Lando Norris, McLaren, Yas Marina, 2021

Norris: Race director’s lapped cars decision ‘was for TV’

2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Lando Norris says the decision by FIA race director Michael Masi to allow only a limited number of drivers to unlap themselves behind the safety car late in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was “for the TV” spectacle.

Lewis Hamilton led Max Verstappen when the race was neutralised under safety car following a late crash for Nicholas Latifi, but with five lapped cars between them on track. Rather than allowing lapped cars to pass, as is often procedure, race control informed teams they would be staying in formation while behind the safety car.

However, that decision was very quickly reversed once the initial decision was communicated to drivers, but only for the five lapped cars sat between the top two title contenders. At the front of that group of lapped cars was Norris, who gave his verdict on the unprecedented race control decision and final lap restart.

“I don’t know what decisions were made based upon things the stewards said in the first place,” Norris explained.

“If that [decision to maintain order] then made Lewis or made Mercedes make the decision to not box, but then later on they suddenly said now they’re allowed to overtake, then I guess that’s not acceptable.

“I don’t know exactly what was said or what was done or so on [in race control], but a controversial end, that’s all I can say.”

Norris said he was surprised when he got the green light from the FIA to pass Hamilton and the safety car, suggesting it was a decision made purely to create an entertaining finish to the race.

“I didn’t actually know it was only the first three or four up to Max [going past],” Norris said. “So it was obviously made to be a fight. It was for the TV, of course. It was for the result. Whether or not it was fair, it’s hard for me to decide.”

In answer to a question from RaceFans about if he was surprised about the first message too, which told drivers not to pass the safety car, he added: “Sometimes they let you go, sometimes they don’t. It’s just fifty-fifty, half the time.

“But the call, they said they’re not going to let us pass. So I’m guessing that was a message to say they were just not going to let us pass at all. But then to suddenly do it just for the final lap and for a one-lap shootout, I’m a bit surprised by.”

Mercedes are protesting the race result, after Hamilton was passed by Red Bull’s Verstappen on the final lap restart, on the basis of Article 48.12 of the 2021 F1 Sporting Regulations which states that all lapped cars would move past the safety car if the green light to pass was sent to cars. The outcome of that protest is expected to be heard at 22:30 local time.

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2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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156 comments on “Norris: Race director’s lapped cars decision ‘was for TV’”

    1. This is a clear breach of 48.12. Even if the sc let’s half the cars through he must come in on the FOLLOWING LAP not immediately!

      1. But 48.13 supersedes that as it stipulates that the decision to how to deploy and end the safety car is in the hands of the race director no matter of what happened before. 48.13 defuses whatever rights anyone thinks to derive from 48.12.

        1. Bart, strictly speaking, 48.13 only states that the clerk of the course makes the decision on whether the safety car can be withdrawn – it’s not clear from the text whether that means it automatically overrules 48.13.

          When the clerk of the course decides it is safe to call in the safety car the message “SAFETY CAR IN THIS LAP” will be sent to all Competitors via the official messaging system and the car’s orange lights will be extinguished. This will be the signal to the Competitors and drivers that it will be entering the pit lane at the end of that lap.

          At this point the first car in line behind the safety car may dictate the pace and, if necessary, fall more than ten car lengths behind it.

          In order to avoid the likelihood of accidents before the safety car returns to the pits, from the point at which the lights on the car are turned out drivers must proceed at a pace which involves no erratic acceleration or braking nor any other manoeuvre which is likely to endanger other drivers or impede the restart.

          As the safety car is approaching the pit entry the SC boards will be withdrawn and, other than on the last lap of the sprint qualifying session or the race, as the leader approaches the Line the yellow flags will be withdrawn and a green flag and/or green light panel will be displayed at the Line.

          1. Also, Daniel Ricciardo, Lance Stroll and Mick Schumacher, never received a message that they could overtake..!!! Only the cars between 1st & 2nd.. Does, this mean now, in all future races under a S/C the Race Director gets to choose what cars can and can’t un-lap themselves..!!!

          2. Yeah 48.13 looks like a followup to 48.12. If it was meant to override 48.12, it would’ve said so. The rule simply says when the SC will come back the following lap, what protocols are to be followed. If there is a case where it is not safe the following lap, then how to proceed, which is why it says the clerk decides what happens next. Since these are safety protocols, it should mean you follow the rule first, then take a call.
            And if 48.13 supersedes 48.12, then 48.12 holds no value. They might as well just remove 48.12.

          3. In law, if a clause supersedes another clause then it needs to explicitly say so.

            In the absence of such wording, all clauses are of equal validity.

            If Mercedes took this as far as the CAS then I think they would win. I don’t think they should do it as it would be detrimental to the sport but that is not the point.

            The FIA need to get their house in order and quickly. Michael Masi is not fit for purpose.

