Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2021

Mercedes have “good legal basis” for appeal over Abu Dhabi GP – lawyer

2021 F1 season

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Mercedes would have a compelling case if they submit an appeal over the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix controversy, an expert in sports law has told RaceFans.

The team is considering whether to appeal after the stewards rejected its protest over the restart of the race on Sunday. Mercedes claimed the sport’s regulations were not followed correctly when the race was restarted at short notice, and after only five of the eight lapped cars had been allowed to un-lap themselves.

The controversy in Abu Dhabi has left the outcome of the title-deciding race of the 2021 season in doubt for two days. Lewis Hamilton lost the world championship to Max Verstappen when he was overtaken by his rival on the final lap after the restart.

Under the FIA’s rules, Mercedes have a 96-hour window to commit to submitting an appeal, around half of which has passed. Following a controversial season the team arrived in Abu Dhabi prepared for a legal wrangle, having enlisted the services of Paul Harris QC. He previously represented the team in 2013 when they appeared before an FIA tribunal over a Pirelli tyre test, and in July last year successfully represented Manchester City in a hearing of the Court of Arbitration for Sport over alleged breaches of UEFA’s club licensing and financial fair play regulations.

Safety Car, Yas Marina, 2021
Analysis: The four minutes that changed the destiny of the 2021 world championship
Nicholas Bamber, an associate in regulatory and commercial dispute resolution at Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP, believes Mercedes have good grounds to challenge the decision to reject their protest.

“Race director Michael Masi and the stewards’ interpretation of the FIA’s 2021 Sporting Regulations has been called into question by racing drivers, pundits and legal commentators alike,” he told RaceFans.

“In response to Mercedes’ protest, they concluded that article 15.3 gives the race director carte blanche to control the use of the safety car and overrides the procedure for the safety car stipulated at Article 48.12.

“This interpretation seems – on its face – to be inconsistent with a plain language view of the regulations. It also directly contradicts Michael Masi’s approach in similar circumstances at the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix where he stated ‘There is a requirement in the sporting regulations to wave all the lapped cars past’ [emphasis added] before the safety car returns to the pit lane and the race recommences ‘therefore the safety car period was a bit longer than what we would have normally wanted’ – i.e. the race director cannot overrule the appropriate application of the regulations, including the full application of article 48.12.”

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This could be considered a breach of the International Sporting Code, said Bamber. “Article 1.1.1 of the 2021 FIA International Sporting Code makes clear that the regulations are to be enforced ‘based on the fundamental principles of safety and sporting fairness’ [emphasis added]. Part of sporting fairness revolves around consistency of application of the rules of the sport. As such, there appears to be a good legal basis upon which Mercedes could seek to appeal.”

Report: F1’s midfield runners left “speechless” and confused by controversial late restart
If the matter was to go to an International Court of Appeal hearing, Bamber believes this apparent inconsistency could prove challenging to justify.

“In addition to repeating the reasoning set out in the stewards’ decision, the FIA would likely argue that any ambiguity in the regulations should be resolved in favour of Masi’s decision-making made in real-time, under the pressure of ensuring the race was completed safely and competitively – relying upon the sports law doctrine of respective ‘field of play’ decisions,” he said.

“Again, given the inconsistency in the application of the decision-making during the race itself, and against the same circumstances in prior races, this seems an unconvincing argument.”

As the field circulated behind the safety car at the end of the race Masi had a narrowing window of opportunity within which to organise a restart. He was also receiving communications from the two teams contesting the championship – Mercedes and Red Bull – the latter urging him to resume the race in order to give Verstappen a chance to pass Hamilton.

Bamber pointed out communication of this kind is highly unusual in professional sport. “Whilst a relatively recent move to make the FIA radio communications between teams and race director has proven popular with the F1 audience from an entertainment perspective, it has also highlighted the volume and questionable nature of communications sent mid-race by the teams,” he said.

“It is extremely unusual, if not unique, in a sporting context for team representatives to have a direct line to the officials in the middle of a contest. In sport it is extremely important for officials not to be inappropriately influenced, and this raises questions about the regulation of those communications going forward.

“In rugby we have seen a lengthy ban handed out to South Africa’s director of rugby for ‘egregious’ offences during the British and Irish Lions’ tour of South Africa, including his role in releasing a video criticising match officials’ performance. World Rugby’s independent committee found that his conduct had a ‘corrosive effect on the game more widely, as well as the viewing public and press’.”

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

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534 comments on “Mercedes have “good legal basis” for appeal over Abu Dhabi GP – lawyer”

  1. Yes, Merc indeed has a good legal basis, everything considered.
    I would be unsurprised if Masi got sacked for this whole fiasco, the closest thing to race-fixing since Renault’s infamous Crashgate. Even if this happened, his successor mightn’t necessarily be any better in the long term, though.

    1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
      14th December 2021, 18:41

      Alonso still officially holds the Crashgate win, despite obvious foul play.
      Max will also, correctly, keep the WDC as he made a fair and legal pass during the last lap and crossed the finish line 1st.

      1. This isn’t a fight over who will be WDC. Please understand that the majority of Mercedes fans are not against Max. We are against the FIA. Max fans will also agree that there was a lot of questionable decisions that went against Max. Decisions have been maniuplated for spectacle, to make Netflix more interesting. Next season it could go against Max in favour of another driver. If you want this sport to remain fair, everybody should be pointing fingers at the FIA, and Masi.

      2. Ridiculous to compare the two , this is massively worse because unlike one car deliberately crashing to bring out sc (you also omit that this had zero direct effect on the WDC as the only reason massa lost points to Lewis was because of the botched pit stop fuel hose calamity and not the crash itself) the race directors DELIBERATELY interfered and manipulated in the race by breaking the set FIA regulations and standard protocol to force the restart whilst artificially placing max directly behind lewis removing ONLY the lapped traffic in front of max(if the race restarted with lapped traffic in place Lewis would win) this is WWE levels of corrupt to be honest .

        Do you realize that only reason merc didn’t box Lewis was because the strategists saw the severity of the crash and the race should’ve finished under a SC or possibly one green lap at the most extreme WITH all lapped cars in place(there was mathematically not enough laps left to allow ALL cars to unlap themselves) and merc had a safe 5 car buffer gap on restart.
        Are you also aware that Mercedes strategists calculated that even if the hazard was cleared super quick and there was just enough time for one green lap with lapped traffic in place Lewis could sprint away early and build a big enough gap to be safe whist max was ‘stuck’ behind lapped cars as he cant overtake them until start/finish line?
        But this was all thrown out of the window when masi himself or someone above him made up a new rule on the spot to order ONLY lapped cars in front of max to be removed so he had an easy run on new softs on lewis.

