Red Bull reviewing its options after $1.8m Silverstone crash

Verstappen’s wrecked Red Bull RB16B. Picture: Fox Sports

Red Bull is still considering its options following Max Verstappen’s heft opening lap crash in the Formula 1 British Grand Prix.

The Dutchman was leading when contact with Lewis Hamilton pitched him into the barrier at Copse in a 51G impact.

Team boss Christian Horner has since revealed the damage cost the team approximately $1.8 millions, a significant figure especially when considered under the cost cap regulations.

“It is no secret that we felt at the time, and still feel, that Hamilton was given a light penalty for this type of incident,” Horner wrote in a column on the team’s website.

“Given the severity of the incident and the lenient penalty, we are reviewing all data and have the right to request a review.

“We are therefore still looking at the evidence and considering all of our sporting options.

“The other significant factor is the cost-cap element of this,” he added.

“That crash has cost us approximately $1.8million and an accident like that has massive ramifications in a budget cap era.”

On the surface, Red Bull would appear to have few options available should it look to pursue the incident further, as Horner implies.

While Hamilton’s penalty can be appealed, as noted on the Stewards’ original report, that is pursuant to the regulations and judicial framework in place.

The right to review is laid out by Article 14 of the International Sporting Code and states that the team must be able to produce “a significant and relevant new element” that was unavailable at the time of the original decision.

Even then, the article states only that officials may decide to re-examine the decision.

While implying that Red Bull could take the opening lap incident further, Horner also cried foul over the behaviour of Mercedes’ Toto Wolff.

Having lobbied FIA race director Michael Masi shortly after the incident, Wolff visited the stewards during the red flag period which resulted from the clash.

“The stewards themselves are, and always have been, a totally independent body and during the 16 and a half seasons I have been team principal, I have never walked into the stewards’ room in the middle of a race or session,” Horner wrote.

“It was brought to my attention through the TV broadcast that Toto was going to see the stewards with information he had tried to email to Michael before they had ruled on a penalty.

“It is a little bit like trying to lobby a jury while they make their final verdict. The Stewards are locked away to ensure they are independent of external influence in order to reach their own conclusions.

“So having heard that Toto was lobbying the stewards, I went up to see them and raised the point that neither of us should be there and it was not appropriate for anyone to interfere while the decision making process was underway.

“It is also detailed in the sporting code that this is not acceptable and I am now pleased to see that the FIA have clarified that this sort of lobbying will not be tolerated in the future as it may well pressure the stewards into a decision that is not wholly fair or impartial.”

Verstappen’s championship advantage now stands at eight points over Hamilton, while Red Bull holds a four-point margin over Mercedes.

Formula 1 returns next weekend with the Hungarian Grand Prix, practice for which begins at 19:30 AEST on Friday.

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