    2. Whole season has been like this. Manipulated for tv, as if the racing has become an extension of the Netflix series. They basically gave crazy decisions throughout the year in favour of the championship contender who was behind or starting to look out of the title. Very WWE vibe.

  1. It’s high time to discuss Masi’s position as a race director, or a massive overhaul to the sporting rules that wouldn’t leave as much space for open interpretation as they do now. Or, banning the communication from teams to the race directory. Because it’s either that Masi is really prone to Liberty’s corporate desire for show or there’s so much politics between all the parties involved that he can’t do his job properly.

    1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      12th December 2021, 18:56

      Banning teams lobbying the race director is a no brainer

      1. Exactly.

      2. petebaldwin (@)
        12th December 2021, 21:32

        100%. They should be able to speak to an assistant (like the 4th ref in football who spends all game getting shouted at by the managers) and he can pass messages on but hearing team bosses request for a safety car to not be deployed or interfering with how a restart will take place is not appropriate.

    2. A person somewhere
      12th December 2021, 19:04

      I think part of the issue with Masi is that he was, based on comments at the time he had to take over, being groomed to take over from Charlie in the longer term. If – as they certainly should – they get rid of him, then who is there with the experience to take over?

      1. The FIA have other race directors. After Whiting’s untimely death I was hoping that the FIA would move Eduardo Freitas over from the WEC to be the new permanent F1 race director. He has a ton of experience, is widely respected by the teams and drivers, and doesn’t put up with BS from anyone.

        1. I like this idea, too bad he doesn’t fall under the single seater class IIUC. He is legend in WEC/Le Mans.

          I’d take a stuffed scarecrow in place of Masi at this point though. I don’t even like Hamilton or Verstappen much, but it’s quite irrelevant to the sham this whole season has been. The ending feels somehow appropriate.

    3. banning the communication from teams to the race directory

      This. 100%.

      Masi made a decision, and Red Bull immediately got on the phone moaning like mad until they bullied him into reversing it enough to favour Max. This must not happen again, no matter which team you support.

      I’m a Hamilton fan so I wish things had gone the other way, but I have to reflect that Massa was probably feeling pretty sick back in 2008 and that’s what happens sometimes. But this BS with the teams trying to bully the race director into making decisions that suit them has got to stop right now, it’s corrupting the sport.

      1. Why did Masi make that decision though? What was the justification behind all the drivers being told to hold position? It is not something we usually see.

        1. The regulations say that the safety car should come in the lap after lapped cars have gone through. Had that been followed or even just if all lapped cars had been allowed to pass, there would have been an additional safety car lap and the race ended. So Masi presumably thought the only way to have a racing lap was to not let lapped any cars through (they don’t have to be according to the regs). Why he changed his mind is a mystery.

          1. I understand what you are saying but as Vettel and Alonso have said, it was strange he didnt let them unlap sooner. The decision for cars to unlap themselves should have been taken 2 laps before, like they normally do. Masi waited too long which caused this mess in the beginning. If he had done it the proper way, there would have been enough time to let all the cars unlap themselves and there would also have been 1 lap left to race.

            My opinion is Masi made a mistake by waiting too long.
            Then because he really wanted the season to end racing, he decided there wasnt enough time left for all cars to unlap themselves.
            And then realising it would be unfair for Verstappen (seeing as they normally do allow cars to unlap themselves) he decided to let those few cars to unlap themselves.

            So in my opinion, had Masi done the right thing from the beginning, we would still have this end result. Only difference being the other cars having time to unlap themselves.
            Basically meaning the right to complain should go to the teams that werent allowed to unlap themselves.

      2. Red Bull? Maybe this will open your eyes. Very embarrassing

  2. “It’s just fifty-fifty, half the time.”


    1. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
      12th December 2021, 19:52

      I read that and laughed. It has been common practice that lapped cars can regain their lap nearing the end of the SC period. I can’t remember a time when it has not been allowed since this rule has been in place. Now granted, the normal procedure wasn’t followed to a “T”. As a fan, I appreciate that a title defining result was not made under SC. Don’t get me wrong, Merc got unlucky here and feel for them. However, they have had their fair share of luck this year as well.

      1. It is common practice that lapped cars can regain there lap, this is standard practice.. However, never has there been a race where only some cars (those between the 1st & 2nd only have been allowed to un-lap themselves..!!).. 2nd, There has never been a race where the stewards have made a decision where they put out a message to all cars to state they cannot over take (Why Mercedes didn’t pit), then change that decision 2 laps later.. 3rd, never has there been a race where the safety car has pulled off on the same lap when only past by the un-lapped cars in between 1st and 2nd place..!!!

  3. If the result of Abu Dhabi stays then I’m out of the circus called F1. Why should I waste time and money for a farce?!

