Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Baku City Circuit, 2021

Why the Azerbaijan GP was stopped for Verstappen’s crash but not Stroll’s

2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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FIA Formula 1 race director Michael Masi has explained why the two similar, high-speed crashes in today’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix prompted different response from race control.

Max Verstappen‘s spin into the barriers on lap 46 led to the race being stopped and restarted. However Lance Stroll’s similar crash approaching the same section of track 15 laps earlier was covered using a Safety Car.

Masi said there was sufficient time to clear Stroll’s crash scene during the race. There were 20 laps of the race remaining after he crashed.

“Obviously, in the middle of the race, there was more than enough time, and space on the right-hand side of the track when we were recovering it. We were confident with the way that could be cleaned up in that fashion.”

However Verstappen’s crash occured with only five laps remaining, and Masi explained he wanted to create an opportunity to finish the race under green flag running.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Baku City Circuit, 2021
Poll: Rate the Race – 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix
“Looking at everything we weren’t confident that the recovery on the pit straight and the amount of debris that was everywhere could be cleaned up in the appropriate time,” said Masi. “So I thought it was in the best interests of the sport to suspend and then restart in that circumstance.”

Red Bull sporting director Jonathan Wheatley was heard speaking to Masi over the radio during the broadcast, suggesting the race be red-flagged.

“To be fair, it was actually already on my mind,” said Masi. “But obviously from the perspective of what we communicate, we communicate to everyone equally and looking with the number of laps that we had to go, the recovery that was being undertaken and the fact that there was so much debris on the pit straight at that point, it was in my opinion, in my judgement, the best option to suspend the race, clean everything up and then have a race finish.”

Following Verstappen’s crash the race could have been concluded, but Masi said there was “no reason not to” restart it.

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Dieter Rencken
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110 comments on “Why the Azerbaijan GP was stopped for Verstappen’s crash but not Stroll’s”

  1. “However Verstappen’s crash occured with only five laps remaining, and Masi explained he wanted to create an opportunity to finish the race under green flag running.”

    And with that, we have confirmation that the end of the race was artificially manufactured for the sake of the show. Races finishing under safety car conditions is a major anti-climax but that’s how sport works sometimes. You don’t suddenly change the rules to create excitement because then it stops being a sport.

    Is this now a rule? If we get any safety cars during the final 5 laps, will the race always be stopped or will it be based on who stands to benefit and how exciting it will potentially be? It certainly wouldn’t seem fair if another race ends under safety car conditions this year!

    1. +1 Not impressed with that reasoning whatsoever. I naively thought it stemmed from the concerns over tyre reliability.

      1. @j-l

        Same here, but Masi rarely fails to disappoint.

        1. @j-l, @aapje
          Indeed. Massi too often is the center of the ‘show’.

    2. @petebaldwin I couldn’t agree more with you, although I was more unhappy about the standing restart instead of rolling.

      1. @jerejj Why? No reason for a rolling start. A standing start is the normal way to restart a race after a red flag.

        Imola was a rolling start because it was still damp.

        1. The standing start essentially turned the previous 48 laps into a processional qualifier. Rolling start still provides an element of strategy in the hands of the leader besides more or less retaining the order up to the first corner.

          However, it was really easy to finish the race behind the SC by going through the pit lane a couple of times and there was no real basis to restart the race for 2 laps once it had been red flagged.

          Just feel that it is a waste of time to watch through the length of the race only for it to be manipulated for excitement towards the end.

        2. @scbriml A rolling start has generally been the way. Only in the recent past did the option for standing come into play.
          @f1g33k I agree. In retrospect, finishing the race behind the SC would’ve been wiser, even if, in this case, Hamilton would’ve retaken the championship lead, Gasly wouldn’t have finished third, and so on. Artificial randomness through an additional standing start is like playing with fire in the long term, so Masi should be careful not to influence the championship outcomes.

    3. I have not problem with policy/initiatives to improve the show, but statements like Masi’s makes me somewhat worried that yellow/red flags were enacted not for safety’s sake. It is all fine if safety is somehow improved – I mean, it is better to clean the track under red flag. But one day safety will be put aside to provide for the show.
      It is like the referee that avoids to call a penalty on a big game “not to interfere with the game”, without noticing that it already influeced the result. In this case, if not by Hamilton’s brake failure, opting for a red flag would had take the win from Perez – not to mention all the other position changes after the restart. So, the competition “fairness” was already affeced by the intent to improve the show.
      By now, aside some confusion and “unfairness”, Masi’s decisions on track limits and flags seem irrelevant, but I cannot trust he is wise enough to not destroy someone’s health or race result – if not the whole WDC overall.

