Honda’s Guerrieri “robbed of title” in controversial WTCR finale

RaceFans Round-up

Posted on

| Written by

In the round-up: Honda says its WTCR championship contender Esteban Guerrieri was “robbed” of the title after being hit from behind in the season finale at the Sepang International Circuit.

WTCR Sepang

[icon2019autocoursempu]Esteban Guerrieri was on course to snatch the World Touring Car Cup title from Norbert Michelisz despite having trailled his rival by 26 points with two races to go.

Victory for Michelisz in the first of three races at Sepang, three places ahead of Guerrieri, put the Hyundai driver on course for the title. At the start of race two Yvan Muller’s title hopes ended when he was his by Nicky Catsburg, who was disqualified from the finale as a result. Catsburg’s car caught fire, the red flag was thrown, and when the race resumed over an hour later Guerrieri won to set up a final-round title-decider.

Guerrieri took the lead in race three and, with Michelisz occupying fourth place, was on course to take the title. But following a Safety Car restart on lap five he was knocked sideways by Mikel Azcona, skidding off-track and collecting wet grass in his air intakes, forcing him to pit. That delivered the cup to Michelisz.

Guerrieri congratulated Michelisz on his title but made his views on the Azcona collision clear. “Azcona hit me in the back and threw me on the grass and I had a radiator full of grass, so I had to pit to take it out,” he said.

Azcona, who was given a 30-second time penalty for the collision, said the contact was not intentional. “I’m really sorry for Esteban, what’s happened, I didn’t want this finish, for sure.

“At the same time he was battling for the championship I had [Johan] Kristoffersson behind me, so I had to battle for my rookie championship. It’s my first year and I don’t want to lose. I didn’t want this situation, it wasn’t on purpose, I didn’t crash into him on purpose. I do not like this situation, I am sorry Esteban and I cannot say anything more.”


Six times, the virtual title went back and forth between Norbert Michelisz and Esteban Guerrieri in the last race of the WTCR season in Sepang! 😱Norbi prevailed, but could it be THE BEST SEASON FINALE EVER? ✨ Watch it and be the judge… 👇🏻

Posted by FIA WTCR / Oscaro on Sunday, 15 December 2019

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Social media

Notable posts from Twitter, Instagram and more:

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Comment of the day

Would Lewis Hamilton really try to ‘do a Schumacher’ at Ferrari?

I can kind of see the logic of Hamilton going to Ferrari if he can take the core of the Mercedes team with him to do what Schumacher and Brawn et. al. achieved. He must see that is the only way to create a team that achieves again.

But I really don’t see it as all that likely that it will happen.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Daniel Hayes, Kate and Bradaus!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is via the contact form or adding to the list here.

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

17 comments on “Honda’s Guerrieri “robbed of title” in controversial WTCR finale”

  1. Seems to me the single biggest factor in Hamilton’s decision will be Mercedes’ commitment to F1. My impression is that commitment isn’t a sure thing. I’m not sure what the public indicators would be, either.

    If he decides Merc is done with F1 doesn’t he have to go to Ferrari?

    1. @slotopen Toto, Lewis and a few others could always buy the team off Mercedes, if Mercedes decided to leave. Since Toto already owns 30%, it shouldn’t be too much of a strech for interested parties to get hold of Brackley working with Toto. I wonder what is happening with Niki’s share (20%?)?

    2. I think that you are right that whether Mercedes continues as is, will play a significant role in what Hamilton does for the future @slotopen.

      But even if they do, I am not sure he “has to go to Ferrari” at all. As @ijw1 mentions, there might be the option of taking over the team. Hamilton could also decide to call it a day with F1 and go and do something else he enjoys.

      And then, I am sure the likes of Red Bull would be happy to have him. And who knows, maybe by then McLaren have built up a decent team again?

      Thing with Ferrari is, he’ll only be winning there if they bring a winning team with them – look at how the team has struggled to make an impact despite having Alonso and Vettel for the last decade or so – and I am not so sure Hamilton would be interested in going to Ferrari without being able to make those changes.

    3. Why on earth would Mercedes even dream of leaving F1? As they’ve repeatedly pointed out, the team is largely self funding, so the smaller proportion of cash they have to pump in each year gives them unbelievable value for money.

  2. So who makes way? Kvyat or Gasly?

    I wasn’t a fan of the torpedo, until redbull fired him a couple times, now I have a bit of soft spot for the guy, and don’t wanna see him go.

  3. According to Michelisz, he had engine problems after leaving pits prior to Race 3. He mentioned it felt like he had only 3 cylinders working out of 4 occasionally, and they was not sure the engine makes it to the end. They tried to keep it and solve it in secret, so he did not even mentioned it in radio, just called for mechanics and told them on the spot. So probably dropping to 4th so fast happened due to this.
    Although Guerrieri did very amazing moves while being challenged by 2-3 opponents. There were many really spectacular actions when they stacked up. Guerrieri is very good and respectable, look at this season of him:
    At this time FR3.5 was still really good, and while he not participated 4 races he almost beat Daniel Ricciardo, and was close to the title anyway.
    He had good years at Indly lights too, it’s very likely that he will do well later too.

  4. I wonder if the drivers were allowed to vote themselves. Probably, not is my guess.

    I agree with the COTD concerning the likeliness of the rumored Ferrari-move.

    1. I wonder if the drivers were allowed to vote themselves. Probably, not is my guess.

      They were allowed to vote for themselves; not all put themselves in the top spot though.

      But much more importantly, what a terrible experience for Tamara. When hearing news like this one realises the irrelevance of all these rankings and other F1 news.

    2. Long time ago I had my last CotD before this one!

  5. I don’t quite understand what daily mail or tamara ecclestone has with f1.

    1. Because all of her money comes from sucking it out of F1 @socksolid – a bit like how we also got articles about Briatore being cought in tax troubles a year or so ago.

      1. Not comes. Came.

        1. It still comes form F1 though @socksolid – the funds that Bernie put aside for his children keep giving them yearly returns

          1. I just disagree with your line of thought completely. Tamara ecclestone has nothing to do with f1 just like what she does with her money has nothing to do with f1. It is nothing more than tabloid trash which I’d hope this site would not drop down to at all. If I wanted to read celebrity gossip I’d go elsewhere.

    2. At least we get the Daily Fail warning in brackets to avoid clicking on it.

  6. Vergne’s idea is interesting, but I do wonder if it would sort of promote dangerous driving, if you have less power, you have to be much more aggressive in defending your position, so yeah, could be an issue there maybe.

  7. Guerrieri “robbed of title” is a bit misleading. I have watched the race and I have no doubt Michelisz would have won the championship even without that Guerrieri – Azcona collition. Kristofersson was so much faster, there is no way Guerrieri would have finished 1st. More likely 3rd as Azcona would have passed him too. And Michelisz would have finished 6th. This would have been enough for him to claim the title.

Comments are closed.