        So no this is far worse than Singapore 2008 and max only overtaken lewis on track for position because race control meddled in the restart order and deliberately placed max in a position to do that. Every other standard protocol scenario Lewis would have 99%+ chance of winning and oddly enough the only scenario where he has very low probability of winning is when race control invented a new rule during the sc just for max…

        This will be the argument used to get the race result reversed and Lewis crowned WDC because of the artificial and deliberate manipulation by race control at the the end of the race restart procedure created the overtake opportunity,plus the restart protocol was deliberately not followed hence there should’ve been one extra sc lap thus grid frozen under yellow condition and Lewis declared winner.

        1. Super post. Sums things up very well.

        2. Long post but I will resume it for you:
          Singapore was really not that bad because at the end it benefited my worshipped hero (even if this result was indirect, due to Felipe’s massive loss)
          Abu Dhabi was abhorrent because my worshipped hero was not presented the WDC in a platter

          1. Your comment is kind of ironic seen as Max was presented the championship on a platter! He deserved it, but your comments constantly amuse me, keep it up!

        3. I generally agree with most point, however, if the FIA made the call to allow all cars through much earlier, Lewis rightly will feel got some serious bad luck, but this inconsistent and late call has everyone annoyed.

          We are talking about fine print in the code rather than Max’s amazing world championship or Lewis’s 8th title, which we really should be.

          The FIA has screwed this up massively.

        4. Unfortunately there is no path for Lewis to become champion because time travel has not been invented yet so if the race did finish under caution there is no way to know %100 for sure if his car would have made it around the track for the last lap. We all assume it would have but circumstances would have been different i.e his team could have congratulating him on final lap and he wasn’t paying attention and could of crashed. They may find Masi made a big mistake and held accountable but it doesn’t change the fact that Max drove under the checkered flag to win.

        5. you are missing the point. as Verstappen didn’t infringe any rules the title can’t be taken away from him, as badly as the rules were or were not enforced by race director

          1. That is not true. If the appeal is upheld than the decision is clear. The race did not conclude correctly so the final positions at the end of the race cannot stand. The question then is how willing are the FIA, in their own court, to be honest and do what is essentially the right thing by restoring Hamilton to first place given the conditions that he should have faced had the regulations been correctly applied. The race should have ended either with no lapped cars allowed to unlap themselves, in which case Hamiltion would have won, or lapped cars were allowed to unlap themselves and only then can the race restart. In that case there would have been insufficient laps left before the race ended and Hamilton would be the winner.

          2. Who knows, the season could be nullified as a result in court, and no champion for 2021. or they chose to make nullify just the race result and announce Verstappen as champion on countback, or announce Hamilton/Verstappen joint champions (if both were to agree to it), as a final race result was not in place so countback is invalid. More likely i see the FIA sacking Masi and we all move on.

          3. Nope, in terms of the sport, this is worse than Singapore. Singapore was a single team deciding to cheat. Abu Dhabi was the actual race director cheating! And then backed up by the FIA with very weak and dubious arguments… The FIA are therefore complicit in the rule break and the manipulation of the race.

          4. Broadsword to Danny Boy
            15th December 2021, 9:03

            I agree
            However, if the court found in Merc’s favor might they consider suing for loss of earnings?

            Consider that the WCC win is worth >£20m more to a team than coming second (possibly a lot more), and that Red Bull pretty much admitted earlier in the year that if forced to choose they would prioritise WDC over WCC. That indicates that in terms of advertising kudos value the WDC win is worth much more than the WCC win, so that immediately gives a starting value for what has been lost.
            Furthermore, sponsors such as Ineos, Petronas and others pump collectively tens of millions into the team because of what they perceive to be the advertising value they get in return, a value that has arguably been significantly reduced by a very questionable action taken by a senior FIA official.
            If there is a good case to appeal then one might even consider that there could be a good case to sue in a proper court regardless of the appeal outcome (and I think we all know how the appeal will go).

            We’ll see.

          5. I wonder what would happen if a race was say 60 laps in length and the chequered flag was shown at the end of lap 59 (i know this has happened before)

            But what would happen if the flag was shown at end of lap 59, and then the car in 2nd legit overtook car in 1st (legit as in not due to car 1 slowing etc)

            The result is then declared based on positions at end of lap 58 (if i remember correctly). Would that be punishing the car that was 2nd but ended up finishing 1st despite it not being either drivers fault ?

            I think in that situation, the car that did finish 1st would be angered but those are the rules which are agreed before the season starts, its unfortunate but they are the rules

            Coming back to Abu Dhabi – it’s very unusual circumstances but what Masi done was neither drivers fault either and much like the flag being shown a lap too soon, the SC essentially pitted a lap too soon (as well as other things such as not all cars unlapping etc), would a lap roll back situation be feasible

            But as it won’t be in any rule book what should be done in such as situation – it wont be as simple as a roll back as that outcome is not written in black and white like the chequered flag mistake is

        6. Jay (@slightlycrusty)
          15th December 2021, 7:31

          @ccpbioweapon Well said. Verstappen is not to blame, but it stinks.

        7. All seem to conveniently forget the season was much longer than the final race. If you would turn the result of this race around, I can think of at least 4 other races that wrongfully benefited Lewis that then will have to be reviewed as well. Overall I think Lewis and Mercedes shouldnt have been in a position to fight for the title at the last race in the first place. The season was already so heavily tainted and scripted before the final race, it is a joke now to start focusing on the final one as if that was the decider. Instead of wasting time on that, it would be better to find out how Mercedes could have gotten such a grip on FIA decisions (&Pirelli) earlier in the season. And to focus on how to restructure FIA so this never ever happens again.

          1. And I can think of things like Max brake testing and dive bombing and not being penalised. We can all do it. The fact is in this case the race director did not follow the sporting regulations, it’s different.
            By the way I hope Max keeps his championship, he deserves it for sure, but your comment deserves a reply.

          2. Broadsword to Danny Boy
            15th December 2021, 9:13

            Stewarding decisions don’t need reviewing, the stewards are the stewards and the race director is the race director. The former are volunteers providing a subjective opinion on incidents when asked and the latter is an FIA paid official ensuring that the race rules are applied correctly, safely and fairly.

            The stewards provided their subjective opinions and that is done and dusted whether we like them or not. The Race director appears to have willfully invented new rules, or at very least invented a new interpretation of rules that contradict a previous statement he made regarding what the rule meant. This is an FIA official rewriting the FIA rules in the final minutes of a race that decides a championship, and something that really needs to be challenged and investigated so that teams and drivers know where they stand.