    1. Not everyone spends money on f1!

    2. Fergus sings the blues
      12th December 2021, 19:03

      I said the exact same thing to my wife. I’m 47 and have followed F1 since 1985. This is farcical. It’s either to keep the Drive to Survive audience hooked or Michael Masi is not fit for the post. Perhaps a combo of those.

      The trouble is that I’m sure non fans will soon leave the sport again and they are in danger of losing die hard fans.

      I’m a LH fan but this was shocking. If MV had converted the pole and dominated the race then fair play but this is corruption and interference by the race director.

      1. Its not corruption. Just incompetence.

        1. Masi was seen walking to the RB motorhome after the race. Sources have it that there was a check to be collected.

      2. well i am the drive to survive audience. watched every race this season on my f1tv subscription. i cancelled that after today’s race, and i’m out as well. max and lewis raced fairly today, and lewis was the better man. and after all that, masi sees fit to insert himself into the result…i have better things to do with my time than to watch this kind of theatre. no thank you.

        1. Nice to hear there is at least one ‘new fan’ that cares about integrity!

      3. I hope Masi messed up due to incompetence, not because he wanted to hand the title to Max. Everyone who witnessed the race saw how great Lewis drove at Yas Marina, even if he had to give the place back after lap one incident very few doubt he would end up leading the race either by over-cutting Max or simply by passing him on the track.

        The crazy part is Masi completly ignored that Mercedes did not pit Lewis because they believed there was no time to follow the usual protocols and restart the race, so finish behind SC was very likely and cede track position for new tyres to lose the race was pointless.

        How can you ignore the rule book to give Max such decisive advantage? So Max has the right to fight for the win but people behind him were denied the right to race him? Masi knowing it would be impossible to give Red Bull a racing lap decided to order the SC in before its time and treated the rest of the field unfairly, that’s unacceptable.

        Props to Lewis and Anthony Hamilton for how they conducted themselves in face of heartbreking defeat.

    3. Flash alert! WWE came out as contrived decades ago and people still waste their time and money on it. Movies do it to an nth degree.

      That is the direction Liberty wants to take F1 to and I am pretty sure they are making more money off it than appealing to the core fans.

      Zillions of people have proclaimed leaving F1 including when DRS became a thing and no one has anything better to do than watch the drama on a Sunday evening and that’s what you will get.

    4. If you can’t appreciate the best driver over the season take the championship, I don’t mind you getting out

      1. I agree Max was the better driver and I have no issue with him winning the Championship.

        Also, I don’t think Mercedes should take this any further as it looks bad for the sport. What they should do is say to the FIA “we won’t take this to the CAS provided you put your house in order”.

        You have to admit though, @paeschli, Masi’s decision yesterday was bizarre and unprecedented. In his urgency to have the race ‘decided on track’ he breached the FIA’s own rules (see my comment further up on the legalities) and basically handed the Championship to Verstappen. I’m not a conspiracy theorist I don’t for a second believe that it was his intention to do that but, in desperately trying to get the race restarted, that is exactly what he did nonetheless.

    5. Bye bye

    6. See you tomorrow.

    7. less toxicity great!!

    8. You spent all that money year in year out to watch how Mercedes won the championship 3 races before the end of the season, enjoying it to your hearts content, and now that it went all the way to the wire with Max and Lewis tied at the start of the last race you quit?
      This was the best year in F1 since, I don’t know, maybe the best ever.
      Sorry you didn’t like the outcome, but maybe you never really liked the sport.

      1. There’s a difference between sport and scripted entertainment. Sunday was not sport.

    9. I concur with you. I was going to purchase F1 TV and I’m thinking twice. This was garbage.

    10. I also made that decision today. I’m following this story then that’s it for me if it doesnt get reversed.

    11. I totally agree. I believe the driver who crashed was asked to do it, and this gave time for Red Bull to change “V” tyres, and then Massey must have been bribed to change the rules to favour Red Bull. Disgraceful Horner even admitted in a Sky interview that the decision makers would be rewarded for life…….. If he had been on the receiving end of what happened to Sir Lewis, then he would have been swearing, fuming, showing his bad side etc. How can he say it was a fair win? He has groomed a dangerous, spiteful, unruly driver, and thinks they are worthy of a World Title. I hope they never gain respect. The win is not worthy of a title.

      If the decision is not reversed, I and many thousands of fans will never watch or support F1 again, and I hope Sir Lewis quits F1 over this. He is a worthy champion does not drive dirty, and is humbe in defeat. We should be very proud of him.

    12. See you next season, I’m sure as soon as Hamilton secures pole in Australia you’ll be back.

    13. Same here.

  4. I’m glad that Lando isn’t afraid to call it out.

    1. oh yeah thank god Lando for an unbiased opinion!