    4. Totally agree. It seems unfair to so many drivers. I was fully expecting the race to finish under SC as we have seen many times before… Standing start for 1 lap is stupid and is asking for accidents.

    5. It is also worth noting that RB pushed for a red flag and they already knew Perez had a hydraulic issue. They thought he may not finish the race…

      Reply moderated
    6. Masi is terrible. Firstly the VSC should have been enforced immediately (not after over a minute), then they should have finished the race under the SC.
      That broadcast with the McLaren team just showed the guy blames drivers before admitting he got anything wrong, the SC restart in Tuscany another case in point.

      1. Yeah, kinda embarrassing to broadcast that particular gem! Really undermined his authority

      2. Yes, I timed it, and between Max’s spin appearing on TV and the safety car being called, Masi twiddled his thumbs for 89 seconds… What the heck was he doing for all that time? Just call a VSC and then think about whether to do a full safety car. It was obviously going to need one of them. Disgraceful.

    7. @petebaldwin I have to agree that it does show a worrying attitude from Masi – the priority should be on the safety of those involved, but it seems that Masi is likely yielding to the pressure from the commercial rights holders to use safety cars and red flags to “mix things up” and to manufacture action on track instead.

      I’ve commented about this before and will say this again – I do feel that safety standards have been slipping under Masi, particularly when it comes to close calls with marshals on track. Whilst there seems to have been a lot of focus on the cars and on the track for safety, there seems to be far less being done for the safety of marshals – and the incidents in Imola and Monaco in recent years have highlighted the defective communication systems the tracks have.

      That area needs fundamental reform, but instead there is the risk that a focus on “creating action” by misusing yellow and red flags will create a culture of carelessness, with people not taking things seriously until something does go badly wrong. Similarly, as John H notes, the way that Masi responded to McLaren’s comments on Tsunoda really shows a very poor attitude, to the point it almost appeared contemptuous towards the safety of others and a disregard for the very role that he is meant to fulfil.

    8. F1 has changed. Years ago a red flag with 8 or more laps to go would call it. Ironically they really are trying to copy Indy Car. For years Indy Car has been slammed for late red flags to try finish under green.

      Folks, there you have your first sprint race!

      1. @eurobrun tbh I don’t think Indycar has been that bad. Last year’s 500 ended under yellow after a Spencer Pigot hit the pit lane attenuator with 5 laps left. And there was a big debate as many drivers thought there would be a red flag to deal with the accident.

        Compare that to 2014 when there was a crash with 9 laps left – that one they red flagged, giving us 6 laps of green flag racing to finish the race after a few laps under yellow following the restart. Also 2019 where there was a multi-car crash with 23 laps left – it made sense to red flag that race due to the number of cars that were eliminated, especially with 10% of the race distance left and decent weather to finish the race off.

        In 2014 the red flag lasted all of 11 minutes, 18 minutes for 2019, whereas the damage to the pit lane attenuator last year would have required far longer to fix, and it absolutely needed to be repaired to be safe to run. For all of 5 laps, with a limited TV window due to the race taking place in August.

        The only other red flags at Indy I can think of are those thrown for rain, or the Scott Dixon crash I saw in 2017 at the track that ripped open the catch fencing on the inside of the track at around one quarter distance.

        I’m struggling to think of other races in the series where they threw a late red flag to repair damage in the last 10 years. There have been plenty of races with late yellow flags, particularly on ovals but those being justified (Fontana 2015, Iowa 2018).

        The 2014 Indy 500 is probably the only Indycar race where a late red flag seemed unjustified. I certainly don’t think F1 should go that route. I also wonder what Masi would have made of Brazil 2003.

        1. @skydiverian Yeah, I agree, definitely the 2014 Indy 500 was wrong and 2019 was correct.
          Beyond 2014 Indy 500, the one that sprung to my mind was I thought St Pete, where they ended up red flagging for a 5 lap dash. I’m pretty sure I’m wrong that it was St Pete, but its too early in the morning for me to remember lol. It was in the last 10 years, and I remember them getting slammed about it at the time as I think it was the first time they had done that.

    9. Masi doenst seem to be aware of his scope, which should be limited to safety. He had a perfect safety reason to stop the race. Starting it again was way beyond what he should be able to influence

    10. Stop whining. F1 isn’t to be taken as a serious sport to begin with. We had 2 interesting laps yesterday. Be grateful.

  2. The integrity, rationale and speed of Masi’s decision-making has been, to me, incredibly sloppy recently, this weekend being a standout.

    A race director should be, within all reasonable limits, quick and decisive in the face of incident, with a number one priority on safety.
    Masi has shown none of these qualities in any consistent or reassuring fashion.