        8. Brilliantly said!!!

      3. There was foul play certainly but not by Alonso as far as anybody knows. You are entitled to your opinion of course but you have no facts to support it,

        1. @jelle-van-der-meer, re-reading your post, you don’t necessarily imply that the foul play was Alonso’s, so fair enough, ignore my previous post
          At Abu Dhabi there was a highly questionable decision, but no foul play whatsoever by Max as you well say.
          It is almost impossible to judge intentions but I find it very hard to buy that the dodgy decision about the lapped cars was made with the purpose of benefiting a particular driver. I agree with Norris, “that was for TV”. Legal or not, ending the season’s deciding race under the SC would have looked atrocious, and would have been perceived as handing the WDC in a platter to the driver ahead without giving the rival behind a chance. Besides, there have been way too many dodgy decisions benefiting the Merc side along the season for us to believe that FIA wanted to crown Max at whatever cost, as (almost) everybody and their uncle are yelling here.

          The pattern I glimpse is that Merc-favoring dodgy decisions where particularly egregious when they were falling behind. So I am now concluding that maybe what they wanted is to keep the competition as tight as possible for as long as possible, no matter how unfair it was for either team.

          1. There were far more Red Bull favouring calls, the worst one being Masi’s final call of the season, he practically gave Verstappen the championship by making what looks to be an illegal call.

          2. You are all wrong. The only Fight that mattered was the 1-2 to decide the championship. That’s the only reason Masi allowed to pass those few cars. Who cares the 3rd, 4th, and so on??

      4. This scenario is wildly different. In the case of crashgate, there was more of the race run. It would prove impossible to rewind the clock, and predict exactly what would have happened without the offence. Additionally, it was a competitor who committed the offence, and the competitor who should receive any penalty.

        In this case, we can know EXACTLY what would have happened if the SC had been brought in at the correct time – one lap later. The race would have ended under the SC, crowning Lewis the winner and champion. It’s a very rare scenario where they *can* change the result with confidence.

        Other evidence to support changing the result can be found in F1s history, albeit not in a direct equivalent. In previous years there were non-championship races, where a race wasn’t run fully to the FIA F1 regulations, and so they wouldn’t count towards the championship. In this case, the final lap(s) weren’t run according to the regulations, and therefore should not contribute to the race or championship result. There are two ways to handle this – classify the race as it was n laps previously (this has been done a couple of times before, when the chequered flag was show at the incorrect time – the race result was taken on the lap BEFORE that). This would leave Lewis the winner. Alternatively, throw out the entire race, which would leave Max the champion, but would effect anyone who changed championship standing in the final race.

        There are options to “fix” this problem, if the appeal is upheld (or indeed made), some of which won’t change the crowned champion, some of which will. I’m firmly of the opinion this shouldn’t be a contributing factor in that decision (just as the championship fight shouldn’t have been a factor in Masis’s decisions on Sundays).

        As for the argument about ending under the safety car looking atrocious – again this shouldn’t matter. Conduct a thought experiment: what would have happened if the crash had occurred one lap sooner? Masi could have kept to the regulations, we would have had our one lap sprint race, but MAYBE Merc would have pitted Lewis as there is now a much higher chance of there being time for a racing lap. We would have had our thrilling finish – indeed even better, as it would have been two cars on the same tired, all or nothing for one lap, instead of the inevitable mugging that actually happened.

        Re-run that thought experiment if the crash had happened one lap later – even with changing the rules, there was never going to be time to restart the race. Masi might have been able to get away with a red flag and restart, but that’s dubious as there wasn’t really a safety case to do so (if there was, that would have happened anyway). Instead we would have finished under the SC, and there was nothing anyone could have done about it. No one would have questioned that Lewis’s 11 second lead before the SC meant the race win was well earned (well, some people would have questioned it – there are always some people. But there wouldn’t have been the option.

        So the crash occurring a lap either side would have resulted in either no need to or no opportunity to change/break the rules. Are we really saying because the crash happened on exactly that lap, using a vastly different procedure is ‘based on the fundamental principles of safety and sporting fairness’. It’s like saying in football, “if a corner kick is awarded in the 88th minute – no earlier and no later – it can be taken as a penalty from the penalty spot, and we’re not going to warn anyone about it”.

        If the appeal is upheld, the result cannot stand. It would render the entirety of the regulations, stewardship, regulation and oversight entirely pointless. It would mean that Masi can do ANYTHING he likes on a race weekend, and no one would be able to do anything about the result.

      5. The overtake wouldn’t have happened, had the proper safety car procedure been followed. Masi had 3 options: 1st – allow all lapped cars to un-lap themselves and wait for them to catch up to the back of the queue before the safety car comes in. That is the normal procedure that has always been applied. The race would have finished under the safety car due to the lack of remaining laps. That’s part of the sport, and can and should be allowed to happen. But he wanted to allow racing to go on, so the 2nd option was to not allow any car to unlap itself, and have that one final lap under green flag. That would have probably (but not certainly) been enough of a gap for Lewis to make it to the finish line on his worn hard tyres. I have never seen this option chosen before. But Masi chose an even more complicated one, which is to cherry-pick which cars could unlap themselves, AND he sent the safety car in before those cars reached the end of the queue. This literally, LITERALLY, gave the win to Max. How can one, in the name of fairness, opt for an unprecedented solution that penalises the driver who led the race from beginning to end, and performed the best in the race? He should have remained neutral and followed the normal safety car procedure by the book. The 3rd option would have been to bring out red flag, and neutralise the race to allow everybody to change to softs and decide the outcome in the final lap on an equal basis. That would have also been somewhat controversial, but at least fair. Masi tried to not interfere with racing, and he ended up interfering not only with the result, but with the championship, and that is not acceptable. Max deserves to be a champion because he’s a top driver, but he did not deserve the win in Abu Dhabi, and you know it. It was beyond “just racing”, beyond “doing it on track”, beyond normal variability of the sport. It was an arbitrary, unprecedented and controversial decision that gave him the win.

        I still doubt that the title winner will change, and it’s an ugly way to finish it all. but Mercedes is right to protest.

    2. The bit that this lawyer forgets is that Masi has been consistently inconsistent.
      ‘I rest my case, your honour.’

      1. Brilliant!

      2. I agree. However he has inconsistently applied rules that are vague and open to interpretation. The rules broken here were not open to interpretation and are very clear.

        1. Absolutely.

          For an explainer of why Michael Masi’s decision went completely against the clear cut rules, see here: 2021 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Lap 57: What Michael Masi did Vs what he should have done. (goes to two flow diagram images on IMGUR).

    3. @jerejj it’s way worse than crashgate as it involved a race win and a championship and was done by F1.

