The FIA could be forced to reconsider its stance on whether to penalise drivers for what it terms as 'robust defence' after Max Verstappen was roundly criticised by drivers in the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Verstappen avoided punishment for two firm moves in defending from Kimi Raikkonen during the closing stages of the Budapest race, with the Finn going on to express his frustration that stewards did not consider his actions unfair.
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Though Verstappen has dismissed the criticism – specifically for moving under braking -, Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso and his former Toro Rosso team-mate Carlos Sainz were amongst those to side with Raikkonen and the matter was brought up with Charlie Whiting at the drivers; briefing.
Prior to that, Whiting told media attending this weekend's German Grand Prix he stood by the decision not to penalise Verstappen a week earlier after more than one review despite it being on the 'on the edge of being fair', pointing out that there is no defined rule about moving under braking.
“A lot of people, including the teams concerned, felt that Max had moved more than once to defend his position, which we don't believe he did. There's no actual rule about moving in the braking zone, although it's a fairly undesirable thing according to most drivers.
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“I think it was on the edge of being fair, but I asked the stewards to look at both incidents during the race and I asked them to review it again after the race and they felt it was firm but fair. 'Robust defence' I think was the expression they used.”
However, Sainz went on to say that more could potentially done in the future to prevent repeat incidents despite admitting he has also been an offender.
“There could be a strong chance [of penalties],” he continued. “As always they say we will take a look into it and we will decide on the rule imposed, what is clear is that the most dangerous thing you can do is move under braking, I've done it previously and I know it's dangerous, I didn't get a penalty, I accept it, now it's getting to a point where every driver is using it maybe a bit too much to defend a position.”
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