    1. I wonder whether such decisions will only end when such a unnecessary restart ended up with a Belgian GP first turn incident. Just imagine if HAM were not second on the restart, but 6th, 8th. Perez was able to avoid Hamilton as he was sid eby side, but a uncontrolled tboning others cars, do not improve the show.

    2. Masi decides penalties way too late.

      1. Masi doesn’t decide penalties. That’s the job of the stewards.

        1. The stewards decided Vettel’s penalty at Imola way too late, but what I’m talking about is Masi’s untrustable statements. I just can’t trust him…ever.

  3. I appreciate the honesty but this reason is unacceptable. So Liberty and Masi have admitted that they prioritise show over race directing consistency. The championship has been influenced because of this.

    1. To add, why don’t they apply this logic to qualifying?
      What a mess.

    2. Just to comment on the “championship has been influenced” point, it were affected not only on the VER-HAM level. Many points were rearrange by the change in positions after the restart.

    3. @carbon_fibre I wouldn’t say this is putting show ahead of sport. In fact I would actually say F1 is one of the few sports where there are long periods of ‘no sport’ taking place where the race is neutralised. In football, you get time added on for stoppages. In Rugby and many American sports, the clock stops for long interruptions. NASCAR has their overtime laps if there is a late race yellow, and Indycar use the ‘late race red flag’ trick relatively frequently to ensure they finish under green (the one exception being the 2020 Indy 500, and even then people were expecting a red flag).

      On the qualifying note, they do apply the same logic here. They stop the clock when the red flag comes out. In terms of not adding time onto the end, they don’t add laps onto the end of the race either. If the clock stops with less than 1 lap’s time in quali, it’s the same as the race stopping with only half a lap left.

  4. Thanks for the official information, Mr. Masi.

    We all know the real explanation is that these tyre failures are just UNACCEPTABLE, and this was the only way for teams to change tyres without affecting (theoretically) the outcome of the GP.

    It is UNACCEPTABLE to use these shitty tyres. Let me note that Pirelly is performing a trial-and-error with tyre pressures for each GP. Back tyres pressures were raised by 1 full PSI from Friday to Saturday.

    There are actual lives put at the stake because of these tyres. High-speed accidents such as Stroll’s or Verstappen’s should only be caused by driver errors or complex mechanical problems (or even by external factors – Massa @ Hungary’09), but not because of FIA’s desire of having high-degradation tyres that can literally explode after +-180 km!

    Please note Baku’s compounds have been the softest that could be chosen.

    We saw this last year back in Silverstone, and it is not funny.

    Reply moderated
    1. Just a recap from Mosley’s days: USA ’05.

    2. @sugoi We are yet to find out what are actually causing these punctures. I for one am going to wait for the outcome of the official investigation before I come to any conclusions

  5. However Verstappen’s crash occured with only five laps remaining, and Masi explained he wanted to create an opportunity to finish the race under green flag running.

    Knowing how dangerous F1 starts are, how frenetic everyone will be to gain position with just 2 laps of running, I think restarting the race on a standing start is a clear indication that F1 now takes decisions based on how much of a show they’ll get.

    1. Excactly my thoughts. Got the feeling I was watching Nascar and there is a reason I don’t watch that very often.

  6. I still can’t get used to a second standing start during a race. It somehow feels… wrong.
    Having one followed by only two laps of racing doesn’t help either.
    But while the purist in me cried out “artificial” I have to admit that it was intense and I thoroughly enjoyed those frantic last 4 minutes…

    1. Yes, me too, and it brought some justice to verstappen too; not enough, but better than nothing.

    2. @roadrunner Standing restarts after a red flag were the norm for many decades. Red-flagged races used to be run as two-part affairs, almost time trials, where the results were decided by the aggregate of the two parts of the race. The last F1 race to be decided like this was the 1994 Japanese GP.

      At some point the red flag procedure changed so that the race was ‘suspended,’ not stopped, and the restart was changed to a rolling one like the end of a safety car period. A ‘purist’ would probably prefer the standing restart…

      1. I started watching F1 in the mid 90s and up to 2020 I remember one single race that had to standing starts. Spa 2001.
        Suzuka 1994 was definitely restarted behind the safety car and also the last race that was decided on aggregate. I don’t know how it was handled in the 80s or before though but never heard of a standing start mid-race.

        You are right of course when you were referring to the many occasions a race was aborted before the end of lap 2 after a crash at the start.
        But for me that was only a repetition of the first start and the cars still started in the order they qualified. What we’ve been seeing lately could be described as a transition to sprintraces.
        Maybe reintroducing the aggregate would be fair but makes matters much more complicated.

  7. Race is more important than safety.

    A team suggest that must have a race, so Masi does it.