      1. Lando and Max are friends, so for Lando to say anything that remotely questions Max’s result is pretty telling. Lando did the same about Brazil. Honest lad.

        1. Russel did to, in about the same words.

    2. British drivers supporting British driver shocker!!

      1. Apart from the fact that he was favouring Max for the title…

        1. Really, Lando publicly declared his support for Max? Must have missed that.

          1. You did indeed miss it, he whispered ‘Max’ into the mic when asked by Lazenby on SkyF1 just before going to his car on the grid. He’s also a good friend of Verstappen outside of F1.

            For him to say this after the race does actually carry more weight than some people want to think.

      2. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
        13th December 2021, 12:54

        How about Carlos. He would of been right behind Max with a shot to gain a place had the usual protocol been followed or at least let all lapped cars get on the lead lap.

        1. +1

          This is very telling that Masi didn’t allow a potential 3rd combatant to the final lap battle.

  5. I thought it was brilliantly exciting, whether right or wrong. Pure entertainment. Maybe that means I’m not a “proper” F1 fan and I should just pack my bags and go. But seeing as Bulgarian has already offered to take my place, at might as well stay!

    Best season I’ve seen in the 25 years I’ve watched the sport (in which time I’ve missed 1 race – which I caught up on later on). Entertaining.

    1. While I think this season is surely one of the best, I can think at least of four other (2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012) which cut it a bit better for me. There was just too many arbitrary decisions this season, and I honestly can’t think of a year where decision making was so all over the place.

      1. I have the feeling that the inconsistency of punishments dealt out for similar infringements has always been a problem in F1. Maybe the should have the same 3 race stewards for a complete season?

    2. Barbie girl and Ken is more entertaining than such F1 as today.

      1. How many ranting comments can one person post here? Watch, don’t watch, spend money, don’t spend money, whatever… I’m sure this is pure consistency and you react the same no matter which driver is in question. If not, well, I think you had so many years to celebrate the champion you prefer. You’ll survive the change, like many of us did after Schumacher etc.

        1. Do not worry. he will be gone soon according to his own words..
          Or he is lying.. again.

    3. Well, yeah @shimks, that about sums it up. Two great drivers battling it out for the championship, decided on the very last lap of racing. What more do people want?

      They wanted their guy to win, I suppose. Which is understandable. But a little bit sad, that they can’t or won’t see the bigger picture.

      1. People want to see a fair fight. Not the race director overriding the rules to give a one lap shoot out with one car having a massive tyre advantage.

        1. But that’s not the FIA’s fault. The safety car was a massive disadvantage for LH because Max had both fresher tires and a free pitstop. Because LH was in front he was forced to move first; stay out and Max goes in, go in and Max stays out. His only saving grace was that the safety car situation might take long enough to cross the finish. I think it’s perfectly understandable the FIA did not want to go for that scenario.

          All in all I think Lewis deserved the win today just because Mercedes was so much quicker, but Max is the deserved champion.

          1. Blaize Falconberger (@)
            12th December 2021, 22:04

            It is the FIAs fault – they engineered the situation and have not denied it…

          2. To only let a few cars pass to ensure the last lap showdown, and not letting the others past too because the race would end under SC, shows how contrived it was. An absolute farce. I love this sport so much and it truly hurts me to see this happen

          3. You can’t say that Lewis deserved to win, then say Max is a deserving champion. They are contradictory statements.

          4. As others have said, it is the FIA’s fault. What happened isn’t normal procedure, and you can’t just change normal procedure unless it is fair for the whole field.

            Masi would have been completely aware that by overriding the rules he was deciding the championship, the tyre difference was just too great for there to be any other outcome.

      2. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
        13th December 2021, 12:56

        The big picture is it is a sport with a lot of regulations. It is not meant to be a show where some arbitrary decision can have huge consequences.

    4. Yeah, I would have left let down a lot had they not taken the chance to return to racing, especially with as much at stake @shims, @red-andy that would have been a disappointing ending to a great season.

      I do think the FIA needs to to sit down and talk with the drivers and with teams about how to solve stuff on track with regards to these kind of procedures (simplify a lot, make sure there are less inconsistencies also between stuff like formation laps, laps behind SC, laps to the grid for a restart after the restart, as well as making clear rules – white lines, anyone? – for what means staying on track etc) and come up with a far more transparent way of making and informing about what they decide so that we can all understand what and why they are thinking.

      1. Sorry, misspelled you there @shimks

  6. In answer to a question from RaceFans about if he was surprised about the first message too, which told drivers not to pass the safety car, he added: “Sometimes they let you go, sometimes they don’t. It’s just fifty-fifty, half the time.

    This is why I like racefans . net and Dieter to be specific.
    A question that can reveal a lot about the driver’s remarks.

