Lewis Hamilton has been told by Formula One’s governing body that his accusation they endangered lives in the Tuscan Grand Prix is “offensive”.
The FIA have taken a dim view of Hamilton’s incendiary remark which the six-time world champion made in the aftermath of Sunday’s crash-strewn race at Mugello.
Hamilton felt the lights on the safety car were turned off too late in a deliberate ploy to back up the field and spice up the restart. The switching off of the flashing bulbs indicate when the race is resuming. A huge pile-up ensued after the safety car peeled into the pits.
Hamilton said: “They are trying to make it more exciting but today they put people at risk. It was over the limit. It wasn’t safe.”
But responding to Hamilton’s remarks, FIA race director Michael Masi rubbished the Briton’s claim.
“From an FIA perspective, safety is paramount, full stop, end of story,” he said.
“We are absolutely not trying to spice up the show. In my capacity as race director, my role is sporting integrity and safety and anyone that says otherwise to that is actually quite offensive.”
Hamilton also said there needs to be a rethink as to how the safety car is used.
But Masi, the Australian who succeeded Charlie Whiting following his death last year, added: “Simply put, the drivers can criticise all they want, but if we look where the lights were extinguished on the safety car to the control line [where the race resumes] the distance was similar if not longer than a number of other venues.
“We have the 20 best drivers in the world, but in the Formula Three race, those drivers in the junior category had a very similar restart to what occurred in the Formula One race and they navigated it without incident.
“I don’t think there is any need to review the safety car restart rule.”
Hamilton is also being investigated by the FIA because of the T-shirt he wore before and after Sunday’s race.
The message on the T-shirt read: “Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor.”
Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman, was shot dead by police in her Louisville home six months ago.
The FIA – a non-political organisation – will assess whether he broke any rules.
Despite the chaotic nature of Sunday’s race, Hamilton claimed his sixth win from nine rounds this season to extend his championship lead over team-mate Valtteri Bottas to 55 points.
Hamilton also moved to within one victory of Michael Schumacher’s record with his 90th career win.
He will be given his first shot at matching Schumacher’s record at the Sochi Autodrom in Russia a week on Sunday.
“It just doesn’t seem real,” said Hamilton on the possibility of equalling Schumacher’s tally. “Getting these wins is not easy, but I never thought I would be here, that’s for sure.”