    The problem isn’t a bad rule. Is a bad application of the rules. Bend left one day, bend right next day.

  8. A couple more questions for Mr Masi:

    -Why did the safety car take so long to be called after the two accidents?
    -Why weren’t drivers that ignored yellow flags penalised?

    1. I thought it was pretty clear that a car stopped in-track was an immediately a SC; specially in urban circuits, with near to zero ways out of the track.

      As of double yellows, they should have penalised almost every driver. Masi’s approach is to talk with the drivers in the next GP and ask them to be good lads – a guaranteed success, for sure.

      1. Handing time penalties to everyone that ignored yellow flags would be pointless I think, since it’s not going to change the classification. But everyone deserves penalty points.

    2. @carbon-fibre both safety cars were ridiculous the amount of time it took to call the safety car, if nothing else they have a VSC they can implement immediately and then decide if they throw the full safety car after a more thorough check of circumstances. What is even the point of the VSC given their refusal to use them. It seems we now only use the safety car or red flag.

  9. I understand Masi’s comments, they’re in line with his position.

    But I think what RedBull was expecting, and they called for it, it’s the race to end red flagged.

    Pirelli was on thin ice as well, not wanting more cars to reach the tyre break up point.

    Free TV guys probably wanted to keep their time slots intact, so ending with a red flag would also be their preference.

    So, exactly who decided to keep the show on for an extra 30 minutes just to do two laps?

    Anyway, it worked. What a race ending. Hamilton had his “Vettel restart overshoot moment (2018???)”, Perez showed why they should keep him, Leclerc always going for it any chance he can and Gasly checking another box on his podium sheets.

    And Vettel…reborn!

    1. Indeed, it worked, perfect summary.

    2. They could not end the race under red.
      A red flag end only makes sense when further racing is impossible due to the severity of the incidents involved (e.g. fatalities), track conditions or time/daylight limits. So I get that.
      And technically, when a race gets ended under a red flag they typically use the situation 2 laps back as the finishing situation, handing the win to Verstappen! Maybe that would have been fair but also quite awkward.

      I wonder though why Stroll’s crash did not bring out the red flags, considering the tire failed long before it was supposed to. Whether that’s due to unexpected wear or debris on the track (like carbon shards from all the mayhem in the other race classes), in neither case you want to take the tires to the limit – which they did by calling out the safety car and closing the pit entry; everyone was forced to keep the tires or join at the back of the field once the pit was opened again.

    1. We had the Turkish GP crane incident last year. Next up was the marshal running across the track at the next race in Bahrain. Then they delayed Vettel’s penalty call in Imola. Then they allowed Deledda to start at Monaco in F2. And now this.
      Michael Masi is very dangerous by 100%.

  10. Arjuna Rana Tunga
    6th June 2021, 20:37

    Horrible I thought they red flagged it for safety but seems they just wanted to better the show.

    Reply moderated
  11. I will never trust Masi. He red flagged the race too late.

  12. I was absolutely behind the red flag, but purely on safety grounds. We’d had two sudden tyre failures that led to crashes that looked potentially dangerous. If a third failure had led to someone getting hurt, a decision to keep running would have been indefensible.

    If I recall correctly, if a race is set to finish behind the SC it pits on the final lap for the benefit of finish-line photography with fake green flags shown (e.g. still no overtaking permitted). If drivers accelerated back up to the line, the risk wouldn’t have been mitigated. Hence, a red flag seems the most sensible option. It took me all of about 5 seconds to reach that conclusion after seeing the crash, and Massi even had the benefit of Red Bull prompting him of the right thing to do – even though it looked against their interests.

    I’m disappointed to hear Massi seeming to weight the spectacle so heavily in his decision, but I think this is a case of the right outcome being reached for the wrong reason.

    1. It would be impossible for a tyre to fail behind the safety car.

    2. I was absolutely behind the red flag, but purely on safety grounds.

      There was no safety grounds given how with cars running behind the SC there was no real risk of any more tyres failing.

      If drivers accelerated back up to the line, the risk wouldn’t have been mitigated.

      They wouldn’t have had to accelerate. Even if they brought the SC in there is no overtaking & the drivers would have known where Verstappen’s car was & to take it easy to the line as well as staying to the left side of the track.

      And even if there was no other option than to use the red flag, Usually a race isn’t restarted if a red flag comes out with so few laps left so there was no real sporting reason to do that final standing restart.

      1. @carbon-fibre and @stefmeister It is definitely possible for a tyre to fail under a safety car. With the loads they put through them, even at low speeds, and the already very, very fragile tyres there is very much the possibility that one could have gone. If they can go on a straight where the loads are theoretically lowest then they could go anywhere. And add to that the debris on the track, and there is a clear possibility of one going under the SC..