    Now, does anyone have proof of Norris’ “half the time” claim? I don’t recall seeing a real non virtual safety car period as long as this (or any at all) where lapped drivers were not allowed to unlap themselves

    1. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
      12th December 2021, 20:02

      No! FIA has always allowed lapped cars through and is very rare they don’t and I don’t ever recalling them not doing so since the rule was implemented.

      1. They did not let them by “always” at all. It used to be a point of contention until the FIA actually gave the race director the call to decide on letting those lapped cars past before the restart only a couple of years ago @flyingferrarim.

        1. What were some races where this contention of not allowing lapped cars through? I honestly never saw one @bascb
          And I’m talking about real safety cars here not virtual ones.

          Fact is Norris’ claim is moot and racefans kinda exposed him there

      2. That’s exactly what I’m saying, I’m with you @flyingferrarim read carefully I played a bit with the “un” and nots

  7. Seems like they held them to leave as much gap for moving Latifi’s wreck and getting a green flag ending in, then had them overtake once safe. Poorly communicated and thought through but right move in the end imo. Entertaining as hell regardless.

    1. I really don’t understand how we’ve gotten to the point where we are arguing in favor of keeping the safety car on track despite the track being clear.

      The stewards make the most sensible decision and everyone complains. No one would have bat an eye if this was the first game of the season.

      1. Personally, I don’t argue for keeping the safety car out. I do argue that the FIA should stick to it’s own rules. They gifted the win to Max here by breaking their own rules.

        I also argue that we should get rid of the safety car. The VSC will handle most issues, and now serious ones would be better handled under a red flag. It would be safer, and wouldn’t waste racing laps.

      2. petebaldwin (@)
        12th December 2021, 21:38

        @paeschli – We’re at that point because if the safety car had stayed out, Lewis would be Champion. If it was the other way around with Lewis in 2nd and they finished under a safety car, the FIA would be “corrupt” for not finding a way to let them race to the finish.

      3. The issue isn’t really the safety car out/in, it was the decision to scramble 4 cars by then go green, putting Max right behind Lewis but f’n everyone else in the pack over.
        I joked at the time of the accident they might as well throw a red flag since race direction is for entertainment now anyways, and now wish they had – it would have been a lot more defensible than this fiasco.

  8. FIA breaking their own rules, ultimately wrong-footed the Strategy team from Mercedes, leaving Lewis Hamilton defenceless with worn tires in a farcical last lap championship title battle. I feel sorry for Lewis, and Max too. F1 is the big loser here.

      1. F1 did well, in the end the best driver this season won the title

        1. gifted a race win of a race that never happened, let away taking out his opponent in monza, brake-testing in jeddah, and gifted another undeserved race-win. yeah, the best driver…

          1. John Beckenhoffer
            13th December 2021, 7:59

            Don’t forget That British GP last summer, Where Hamilton did wrong in the overhaul rules and got the winning decision after all, thát’s not ‘sportsmanship’ either. (While Max lay in hospital, ‘Lew’ was feasting about he himsélf being the wrong-do’er) …

            And also don’t forget last week’s GP, where ‘Hammie’ got the advantage again, this after incorrectly driving upon Max’s car and thén getting the advantage for his ówn wrong-doing ….

            The only losers here in this finale-GP are the F1 and a failing FIA. Both being bad for the F1-racing sport …..

            John Beckenhoffer,

          2. Max lost 43 to Hamilton due to Merc drivers crashing into him mid season. Masi also gave Hamilton a very leniant penalty at Silverstone which was barely a penalty given his car advantage that day, also given the fact he would have been last if not for the red flag. Hamilton also benefitted from the red flag in Imola too. The fact Hamilton fans have reacted how they have shows how spoilt they have been over the years. F1 and sport has always been at the mercy of referees, judges, umpires getting decisions correct.

          3. @brum55

            Max also got away scots free in Barcelona with the divebomb. He also got away with Monza costing Hamilton a sure win. He also got away with Brazil and Saudi. Don’t be selective and then accuse Merc and Hamilton fans of being unreasonable.

    1. I feel MB made the wrong call by not pitting Lewis.
      And imagine if they did, and Max had stayed out, and there were the same cars in between them and they were not allowed to unlap themselves, creating a buffer between Max on 25 laps old Hard tires and Lewis on new(ish) Softs…
      The people who roast the FIA for letting them through would have roasted them for not doing so just the same in that scenario.
      In the end it is not about what the FIA decides but about who benefited from it.

      1. What you’re describing is the reason why MB didn’t pit Hamilton – he would have ended up behind Max with the race likely to finish behind the safety car to wait for lapped cars, or with those lapped cars in his way for what might only be 1 or 2 racing laps. That and a potential red flag situation made it by far the most prudent decision to maintain track position when facing an uncertain finale.

        The only way Hamilton would have lost out with that call was if everything resolved itself incredibly quickly, but the SC lasted the usual handful of laps as expected, before being rushed back to racing conditions in an unprecedented, rule-breaking manner for the final fateful lap.

