FIA race director Michael Masi has warned Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton that either of them could be docked points if they behave “in an unsportsmanlike manner” to try and win the championship.
While the pair are tied on points heading into the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Verstappen is ahead on number of victories, meaning he would be champion if both drivers fail to finish on Sunday. Given the potential scenarios that could unfold and both Red Bull and Mercedes stating they want a clean race, Masi has reminded the drivers of specific rules that could be applied if the FIA deems either contender to engage in unsportsmanlike tactics.
“All Competitors and Drivers are reminded of the various requirements detailed in the FIA International Sporting Code,” Masi wrote in his race event notes for Abu Dhabi. “In particular I would like to remind you of the following articles detailed below:
“The Competitor shall be responsible for all acts or omissions on the part of any person taking part in, or providing a service in connection with, a Competition or a Championship on their behalf, including in particular their employees, direct or indirect, their Drivers, mechanics, consultants, service providers, or passengers, as well as any person to whom the Competitor has allowed access to the Reserved Areas.”
Article 12.2.1 – Breach of Rules and in particular Article 12.2.1.l
“Any infringement of the principles of fairness in Competition, behavior in an unsportsmanlike manner or attempt to influence the result of a Competition in a way that is contrary to sporting ethics.”
“For all the FIA Championships, cups, challenges, trophies or series, the stewards may also decide to impose the following penalties: Suspension for one or more Competitions, withdrawal of points for the Championship, cup, challenge, trophy, series.”
“Points should not be deducted separately from Drivers and Competitors, save in exceptional circumstances.”
The last time a driver was punished for trying to influence a championship outcome at the final race was Michael Schumacher in 1997, who was excluded from the championship after instigating contact with Jacques Villeneuve as the Canadian overtook him to win his first title.