Nothing unusual about restart ‘deal’ conversation with Red Bull – Masi

2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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FIA Formula 1 race director Michael Masi insisted his conversation with the Red Bull team during the second red flag period in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was not out of the ordinary.

His discussion with Red Bull’s sporting director Jonathan Wheatley was broadcast in which Masi offered to relegate Max Verstappen two places on the grid before the restart.

Verstappen had gone off at the previous restart, passing rival Lewis Hamilton by doing so. Alpine driver Esteban Ocon was also able to pass the Mercedes as a result of the incident.

Masi therefore told Red Bull he was prepared to let them move Verstappen back to third on the grid, falling behind Ocon and Hamilton at the restart. Masi has the power to report incidents to the stewards, who can then apply penalties, and could have done so had Red Bull not agreed.

“We would drop you back behind Hamilton,” Masi told Wheatley, after correcting an earlier message in which he indicated Verstappen would only fall behind Ocon. “That’s my offer. You have my suggestion.”

Wheatley discussed the offer with the team and replied: “Yeah we’ll accept that.” Verstappen then let Ocon and Hamilton pass him before the restart was given.

Similar conversations have not previously been broadcast. Discussions between the race director and teams were played during television coverage for the first time this year.

Masi said the conversation was “very much a normal discussion that happens regularly on a number of occasions and has had all year and previously.”

“I wouldn’t call it a deal as, from a race director’s perspective, I have no authority to actually instruct the teams to do anything in that situation,” he explained. “I can give them an offer, the ability to do that. But the choice is theirs.”

Verstappen’s corner-cut at the first restart prompted a swift reaction from Masi. “Immediately, when I saw it happen at turn two, I immediately suggested to the stewards that I’m going to give the team the ability to give that place back.”

However moments later a multi-car crash occured which forced another stoppage. “The red flag, obviously, ensued very quickly thereafter,” said Masi. “And that was absolutely the priority before we got going again. Being under a suspension, it was the ability to effectively correct that before we went racing again.”

“The priority in any red flag situation is a to make sure the drivers are safe then to activate the recovery and the marshals can do so, clean the track and so forth,” Masi added. “So it probably seemed a bit elongated compared to normal, however it’s very much a normal discussion that takes place.”

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2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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78 comments on “Nothing unusual about restart ‘deal’ conversation with Red Bull – Masi”

  1. This was bizarre at best. Masi has done nothing to show me he is a credible race director this year. When I saw the off that sparked the first red flag, I immedialtely thought there would be one, yet they went under safety car for 3 laps before calling the red flag. Amateurish at best. The low point was that farce of a “race” under no racing conditions in Spa. How can points be awarded for what was a qualifying session? Now we have horse trading positions outside of the stewards control. Verstappen should have been hit with “rejoining the track in an usafe manner.” That boy needs a drive through penalty or two to teach him some manners — if there were gravel traps, there would be no “slipping into the run off and gaining an advantage” bs or the overly late braking to take yourself and your opponent off into the run off without penalty (Brasil), or the “back out or we crash” approach to overtaking that Verstappen seems to thrive on throughout his career. Hard racing sure, but not fair or legal. The word “unsportsmanlike” or “dirty” comes to mind.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      6th December 2021, 17:22

      @abbinator he’ll never get a drive-through. Not unless Lewis’ car had retired from the collision or he’s 1 minute ahead so he can get a free drive through.

    2. The deal to swap the position was right, IMHO. FP2 saw a similar incident with Daruwala, where he was given a 5 second penalty. He was not given a chance to swap the position back. The race ended under SC, and hence he was pushed to back of the grid from the lead.

      While cutting the chicane to retain a lasting advantage was compensated by swapping the position, it still does not account for him unsafely getting back on track. That should have been a more severe penalty.

      1. While cutting the chicane to retain a lasting advantage was compensated by swapping the position, it still does not account for him unsafely getting back on track. That should have been a more severe penalty.

        Spot on, misdirection by Masi to massage the result in the intended direction (a minimal penalty for Verstappen to keep the race “on”)

      2. THIS!

        It was actually a double foul in that move (yeah, such dirty driving you might ask?) overtaking someone off the track and rejoining the track in an unsafe manner.

        It’s shameful to see how Max can get away with such driving standards. He is now condemning FIA for inconsistency, a move that is allowed in Interlagos suddenly becomes illegal. ROFL!!

