The Russian Grand Prix was held last weekend with a surprising result due to some penalties that brought controversy to the world of Formula 1. Let us remember that, when race direction decides to open the pit lane for the drivers to go to the starting grid, they can practice their start at the end of it, however, Lewis Hamilton decided to practice it in another place, which was not allowed to perform this action, before the race started, the British driver was already under investigation for those two starting practices at a prohibited spot. Once the race started, race direction announced a 5-second time penalty for Lewis Hamilton for each of the incidents (that is, a total of 10 seconds), in addition to 2 points on his super license, this penalty would later be eliminated and better they imposed a financial fine on the team. As a result, Lewis finished the race in third position, with his teammate Valtteri Bottas the winner and Max Verstappen second. These penalties brought a lot of controversy, especially with Mika Salo, who participated in the Grand Prix as steward. Here we explain why.
As we know, Mika Salo is a former Finnish Formula 1 driver who has been well recognized in the world of motorsport. As we mentioned previously, Mika served as a steward at the Russian Grand Prix and, once Lewis was being investigated, the Finnish television channel, CMore, announced the penalties when race direction had not yet announced them. Many people began to suspect that Mika Salo had leaked the news to them. This hypothesis was supported because both the steward and the television channel are Finnish. This was the complete sentence commented by Niki Juusela, a commentator for this channel:
"We tell you here. There is no official data yet, but Lewis Hamilton is likely to receive two five-second penalties and two license points for each penalty.”
Niki decided to announce it 10 minutes before the race direction announced the penalty officially, this was not to the liking of many people, since an FIA steward, in this case Mika Salo, would have leaked it to this television channel. Having seen the controversy that this had brought, Mika Salo decided to deny any kind of speculation.
“It doesn't make any sense, the accusations are unfounded, call Niki [Juusela] and ask him. I heard these rumours yesterday, so it's okay to review the facts; everyone can write things on the internet. As for people, they don't like a decision and this **** always happens" The FIA steward affirmed. "When we removed Max Verstappen from the podium at the 2017 United States Grand Prix, I received death threats for a year."
“It is not Mika Salo. As you know, for the sake of source protection, I am not going to talk about this in any way." Commented Niki Juusela, the Finnish television commentator.
These were the statements that each Finn commented to avoid misunderstandings. The FIA (excluding Salo) has not interfered and consequently there has been no further information about the incident. Personally, I do not expect this issue to become more important since it was not a big deal, since if it had been a leak from a member of the FIA to a team, there would be something that could have changed the race, in this case, it would only be a television channel, which is not allowed, but it is not that serious.