        1. @randommallard It would be possible for a tire to slowly lose pressure under a safety car but at reduced speeds behind a sc the tires are under significantly less load so a total failure or sudden/instant deflation is something that couldn’t happen under a sc.

          You are only going to see the sort of total catastrophic failures that occurred to Stroll/Verstappen today at full speed when the tires are been stressed as it’s the high loading at the higher speeds which cause those kinds of failures. Hence why the 2 today occurred on the second half of the long straight rather than on the slower parts of the lap.

          It would have been perfectly safe to run the last 2 laps behind the safety car.

          1. No. The safety car isn’t doing 10mph you know! On the straights it’s doing something like 140-150mph. A tyre failure at that speed can have catastrophic results. Jules Bianchi’s accident was at 130mph (impact 80mph). Correa was doing similar speeds. We’ve also seen cars crash behind the safety car (eg Russell and Grosjean) even without the assistance of a tyre failure. So no, obviously not perfectly safe when the cause of Stroll and Verstappen’s tyre failures were unknown.

  13. As I’ve put in a reply above, I think F1 is in the minority in having the race neutralised for long periods like this. Football adds time onto the end, other sports have stop-clocks for long interruptions, and other motorsports either throw red flags late on (Indycar sometimes do this) or add laps on (NASCAR). Can you imagine carrying on a football game with a player down injured but make it so that neither team is allowed to score? They do need to speed up the restart procedure if they keep doing this though.

  14. Really hate the way Liberty Media change races in show. I was so furious today when Masi put red flag, another fake race..safety car come in so easy in the last few years, but today the race had to be finish behind SC. As someone said there, the race must have just a start, not 2/3/4. They are killing F1 with this artificial show, hate it

  15. I don’t understand all the whinging. It’s a sport, it’s supposed to be exciting. And tell me that wasn’t exciting. Who wanted a parade of cars behind the safety car to the end? Purists? Sorry, the sport has changed to be interesting. God forbid. I would be interested to hear from a competitor who felt they were harshly done by – haven’t heard Lewis complain, for example.

    I think the only people that lost out were freeTV viewers if the broadcaster didn’t extend the coverage. Add to the mix the danger of another Pirelli “puncture” failure.

    I’m not a fan of Masi and have a friend who runs an RIP Charlie livery on his track car, but I have trouble arguing with this decision.

    1. @nanotech I agree. Racing is always going to be more sporting than a parade of no overtaking. The analogy I keep using is playing football but because a player is injured neither team is allowed to score a goal, but the timer keeps running with no time added

    2. Agree with this also.

      1. Davethechicken
        7th June 2021, 6:24

        Esploratore you seem to have contradicted yourself.
        In a different thread you argue that Max should have been awarded the win here. That the result declared on the positions prior to the crash!!!

    3. @nanotech

      it’s supposed to be exciting. And tell me that wasn’t exciting.

      It wasn’t exciting because it came across as been as artificially forced fake entertainment.

      It’s like your average boringly easy DRS highway pass. Yes it’s a pass but it’s devoid of any tension or excitement so just comes across as lacking compared to real overtakes.

      Something that comes across as been artificially created or forced will never be as exciting as something that simply happens naturally because you will always be able to see through it for what it is…. Fake.

      1. @roger-ayles People can have different opinions of what is and isn’t exciting. I found it exciting despite knowing that there would only be 2 laps and that there was a late restart.

        1. @nanotech @randommallard I have to agree here. I’m not sure what all the fuss above is…well…it’s been explained clearly what several folks issues are, but I just can’t agree. I think it is insulting to imply Masi disregards safety, and as to him wanting to promote ‘the show’ I’m not sure what is so wrong with that. Racing is a show and is entertainment, and frankly I wouldn’t have minded if they had called the race and Perez had won it that way, as it put a bit of a knot in my stomach that he might lose the lead, but that is the point…it put a bit of a knot in my stomach i.e. it was enthralling. I wonder if some who wanted the race called wanted it so because that would have put LH back on top of the WDC.

          I must admit I was only surprised at the standing restart because I thought back when these were being debated and reintroduce, back in 2014 for the 2015 season onwards, pre-Masi and Liberty/Brawn, that they wouldn’t do one so close to the end of the race, and as well one of the bigger issues drivers and fans had was what tires they’d be on in what varying states, and how unfair that could be, but as we saw yesterday, everyone got to put on reds for the restart.

      2. @roger-ayles I bet if you ask the drivers they would tell you it wasn’t artificial. The jostling for position on the ragged edge wasn’t artificial. You can’t even compare with DRS, because it wasn’t push-to-pass; they all had to battle it out on track—and it was the same for everyone.

