Masi suggests possible rule changes after Vettel penalty

The incident which cost Sebastian Vettel victory in Montreal

Formula 1 race director Michael Masi has suggested that there could be changes to racing rules following the penalty which cost Sebastian Vettel victory in the Canadian Grand Prix.

Vettel’s five-second penalty for an unsafe rejoin, which saw Lewis Hamilton classified as the winner having followed the Ferrari for the remainder of the race, attracted widespread although not unanimous criticism.

Scuderia Ferrari ultimately chose not to appeal the decision, and indeed appeared to have no means of doing so under Formula 1 sporting regulations anyway.

Its request to review the call using a clause in the FIA International Sporting Code then did not pass the first hurdle of establishing that there was ‘significant’ new evidence not available at the time of the original decision.

Ironically, Hamilton escaped sanction for an alleged unsafe rejoin which forced Max Verstappen into evasive action in Practice 1 at Paul Ricard, last weekend.

Kimi Raikkonen was then found to have not “unnecessarily impede(d)” Romain Grosjean when he rejoined the track during qualifying, and Daniel Ricciardo was cleared after being investigated for the manner in which he rejoined and caused Raikkonen to have to leave the track in the first place.

Ricciardo was, however, handed two five-second penalties for actions during the race, one of which was deemed an unsafe rejoin.

Masi said that rules about rejoining had not changed at all since the preceding round in Canada, but could do so for next year.

“We treat them (rules) exactly the same,” he affirmed, according to UK publication Autosport.

“My view is we have got a rule book there, and the rule book is the one we have got for the entire 2019 season.

“I don’t think it would be wise in any sport to change anything mid-year.

“But is it something that you can look at, like with any rule book? Absolutely.

“I think we are always constantly evolving with everything.”

F1’s 2020 sporting regulations have already been finalised and unanimous approval from teams would be required to make any modifications.

Changing the International Sporting Code (ISC) might also be problematic as they apply to motorsport generally.

“I think if all the teams agree with it, it is no different to any other set of regulations,” suggested Masi.

“But there is also the ISC that has provisions in it that are also used from a code of driving conduct side.

“That has its own process which isn’t just F1-specific, it is for the entire sport.

“But it is something that we will look at collectively and jointly.”

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