On Sunday, the FIA revealed that it was reassessing a penalty it levied on Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton for crossing a live race track without permission after his crash during the Qatar Grand Prix.
He was fined €50,000 for the offense, with half of it suspended. In addition, he was also handed a formal reprimand for crossing the track under safety car conditions after being involved in an ugly crash with teammate George Russell at Turn 1 of the Grand Prix.
In the initial hearing, the Stewards said that Hamilton was apologetic but claimed that his crossing of the track was a serious breach of safety. However, citing his “role-model status” as the reason for revisiting the incident, considering the impression his actions left on younger drivers, the governing body has reopened the case.
This action by the FIA raised several eyebrows, with many suggesting that Hamilton is being targeted specifically. Former F1 driver and Sky F1 Pundit Karun Chandhok was one of the noted personalities to question why other drivers had not been pulled up for similar offenses in the past.
Citing examples of drivers crossing the track from the past, Chandhok questioned why no action was taken against Logan Sargeant’s episode from Japan this season. In addition, he also pointed out Max Verstappen’s example from Monza in 2011, when the Dutch driver crossed the track after an incident but, wasn’t treated as severely as Hamilton.
Expressing his views on the social media platform X, Chandhok wrote:
“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?
“Bit odd to talk about precedent when other people have done it before.
“Max at Monza 2021 is another example I think…”
Looking at the fingers being pointed at the FIA, the governing body might have some explaining to do before it gives out a verdict on the seven-time-world champion.