        If you didn’t find that exciting, who knows what you do consider exciting. Grass growing? Paint drying?

        Reply moderated
      3. I found nothing fake about that restart. I was on the edge of my seat, praying for Perez and knew Lewis had him until he messed up his braking settings. They introduced this rule for a reason, and it was to make the series more interesting. We all knew it going into the year. “Pure” no, but as soon as the SC comes out, any gap is negated anyways, and it would just have been 3 laps of parade for no purpose. End the race then? Sure, but kind of unfair to the other drivers still pushing in the field.

        I guess we didn’t get to see Mazespin finish 3/4 of a lap behind his teammate, but finishing under SC would have been the same, except tedious. Instead we got to see him try to kill his teammate and expose him even more for the jackass that he is.

  16. A couple of other notes. This isn’t the first time this has happened. It happened in Monaco in 2011, ok with 6 laps to run but they 6 laps of Monaco, under Charlie Whiting. That one ended up giving Vettel a win that looked like it would have been difficult to keep on his worn tires.

    Additionally, I don’t see any evidence that Liberty are the reason for this red flag, but I see a lot of people blaming them. Red Bull early pushed for a red flag, for a wide range of potential reasons, but I don’t even know if Liberty can even talk to Race Control during the race. Liberty and the FIA are 2 completely separate organisations.

    1. @randommallard the reason why is that there has been an individual affiliated with FOM who posts on this site who stated that, in recent years, Liberty Media has been putting pressure on the FIA to make heavier use of safety cars, rather than on other measures, to close the field up to generate more action on track.

      It means that, at least on an unofficial level, there have been those within the commercial rights body stating that Liberty Media has been lobbying race control to prioritise “the show” by misusing safety procedures. They might not necessarily have directly instructed Masi during the race, but they’ve been accused of lobbying him and the other members of race control between races and during the race weekend to instil the idea that he should emphasise “the show”.

      1. Firstly I didn’t mean to report.

        Secondly I don’t think Liberty can really be blamed here, or at least pointed out as an exception to the rule. It has happened before in a very similar fashion, most notably in Monaco in 2011 under Bernie. They stopped the race so that the final 6 laps, 5 after the put lap, could be completed under green flags.

      2. Ah, ‘he said, she said’ …

        Even if it were true, who would blame the FIA for wanting their flagship world championship racing series to be popular?
        I’m sure they realise that if it isn’t commercially viable, it will die.

    2. Nathan Alexander
      7th June 2021, 23:53

      I believe the Monaco 2011 race was red flagged as one of the drivers (I think it was Petrov) said they couldn’t feel their legs. So they thought they might need extraction from the car (i.e. It was not done for the show, hut safety).

      Reply moderated
  17. Very good decision. Suspending the race with a red flag would have been monumental stupidity. There were 5 laps left and they had to be run. Frankly, it is inconceivable that those who call themselves lovers of racing criticize this more than right decision of the director.

    1. @jorge-lardone There was not 5 laps left. There was only 2 remaining at the time the red flag was called.

      It was another example of Liberty ‘Americanising’ the sport & putting artificial show above the sport.

      The red flag done just to not end under the safety car was pure American based sports entertainment. It was the sort of thing nascar would do with that awful overtime rule & not something that has ever been done in F1 before Liberty gimmicked it up.

      This is why a lot of fans are concerned about the future under Liberty who clearly don’t care a less about the sporting integrity or F1’s history or heritage. They want to turn F1 into sports entertainment with more spec parts & development restrictions than ever before. I don’t think you can call what we have today F1 because it isn’t, Liberty have turned it into GP1 or Indycar+ & that is only going to get worse as more gimmicks get pushed forward.

      #LibertyOut!

      1. Masi should resign.

      2. @roger-ayles And of course the opposite of what you’re saying is that they should have spent the last 5 laps, or 10% of the race, under the safety car, and had it be anti-climactic. I’m not sure what the problem is in having a final little sprint with everyone on reds. Surely that was not a safety concern. I mean, of course your whole motif around here is about the Americanization of F1, and so of course this is going to be your stance on everything they do now, but I just don’t see how that standing restart was against the sporting integrity or F1’s history or heritage. They want to turn F1 into sports entertainment? To me I have never thought anything other than sports, including car racing, is entertainment. If we are not entertained watching athletes do their sport, what are we then?

