Hamilton clarifies FIA revisiting Qatar penalty
By Mat Coch
Friday 20th October, 2023 - 7:50pm
Lewis Hamilton has moved to clarify the situation surrounding FIA revisiting the penalty he received for crossing the track during the Qatar Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver was fined almost AUD $80,000, half of which was suspended, for crossing a live track after crashing out of the race at the first corner.
However, in the days that followed, the FIA announced it would revisit the incident noting the seriousness of the offence.
It has now come to light that the International Sporting Code will allow the FIA to fine drivers up to one million euros, a 300 percent increase on the previous figure.
Speedcafe understands that comes in response to the penalty handed down to Hamilton, who Forbes estimates will earn $65 million in 2023.
There were suggestions the seven-time world champion could be handed a further punishment though he has moved to quash that notion.
“They’ve spoken to me and their actual point is, I think it’s important, it was just when I sat in the meeting with them, or the stewards’ office, obviously I put my hand up,” he began.
“In the heat of the moment it was the wrong decision and what’s important is to send the right message, particularly for the younger drivers throughout the ages that that’s not the right thing to do.
“I apologised at the time and I think they’ll just look into how to make sure that doesn’t happen moving forwards.”
Hamilton is not the first driver to cross the track, Logan Sargeant also did so after crashing in qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix.
The difference in that instance was he did so under red flag and, presumably, with the consent of officials since no investigation took place.
“I don’t think I was singled out,” Hamilton said of his penalty.
“Ultimately, it’s just, I think it was poor communication. I don’t think what they [the FIA] have said is exactly what they meant.
“I think what they mean is that they’re just going to look into how they can tackle it, those sorts of things.
“If you look at, I think there was a karting incident recently where a kid was hit, so we really need to make sure that we’re continuously focusing on safety.
“That’s really at the core, at the root of it. But I just think they probably need to speak to their PR agent to do a better job.”