    3. You nailed this

    4. Masi showed his colours (redbull colours) on lap 45 with a radio message to Mercedes saying that when Lewis squeezed max on lap 43 when when going past max was a borderline black and white flag. One had to wonder masi impartiality after watching silundays race and especially Brazil with a incident a lot worse not even warranting an investigation.
      Masi seem biased or bought off.

      1. GAVIN CHAPMAN – Masi showed his true colours on that radio message to Ron Meadows. He said Hamilton risked a B&W flag for unsportsman like conduct stating “he forced Max towards the wall there..”. They were nowhere near the wall. Either he’s blind, biased, or doesn’t know a wall from his elbow…

        1. Could not agree more. Masi has lost control and all credibility,

      2. Agreed! It’s a ridiculous message from Masi, Lewis kept his car within the track unlike Max who exceeded track limits by 5-6 car width!

        1. +1.
          When compared to Brazil and the incidents on Sunday. Masi is showing he’s not the man for the job.
          Marko must have given some right bungs

  2. Masi is dancing on a pinhead here. An offer, a deal, what is the difference? The failure to give the place back should have gone to the stewards and it must have then earned a five second penalty at least.

    oS his offer was, in effect, to give Verstappen a lighter penalty. Why?

    1. nothing is unusual anymore with masi’s farcical decisions…. max did gain not one but 2 positions instead of loosing two positions, on top he dropped ham from leading the race, and he joined 100% intentionally in the path of ham dangerously knowing all well that ham would back off instead of risking a crash which is 100% given with max’s trajectory!
      5 sec or 2 positions drop should have been the offer and not as a deal, and 5 sec for dangerous driving or a drive through (a bit harsh yes) as his second disgusting move copy/paste from brazil, should have granted him a black flag or drive through (that should have been the lightest penalty!)

      to cherry on top carefully planned purposely confusing swap attempt and collusion as a result should have been DSQ and or 25 sec penalty at the least!

      all of the incidents he was involved had precedents and masi/stewards ignored them blatantly obviously!

  3. I’d say the weird thing is that this was an “offer” instead of an “instruction/order”. Maybe the race director should order the cars around instead of kindly ask them to do so? (I know, the race director is not a steward, but still)

    1. Yeah, I think the issue with the race director giving any “instructions” is that he is not really in a position to officially do so @kaiie. But the “offer” really is as much a free offer as a judge advising you to take a settlement that is proposed or await trial – normally all in the room are clear that the alternative is a verdict that is worse.

  4. So… If its just an offer to the team, what does that mean? The team can accept the offer but if the stewards decide to investigate anyway, they could penalise the driver differently? Or not at all, in which case the teams have either served two penalties or served a penalty they didn’t have to serve? This just makes the whole situation even more bizarre.

    1. Tommy Scragend
      6th December 2021, 18:43

      So… If its just an offer to the team, what does that mean? The team can accept the offer but if the stewards decide to investigate anyway, they could penalise the driver differently?

      Masi told RB that if they didn’t accept the offer he would refer it to the stewards.

      It was an out of court settlement.

      1. Yes but does his offer give rise to “law of the case” or a double jeopardy defense? That’s the question. His ability to implement the deal is purely moral suasion with the stewards. It was more like friendly advice.

        I actually give him some credit for intervening to broker if you will an outcome that was most equitable. Even if he had no real leverage or sway behind his good offices. The alternative is as that we have a start and maybe Hamilton or others gets by then it’s a mess. The stewards would see that there was no need to get involved.

    2. Technically, I believe you are right yes. The stewards can, if they feel the need, still investigate anything, regardless of whether Masi refers it to them or not.

      Off course in such a case the team would argue with this “agreement” in hand. And possibly the other team involved would also say they feel satisfied that settled the matter. But the Stewards are still allowed to investigate and punish if they deem that not sufficient.

  5. At first I thought it was odd, but then I compared it what happens normally when a driver passes off track and the FIA tell them to swap places and it’s pretty much the same scenario.

    Under race conditions the FIA race director says give the place back or we’ll refer you to the stewards. The team then have the choice of accepting the swap or being referred. The same thing happened here but with the cars already stopped due to the red flag it was a bit more longwinded.