        1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
          13th December 2021, 13:03

          John Beckenhoffer, “While Max lay in hospital”

          Oh Dear Lord. Don’t let the facts get in the way. It was precautionary visit. He wasn’t “in” hospital as admitted to.

  9. https : / / pbs.twimg . com/media/FGbbLiMWYA4DzCV?format=jpg&name=900×900

  10. all thanks to that crappy netflix documentary.

  11. Indeed.

  12. Massi is just an embarrassment to the sport.
    Can we find a replacement please?

    1. The previous F2/F3 Race Director was pretty level headed, and I thought would be a good replacement giving the shenanigans they have to deal with in the lower formula. Now Chair of F1, F2, F3, WTCC, WRC, FE, and International Steward.

      Quite and interesting read looking at her resume compared to Massi’s.

    2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      12th December 2021, 20:25

      @nullapax it’s too late now, he has decided a championship all by himself. He should have just awarded the championship to himself. I have a feeling both Red Bull and Mercedes would have preferred that outcome.

    3. If thing don’t pan out well for him at FIA, I’m sure he could get a job at RB. They owe him that much.

    4. Masi isn’t leaving. He delivered exactly what was expected of him : “excitement”.

      Fake, but nobody seems to care.

      I fear for the near future of the sport.

      Verstappen was the lucky one today but he may very well be on the losing side of a controverse Masi call next time.

      Nobody is safe.

  13. Many congratulations on your first World Championship Michael Masi.

  14. The FIA wanted a new champion.

    1. that’s why they didn’t ask Hamilton to have the place back… oh wait?

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        12th December 2021, 20:27

        @paeschli dude, I’ve never seen an overtake like that in my life. It’s borderline insane. If all drivers did the same at LeMans, half the drivers would die over the 24 hours.

        1. You’ve never seen someone dive up the inside of a corner?? The best thing ham could have done is recognised Max would try this, brake earlier and get a better line and retake him on the following straight. Hams not the brightest when it comes to racecraft though….

          1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
            13th December 2021, 13:05

            It is very clear to see Max is driving straight across the circuit and then turns at the last moment to keep the left side of the car on track.

  15. Of course it’s for TV, who pays for all of this?

    1. Exactly, like David Coulthard once said ‘it’s too much a business to be a sport, and too much a sport to be a business’.

      Teams and corporations don’t invest hundreds of millions just to go racing. It’s F1’s audience that they want to reach, and that sometimes means the entertainment takes precedence of the sporting or legalistic side. Sometimes that will go in their favour (like when Mercedes and their partners at McLaren weren’t banned from 2008 thanks to Ecclestone’s intervention) and sometimes it ends up favouring another team.

  16. Sad that we do not have a second Dutch driver on the grid to interview to get an unbiased opinion.

    1. You mean to say that Norris, a guy who’s childhood hero was/is Hamilton and who is also a close friend of Max would not be unbiased @paeschli?

      1. Blaize Falconberger (@)
        12th December 2021, 22:08

        and another Dutch driver would hardly be unbiased! An absurd suggestion…

        1. It was obviously sarcasm. Can’t wait for Russels’ unbiased opionion in tomorrows’ round up

          1. Russel spoke out already. Massive respect for Max but not this way.

  17. WhatsupholmesF1great
    12th December 2021, 19:39

    Great race and the best driver won and not the best car ! Awesome job Michael Massi and can’t wait for next year !

    1. Sorry to burst your bubble but Adrian Newey said live on Sky that his car across the entire season was the slightly faster package.
      Guess he would know.

      1. Ofc hell say that its his own work. But the constructors table never lies.

        1. @f1fan-2000

          Actually it does sometimes.

  18. Oh. I want to see how this pans out. I don’t see the FIA changing the race result but if there is a clear breach of regulations, a legal challenge may be on the table.

  19. Ask Perez how fair it was. Red Bull forced him to stop with one lap to go so he wasn’t in the way.

    1. On the way of Max?
      If I remember correctly he pitted during SC as well, he was behind Max and not lapped.
      But I might be wrong

    2. You are really lost here do you not?
      I guess F1 is new to you and excitement is taking over.

      Perez suffered an oil pressure problem. To avoid another SC or a longer SC they called him in to be safe.
      and Perez was behind max and would have never interfered with the win. He did his best tot aid max on his way to the win.
      I know its a bit much for a Newcomer in f but you will get it.

  20. I wanted Max to win because I wanted a new champion but both would have been deserving winners. I am really angry about how it happened. It was not a fix, it was not bias against Merc or Lewis, it was the worst example of F1 trying to improve ‘the show’ I have seen.
    At the end of a 22 race slog Masi decided he wanted to do a next goal winner, ignoring all the regulations.
    It makes a mockery of the sport and I would have preferred Lewis to have won behind the safety car or had the lapped cars in between than this farce.