      The saddest part is that everyone watching it unfold knew what was going to happen. We expected foul play from F1. Mercedes expected foul play. Red Bull was hoping for foul play. The sport has to have a minimum of trust and that trust has disappeared between the teams and F1.

      The trust is broken and I’m not convinced that Masi was the reason this happened.

      1. @freelittlebirds Indeed. Crashgate got merely done by a competitor, while this one was governing body’s doing out of all.

    4. Masi did exactly what he was paid to do. Deliver the championship to Max. He may have taken it up to the last minute, but he delivered on what he was supposed to do in the end. I don’t think Liberty will scapegoat him. He’s too loyal.

      1. If Masi was trying to help VER win the championship why didn’t he penalise HAM for the turn 6 lap one incident.

        None of the many 1000s of posters on this site and others has been able to answer that.

        Masi might be bad at his job, the FIA might well have wanted to up the spectacle, but this provides no proof that they wanted VER to win or fixed the result.

        1. Because they can’t. It just bitterness. Pure bitterness.

        2. Masi couldn’t penalise Hamilton. He referred it to the stewards, who sounds that no further action was necessary.

          I disagree with that call as I have disagreed with several similar calls this year, but that specific one wasn’t Masi’s call.

          1. He didn’t refer it to the stewards as it was never investigated

          2. I’ve said this before on another article but that was the correct call for the lap 1 “incident” that people keep talking about to counter problems with the end of the race.

            Max completely missed the apex of turn 6 and nearly went off the road himself. Around 90% of Max’s car was across the white line on the outside of the corner. That is anything but leaving a cars-width for Lewis to stay on track. I consider it the same as Nico Rosberg’s manoeuvre in Austria, in both cases one driver has overshot the corner apex and driven Lewis off the road to gain an unfair advantage.

            Absolutely right that there wasn’t a penalty against Lewis.

          3. Max got penalized when he wasn’t left room in the previous race.

          4. @skydiverian I disagree – I think Max sufficiently made the corner. It was an aggressive move that one day will go wrong and he should be slapped with a heavy penalty when it does, but that wasn’t Sunday. Lewis should have given the place back – but considering how vehemently Red Bull were arguing for “let them race” in Brazil, I just shrugged. Small decisions like that get made strangely all the time. It’s in an entirely different league to what happened at the end of the race.

          5. I would agree with you were Max the defender @fluxsource but he was the attacker coming from way way back and then crowding a competitor off what was the inside of the next corner.
            I’ve actually been flabagasted by so many people justifying that as having meant Lewis should hand the place back just because he avoided a collision. This is F1 not banger racing.

          6. @Adam Hardwick

            Utter tosh. Max made no attempt to make the corner until he had sufficiently run Lewis off the road. He made zero attempt to leave room for Lewis and hence Lewis had no option but to leave the track or crash into Max. Max made the move far too late as he was so far back. That is why the lead was allowed to be kept by Hamilton. Now under normal circumstances Max may have been given a penalty for that move as he forced another car off the track. However the stewards took into account that Lewis had not lost out and so were lenient on both the drivers.

          7. I think the whole Masi balls-up has robbed us of dissecting this properly.

            For the record, I would have ordered Hamilton to give the place up. I would also have shown Max the black and white flag because, while I thought the move legal, I also thought it very unsporting.

            However, if I remember correctly from comments made after Silverstone, the “rules of engagement” allow a driver on the inside of the corner to “own” it and not leave a cars’ width on the exit only if they were “substantially alongside” on turn in. Now, I haven’t seen a replay (TBH I really want to forget the entire race, the entire season even, after that farce of an ending), but I think that’s crucial. Was Max “substantially alongside” at the turn in point for the corner, or was he further back and dive-bombed the corner? If the former, Lewis should have given the place up, whereas if the latter, Max didn’t leave enough space on the exit of the corner.

            That sad, I doubt even that applied here. I think it was a combination of first-corner leniency and the “let them race” philosophy. Horner has been pushing for the stewards not to intervene all season, and so they didn’t, just as they didn’t in Brazil.

          8. @drmouse I think I largely agree with you, but just wanted to add another though – throughout the season, there has been mention of “at turn in” when discussing disputes about corners, without anyone clarifying who’s turn in they’re referring to. The defender? The attacker? The “ideal” turn in point? They could all be very different, and depending on which you pick to apply the rules to the outcome could be very different.

            From what I remember of the corner, by the time Lewis turned in, Max was ahead. But at the point Max tuned in he was still behind, although it was a very shallow turn in, and he was at least partially along side.

        3. The people who claim Garry Connelly is biased against Max have disappeared as well!

        4. Lap one incident is again a creation of max aggressive driving as he was aware that he can brake late into the corner and if there was a crash he would be champion, similarly when he was third in saudi he was very cautious with bottas in turn 1 for me thats called dirty driving, and its not the first time he did that and if you guys study the pattern he did several overtakes before also but if you see the last four races he has done that only with hamilton as he was aware that crashing is for his benefit with others he was very cautious, though i am not a fan of hamilton as well but the way the whole season has ended Max was not a deserving champion based on the driver ethics and sportsmanship if he was fighting the championship with a younger driver they would have crashed atleast 10 times its just that lewis is a legend were he has avoided it many times. towards the last lap i should remind you all that forget about lewis and max the race was happening between all the drivers there were ferrari, maclaren and others masi saw only two to make it entertaining if they allowed fair racing even sainz might have won the race its just like there are only two drivers on the track its all about creating headlines and making money as it is good way or bad way publicity and attention always bring huge sums of money.

        5. Because penalising drivers is not Masi’s job, That’s the job of the race stewards and Masi has nothing to do with them (yes, he can refer an incident to them, but they make the decision, not Masi).

        6. My guess would be that they were being cautious after several weeks of light touches/ignoring Max. After Brazil T4 and BrakeTestGate, the figured “super max” would be able to win anyway. And after that the opportunity to do anything about it seems to be gone. Until that fateful safety car…

        7. why didn’t he penalise HAM for the turn 6 lap one incident.

          Because that would’ve been even more obvious. Getting a penalty for getting shoved off the track?

      2. Michael masi does not work for liberty media. The eu made it clear 20 years ago that the commercial rights holders (liberty media, before them bernie) can have no influence over fia rules. And since the fia is based in Paris they have ro follow eu rules

        1. Which is a really interesting in point…if Mercedes had some evidence of conclusion or influence between the rights holder and the FIA to maximise the entertainment value over sporting regulations, then that could potential open the option of civil proceedings within a French court (rather than a sporting tribunal) and grant the power of discovery (something the FIA would likely want to avoid).