    1. Agree. It may not have happened before (maybe it has but not on live?) and after pondered this for a day it is clear. If you get a 5 sec penalty (as happened here) you have a choice of adding it to your total time or adding 5 sec to your next pit stop. It is an offer from the stewards. Leave it or take it.
      Maybe this is Masi’s way of doing things that he will be the one offering deals.
      But can anyone remember has this kind of scenario happened previously? Another red flag within 30s of racing after another one.
      One thing I don’t get it is that hate Masi is getting. From what I have heard of is that Charlie was the best guy for that job. He did 4 or 5 men job all by himself and in his final year had a 21 year experience of that job. Michael came in and has now been in that seat for 3 years and this is his first real experience what F1 is really like. Charlie left the bar so high that it takes years to be at the same level than him. Maybe there is someone better than Michael but what I see is he isn’t leaving that chair in a long time.

    2. I agree, it’s not any more nefarious than the standard practice. But is that how it should be? The race director doesn’t have the authority to prevent the stewards from investigating an incident on their own, which is how we wound up later on with, effectively, both the race director and the stewards each handing out punishments for the same crime.

      Instead of the race director taking matters into his own hands, with the threat of filing charges in his back pocket, I feel it would be better for every sporting decision regarding penalties or a position swap to be made directly by the stewards, even the obvious ones. Making the obvious calls and making them quickly and correctly builds trust and consistency in the officiating.

      Then the race director’s role would be focused on directing the race: the state of the track and the position of cars as they relate to timing and scoring, not matters of sporting judgment.

    3. I would agree if this was a case of simply overtaking off track and gaining a lasting advantage which is common and usually involves a recommendation of giving the place back.
      However in this case by offering the simple offer of falling back behind Hamilton, it prevented the review from the stewards who would possibly have given a firmer punishment for also rejoining in an unsafe manner bouncing across the curb across the path of Hamilton. Red Bull knew this and great fully accepted the switch back. This is why it was a ‘deal’. Accept this offer and I’ll make the danger of a firmer punishment go away. Max off the hook again.

      1. Yep! It’s so obvious, it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and here’s Masi saying it’s not a duck, it’s just a regular old pheasant.

      2. The potential additional foul of Verstappen rejoining in an unsafe manner is a good point. Though, if the stewards felt that had happened, nothing prevented them from taking action of their own. As of 2017, the stewards are empowered to investigate incidents independently, regardless of whether the race director refers the incident to them. And, as we saw later, Verstappen giving up the lead that he retained by going off track wasn’t enough to ward off a 5-second penalty.

        This is what makes the race director cutting “deals” even more bizarre to me — under the sporting regulations, the race director doesn’t have the power to determine whether or not the stewards investigate. It creates a very strange dynamic, where the race director’s supposed deal-cutting leverage derives from the assumption that the stewards are not paying very close attention to the proceedings and will only do so if the race director tells them to. The stewards’ independence undermines the race director, and in a way, the race director’s deal-brokering undermines the stewards’ credibility.

        I can understand how the race director role developed and how these position swap deals began. But if only for the clarity of authority, I think it would be better for the stewards to be making all the calls, big and small.

        I think it’s interesting that IndyCar recently moved in that direction — race director Kyle Novak relinquished his role in adjudicating penalties a few years ago, leaving them entirely up to the stewards. In many ways, given the series’ relative global standing and audience, the pressures and demands on the IndyCar stewards are not exactly comparable to F1. But I think there may be a useful comparison in that, given how data-intensive the job of stewarding is today, Novak says it’s taken some pressure off his role and allows him to focus on the procedurals of the race — which I think Michael Masi could have benefitted from on Sunday evening.

        1. Definitely, the “I can only push so many buttons” comment was the most bizzare of all. There seems to be serious procedural short-comings.

    4. I agree. However the main thing for me that shows Masi is losing, it was his initial “offer” for Max to take the restart in 2nd place, completely forgetting that Ocon was there.
      Red Bull’s comeback of “We’ll happily start 2nd if Ocon is 1st” was priceless!

  6. RandomMallard (@)
    6th December 2021, 18:05

    I completely agree with the final decision to put Verstappen 3rd on the grid from a sporting point of view, but both the process to get to that point and the legality of such a move is questionable. Straight away, the negotiation is not just a weird offer, but unfair to Alpine. Ocon may have gained that place because of the knock on from Verstappen’s re-join, but he and Alpine did nothing wrong, so Masi trying to drop him to third is morally wrong in my opinion.

    Then from a legal perspective I’m pretty sure Masi doesn’t actually have the power to do what he did. The rules (article 50.3 of the sporting regs) clearly state:

    In all cases the order will be taken at the last point at which it was possible to determine the position of all cars.

