FIA accused of being influenced by Max Verstappen fans, according to Italian media

F1 Grand Prix of Austria

The FIA stewards at the Austrian Grand Prix have been accused by Italian journalists of being influenced by the high percentage of Max Verstappen fans that were in attendance at the Red Bull Ring.

The Dutchman, however, benefited from their decision not to punish him for an overtake on Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc.

Verstappen finally got beyond the Monegasque with two laps remaining of the race after failing in the previous two.

Verstappen beat Leclerc to win the race at the Red Bull Ring, but his race-winning move was placed under investigation as the two drivers made contact and the latter briefly went off-track.

The investigation that followed took a lot longer than it should have, but it eventually concluded that Verstappen won the race.

He celebrated the triumph and took his spot on top of the podium, where he also knew the victory wasn’t certain and he may eventually be stripped of his win.

However, the decision was made that no further action would be taken and Verstappen kept his place on the podium and kept his Austrian Grand Prix victory.

Corriere della Sera correspondent Giorgio Terruzzi thinks that the decision could have been a lot swifter and believes the Dutchman’s army of supporters helped the outcome.

"Perhaps there were too many Dutch fans around the paddock, or perhaps it was because it happened at a track owned by Red Bull.

F1 Grand Prix of Austria

“Or perhaps there is something mysterious going on between the FIA and Ferrari," he said.

La Gazzetta dello Sport, meanwhile, wrote: "Attack against Ferrari. After Canada, Maranello is again disadvantaged by the stewards, and Formula 1 loses credibility.

"At the same time, concerns about Ferrari's political weight after the death of Sergio Marchionne appear.”

Corriere della Sera concurred, saying: "It is not easy to accept this decision by the stewards.

"Obviously, there are only rights for the drivers who attack, and no mercy for those who defend. Vettel in Canada; Leclerc in Austria."

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The decision followed two controversial calls at the previous two races in France and Canada.

In France, Daniel Ricciardo was given a time penalty that dropped him out of the points almost three hours after the race ended.

The decision to punish Sebastian Vettel by the stewards in Canada was made during the race and therefore even though Vettel crossed the line first, Lewis Hamilton inherited the win immediately and the result was clear.

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