      3. Of course this fuels the controversies and there will be interesting books in a few years about what pressure Masi had or hadn’t.
        The most interesting question to me is not only if the legal basis is good for appeal but if it is in Mercedes interest to proceed with the appeal. F1 got a lot of exposure this season and especially this last race. Yes, few fans are threatening to quit but how many are actually doing it, and on the other hand I hear people getting interested in the sport because of this season and change of regulation next year.

        By not protesting, Mercedes can ride the popularity wave, it might improve the way people look at their hybrid dominance as more challenged following this year and they will probably grow their support base. On top of that, they will have slightly more testing hours than RedBull in a pivotal season.

        I still don’t agree with the way the situation was handled, but playing the devil’s advocate, all is not black for Mercedes.

        1. Testing hours are based on WCC standings I believe

      4. Trying to take a wdc away is what happened to Schumacher in 94. If they wanted max to win they wouldn’t have left it to chance (likely but no guarantee he makes that pass). They would’ve given lewis a grid penalty in Saudi Arabia. They would’ve given lewis a grid penalty for Monza and a harsher penalty in Silverstone. Probably wouldn’t have changed the pit stop rules.

    5. Masi will never get fired. Instead, he will receive a big bonus for his decision, as the whole world is talking about Formula 1 day after day now. This is the best publicity for the sport ever made and the responsible for this is Michael Masi, so from the commercial point of view that was a golden decision by him. More people will follow the sport after this pure hardcore. Was this “manipulated”? Big bosses don’t care, the yelling is what matters. Welcome in the real world.

      1. He will not get fired because doing so would mean the FIA admitting their own Race Director broke the rules and in doing so manipulated the race and the championship…

        If they do that then they are even more open to being sued by Merc and all the other teams that were affected by the decision.

        1. Broadsword to Danny Boy
          15th December 2021, 9:20

          NO, but he may be ‘asked to resign’ quietly, probably with a checkbook being waved at him.

    6. They have great legal basis, pulling all tg
      He call merc swayed over the years to haunt FOM back.

    7. “FIA would likely argue that any ambiguity in the regulations should be resolved in favour of Masi’s decision-making made in real-time, under the pressure of ensuring the race was completed safely and competitively”.
      There is no ambiguity. Very clear 1. RD did not follow SC procedures. 2. RD over-rule decision compromise Mercedes strategy.

    8. Christmas in Michael Masi’s household:

      It’s 7am on Christmas morning and his young children excitedly run into their parent’s bedroom in anticipation of opening their presents.

      Child 1: “Merry Christmas Mum, Merry Christmas Dad!”

      Michael: “What do you mean, Merry Christmas? It’s Easter…”

      1. Haha 😂 😂😂

    9. Only Britain taking about race fixing and Masi. Entire rest of the world doesn’t.

      It’s just prejudgment and narrow minded views.

      Entire rest of the world seeing nothing wrong and taking about luck for one and unluck for another, as it happened multiple times through the season.

      1. @regs Luck is fine. A late safety car is fine. Not following the rules in order to deliberately change the outcome of the race is not fine.

        1. Not following rules was the message that lapped cars won’t be allowed to overtake. That was the cheat for Hamilton.

          Second message was correct, though only applied to the party of peloton. But Masi did have an authority for that. And it wouldn’t change anything for Verstappen and Hamilton. Lapped cars are not necessary to line up behind for restart. They should only make effort to catch the peloton.

          If not first illegal message that took a lap to fix there would be enough time for a lap.

          And it sounds like – we cheated and you used shady methods to fix that cheat, so we should be given position back.

          1. @regs That’s a bizarre reading of the situation. The initial call to not allowed lapped cars to pass was perfectly legal. It’s rare since the un-lapping rule has been brought in, but there’s no rule breaking there. You can absolutely argue that it was an unfair decision – I would have some sympathy for that. But it didn’t contravene any of the rules.

            I don’t agree that Masi had authority to only let some cars pass, but to be honest, it’s largely irrelevant, because the real problem is the next rule breaking – one that doesn’t rest in interpreting an ambiguous sentence. The safety car was required to stay out for one more lap. No ifs, no buts – once a single car was allowed passed the safety car, the rules explicitly state there MUST be another lap under the safety car following it. There is no getting away from it.

          2. @fluxsource
            That’s normal reading. Unprejudiced. I’m not British, not even west European, not Hamilton fan, not Verstappen fan. That’s how entire world reading it. Only British media is being salty. For the rest nothing wrong happened. One for more lucky on restart and was smarter to stop for new tyres. Lewis had enough luck with safety cars and red flags on his own this season. Nothing bizarre on this.

          3. @regs I sincerely doubt you have the authority or knowledge to speak for the “entire world”. Suggesting that there is nothing bizarre about this is absurd. Perfectly reasonable to disagree about what should happen next, but saying what happened was totally normal is just incorrect.

          4. @fluxsource
            I do. I’m not prejudiced, i’m not in conflict of interests anyhow. And as i’m not English-speaker, i gather my information from all around the world, not just within English-language bubble.

            So once again, only British media is all about this.

    10. Normally, lapped cars are allowed to overtake if it safe to do so. It would have therefore been strange if lapped cars would not be allowed to overtake.

      For Hamilton it was just a piece of back luck that Latifi crash happend, because he had to make a quick decision;
      option a) don’t pit, remain in the lead and hope to finish behind the safety car
      option b) pit, potentially give up the lead, but have fresh tyres and hope to have one chance to overtake in the final round.

      Eventually, it played out differently than he hoped for, but this was also because he gambled on option a).
      Bad luck is also part of motorsport.
      So instead of fingerpointing, it would be better to accept it like a sportsman and move on.

      Mercedes bringing a laywer to the final race, implies that they were planning to protest anyway, if they were to lose.
      Besides Hamilton fanboys, the rest of the world will see the protests and potential appeal as being a bad loser.

    11. Well, there are no guarantees his successor would be more competent, though Masi has set the bar pretty low in that regard.
      However, he’d have Massi’s firing as cautionary example, to warn him not to try to rig race results by abusing or ignoring both the regulations and his own recent rulings.

  2. Well, good for them.

  3. Mercedes go get justice and save this sport

    1. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
      14th December 2021, 18:37

      The only thing Mercedes would achieve would be to drag the sport down even further.

      1. Staying silent would drag the sport down further. This is bigger than a single race or even a championship.

      2. Contrive2Survive
        14th December 2021, 18:49

        Did you see what happened at the race yesterday?, how can the ‘sport’ and I now use that term very loosely in F1’s case, be dragged down any further, that’s impossible:p

      3. The sport needs a kick up the backside then if it is already down.

      4. It can’t get any lower Barry. Plus it isn’t actually a sport, it’s now an entertainment series.

        1. It can just show the part where toto got rebuked rightly so by masi.
          Unbelievable and a stain on F1.
          The way Toto seems to think he can influence the RD by screaming at him is embarrasing.