    No doubt moving Max back to give up those positions was correct in a sporting sense, but officially it should have happened after the restart, as the rules don’t allow for what Masi did. And when the FIA are going against and contradicting their own rules and protocols, it can lead you down a much, much worse path.

    1. I don’t think Masi was ever going to drop Ocon to third, he just was so focussed on Hamilton and Verstappen that he forgot about Ocon in there at first @randommallard.

  7. Formula 1 is being held hostage by Verstappen’s thuggish driving now, it’s ridiculous. Every disputed corner is ‘I stay ahead or we crash’ and ‘I’ll use whatever tarmac is available, lines make no difference.’ Masi and FIA have allowed that to happen and every decision now they look weak and ineffective with Verstappen and Red Bull braying ‘these are the new rules!’ with a bunch of delirious orange fans now believing that Formula 1 is some kind of free-for-all contact sport. Masi ‘offering’ penalty options is simply pathetic. Sort this out FIA, presuming you have an adult in the room still.

    1. @david-br

      I’d have to agree with you on how Verstappen is dictating F1’s driving standards. I remember watching Schumacher during 1994 to 1997 and thinking of just how unsportsmanlike conduct was not being punished in F1. It had a bully who was ready to crash and win championships and there was no rule or higher authority giving a fair judgement on this.

      Fans might say the sport is over regulated now, which is true to a certain extent, but they’ve also ruled out unethical and illegal driving over the past 10-12 seasons. So, it’s pretty annoying to see how Max is now taking racing standards to the wild Wild West again. He’s setting a bad precedent for the future of racing in F1, by protecting a championship lead through crashing in to his nearest rival.

      Masi seems like he just doesn’t have the spine to stand up to Horner and team. FIA will really need to reflect in this off season on how to prevent F1 from becoming destruction derby 1.

      1. @todfod I don’t really like the man, but Masi is in a spot I wouldn’t want to be. As it stands right now, he’s 100% allowing Verstappen to dictate how racing will be. But this year’s championship is arguably having the most thrilling ending of the hybrid era, he must have immense pressure from everyone involved (FIA, FOM, Mercedes, Red Bull) to avoid having any major influence in the outcome.

        Had Verstappen been disqualified last Sunday, or given a drive through (which added to the 5 second penalty would’ve potentially put him behind Ocon and Bottas), I have no doubt Red Bull, Verstappen and some of their fans would’ve cried havok and claimed it’s a tainted championship, FIA has given the title to Mercedes/Hamilton, etc.

        And, on the other hand, he must surely know that taking no action, or very mild action, is just as bad as unfair from a sporting perspective: you’re effectively allowing a driver to bully his way around the track by not penalizing that driving. As @knightameer says, a well timed punishment can work wonders, but in Max’s case this probably should’ve been last race. I just hope it’s not too late.

        1. ‘Had Verstappen been disqualified last Sunday, or given a drive through (which added to the 5 second penalty would’ve potentially put him behind Ocon and Bottas), I have no doubt Red Bull, Verstappen and some of their fans would’ve cried havok and claimed it’s a tainted championship, FIA has given the title to Mercedes/Hamilton’

          I started crying that already way before the last two races ;-). The final races are not going to change that all of a sudden. It remains very questionable why you can get two regulation changes in season (tyres, pitstops) and can get away with DNF-ing an opponent yet still win. Not to mention two very convenient red flags with quite an impact points wise.

      2. ‘Fans might say the sport is over regulated now, which is true to a certain extent, but they’ve also ruled out unethical and illegal driving over the past 10-12 seasons’.
        So that would be 2010-2020/2008-2020? Those are the years where the pole sitter would drive off into the distance and win. Hardly ever was the championship on the line or any form of competition present.

        ‘So, it’s pretty annoying to see how Max is now taking racing standards to the wild Wild West again.’
        First of all I think some forgot that this sport was meant to go racing, not to get pole and get the win weekend after weekend after year after year. It used to be about real battling on track. Second of all, yes I agree the last two races haven’t exactly been Max strongest. I feel Brasil was a fault and both off track turn 1 excursions in Saudi Arabia as well. But let’s not commit the same character assault as the Mercedes team did. Asking Rosberg you would probably get some other views on Lewis as well when he is being put under pressure which has been very very rare as he mostly could just collect the throphy before the weekend began. Yet at the slightest hint of pressure this season he and Mercedes showed their true nature again and made first blood. No sense in whining now. They made their bed and perfectly well know.

