Red Bull’s Helmut Marko slams ‘incompetent’ FIA over Max Verstappen penalty

Hamilton takes stunning win after crash with Max Verstappen

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Helmut Marko has criticised the FIA for the punishment given to Max Verstappen at the Qatar GP. The Dutchman began the race in 7th, but recovered well to finish second and limit the damage after title rival Lewis Hamilton coasted to his second consecutive win.

The seven-time champion has reduced the gap in the driver’s standings to the Red Bull racer to just eight points with two races to go in what has been an enthralling season.

Verstappen had his final qualifying lap compromised this past weekend, when Pierre Gasly slowed to a stop on the main straight.

Yellow flags were waved as cars crossed the line to finish their final lap, with the 24-year-old deemed to have ignored the warning signs.

Marko went on to slam the FIA’s marshalling system, claiming F1’s governing body issued penalties to hide their own issues.

“It’s ridiculous,” the Austrian told DAZN.

JUST IN: FIA’s Michael Masi explains why he handed Red Bull boss Christian Horner warning in Qatar

“You know the FIA can’t organise a proper marshalling system and they are hiding their incompetence on the shoulders of the driver. Unbelievable.”

The 78-year-old shared a similar view to that of Red Bull’s team principal Christian Horner, who was issued a warning by stewards for an alleged breach of 12.2.1 f and 12.2.1 k of the international sporting code.

He was summoned to the stewards after suggesting one of the marshals wasn’t doing his job properly and labelled them a “rogue marshal.”

“To be honest with you, we are really struggling to understand it. It looks like a complete balls-up,” Horner told Sky F1.

“The FIA effectively said ‘play on’ on the circuit and it was safe and clear, and Max was in the beginning of the first sector so he had so much time to look at it. The dashboard on his steering wheel is indicating everything is fine, otherwise we would have informed him.

“Unfortunately, there’s a yellow flag and he just didn’t see it.

“I think it’s just a rogue marshal that stuck a flag out and he hasn’t been instructed to by the FIA. They’ve got to have control of their marshals. It’s as simple as that.”

After Horner’s meeting with the stewards, an official document read: “The Stewards heard from the Team Principal (Christian Horner). He explained that his reaction was one that was made under the pressure of competition following the penalty imposed on the driver of Car 33.

“The Stewards explained that the marshal concerned was doing his job in precisely the manner prescribed in the International Sporting Code. Mr Horner offered to apologise to the marshal concerned and to explain to the media that he meant no offense.

“He also offered to participate in the 2022 FIA International Stewards Programme in early February. The Stewards unreservedly accept Mr Horner’s offer.”

Verstappen himself complained about his penalty, saying he never gets any “presents” from the stewards.

“No surprises there, I knew I never get presents from them … when I knew I was starting [in position] seven, I was just motivated to move ahead … I was determined to keep the gap small the whole race, which we did,” he explained.

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