Mercedes, Ferrari and McLaren against an investigation into Perez crash in Monaco. Some team bosses believe the FIA should not revisit the controversial crash involving Red Bull driver Sergio Perez during qualifying for the 2022 Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix.
Earlier this season, Mexico’s Sergio Perez crashed during the final stage of qualifying at the Monaco circuit, hindering drivers from improving their times.
The incident could have ended there, but after the controversy that emerged at the Brazilian Grand Prix when Max Verstappen refused to swap positions with team-mate Sergio Perez (read more here), rumours have suggested that the Dutchman sought revenge because the Mexican deliberately crashed his car in Q3 in Monaco in order to hinder Max Verstappen’s bid for pole position on the streets of the principality; a scenario categorically denied by Sergio Perez in Abu Dhabi during the last race weekend.
Team bosses rally against investigation
Although the FIA has no immediate intention of launching an official investigation into the incident, which is now a thing of the past, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has hinted that a possible investigation could be launched in the future if further evidence is found to support the rumours.
Asked whether they thought an investigation should be launched into the incident, the bosses of McLaren, Mercedes and Ferrari were adamant that the story was now in the past and that it might be better to focus on the future.
“I think the Perez incident happened a while ago, so I think we as a sport need to move more quickly if we see something that needs to be addressed,” said McLaren CEO Zak Brown.
“I think Monaco was a long time ago, and so talking about Monaco here in Abu Dhabi [they were interviewed in Abu Dhabi], I just think that train has left the station.”
Mattia Binotto, Ferrari’s director, agreed with Brown and also felt that “we have to move on” and not go back to what happened months ago: “First of all, what happened in Monaco was very difficult for us to judge from the outside,” Binotto insisted.
“I don’t think we can judge and it’s not up to us to judge. It’s up to the FIA, they have the data, and I’m pretty sure they looked at it at the time, and we have to move forward. I think things need to move forward as Zak said.”
“Maybe we could discuss what we should do in this kind of situation, but I don’t think there’s a clear answer at the moment. We made the point at the F1 Commission [the last F1 Commission which took place in Abu Dhabi on Friday 18 November] and Zak raised it. I don’t think there is any need to revisit what happened in Monaco today…”
The same is true of Mercedes, with Toto Wolff saying that there has been enough turmoil this season with the Red Bull team over the cost cap and that it is now time to move on.
“Regarding the incident in Monaco, we don’t have the data. Monaco is still pretty bad in terms of GPS,” Wolff explained.
“The second thing is that I have known Sergio for a long time. Would a driver really put his car into a wall and risk damaging his gearbox with the way it was done? You could end up at the back of the grid with an accident like that.”
“For me, if you want to crash your car, you do it in a different way. And as Mattia [Binotto] and Zak [Brown] said, we’ve had enough PR crises in the last two weeks around this team [Red Bull] and I don’t think we need another one.”
FIA willing to punish many months after the event
Despite the opinion of the team bosses, the FIA will have the final say in the matter and will decide whether or not to launch an investigation: “If there is something to investigate, we will be more than happy to do so. What I can say is that I am not shy or afraid of launching [an investigation] if there is a problem,” said the FIA president.
“I will not hide anything. I will even be the first to raise my hand and say if there was a problem with the FIA. Otherwise, if I can’t do that, you will never improve and never evolve. That I can guarantee you.”
It would not be the first time that the FIA has launched an investigation after the fact, as earlier this year the governing body did not hesitate to launch a full investigation after the controversial Abu Dhabi 2021 Grand Prix, an investigation which led to the sacking of the FIA’s former race director, Australian Michael Masi.