        1. So that would be 2010-2020/2008-2020? Those are the years where the pole sitter would drive off into the distance and win. Hardly ever was the championship on the line or any form of competition present.

          Yeah… well.. this season is close because we finally have 2 evenly matched teams. Not because the stewards ‘let the drivers race’ . We had a close and intense season in 2010 and 2012 where the racing was kept clean as well. If you think the stewarding has kept this championship close… then you’re just kidding yourself.

          First of all I think some forgot that this sport was meant to go racing, not to get pole and get the win weekend after weekend after year after year.

          As I mentioned.. all to do with the closeness of competition and not with driving standards. I also find it annoying how fans use the excuse of ‘let them race’ for absolutely unethical and illegal driving moves. Try-to-pass-and-we-crash isn’t racing at all.. it’s just bullying. I’m surprised people who call themselves fans of the sport will want to see a driver pull of moves like Max pulled in Brazil and Saudi.

      3. @todfod My first issue with Verstappen is that he is sufficiently fast and skilled to win without having to go beyond what were the existing racing rules. However, if you’re going to push beyond them, you also have to accept the consequences. That’s my second issue: if you’re going to go into every corner with the attitude of ‘I win the corner or we crash,’ then you may and eventually will be tested by a driver who doesn’t back off. But Max and his team have shown no willingness to accept that other drivers (specifically Hamilton) may test him in turn. It’s like every incident is separate and distinct, and yet somehow it’s always Max in the right. He drives completely off circuit to block Hamilton, yet when Hamilton pushes him off, himself remaining on track, something Max has done countless times, including to Lewis, they whine and object. It’s repulsive behaviour.
        Right now there are two questions I think: (1) how this championship will be resolved, i.e. will Max try to take out Lewis to win the title if he gets the chance, and how FIA respond (hopefully with a DSQ for the entire season’s points, a la Schumacher). And (2) what this means for racing next year. Because we’ll start with a clean slate and all the drivers assuming that the Verstappen free-for-all rules now apply. Maybe that’s what Liberty want.

    2. I guess we are way past correcting current standards set by Verstappen. I am a big fan of his, but Brazil and Saudi were out of line. The FIA has now kind of legalized this sort of driving, which is not good for the sport, but maybe only Netflix and ‘CASUAL’ fans matter now. This kind of driving by Max was evident since Austria 2019 when battling with Leclerc, yet nothing was done and he kept the win. Sometimes punishment at the right moment is what shapes an individual, and frankly the FIA has never schooled Max on this.

      1. +1 – go back to Baku where he WAS the dominant cause of the crash. Even RBR were so-o-o one-eyed for their boy!!!

      2. @knightameer I don’t think it’s sustainable to allow ‘Max-shaped rules’ for the entire field and Liberty/FIA know that. Hence it’s being cynically engineered (allowed) for a showdown this year. Off-season we’ll have new rule boundaries set.

        I was listening to the BBC podcast and agree with their take. It’s now getting tedious the number of issues being generated by Verstappen’s driving, it’s ruining the races and more of the same will see people switch off, not on. There is or was an elegance to Formula 1 which is lost when the flow of the races is too disrupted, whether with stoppages (SC, VSC, red flags) or with countless steward referrals, trackside animosities etc.

        1. Well put, @david-br. Tedious, indeed.

          Seems Liberty/FIA/Massi will do whatever it takes to make the ‘show’ a Netflix nail-bitter – but have strayed off the ranch into a Yellowstone wild west smash ’em up Max series.

          Maybe that’s next season’s soap opera drama – a Yellowstone tie-in where former-villain Bernie tries to bring a F1 race to the frontiers of Montana – but Liberty has already bought out the crypto-racing casino and cattle rights.

  8. He did his absolute best for those two guys to arrive at Abu Dhabi with equal points.

    But, incredibly, it was harder to make verstappgen get to those numbers than Hamilton, as he made so many illegal moves in this race his total sum should be way bigger than what it was, conveniently clearing Bottas for a few secs to keep the 2nd place.

    Liberty made F1 into a Netflix show.

  9. Nothing bizarre except it is against FIA regulations…

    1. Which regulation?

    2. Not sure it is actually against any regulations @alianora-la-canta. It is accepted as precedent (and possibly even in the rules somewhere) that race control can ask a team to instruct their driver to give a place back to avoid the incident being put to the stewards. Off course the stewards are in no way bound by any rule to go along with that, if they deem an investigation (and penalty) to be still needed.