          1. Well, lets turn this around. Red Bull personnel is ob recorder telling the race director “they only need one lap” just before getting the backmarkers out of the way. lets say the restart is found to have been illegal- was Red Bull complicit in trying to fix the outcome? could this be sanctionable?

          2. *on record damnit

          3. Nice try, but Toto is in the right on this one. The rules simply haven’t been followed, apparently to “spice up the show”. Which is an entertainment decision, not a sporting fairness decision.

          4. erikje yes, everyone knows the only person allowed to influence Masi is Horner.

          5. Well, I can imagine Wolff is upset though after all the dealing made by Mercedes on wings, tyres and Lewis favoring red flags. Seriously, Mercedes complaining about race control is a bigger joke than Masi’s clumsy season. They should be the last ones to say something. They shouldnt have been in the fight in the first place as the season should have been over races ago. Tainted season, heavily influenced by Mercedes in back rooms. Wouldnt be surprised if some serious corruption was discovered.

          6. The race director lowering himself to that level with a patronising Netflix response was embarrassing. He should be above that.

          7. Mayrton you conveniently forgot where one part of the wing was 86mm and they were put to the back of the flgrid I see? Obviously maFiA helping Mercedes right?

        2. Ben
          14th December 2021, 19:01
          It can’t get any lower Barry. Plus it isn’t actually a sport, it’s now an entertainment series.

          If I was Michael Masi, I would call my autobiography book like this: “Hands up! It’s called a bank robbery …oh sorry …a motor race.”

      5. I imagine Mercedes is thinking about that, and that’s why they’ve not lodged an appeal yet.

        Quite a lot to be gained in terms of reputation by letting this one go and congratulating Max and RBR (as Newey said, they built a faster car). Mercedes have won the WCC anyway.

        1. Yeah I absolutely agree @dang they should let it go. I read somewhere that Hamilton was trying to get the bosses to let it go also, not sure how accurate the source was but it would make sense.

      6. I know this would “drag the sport down further”, but sometimes you need to got rock bottom before anything can get better. I cannot see anything improving unless Mercedes keeps the pressure on, and of it doesn’t improve, we can forget any pretence at calling F1 a sport. It’s on the verge of becoming a motor racing game show, at best.

        The only reason to stop this process is if the FIA and Masi admit they messed up and give a solid and believable plan to improve things massively.

        1. Jay (@slightlycrusty)
          15th December 2021, 8:18

          @drmouse Exactly. If Mercedes does nothing the FIA will have established a new precedent: the race director can apply or ignore rules as he sees fit. At that point we don’t even have a sport.

          Mercedes didn’t pit Hamilton because leaving him out was the best strategy under the rules, but if the rules aren’t really rules then how can they decide the correct strategy? Masi crowned Verstappen on Sunday, that shouldn’t be his choice.

          1. This is exactly why I want them to challenge the FIA. Rules need to be rules and yes we have grey rules in F1 that are open to interpretation, but competitors still know roughly what is going to happen to them under those rules. The rules in question though are clear and obvious and were not interpreted rather than completely ignored. We can not have the situation we now have where the Race Director can simply make rules up as he goes and even then can do it in a split second with no warning to the competitors.

      7. And the FIA saying its up to us if we chose to ignore the regulations when we feel like to reward one team and disadvantage another on a whim because we can means the sport can’t get any lower. Maybe next time Masi might decide to promote the even numbers in the lapped train, and leave the odd numbers where they are because he can promote ‘any’ he wants?

      8. @barryfromdownunder Sometimes the wrong done is so great that action has to be taken.

        1. So Masi sacked along with the FIA who backed him, Lewis WDC, both Horner and Toto sanctioned for interference, and put someone trustable in place, and quickly so we look forward to fair racing next year, because without it why would any team bother to attend, or us to watch what 1 man wants decide, do the sponsors want to be associated with further debacles, why should the last race have finished under different rules to the rest of the races , would all venues want an exciting finish, ideally yes.???

  4. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
    14th December 2021, 18:34

    As I understand it the working says any lapped cars can pass, which could be interpreted as some, but not all, at the directors discretion.
    I think there is more substance to the complaint that the SC should have returned to the pits on the following lap.

    1. While your point is correct, any does not mean all. You have to be consistent with your interpretation of this word. When we had situations like this, all cars were let through in the past. This was the first time I can remember where only select vehicles were left through was the only time I can remember where only some of the cars were let through (I may be wrong on this).

      So while your point is correct that any does not mean all, the FIA has a responsibility to interpret this term the same way all the time. They can not change the meaning of the words as they see fit. This would essentially make the rule book(s) useless as they can interpret words differently each time to fit their goal, which in essence, would make the rule books pointless.

      Just a personal opinion.

    2. If you are a parent in a theatre queue with your children and someone called out “any parents with children can come in.” Would you question whether that meant you or just some of the other parents.

      This is ridiculous semantics of the English language.

      1. +1 Andy. From a legal viewpoint “any” refers to “all” especially in UK based contracts.

        1. Does ‘can’ also mean ‘must’ in UK based contracts?
          (No dog in this fight… just having some fun with words.)

          1. @clayt ‘can’ & ‘must’ mean different by respective word definitions, but I’m not sure about law stuff.

          2. any cars that
            have been lapped by the leader will be required to pass the cars on the lead lap and the safety

            There’s no such thing as “can” in the regulations. There’s “any” and “will be required to”.

          3. @clayt “can” and “must” are different, although @andyfromsandy chose to use “can” in his metaphor and 48.12 of the Sporting Regulations uses the phrase “will be required to”.

      2. You can say what you want but this rule was never applied right. Since there are many occasions where twice lapped cars were not allowed to unlap themselves twice. So with that retrospect, any means not all. and they had all rights to do it this way.

        1. Any car not on the lead lap must pass those on the lead lap and the safety car. We use the term “unlap themselves” because it’s easier, but that’s not what the regulations say. They do not have to bring themselves back to the lead lap, just get out of the way of those on the lead lap.

          If you read the regulations, it’s not very difficult to understand.

        2. @hannesch Apologies, I clicked report by mistake – hopefully nothing happens to your post. Sorry.

          The purpose of moving lapped cars to the back of the train is to get them out of the way of clearly faster cars when the race restarts. So, in reality, it doesn’t matter if Driver A is two laps down but DriverB is only one lap down, they both move to the back of the train and are now out of the way. They’ve both done one additional lap, DriverB is now on the same lap as the leader, but DriverA is still one lap down on DriverB and the rest of the field.

