'The rules can't always punish Ferrari!' - Italian F1 press frustrated at controversial Austrian GP decision

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc enters his car during the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix in Spielberg on June 29, 2019. Image:  ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP
Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc enters his car during the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix in Spielberg on June 29, 2019. Image: ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP

The Italian press has reacted with anger after the thrilling Austrian GP.

While Mattia Binotto congratulated Max Verstappen on his win and accepted the stewards' decision, he made clear Ferrari did not agree that the Red Bull driver should have escaped penalty for his overtaking move on Charles Leclerc.

It followed the Canadian GP, where Sebastian Vettel lost his victory after a controversial time penalty imposed after his battle with Lewis Hamilton.

"Attack against Ferrari," La Gazzetta dello Sport said after the race at the Red Bull Ring.

"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," the influential sports daily noted.

Corriere della Sera agreed: "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."

La Stampa added: "Ferrari loses again, first on the track and again in the stewards' room."

Jos Verstappen, Max's father, said he can understand Charles Leclerc's disappointment after 21-year-old Dutchman Verstappen was not penalised for their clash.

"But I think if Formula 1 had done something, everybody would walk away and not come back," Jos told the Verstappens' official website.

Corriere della Sera correspondent Giorgio Terruzzi said he suspects the FIA was influenced by the circumstances of Verstappen's highly popular win.

"Perhaps there were too many Dutch fans around the paddock, or perhaps it was because it happened at a track owned by Red Bull.  Or perhaps there is something mysterious going on between the FIA and Ferrari," he said.

La Gazzetta's Umberto Zapelloni agreed: "Max's win was correct.  But the rules can't always and only punish Ferrari!"

Another Italian journalist, Andrea Cremonisi, said: "After the (Canada GP) review was rejected, as was the push to return to the 2018 tyres, it was the third blow for Ferrari in ten days."

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