      1. @bascb Returning the place is one issue and I agree that the race director can and should immediately tell the team to do so when he thinks it necessary. It’s the simplest and fairest solution. However there was also the issue of rejoining the track in an unsafe manner. Given Verstappen essentially drove himself off track with a speculative lunge for space that didn’t appear, he should have waited to rejoin safely, the same as if he had spun off. Of course, he was never going to do that. So a penalty was due.

      2. The Sporting Regulations list how incidents may be decided. At no point is Race Control allowed to subvert the authority of the Race Stewards to levy a penalty of any description. As such, the plea bargaining breached the entirety of Article 47 of the Sporting Regulations, and Red Bull should have formally protested this post-race.

        1. @bascb Sorry, I meant to tag you. Short version: it breaches Article 47, and technically invalidated the grid place penalty.

        2. You have to assume that Masi was trying to act in any way to subvert, or limit the authority of the Stewards to come to that conclusion @alianora-la-canta. However, nowhere did he imply, suggest let alone confirm that he was trying to do that.

          The only thing he offered was not to refer it to the stewards if RB did as he proposed to them. Which is exactly what race control regularly does with regards to giving places back to drivers during the race. The stewards are still as free as they were and as they are in any case where a driver does gain an advantage but then gives the place back later to investigate and hand out any penalties they deem appropriate. They just generally do not tend to do so in such cases.
          We could even see that in the race, where despite Verstappen having been told to give a place back to Hamilton, and Verstappen having given some effort to do so, the stewards handed him a 5 second penalty since they must have felt it was taking too long to do it properly.

          1. @bascb Masi plea-bargained with Red Bull instead of handing the matter over to the stewards, as Article 47 of the Sporting Regulations obliges. Thus it is a demonstrable fact that Masi already has successfully subverted and limited the authority of the stewards in (at minimum) that situation.

            Nothing Masi says about it changes this. To suggest otherwise would be like suggesting a wing can be re-attached simply because the driver whose move dislodged it said “sorry” – physics isn’t like that, neither are objective rules like Article 47.

            Masi is not allowed any discretion to judge guilt (as implied by offering a penalty).

            Masi is not allowed to refuse to report something he sees as wrong, unless the drivers correct their misdeeds of their own volition before he would have reported it (note that Race Control is and has always been staffed by humans, who need a certain amount of time to judge certain moves). That is where the whole, technically dubious but well-precedented, matter of the “giving places back to drivers during the race” comes in – drivers are allowed to use the natural gap between when Masi spots an incident and when he decides it’s wrong/sufficiently questionable to turn a questionable pass into a non-pass, and of course non-passes don’t get reported. Taking a whole lap to hand a place back was always going to risk being beyond that allowance (and note that Race Control is always obliged to report immediately if Race Control thinks it was definitely a wrong move).

            Masi is not allowed to threaten a team with reporting them unless it accepts a penalty. That is, technically speaking, blackmail, and obviously against the regulations.

            The stewards are not free to decide what they investigate. They can decide on matters Race Control (i.e. Masi) or a team has referred to them. They also don’t have the right of double jeopardy, so the moment Masi decided unilaterally to make that deal with Red Bull, the stewards lost the power to do anything about it, regardless of who objected. Mercedes also lost the right to protest the matter at that point for the same reason. (If Jean Todt himself had objected on behalf of the FIA upper management – the only entity left who would have been allowed to protest – it would have gone to a different panel at the FIA Court of Appeal).

          2. Okay @alianora-la-canta. I can see that you feel you must put all that effort in to uphold your theory there. I’ll do you the favour of not pointing out all the places where you state things as fact that are not actually that.
            A bit sad really.

          3. @bascb I put the effort in because I thought you were interested in how the regulations actually work.

            I am disappointed to discover that contrary to the impression you have previously given me, you do not consider learning how F1 works well enough to put accurate statements on RaceFans to be worth the effort.

          4. I am quite well aware of the rules @alianora-la-canta. I just don’t think you are interested in the rules but rather stuck in your view and interpretation of actions and how they interact with those rules.

          5. @bascb Had I not been interested in the rules as they are and how they apply here, I would not have been able to provide the correction to your previous statements that I made earlier.

          6. You did not correct me though @alianora-la-canta. You just keep rephrasing your “truth” to try and prove you are right. Masi did not do any “plea-bargaining”.

