Karun Chandhok says it’s a “bit odd” for the FIA to revisit Lewis Hamilton’s crossing of the track in Qatar given Logan Sargeant did so without punishment just one race prior and so did Max Verstappen in 2021.
Crashing on the opening lap of the Qatar Grand Prix when he made contact with his Mercedes team-mate George Russell, Hamilton’s race was over at the very first corner.
With his car down to three wheels and sitting in the gravel on the outside of Turn 1, Hamilton walked across the track to make his way back to the pits.
Lewis Hamilton walked on the track after crashing in Qatar
That was a breach of Article 26.7 b) of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations with the stewards hitting Hamilton with a €50,000 fine.
That, though, may not be the end of it with the FIA announcing they’re revisiting the Briton’s actions in “view of his role model status”.
This has baffled former F1 driver Chandhok given that just one race prior Williams rookie Logan Sargeant walked across the track, and across the pit lane, after he crashed in qualifying at the Japanese Grand Prix.
“Not saying this should be condoned but I’m sure Lewis isn’t the first person to do this… Didn’t Sargeant cross the track just at the previous event in Japan?” Chandhok wrote on X.
“Bit odd to talk about precedent when other people have done it before.
“Max at Monza 2021 is another example I think…
Max Verstappen walked on the track after his infamous 2021 crash with Lewis Hamilton.
With his Red Bull coming to a rest on top of Hamilton’s W13, Verstappen climbed out of the car and walked on the track as he made his way back to the pits. That was not investigated.
That the FIA has reopened the Hamilton’s incident based on his “role model” status has perplexed many, with PlanetF1.com paddock journalist Sam Cooper writing that the governing body has opened up an ‘unnecessary can of of worms’.
‘The reopening of the case is not the most troubling part, it’s the wording,’ Cooper said.
As part of their explanation as to why they were taking a second look, a spokesperson for the FIA said “in view of his role model status, the FIA is concerned about the impression his actions may have created on younger drivers.”
‘This leads onto the question – how does the FIA define a role model? Is it years in the sport? Social media followers maybe? Wins? Titles? By virtue of being a Formula 1 driver, their faces are shared across millions of TVs every week, so do rookies Logan Sargeant and Oscar Piastri also count as role models, too?
‘Last season, a four-time World Champion committed a similarly dangerous offence by driving a moped around the track with his helmet above his head and yet was Sebastian Vettel’s position as a “role model” cited in the explanation of the €5,000 fine he received?
‘Look further back in the history of Formula 1 and you could find a litany of incidents of high-profile drivers doing something potentially dangerous and yet never before has their “role model” status come into it.