Masi: Drivers now compelled to 'tuck in their elbows' on opening laps

FIA race director Michael Masi says the stewards are applying more scrutiny to a race's opening lap this... The post Masi: Drivers now compelled to 'tuck in their elbows' on opening laps appeared first on F1i.com.

Masi: Drivers now compelled to 'tuck in their elbows' on opening laps

FIA race director Michael Masi says the stewards are applying more scrutiny to a race's opening lap this season, with drivers forced to "tuck in their elbows" a bit.

Last weekend's British Grand Prix saw two instances in which a driver was sanctioned following an opening lap clash with an opponent.

In Saturday's sprint race, George Russell was handed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday's event following a skirmish with Ferrari's Carlos sainz, while Lewis Hamilton was hit with a 10-second penalty as a result of his high profile-run-in with max Verstappen on the first lap of last Sunday's race.

Up until recently, the stewards had opted for a lenient approach to judging first lap clashes, but Masi says the teams and drivers took it upon themselves to demand an increased scrutiny of the field at the start of a race.

"There is a clear point that the first lap is obviously treated in a much lighter way under the let them race principles than the rest of the race, no doubt about that," said Masi. "And letting drivers find their own balance.

"But the drivers have clearly said, as have the teams from the end of last year, that they felt with the elbows were out a bit too far last year, and they needed to be tucked back in a little bit."

Masi was clear that the extra scrutiny applied to the entire first lap, not just the first few corners.

"You need to look at it as what’s happening on that first lap," he added. "It could be Turn 1, it could be Turn 6, depending on the nature of the circuit."

  • Read also - Ecclestone: Hamilton's punishment 'did not fit the crime'

Addressing once again last Sunday's controversial collision between Hamilton and Verstappen, Masi reiterated how the stewards had approached the incident.

"There were two cars clearly involved in the incident and all the drivers from the start of this year said that if there’s two cars involved, that if there is someone that is predominantly to blame, predominantly or wholly, then that should be looked at a bit closer, even on the first lap," explained the Aussie.

"I think having looked at it all, their view was that he was predominantly to blame for that.

"The big part was similar to what happened with Charles later on, that he could have, say, tucked in closer to the apex. And that was where they found that - I think the wording was quite clear as per the regulations - that he was predominantly to blame.

"He wasn’t seen as wholly to blame for it, but seen as predominantly to blame, that he could have tucked in further."

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Horner: Stewards should be 'locked away' from team bosses

Red Bull's Christian Horner says team bosses should not be allowed to visit F1's stewards and potentially exercise... The post Horner: Stewards should be 'locked away' from team bosses appeared first on F1i.com.

Horner: Stewards should be 'locked away' from team bosses

Red Bull's Christian Horner says team bosses should not be allowed to visit F1's stewards and potentially exercise undue influence when an incident is under review.

Last Sunday's controversial on-track clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton led to both Red Bull Racing and Mercedes team representatives calling FIA race director Michael Masi during the race's red flag period to cast their unilateral view on the high-profile incident.

But when Mercedes boss Toto Wolff offered to argue his case directly to the stewards, and Masi accepted, an angry Horner took exception with the Austrian's initiative.

"I saw Toto, who was lobbying the stewards, which I heard he was going there so I went there to make sure our view was represented," recounted Horner after the race.

"I don’t think it’s right that team principals go up there to lobby the stewards.

"They should be locked away so they’re not influenced and for me that was unacceptable that he had gone up there to lobby the stewards.

"I wanted to make sure there was a balanced opinion given, rather than trying to influence pressure on the stewards to make a menial sentence.

"I don’t think anyone should be allowed to see the stewards during the course of a Grand Prix."

On the opposing side of the stewards' office, Wolff justified his decision to personally deliver his view on events.

"I was told that there was a rant on the radio to Michael about all the badness in the world, and then I went up and gave my opinion," Wolff sarcastically said, referring to Horner's earlier radio communication with Masi.

"I’ve been to the stewards many times."

  • Read also - Jos Verstappen: 'Wolff no longer needs to call'

Masi stated that he had no objections with a team boss interacting directly with the stewards.

"If we have an incident after the race we invite the teams and the drivers to come and appear before the stewards," he said. "And that’s one of the elements the stewards have.

"We had the case in Monza last year when Lewis went and spoke to the stewards to understand what happened and have a look at the whole picture. During the suspension, that ability exists, so there's no reason not to."

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