  21. Yeah, I feel the same. Why wasn’t Carlos allowed to fight for the win today, in the end?

    I think the best way to out it would be: had it been any other race, with a title not on the line, would the FIA acted the same way? I hardly doubt it. And that’s why it’s wrong.

    They were biased, not to a specific driver, but to a race that was more of a TV show than a sporting event. They acted in a way to stage a wheel to wheel battle that was fairly conclusive after 56 laps, creating this artificial scenario that’s not written anywhere in the rules.

    Masi was bad all year, I think he hit a new low today. I think Max was the best driver this season, overall, but this leaves a very bad taste. Which isn’t his fault, today, tho. They took a chance, and were given it. Nothing wrong with that. But outside of them, the folks organising the race should know better.

    1. Carlos wasa llowed for the win and could have tried to pass the blue flagged cars in front. He did not even tried. While Tsunoda and Gasly passed Bottas in that last lap. So there was an opportunity.

  22. Murray Donovan
    12th December 2021, 20:40

    I use to be an F1 fan for the last 30 years. I didn’t care who won I loved both Max and Lewis but now the FIA are playing politrics I’m done. I’ve watched every race for the last 20 years before I had ever heard of Lewis Hamilton when Michael Schumacher was winning every race and BMW was still in. I don’t think I’ll be paying too much attention in the future with race director calls like this. I certainly won’t be buying $1000 tickets for three days and driving all day to get to the race and paying for a hotel. I have better things to do since this has turned into a joke. Christian Horner screaming at the race director and he changes his rule then Toto screaming at him after. Ridiculous.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      12th December 2021, 21:41

      You’re suggesting you’ve watched F1 for 30 years and this is the first time you’ve noticed the FIA playing politics?

  23. The whole season the lot of you did not claim unfairness when Verstappen got screwed by FIA and HAM an MERC got away with almost everything (remember the rediculous 10 points penalty for VER last week). Now HAM lost the race he should have won, but MERC partially was to blame because of a wrong tactic, and FIA just applied the rules, suddenly almost all of the Brits are screaming faul play. What a joke. The best driver of the year is champion. Hard to swallow but just admit it.

    1. ridiculous 10 secs for a brake test, pretty strange opinon. wrong tactic from merc, cause they didnt pit and give up track position – masi would not have restarted, if VER was in 1st position. and FIA applied the rules – no they did not.

      btw: i am no brit, just interested in fair competition and F1 sport.

  24. The entire sport is for TV. Where does he think all the money comes from?

  25. Today the divers kept it clean as they where asked. It’s the man who asked who did the dirty deed.
    Hamilton didn’t race Verstapen, he raced Masi and lost.

  26. I wonder if merc would have appealed if Max could not pass Lewis on final lap?
    Let the race result be as it is.
    It is refreshing to see some one other than Merc car winning WDC.
    First of all its Farce sport.. if it is about cars, then don’t even give WDC title.
    Else if it’s about drivers, then make them drive same car…
    It’s good ending for the sport/entertainment that we get on tv… WOULD THEY EVEN HAVE HALF THE VIEWERS IF HAMILTON CLINCHED WDC WITH 5 TO 7 RACES REMAINING?

    Max gave absolute good fight even when he got
    1) removed by bottas in one race
    2) by Lewis in another
    3) by sheer badluck with tyres in one
    And 4) by smart merc engineers by taking new engine for last 3 races

  27. Perhaps a change to the rule that allows lapped cars to pass?

    Max is in second on track but knows his package is at a disadvantage to Lewis, so he comes in for new tires. Shouldn’t there be a consequence for that decision? i.e. He should have to pass all the cars that stayed out while he pitted?

    Regardless of what happened in previous races, putting Max, on fresh Red tires, right behind Lewis on worn White tires is not letting them race. If any of you reading this thought/think Lewis had greater than a 1% chance of winning the race in that one lap to go scenario, then I’m not sure you have been watching with objective eyes.

    1. Putting max behind is what always would have happened during a SC. ALWAYS!!
      but mercedes decided not to pit and to keep lewis out.. it was their choice. A bad one for that, again.

  28. Hats off to Max, really consistent through out the season and was in the right place at the right time to take the title in the final race. Well done to red bull to beat Merc as well. I’m not a Lewis or Max fan (sad we must stipulate this to have any opinion which is not immediately discredited due to bias) and would have been fine with either result.

    But I’m still left with a little bit of a hollow feeling because the result felt too manufactured to me and like lando said, was just for the spectacle. A championship which comes down to the final lap of the final Grand Prix of the season with the 2 drivers racing for the win is something out of a movie and it feels like the racing decisions by masi and co (not just in this race) took every opportunity to get it to that point.