  10. F1-Deal or No Deal….as Hill said ‘The sport is changing’ ,the FIA and Liberty saw how much money….sorry viewers Romain’s fireball created and thought that’s the ticket, prepare for a future where F1 is a blood thirsty money grabbing quest for viewers and social media coverage. F1 as a sport exits stage left as F1 the ‘Show’ enters…..

  11. What I think is different than the past is that the TV audience is allowed to listen in where in the past this was not an option. Personally I thought Masi did what was required of his role. He gave RB options – Either give up your gain that went against the rules or the stewards will be asked to make a decision.

    So many are posting they are upset with Masi and he should go. The only issue I have is that the rules need to be applied more consistently. If he didn’t like the move by Max Sunday, why was Brazil turn 4 not handled with the same type of call to RB? Biggest difference in my mind is how much LH was ahead of Max on Sunday vs. Brazil. In both cases he was ahead before the braking point.

    If I had to rate Masi, I would say he is doing an OK job, not great and not awful. I suspect he will hold the same position for 2022.

    1. @blueruck Exactly. The key difference here was that we (the audience) heard the negotiations broadcast. These conversations have always happened in this manner, but we just never previously heard it.

      I think the race director broadcasts add another dimension to the broadcast, but in this case I think it’s too much and they shouldn’t have broadcast the negotiation, but rather just the final “acceptance” so the audience understood why the grid changed when lining up again.

    2. @blueruck

      If he didn’t like the move by Max Sunday, why was Brazil turn 4 not handled with the same type of call to RB?

      Ultimately, that’s not his call. All he can do is refer an incident to the stewards. The stewards in Brazil didn’t feel that was worth a penalty, the stewards in Saudi Arabia felt it was worth a penalty.

      1. I understood at least 1 steward was the same as in Brazil :) I forget which one.

  12. I also think Masi is doing an OK job.

    If anyone wants a guide as to whether the deal/offer was unusual, RedBull accepted it quite quickly. They didnt seem to think it was out of line and Max was leading by turn 3 anyway.

  13. Martin Elliott
    6th December 2021, 20:19

    Regarding SD.

    ISC AppL-ChapterIV. Para 2 (e) It is not permitted to drive any car unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a manner deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers at any time.

    That was quoted in last SD, but penalties randomly from SR. It could have been any number of grid penalties as race had ended so time penalty meant ???.

    As a 4th offence, stewards could have used
    (d) Causing a collision, repetition of serious mistakes or the appearance of a lack of control over the car (such as leaving the track) will be reported to the Stewards and may entail the imposition of penalties up to and including the exclusion of any driver concerned.

    As I see it, the basic problem is that the arrangement of 4 documents of PUBLISHED rules (& appendix) is confused and illogically arranged. Then to interpret those there is an UNPUBLISHED Stewards Guide to explain how to interpret the rules and even the hieracy of penalties, and even the philosophy of 1st lapincident, let them race, etc.

    Not just the stewards are confused, so is Race Control and Technical Dept. Is it a strain of more complex sport, or different culture fromTV instead of pure racing?

  14. I immediately suggested to the stewards that I’m going to give the team the ability to give that place back.”

    I can’t believe that he said just that. This should be one of the greatest scandals in F1 history.

    Masi made a decision by himself without any advice from stewards or whoever, and his action subtly suggested to Red Bull that they would get a penalty.

    Obviously, Red Bull management are that not stupid, and then they complied with Masi subtle suggestion and gave the place back.

    I´m really sympathetic with all the hard work of being in charge of something so complex as F1 race direction, and I would never suggest that Masi is corrupt, but he’s completely unfit for the job.

    His interference threw away all integrity of this championship.

  15. If it is normal that explains a lot, and needs scrapping.

    A referee or arbiter should not be a negotiator. Ridiculous.

  16. The place should have been returned after the race restarted and not before the restart. What I saw was Masi giving Redbull several opportunities to get a better outcome in the race.

  17. Problem I see with it is not only did he go off track and gain an advantage of whatever, he also drifted across the track on rejoining and slowed down Hamilton allowing Ocon past.

    It all started earlier in the year when Alonso was complaining about these sort of lap 1 incidents going unpunished.

    For sure you should be able to go off track if you run wide on lap 1 to avoid an accident, but it shouldn’t be used as an alternate racing line as Verstappen did in this race. If you *have* to go off, you *have* to slow down and rejoin safely.

