At just three days from the Hungarian GP, the open war between Red Bull Racing and Mercedes has seen a new and harsh chapter. The FIA has accepted an appeal from the team of the energy drink to review the sanction handed to Lewis Hamilton after his clash with Max Verstappen at the British GP.
Red Bull Racing has simply exerted its right to appeal, contemplated in article 14 of the Sporting Code, as communicated to the International Automobile Federation on Friday, July 23, although the action was not made public until four days after.
A key moment in the process of appeal will come next Thursday, July 29 at 16:00 CEST, when the parties involved in the litigation will give their accounts of what happened via videoconference.
Red Bull Racing’s team principal may at this point put forward a total of three witnesses to support his thesis, the names of whom he must communicate in writing by Wednesday. The commissioners then will conduct a ‘second analysis‘ of the events in question.
Too lenient penalty for a massive crash
The Austrian team believe that the ten-second penalty given to the Briton by the stewards is too lenient since the dangerous accident that ensued was entirely his fault.
The sanction didn’t stop the #44 to take his eighth consecutive win at Silverstone. In the accident, Hamilton’s left front wheel touched the right rear wheel of Verstappen’s car as the former was attempting an overtake on the outside.
As a result of the clash, Max was sent spinning into the Copse Corner barriers, crashing at a speed of over 300 km/h. He was immediately transferred to a nearby hospital while, at the same time, the Briton and his team were effusively celebrating their triumph.
That lack of sympathy was the final straw to throw Red Bull Racing over the edge, with team principal Christian Horner sending a public message soon after to warn things were not settled between the two rival teams.
Without wasting any time, they hired the services of a lawyer and placed the case in his hands. Now the highest governing body in the world of motorsports has accepted their request to review the appropriateness of Hamilton’s sanction.
The accident has had dire consequences for Red Bull Racing. At a purely competitive level, Red Bull has lost most of its advantage in both the Drivers and Teams’ standings. Individually, Max Verstappen has seen his lead shrink from 33 to 8 points over Hamilton.
In the Constructors’ standings, Red Bull Racing is hanging on to the leadership by just four points with 289 against Mercedes’ 285. Now the time has come for Red Bull to try and counteract this damage with a harsh legal offensive.
The accident has also dealt a significant financial blow to Red Bull who now has to deal with the hefty costs of repairing its wrecked RB16B. Initially, their advisor, Helmut Marko, estimated this cost at about 750,000 euros but in the end, that figure has nearly doubled. Given this year’s budget constraints imposed on the teams, that unexpected expense can easily translate into a decline in performance.
In any case, Red Bull has kept its word. Right after the accident, the team announced its intention to explore every possible course of action.
Images; Red Bull Racing.