum distance was fulfilled. But the requirement for the maximum of 85mm, when the DRS system is deployed and tested in accordance with TD/011-19, were not fulfilled.”

The issue here is the gap between the two wing flag elements that make up the DRS concept.

Article 3.6.3 of F1’s Technical Regulations covers this area and makes clear that when the wing is in its closed position, the gap between the two flaps ‘must lie between 10mm and 15mm’.

However, when the flap is open – so the DRS is in the position in which it is used for overtaking in race – then the distance between the elements must be ‘between 10mm and 85mm’.

In effect, this means that there must be a maximum distance of 85mm between the two flaps when DRS is open. Any gap bigger than this is illegal, as it could offer an extra straightline speed boost.

DRS probe detail

Photo by: Aston Martin

How is it checked?

While it is impossible for the FIA to check the distance between the DRS wing elements when the car is out on track, a procedure has been laid out for the inspection to take place in parc ferme after sessions when the car is stationary.

It is understood that Article TD/011-19 covers how this is done, and relates to a special DRS probe that the FIA uses to ensure compliance.

This small 85mm-wide disc is put on the end of a stick and, with the DRS activated on the car in the pitlane, it is pushed through the gap between the wing elements.

A version of this probe, that the Aston Martin team uses to ensure its wing is legal, can be seen in a video that the team issued last month.

If the gap between the wing elements is greater than 85mm, then the probe will go through the wing gap and the FIA will deem the car illegal.

Observers on the pitwall at Interlagos on Friday night noticed the FIA conducting a lengthy examination with its probe, as Bauer captured images on his phone showing an FIA colleague pushing the probe through the gap.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12, is returned to the garage

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

What is the explanation?

Mercedes has not yet spoken publicly about what has happened with its rear wing, but there clearly appears to be some complicated circumstances behind it.

At 10pm at Interlagos on Friday night, following several hours of deliberation, the stewards decided to adjourn their hearing to the following morning – suggesting the matter is not straightforward.

A standard technical regulations rules breach, such as a car being underweight or a wing element being too big, would normally result in an automatic disqualification.

Instead, the stewards asked for Hamilton’s rear wing to be impounded and put under seal, pending further investigations on Saturday morning.

The wing will be the same design that the team has used all season, and there is nothing to suggest that it has deliberately gone about trying something new to exploit the DRS rules.

One possibility is that something may have broken on the wing during qualifying, which has triggered the extra gap in the DRS.

Rival Red Bull, which has had some rear wing headaches in recent races, appeared to suffer its own DRS problems in qualifying with Verstappen’s wing flapping about on the entry to Turn 1 at the end of Q3.

This is something that Verstappen likely felt and triggered the parc ferme incident that has prompted his own potential rules breach.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

What did Verstappen do?

While news of the Hamilton investigation erupted on Friday night, as a fan video from parc ferme immediately after qualifying prompted even more intrigue.

Peguei o Max conferindo as asas ao final do Qualy. pic.twitter.com/QY8gr66ujO

— Frederico Monteiro (@frd182) November 12, 2021

In the video, which was widely circulated on social media, Verstappen is seen to be inspecting his rear wing as the top three cars are stationary in parc ferme.

In particular he appears to be checking out the gap between the DRS elements, potentially to feel if there is a problem or some flexibility.

But amazingly, Verstappen then walks over to Hamilton’s Mercedes and then conducts a similar check on his rival’s rear wing – touching the car.

This is in breach of very strict rules that prohibit anyone from touching cars in parc ferme conditions in case they attempt to interfere with the machinery.

Such a rule is laid down in the International Sporting Code, which is the FIA’s rule book that governs all of motor racing.

Article 2.5.1 states: “Inside the Parc Ferme, only the officials assigned may enter. No operation, checking, tuning or repair is allowed unless authorised by the same officials or by the applicable regulations.”

There is little doubt that Verstappen’s behaviour breached those rules, but it is not unusual for drivers to inspect rival’s machinery – with Sebastian Vettel having been videoed many a time checking out other teams' cars.

Sebastian Vettel inspects Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes in parc ferme at the 2019 Singapore GP

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Numerous videos of Vettel in parc ferme, including him rolling cars forward with his feet to inspect tyres, and feeling for wing clearance gaps with his feet, have emerged over the years.

While Verstappen’s inspection of the Mercedes rear wing did not appear to involve much physical force, so was unlikely to have altered Hamilton's wing, that he touched a part of the car that is now subject to a separate FIA inspection makes it an extremely delicate situation.

Verstappen will now have to explain his behaviour to the FIA stewards in a hearing at 09.30 local time in Brazil on Saturday morning.

What could the penalties be?

It is not impossible that both drivers could be excluded from qualifying for what has happened if the stewards take a hardline approach.

Hamilton’s case is perhaps more likely. If the stewards deem that his car was in breach of the technical rules, then it is an automatic exclusion.

In Verstappen’s case, the matter is much more subjective – as it will be down to the four stewards to make a call on how serious an offence they deem his actions to have been.

For although his behaviour was innocuous, and is more likely to earn him a reprimand or fine, the fact that he did touch the exact part of the Mercedes that is under investigation, means the situation makes it far from straightforward.

Mercedes could well argue that a simple touch from an outside party could be enough to have dislodged something and triggered the DRS rules breach – even if such a theory seems quite far fetched.

With the tensions in the title battle heating up, and the points situation at a critical point as Hamilton bids to not lose further ground to Verstappen, the outcome of what the stewards decide in the next few hours could prove even more decisive than anything that has taken place on track so far this weekend.





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An interesting line in all of this is:


Hamilton's hearing has been adjourned to Saturday in Brazil while stewards "await further evidence that will not be available until the morning".


What evidence beyond the impounded wing could they require I wonder?

Max went to the stewards half an hour ago so we should hear his sentence soon.

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Max is going to get a reprimand and Mercedes evidence will be that it was a manufacturing or setup error and wasn’t deliberate to avoid a more serious punishment. Back of the grid for the sprint with a five place grid penalty makes me doubt he’ll bother running and putting unnecessary mileage on the engine.

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17 minutes ago, ryodi said:

Max is going to get a reprimand and Mercedes evidence will be that it was a manufacturing or setup error and wasn’t deliberate to avoid a more serious punishment. Back of the grid for the sprint with a five place grid penalty makes me doubt he’ll bother running and putting unnecessary mileage on the engine.

I can’t see him sitting it out. If he can’t make up more than five places in the sprint he might as well skip the race on Sunday too!

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1 hour ago, Corranga said:

If nothing else, it’s been fun to watch Twitter explode over how Max has clearly sabotaged Lewis’s car. Super hands Max who can barely touch a wing designed to take hundreds of kilos of pressure and break it 🤣

It'll be because of the super powers he got from coming back from the dead after Silverstone.

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