    Not only are Verstappen’s actions not befitting of an F1 driver, they’re certainly not befitting of a World Champion.

    Masi just saying you can give the grid place back, and not paying attention to what Verstappen did with regards to slowing down Hamilton upon rejoining and then not even noticing Ocon exists…

    It just reeks of incompetence and sets a horrible tone for all other drivers at any level. FIA for road safety I think not.

  18. I don’t understand what all the fuss is about. Masi did the sensible thing and dealt with the matter immediately, without having to refer it to the stewards. Verstappen passed Hamilton off track and gained an unfair advantage, so RB had to either give the place back to Hamilton or were likely to receive a penalty.

    When Pérez passed Leclerc off track at the della Roggia chicane at Monza earlier this year, RB was also told to give the place back, otherwise the stewards will decide on a penalty. In that scenario RB opted for the penalty, assuming it would only be a 5-sec-penalty.

    I don’t think there’s anything fundamentally wrong with it, except that there shouldn’t be an option at all. It should be either you give the position back to the other driver or you automatically drop behind that driver in the final standings. That way teams will always instruct their driver to give the position back.

    1. Me neither, but apparently the so called F1 fans don’t understand the rules completely. Instead of learning from your comment or Kris Lord above they rather make accusing comments that the FIA/Masi working together with RB. It’s so cringing to read and really a pity that this kind of comments are spread on this site.

      1. At least we have the possibility to report their comments 😉

      2. @ruben
        It’s not matter of the FIA working with Red Bull, but rather the FIA being in cahoots with F1M to massage results in the preferred direction of having a close and “thrilling” climax to the championship. You see the advertising everywhere, the “closest” championship in F1 history. It’s a narrative being pushed rather than a natural occurance.

        You completely disregard the unsafe rejoining on track and Verstappen slowing Hamilton (Hamilton avoiding a collision) to allow Ocon to pass. This is brought up in many comments here and is an entirely valid point. I don’t think being unable to address that issue provides you with the meritable report and just wastes the site admins time.

      3. @ruben @srga91 If the race director comms weren’t broadcast this wouldn’t even be a story, nor have the ridiculous accusations which follow.

        It’s in all likelihood that the great Charlie Whiting had the exact same conversations with the teams for similar situations—but we were never privy to the comms. None of the commenters here know how Whiting communicated to the teams—it could have been worse!

        Realistically, they should just ditch the race director comms broadcasts.

    2. @srga91 it is because there is a question of whether Masi had the right to make that decision in the first place.

      The stewards are authorised to investigate incidents by themselves, and are meant to have the right to act independently of the race director. However, given Masi is saying he was putting that proposal to the stewards, it raises the question of whether he is undermining their independence by making suggestions on what decision they should come to.

  19. I don’t have an issue with the swap. If there wasn’t a red flag then Max would have likely been told to hand the place back to avoid a penalty, even if he had to let Ocon past as well. He would then have had a choice of a probably 5s race time or doing the swap.

    All that happened is that they were allowed to do it in the restart queue.

    The bit that was very generous is that this was really a double penaltly, gaining an advantage and unsafe rejoin. The unsafe rejoin was totally ignored.

  20. Don’t really know why this has caused such a fuss. The phrasing was weird, yes, but this obviously wasn’t some sort of negotiation, it was very clearly an instruction to give up the ill-gained position or face a likely penalty, which happens all the time. The application was obviously unusual because of the red flag and upcoming restart, but if this was under normal racing conditions, it’s a perfectly normal occurrence.

  21. Nothing wrong with Masi’s action. He simply [as has happened with other teams/drivers previously] give the offender the opportunity to redress. If accepted, and done, his problem is solved.
    If the stewards believe they should investigate [which is within their power], so be it. If they receive so much info to make an accurate assessment [Brazil excepted] they should be aware of Masi’s discussion with the team and take that into consideration.

  22. The FIA completely forgot that it’s the first time the audience hears this. The FIA takes for granted that not even the FIA care about their rules and only the poor schmuck watching this show manage to be obsessed by their rules.

  23. i see the Mercedes PR combined with the british approach of making Verstappen the bad boy is working great.
    At least the public likes verstappen and made him driver of the day.
    Probably the dirty move by lewis when he pushed max off track deliberatly showed his true person to the rest of the world.
    Good for a black and white and a reprimand. But mercedes has to be cought with the hands in the cookiejar (like their illegal wing configuration “by accident”) to receive a minor penalty.

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