          That’s how it has always been done – all the lapped cars are shuffled to the back of the train regardless of how many laps down they are. The key point being “all the lapped cars“.

      3. Semantics and context of language is what most legal disputes (especially contractual and administrative) revolve around. That’s why we get called.

      4. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        15th December 2021, 9:55

        @andyfromsandy what if they said “all parents with children can now go to the concession stand”
        would you be obliged to go?
        Don’t get me wrong i think the spirit of the rule in question does imply all, but that there is room for a good lawyer to argue otherwise..

        1. @fullcoursecaution

          A point many seem to have missed, but I can guarantee Mercs lawyers will not have, is that while article 48.12 does initially say “any lapped cars” it does go on to clarify that the “last lapped car” (i.e the lowest in the order of cars not on the lead lap) must pass the leader (and then if the safety car is no longer required it should pull in on the “following lap”… initiating article 48.13 on that “following lap” to control the actual withdrawal of the safety car). If the “last lapped car” must pass the leader, which by virtue means all lapped cars must pass the leader to even get to the “last lapped car”, then “any” must also mean “all”.

          There is absolutely no justification for Masi to have exited 48.12 before he reached the “last lapped car” part, he should have followed 48.12 to the letter, despite the disgusting attempt by the stewards to corrupt the intent of article 15.3 (which merely serves to establish the relationship between the Race Director and Clerk of the Course) to mean that the Race Director is akin to God almost and can cherry pick certain bits of the regulations however he sees fit.

          The stewards “circled the wagons” there in an absolutely disgraceful attempt to protect one of their own, to save Masi’s neck. For that alone, the stewards should be ashamed of themselves and, inclusive of any past or present stewards who don’t call it out, their professionalism and commitment to ensuring fair racing in accordance with the regulations for all should be forever questioned.

          If you’re interested I’ve prepared two flow diagrams which show the relationship between 48.12 and 48.13 and what Masi did compared to what he should have done. You can find it here: https://imgur.com/a/IkavFpa.

          (In case you’re wary about visiting a random link, that some random (me) on the internet posted, then worry not, Imgur is just an image hosting site and is perfectly safe to visit)

    3. Jean-Christophe
      14th December 2021, 19:02

      How do put “not all” and “required” in the same sentence and make sense? What cars are required and what are not?

    4. The regulations continue to say “once the last lapped car has passes the leader the safety car shall be called in at the end of the following lap” clearly defining that any lapped cars means all, and that the safety car was called in a lap too early.

    5. Any people still outside when the doors are locked won’t be able to come in.

      Any cars which are late for the ferry won’t be able to board.

      I know Masi is an Australian so English isn’t his first language (j/k!) but there’s no ambiguity here.

      It’s more about whether art 15.3 allows the RD to ignore all SC regulations, including the “following lap” part. That’s arguable, but not reasonable nor sensible.

      1. It’s not about 15.3… it’s about whether the FIA can change the result or delete green flag laps, which pretty much they can’t do without nullifying the whole event.

        The appeal is about the changing the result.

        1. The appeal is about the race director breaking the regulations. They are asking for the race result to be amended to redress this.

          Saying it’s about the race result is like saying someone who sues for damages is about money.

        2. reread 15.3. it states that RD can overrule the clerk, but not that he can overrule the rules. he cant send the safety car to pick up his kids from school…

          1. @romtrain Well, actually, Article 15.3 doesn’t explicitly state that he has to follow the sporting regulations. This is quite an interesting wrinkle to me, which @red-andy also pointed out in another thread. Article 15.3 does explicitly say the race director can only exercise overriding authority “in accordance with the …Sporting Regulations” when it comes to the timetable, stopping a car, and red flags (15.3a, b, c).

            But that condition is absent when it comes to the starting procedure and the use of the safety car (15.3d, e).

            I think I have to revise my opinion here; I think Masi’s argument is much stronger than I initially thought. Articles 39.12 and 39.13 on the wavearound and bringing in the safety car are entirely written in terms of what the clerk of the course may do. The race director has no role in those articles. All the procedures outlined there are based on decisions by the clerk of the course. If the race director has overriding authority over the clerk of the course in matters of the safety car, then he must logically be able to override the procedures outlined for the clerk of the course in 39.12 and 39.13, or else what is he able to override?

            And again, this interpretation is reinforced by the fact that Article 15.3 does not explicitly state that the race director is bound by the sporting regulations in matters of the safety car, whereas it does explicitly say the race director is bound by the sporting regulations in other matters.

            I can’t say that this makes any of how this went down easier to stomach. Nothing in my years as an F1 fan had prepared me for this kind of flouting of regulation by the race director. I still think there needs to be better options for the race director in the regs themselves to resolve these situations. But I am much less certain about the strength of Mercedes’ argument than I was 10 minutes ago.

          2. @markzastrow Article 15.3 doesn’t – it allows the race director to make the final call in disagreements with the Clerk of the Course. But article 2.1 says it has to be carried out in accordance to the regulations. There’s no wiggle room here, there’s no judgement calls. 48.12 states the safety car has to enter the pit lane at the end of the following lap. There’s nothing else that says otherwise – you can still comply with 48.13 by sending the message the safety care is coming in on the final lap. By sending the message the lap before, Masi breached 48.12 – claiming a defence of complying with 48.13 doesn’t wash. It’s like arguing that it’s ok to have robbed a bank because you paid for parking for your getaway vehicle. 48.12 and 48.13 do not contradict each other.

          3. @fluxsource Yeah, I think you’ve stated Mercedes’ case very eloquently, and that’s how I would naturally understand 15.3. Still, I’m not saying there’s wiggle room in the express procedures or that 48.13 overrides 48.12 (thanks for the right numbers).

            I’m saying you could argue that 15.3, in defining the bounds of the race director’s “overriding authority”, was originally intended to create an exception to 2.1 that allows the race director the flexibility to modify the express procedures.

            I didn’t buy that argument when it first showed up in the stewards’ decision. But I dunno, the absence of the condition “in accordance with the sporting regulations” — when it is explicitly spelled out for red flags and other parts of 15.3 — is a little conspicuous to me. The language apparently dates to at least 1994 and probably to 1993 (couldn’t find those online) when the safety car was reintroduced. Of course, the express procedures were much simpler and limited then and covered far fewer scenarios.

            Perhaps the race director in 1993 wrote the regulations in that way to give himself latitude to handle situations as they arose that season that were not covered in the sporting regulations — and the language has never changed. For instance, in the 1994 regs, the “Safety Car” section says, “In exceptional circumstances, a race may be started behind the safety car.” But there are no procedures specified for how such a start would be handled anywhere in the regs, nor for resuming a suspended race behind a safety car, etc.