      3. Point me at a driver complaining about what the stewards chose, and maybe I’ll reconsider.

  18. Why did he wait about a minute to send in the Safety Car at the second crash? Even the first time it was slow, but after Verstappen’s shunt, the whole field but the two Haas went past the scene, and they were pretty well bunched up, but it still took at least 10 seconds, but then Schumacher was 32 seconds behind the car ahead, and the call still hadn’t come for the SC when he went past Verstappen’s car. I just don’t understand almost anything Masi does this past two years. 2019 went by without any major hiccups, but in 2020 and 2021 there had been some terrible decision at about every 2nd race.

    1. I timed it, and it took 89 seconds between the TV showing Max’s spin and the safety car being called.

  19. So they admit that Liberty are turning F1 into sports entertainment.

    Using things intended for safety as things to try & spice things up is very American (Look at nascar’s phantom cautions for instance used to bunch the field up).

    It is confirming the fears many fans have in terms of F1 been taken in a more artificial, gimmicky, fake, American sports entertainment direction. I think we are going to see more such things, I mean all this ‘grand slam weekend’ sprint race, bonus point stuff is further proof of this. It’ll be like nascar in no time sadly :(

    #LibertyOut!

    1. @roger-ayales This is by no means a problem limited to Liberty. An almost identical situation happened 10 years ago in Monaco, where it was red flagged with 6 laps to go (but those are 6 monaco laps). That was arguably a ‘worse red flag because it prevented was set to be a very good battle for the win by allowing Vettel to change tires. That was not under Liberty.

      I have to say though that I’m not sure why this needed to be a red flag while the 2019 and 2020 Bahrain GPs were both fine to finish under SC, both during Liberty’s ownership and under Masi. They may have considered a red flag on those days as well, but perhaps the possible safety element pushed them over the line yesterday.

      I do agree with you about the Grand Slam bonus point idea though. That does seem like a stretch too far.

      1. @roger-ayles (spelling… my bad) to follow up my reply I can now see Vettel is being slightly critical of this as a driver, slightly contradicting my precious statement, although he is much more critical of the standing restart than the red flag itself. This is something that needs to be addressed, and they probably should return to a rolling restart where possible

  20. Rasburicase (@asleepatthewheel)
    7th June 2021, 4:34

    Red bull called for the red flag hoping it’d end the race under it, which would have given the victory to Max (Sky mentioned a 2 lap count back or something along those lines). But considering the furore which it would have caused, the FIA/Liberty decided to have a gimmicky ending, keeping in mind the upcoming sprint races. This is akin to Abu Dhabi 2019 where they wanted to trial a DRS free race and it was disabled for 20 laps or so citing a server issue.
    It’d have been better to finish the race under the SC. In the corridors of F1/FIA, isn’t there a single competent person who can take up Masi’s position so that we don’t have to deal with this clown anymore?

    1. Maybe we could bring the late Charlie Whiting’s son Justin to F1?

    2. Red Bull claim to have called for the red flag for safety grounds as they got no warning about the tire going. Until there is evidence to the contrary that is what I am more inclined to believe (although not 100% at the minute). Seen as none of the drivers or teams seem anywhere near as annoyed about the red flag as some fans, it appears that they may have been worried about tires as well. And once the red flag is out, they can either end it or run the last 3 (2 after the out lap) laps. As you say, countback would have proved difficult for the first scenario, and the only other allowed alternative is what we got.

      Also please provide evidence @asleepatthewheel that the Abu Dhabi 2019 race was supposed to be a trial for a DRS free race. A server crash seems like a perfectly reasonable explanation for it.

      1. @asleepatthewheel
        The 2019 Abu Dhabi GP case was solely about a server glitch that caused DRS to be universally disabled temporarily rather than a deliberate move.
        @randommallard Perfectly reasonable indeed.

  21. It is a matter of split second timing, but was RBR’s early call for red flag to try to have no restart and Max declared the winner, hence 1-2, as leader at the previous lap?
    I know this didn’t happen as the SC led the cars past the start/finish line, thus making Max lapped by most of the field. ……………just saying.

  22. The red flag was a farce. A joke. Redbull persuaded masu to red flag the race wuth ulterior motives. And Masi fell for it. 3 things i thought. 1 verstappen tyre failure occured just after he set fastest lap. Which was indirectly evident from tyre wear given between lewis and perez car. Just before the accident. Also perez had an hydraulic issue. 2. Red flag meant the team could assess it at the very least. 3 Why was perez hydraulic issue not broadcast (radioed) like that of lewis issues when he radioed his team. Although i think the other teams would have heard the messages from perez and engineers.

  23. Pjotr (@pietkoster)
    7th June 2021, 9:09

    As a race fan I didn’t understand this decision. As Dutch I smiled a bit after the re-start.

