Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says his team did not expect to be successful in its attempts to get the stewards to grant a right to review the incident between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton in Brazil.
On-board footage showing Verstappen’s steering inputs was only available on Tuesday after the race and Mercedes used it to request the right to review the battle in which the Red Bull driver ran very wide when defending, forcing both cars off track. The stewards stated that the new evidence ticked the majority of boxes but was not significant enough to warrant a review.
Wolff was in a press conference alongside Christian Horner at the time the decision was announced, and admitted it was not a surprise.
“Completely expected,” Wolff said. “I think we wanted to trigger discussion around it, because probably it will be a theme in the next few races and I think that objective is achieved. We didn’t really think it would go any further.”
Horner said “it would open Pandora’s box regarding a whole host of other incidents” had the review been granted, and when asked about the prospect before the decision was announced, answered that the whole season could have been open to retrospective protests.
“I think that’s the danger for the FIA with this, because if they do go down this route then every single incident from now on will be questioned,” he said. “There will be evidence from iPhones or spectators’ phones and there will always be something that could be deemed as new or relevant or significant, and I think that the stewards made their call, it wasn’t even referred to on their listing after the event, and it was a non-issue.
“It was two drivers racing hard, both went in deep, went in late, both went off the circuit. And we saw many incidents at Turn 4 throughout that weekend in both the race and on Saturday. Then, of course, if you wind it back, you get to incidents like Istanbul, incidents like at Monza and where do you draw that line?
“So the competitors are going to push every angle that they can, and I really don’t see the relevance of it. And it really does set a dangerous precedent if this incident on this occasion is re-opened.”