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"Punishment did not fit the crime," says Ecclestone

NEWS STORY
20/07/2021

Although he believes it was a racing incident, Bernie Ecclestone says the stewards were lenient in handing Lewis Hamilton a 10s time penalty.

Over the many years he has been involved in the sport, Bernie Ecclestone has witnessed more than his fair share of controversy.

However, while fans of a certain vintage will recall incidents far more controversial - and ultimately tragic - than Sunday's first lap clash, 24-hour rolling news and social media tend to shine the spotlight of attention far more intensely these days.

Asked about Sunday's clash, former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone believes it was a racing incident. However, in deciding to investigate and apportion blame he believes the stewards should have punished Lewis Hamilton harder than a 10s time penalty.

"In the old days we would have said it was one of those things, a racing incident," he tells the Daily Mail. "It was clear that both were doing their best to win the championship.

"If you have to give a sanction, which in some ways they didn't need to, this was not the right decision," he adds, "it wasn't enough.

"If the stewards needed to get involved then they should have given Lewis more than a 10-second penalty... it should have been 30 seconds.

"Lewis was not in front at the point they collided. It wasn't his corner," he insists. "He was almost a car's length behind. That's why he hit him at the back not the front.

"Ten seconds was not right. The punishment did not fit the crime."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by UK44, 25/07/2021 11:04

"Is this the same Bernie who claimed "...Lewis is not quite the fighter that he was" . Everyone has an opinion on SLH intended to make themselves relevant."

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2. Posted by kenji, 24/07/2021 4:25

"@C5 thank you. I really don't like rolling starts as they are quite dangerous. At least when we get a standing start we are more or less guaranteed that all cars move at the same time whereas rolling starts mean that the teams further back are sometimes prone to running into the back of others who do not get the same getaway.. We've seen that accidents occur in the past but then again I'm not being adamant here."

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3. Posted by C5, 23/07/2021 4:45

"@Kenji agree on your parts replacement observation. If a car can't continue or isn't safe and has to be retired, tough luck. That's racing. Fair enough engineers can get a good look at what's damaged, but the actual repair should only be allowed to commence once the race is green. And while we're at it, I also don't think the standing re-starts are fair. It's bad enough everyone is bunched back up, but that would be the same if they continued behind the safety car."

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4. Posted by kenji, 22/07/2021 0:41

"I also have another observation that needs to be taken into account as it had a major effect on the race result. That is, allowing teams to replace damaged parts whilst under the red flag conditions. That should not be allowed IMO as it gives an unfair advantage to some teams/drivers. Teams who breach the regulations and cause accidents are then allowed to rectify that damage whereas the other party is out of the race!!! Silverstone was a prime example of the stupidity of this."

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5. Posted by C5, 21/07/2021 21:04

"I think I agree with Bernie here. As usual he's rambling quite a bit so takes a bit to work out what he's actually saying, but... This should either have been judged a racing incident where either driver had roughly the same proportion of guilt, give or take a foot or two. Or it should have been punished severely, in my opinion with at least a drive through penalty for the driver at fault. I lean more toward the former, but I can see the argument for the latter. The actual penalty, however I don't see an argument for. It's simply neither fowl nor fish."

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6. Posted by Oil Leak77, 21/07/2021 19:27

"I never thought I'd miss Bernie so much. A wise old man.

"

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7. Posted by kenji, 21/07/2021 14:03

"@ Wokingchap....If Red Bull do take a legal action I would expect that the FIA would be most concerned at their possible exposure. I recall some time back when it seemed that we were under constant attack by terrorists driving vehicles into public crowds. Those actions created the concept that 'vehicles' were the easiest weapons to acquire. In the wrong hands they certainly are. Freeway 'hopping and chopping' are a perfect example. None of this is in anyway linked to Brit GP of course but sometimes we tend to trivialise actions that can have dreadful repercussions."

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8. Posted by Wokingchap, 21/07/2021 10:29

"Kenji...... i tend to agree with you. I'm pretty sure thats why the teams agreed to that (ignore the consequences) strategy in the first place."

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9. Posted by kenji, 21/07/2021 7:49

"I am curious. What are the legal constraints on motor racing? If someone gains monetarily from [ individually ] fixing a result I presume that they are criminally liable and subject to court action. Now my limited understanding, in general, is that apart from committing an offense the result of that act is also subject to changes in severity depending on the outcome. As an example, in an every day assault crime if a victim survives a violent attack the charges can be GBH but if that victim dies then charges can and are upgraded to either manslaughter or even murder...once again by degree. Masi states that the stewards are only interested, and subsequently pass judgements/penalties on, the initial action and don't take the results of that action into account. My question is this...had Verstappen suffered terminal injuries and we all know that that can happen, would the race judgement/penalty be any different? I am not suggesting in any way shape or form that this incident was the subject of malpractice or a pre planned strategy. Rather 'I'm interested in the stewards allocation of penalties."

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10. Posted by Tardis40, 21/07/2021 3:55

"Spot on"

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11. Posted by kenji, 20/07/2021 23:55

"Despite Bernie's somewhat ambiguous statement, he's right. That should've been at the very least a 30sec S&G penalty. I certainly hope that RBR do take further action as the result should not be able to stand. I do believe that lots of people feel the same way but for political reasons are tempering their comments. Daniel Ricciardo summed it up rather succinctly...'he went into there too hot'. Now whether or not there was a degree of intent is what needs to be examined in depth. The stewards got it right but let F1 down by imposing a slap on the wrist. "

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12. Posted by The Canadian, 20/07/2021 20:17

"Outside of Lewis' hard core fan base, this will help propel him to B List status faster than any of his other antics... He's turning into a theatrical, self serving Prig.. and it's getting noticed."

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13. Posted by Great_white_shark, 20/07/2021 19:57

"It was a racing incident but the penalty didn't fit the crime? Does he listen to himself? How did it deserve a harsher penalty if it was within the rules and it was a racing incident? According to the FIA document outlining how to overtake from the inside, it deserved no penalty at all. Red Bull are lucky the FIA threw a bone their way "

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14. Posted by alistairmx, 20/07/2021 16:51

"I think Bernie needs glasses."

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15. Posted by Roli, 20/07/2021 16:38

"Enter your comment hereWell, thats all Lewis got. Turn the page and lets look forward to the next race, there will be fireworks for sure. Its what Media Liberty has always wanted...Who needs crappy sprint races when you got aggro like this for the next race?"

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