  24. Rob (@standbyexp)
    7th June 2021, 10:58

    Dieter/Keith – will you be asking Michael Masi why he waited for so long to deploy SC/VSC following both Lance and Max’s crashes? They were both left stranded on the straight with cars coming past close to racing speed (albeit under yellow flags) but it took a long time for any form of Safety Car to be deployed. It could have resulted in a crash similar to that which sadly killed Hubert in F2.

    1. @standbyexp This is what I’m much, much more annoyed about than the red flag. Masi seems to have spent the last year forgetting all the recent recommendations. Cars and a tractor on the track in the wet at Turkey (Bianchi), and as you point out the chance of a second impact at high speed (Hubert) are just 2 examples.

  25. I don’t get this comments section. F1 ‘fans’ and clearly the hardest to please. Nothing is satisfactory.
    I’m convinced that many won’t be happy until they are the only ones left interested in watching it. All dozen or so.

    1. Go read the comments on F1’s youtube or instagram. Those ‘fans’ are hailing this as the best race of the season. The die-hards here can see it for what it is. A DRS-fest decided by two very near misses created by substandard tyres and race directing. Not what I have tuned in for the last 20 years to see.

      1. It was neither the best or worst – but without two blowouts and the restart/final two lap sprint it wouldn’t have been memorable at all. Just like Monaco.

      2. Though not some amazing great race yeah…perhaps the ones on YouTube and Instagram actually enjoying themselves and having a good time and being you know, what’s it called, ahhh…fans? That’s right, are not the bad and wrong guys compared to a bunch of joyless blowhards on this site…

        1. You’re quoting Bush 41?

  26. The only justification he needed was to say the red flag was thrown on safety grounds due to tyre concerns and the debris spread across the fastest part of the track. He can say the race was then restarted because there was suitable time to restart for 2 racing laps.

    Clearly the Stroll incident could be cleared safely under yellow flags but most importantly there was no prior evidence that the accident was potentially a serious tyre issues that could affect others, hence no red flag was a fair call.

    Suggesting that having the race finish under green flag conditions was a motivation for a red flag makes a mockery of what that flag is for.

    1. On the contrary – I think the default position is to try to finish the race under green racing conditions wherever possible.
      Such a red flag at this point of the race is extremely rare – and given the amount of time available, it would be wrong to end it unnecessarily early when the option is there to finish it under racing conditions. It is a racing series, after all, and it is regularly argued here that the GP must be run full and complete; not shortened.

      I don’t know what people have been reading, but Masi’s comments above, as reported, state that he believed the track was unsafe to race on, so he called for the red flag. That says safety issue, not entertainment decision.

      It’s quite interesting seeing the number of comments over the last couple of weeks asking for qualifying to be extended so that drivers get another go – but when it is attempted to run the race to full distance in a similar scenario, the masses mutiny.
      Bizarre.

  27. I’m more fed up of hearing driver’s complain about not being able to follow cars and it slowing drivers down, yet during qualifying they are happy to follow other cars because it speeds them up.

    One or the other please

    Reply moderated
  28. Seems the drivers can see it for what it is.

    Pierre Gasly.

    The Americans took over so I wasn’t really surprised that we go first with the entertainment.

    Perez.

    Race-winner Perez just wants to make sure F1 doesn’t get too NASCAR when it comes to late cautions and restarts.

    Vettel.

    But it has become more and more like this in the past, more and more focused on creating a show so we need to watch out that it doesn’t become too artificial.

    #LibertyOut #F1isntNASCAR #NoToNASCAR

    1. And we’ll never forget the unacceptable incidents:
      – Turkey 2020, crane incident at the Q2 restart.
      – Bahrain 2020, marshal running across track during SC period.
      – Imola 2021, deciding Vettel’s penalty too late.
      – F2 Monaco 2021, letting Deledda race when he failed to qualify.
      – Azerbaijan 2021, restart over red flag when there was 3 laps to go.

      Dismiss. Him. Now.

      1. My first comment doesn’t appear to have passed moderation so to be more polite. You’re both wrong. Masi is often bad but not in this case. Doing all you can to ensure a green finish within acceptable safety parameters should literally always be the goal and while NASCAR does a lot wrong, making any decision that promotes entertainmen…in a professional spectator sport, is not somehow automatically wrong.

        Reply moderated
        1. Too bad you can’t change my calls for his dismissal…but if 5 more unacceptable incidents happen, the outcome will be 100% clear.

    2. Also is your name here the same as one of modern history’s most evil influential villains ironically? Or because you happen to share his name which is unfortunate?

      I’d like to assume and hope so but sometimes I see your takes on this site and think ‘gee…maybe he actually admires the man?’

  29. I wonder if there would have been so many complaints on this site if Hamilton did not made that mistake …

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