FIA race director Micahel Masi has revealed he has "no authority to instruct teams" after agreeing to a controversial deal with Red Bull at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
In the first of a number of incidents between the title rivals in Jeddah, Max Verstappen passed Lewis Hamilton off-track at the first chicane following the first race restart.
As the race was red flagged for a second time before the end of that lap, Masi got on the radio to Red Bull and offered the team to drop a place, positioning him behind Esteban Ocon yet ahead of Hamilton, as the cars sat in the pit lane.
Questioned on this, Masi corrected himself to confirm the Dutchman would be required to drop behind both Ocon and Hamilton.
Red Bull team manager Jonathan Wheatley twice requested time to consider the offer, one that would see Verstappen avoid further sanctions, before accepting the proposal.
Asked if this was normal procedure, Masi said: “It’s very much... I wouldn’t call it a deal.
"From a race director’s perspective, I have no authority to actually instruct the teams to do anything. In that situation, I can give them an offer, I have the ability to do that, but the choice is theirs.
“The stewards are obviously empowered to impose penalties but I can give them my perspective, so that is why I offered them the ability to give that position up.
“As a result of the red flag that came about with the incident at turn three, the priority in any red flag situation is A, to make sure that the drivers are safe and then B, to activate the recovery so the marshals can do so and clean the track and so forth.
“So it probably seemed a bit elongated compared to normal, however, it was very much a normal discussion that takes place."
Masi continued to reveal he had informed the stewards of his planned course of action before contacting the teams with his offer.
“I immediately... when I saw what happened at turn two, I immediately suggested to the stewards that I was going to give the team the ability to give that place back," Masi explained.
"The red flag obviously ensued very quickly thereafter and that was absolutely the priority before we got going again.
“Being under a suspension, there was the ability to effectively correct that before we went racing again.”
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