Max Verstappen warned he could be deducted points in F1 title battle

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Max Verstappen warned he could be deducted points in F1 title battle
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Formula One race director Michael Masi has warned Max Verstappen that the stewards have the power to “disqualify a competitor or dock championship points” ahead of this weekend’s championship-deciding race in Abu Dhabi.

After a series of flashpoints during Lewis Hamilton’s victory in Saudi Arabia last week, the Briton and Verstappen head to the Hermann Tilke designed Yas Marina Circuit level on points.

However, if neither driver finishes the Saudi GP, Verstappen will win the championship courtesy of his superior number of race wins this season, prompting speculation that the Dutchman could even deliberately attempt to cause a crash.

Asked about the possibility, Masi told the Daily Mail: “I can’t control the actions of the two individuals, only they can.

“But within the regulations we have penalties, be it time or grid penalties. In addition, the International Sporting Code has provision for the stewards to disqualify a competitor or dock championship points.

“So, yes, Max could be deducted points, as could any team. We hope it isn’t necessary, but it is one of the tools available. I will remind all the teams and drivers of these provisions.”

After the fractious Saudi GP, Mercedes chief Totto Wolff said he expected race stewards to take appropriate action if Verstappen is deemed to have driven recklessly.

“I would hope that [yesterday]’s race has enough repercussions that everybody’s going to learn from it and adapt for the final race in Abu Dhabi,” said Wolff.

“I think that similar driving – if it were to be deemed by the stewards as being over the line – would then probably also be penalised in Abu Dhabi and it could well end in a messy situation for everybody. And I don’t think that the championship has deserved a result which was influenced by a collision. So in that case I very much trust into the self-regulating system.”

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