    The problem has been every incident has been put into this grey area in the rules which aren’t easily defined and some get penalised and some don’t. Some procedures are followed in a race and then they aren’t in another. I’m not sure what the solution is here but I’d just like to see less ambiguity and less up to interpretation and more consistency.
    Max has earned this championship for his performance this season but it didn’t feel as earned in the last race as it should have (if you know what I mean)

    1. Agree. I think race director’s decision has sadly diminished Max’s triumph and even if Merc overturn the race result it still be a tarnished championship,

  29. Lmaoooo
    “I don’t know what decisions ….
    “If that … then I guess that’s …
    “I don’t know exactly what …
    “I didn’t actually know it …

    “So it was obviously made for the TV, of course.”

    This why we shouldn’t read comment from a Brit on this.

    1. Norris was just in a tough situation of calling the situation BS, but also trying to defend his mate Max.

  30. The universe just said “ENOUGH OF THIS!”. Years and years of one team being allowed to make a killing. Hopefully Max can look normal in his photo shoots for next years championship that F1 promote as apposed to a victor who looks so smug that you almost want to puke. Yep you know. There is no way this can be reversed. Imagine it? After the deliberate punt Lewis performed at Silverstone (which should have disqualified him for the season) all is fair. Completely fair in my eyes. Finally after all of these years a champion who really had to fight for it (excluding Rosberg ok :-)). Honda are going to have years of good advertising prospects. The final engine supplier winners of this era. HONDA!

    1. @stash Suggesting that Silverstone was deliberate means any other opinion you hold on F1 is worthless. What a disgusting suggestion.

      1. Maybe not deliberate, but for a so called seven times champ it was an extremely poor and dangerous overtaking attempt. But then hams racecraft has never been top tier so unsurprising.

  31. Why didn’t they allow Stroll, Ricciardo and Schumacher to pass?

  32. In my eyes Max is a 0 time world champion.

    He’ll never get away from this question on his tally as long as he lives.

    Winning it this way with against the rules assistance from race control in aid of spectacle.

    It’s hollow. He didn’t win, whatever the engraving on the cup says.

    1. Salty much. He fought merc over 22 races and prevailed with bad luck along the way. The true 0 times world champion wld be nico rosberg.

      1. Woah, hang on, Nico beat ham fair and square, plus looking at how useless Bottas is you realise just how good he was!

        If anyone had a gifted title it would be Button. …And six of hams paper titles.

    2. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      13th December 2021, 13:07

      Plenty were calling for an asterisk against Lewis. Will there now be one against Max?

  33. Having spent years drafting financial regulation for the European Commission and the EBA, I’m appalled by how the F1 Sporting Regulations are written.

  34. Yes F1 if indeed the loser. They will lose respect and many fans. It has become as corrupt as all other sports.

  35. Are we able to discuss why the lapped cars were told to hold station initially and allowed the opportunity to resume their positions at the back of the pack?

    “When the Safety Car was out, I thought that we were able to overtake quickly, because normally [this] is what happens. You see the green light of the Safety Car immediately, and then you are un-lapping yourself until they remove the car,” Alonso

    “They should’ve let us pass right away, like other times,” Vettel

    1. *not allowed

  36. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    13th December 2021, 12:51

    I admire Max and Lewis massively. This isn’t about the result for me. What has deeply upset me is that our race director has taken on the role of ‘TV Director’ in this instance. I worry about the switch to entertainment over sport going forwards.

    1. Agree. Shame a great season has been spoilt by sporting ethos taking second place to show business.

    2. His “”role” is taking care of racing. Not running around with barristers and rulebooks.
      His first and only priority is to resume the racing as soon as safely possible.
      That is what he did.

  37. I guess it’s the modern teenager marketing all the way. No hard work, preparation, dedication matters anymore, it’s “who’s better for the views”.

  38. Too bad a 6th “lapped car” didn’t say “screw it, it they are going to unlap themselves, so will I”! That would have really thrown another element into this whole shitstorm.LOL

  39. The fact that the lapped cars would only hinder Max’s ability to chase after Lewis and it would have provided Hamilton with an advantage once the SC goes in. The call to get them out of the way was good knowing that this was about Hamilton and Vestappen. Did Vestappen pit BEFORE or AFTER he was told that they would move the lapped cars away, or did they simply took that gamble in case the SC went back in? Red Bull made a gamble to change their tyres, Merc made a gamble to keep Hamilton on to maintain his lead.

    1. Redbulls position was extremely advantageous with the timing of it all, if they dont pit, they’re 2nd, if they do pit, they’re still 2nd but on fresh tires but with the added possible bonus of being first if Hamilton pits because Hamilton had just past the pits and got tucked up behind the Safety Car while max was able to close up and get a ‘cheap’ pitstop.

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