            Either way, for me, it highlights how much the sporting regulations need an rewrite for coherency that articulates the ruleset in a way that fully reflects the modern sport.

          4. More evidence that Article 15.3 was originally written to allow the race director to improvise new procedures is that the other provision of 15.3 that does not require the RD’s overriding authority to be “in accordance with the sporting regulations” is the starting procedure.

            And again, the section of the regulations covering the starting procedure in 1994 specify no procedure for how to start a race under the safety car (whereas today’s regulations cover that extensively).

            So no wonder Article 15.3 does not require the RD to follow the sporting regulations on the use of the safety car and the starting procedure: If, in 1994, the RD were to start a race under the safety car, as allowed by Article 148a, he would have been required to invent a procedure not in the sporting regs!

            Or maybe it would be more accurate to say that in 1994, the expectations for the role of the race director were different then, and the language reflected that. It seems hard today to imagine that the race director would be expected to have to make some things up as they go along, but that seems to be exactly the way Article 15.3 was written.

            To be clear, I find this situation farcical. For a 27-year-old bit of language to decide the world drivers championship in 2021 by allowing a race director to invent a safety car procedure out of thin air is absurd. But, here we are.

          5. @markzastrow Interesting points. I think you’re right for that there is discretion for the RD to have flexibility to cover situations not covered explicitly in the rules. But that’s not the situation we have here – if this wasn’t the last race of the season with the two challengers on equal points running first and second then none of this would have been considered. The race would have just ended under the safety car and end of story.

            The only part that is “exceptional” is this weird agreement before that race that the race should “finish under green flags if possible“. There are two points about that.

            1. Why was this agreement needed? Isn’t this always the case?
            2. It wasn’t possible, not if it was an FIA Formula 1 race.

        3. That’s okay. Max didn’t do anything wrong, this isn’t against him, so if he keeps the title because they nullify the event, then at least there will be some accountability, as embarrassing as it would be for the sport.
          This year there have been a few races where various drivers and teams are confused as to what the actual rules are because of different rulings. They need to get their house in order before we start next season.

          1. At the bare minimum, cancel WDC points results Award Hamilton the win, Max wins WDC and Masi is fired for this and the Belgian Grand Prix. Get someone in as RD who can handle pressure in is capable of making firm, fair and consistent calls to penalize so drivers know what is allowed.
            Its that or Hamilton wins race and WDC. Massi is fired.

            Doing nothing is not an option .

        4. I don’t see why not, considering if the rules had been followed correctly the race order at the end of lap 57 would also have been the same at the end of lap 58.

          1. As funny as this will sound, not necessarily. Maybe Hamilton’s car was marginal on cooling and would’ve broken down with one more lap under the SC. There’s no way of knowing what would’ve happened if lap 58 would’ve been ran under SC.

      2. @dang My non-lawyer reading of 15.3 is that is purely addresses the working relationship between the Race Director and the Clerk of the Course and defines who has authority in matters where their responsibilities overlaps. 15.3 is clearly not intended to give the Race Director carte blanche to make up new rules as he sees fit when he feels like it.

        1. @scbriml I read it the same way

        2. Yes, and furthermore 2.1 makes it pretty clear that the Race Director is bound by the regulations.

    6. The rule says: “any lapped cars will be required to pass”, not “any lapped cars can pass”.

      Totally different.

      1. @elio

        You can say what you want but this rule was never applied right. Since there are many occasions where twice lapped cars were not allowed to unlap themselves twice. So with that retrospect, any means not all. and they had all rights to do it this way.

        1. Even if you interpret “any” to mean “some” that still doesn’t explain why the part about going green “at the end of the following lap” was ignored.

        2. Again, read the regulations. They’ve never been required to go around twice. You are taking the shorthand we use, not the words of the regulations.

      2. (just back to have some fun).
        Actually the rule states: “If the clerk of the course considers it safe to do so, and the message “LAPPED CARS MAY NOW OVERTAKE” has been sent to all teams Competitors via the official messaging system, any cars that have been lapped by the leader will be required to pass the cars on the lead lap and the safety car.”
        There is a lot of leeway in that first word (If); Masi can easily hide behind that.
        And as I stated before: This rule applies to ‘lapped cars’, not to cars on the lead lap (Mercedes and RBR).

        As made abundantly clear by the stewards and Race Director, Masi can always apply rule 39.13 as it is simply defined as: “When the clerk of the course decides it is safe to call in the safety car ….”. There is no requirement included in that clause that he can only do this after fully complying with 19.12 (even if we forget about the ‘if’ statement in that clause).

        Masi has been very inconsistent (consistently so), and it appears that the way it was executed on Sunday was not in line with the way the rules were intended. But legally the actions can be easily defended on appeal.

        And overall I’m happy that the best driver overall during 2022 won the WDC title (and best team the WCC title).
        Hamilton deserved to win Abu Dhabi, but not the Championship IMO (I’m especially referring to Imola).

        1. Yes, but it’s a binary option – if he considers it safe. It’s either safe or it isn’t. The wording doesn’t allow for the Race Director to partially allow some cars to unlap themselves while others cant.

          1. There may, possibly be an argument in extreme circumstances. Say he is letting them through, but then the weather changes or some such. However, I think there would have to be a very strong safety argument to do this, which there certainly wasn’t on Sunday, and I would still say there’s an argument that the race cannot resume until the last lapped runner has passed the safety car.

        2. “If the clerk of the course considers it safe to do so…

          So if it is not safe then none will be allowed to unlap themselves. That is a binary choice as well. It doesn’t infer that if it safe only some can.

          How about – Masi, Charles here as any doesn’t mean all I feel I would rather not unlap myself!

    7. @fullcoursecaution ‘Any’ functions as a conditional. If there are any lapped cars (because there may not be any) then they all must unlap themselves. It’s an economic but precise way of saying that. As all the examples people have given show, that’s how the phrase is understood in normal English. It’s complete bad faith – or Red Bull modus operandi – to claim the opposite. The fact that Masi has himself publicly enforced the rule in the past by stressing that it indicates ‘all’ makes the whole argument that it says otherwise spurious.

      1. Absolutely correct. I was very surprised to find that particular line copy-pasted in the protest dismissal. It looked more like a cheap shot in a TV debate than like a serious argument.

    8. @fullcoursecaution Even if that were true (it’s not), someone else has been on record saying differently.

      “There’s a requirement in the sporting regulations to wave all the lapped cars past”

      Who said that? Masi, October 2020

    9. It is a folly to interpret a particular single word. The English language places a lot of emphasis on context and in the context of the sentence the word “Any” can not mean anything other than “All”.

      For instance if I told my son to pick up any of the toys off the floor that are his, I would not expect him to argue that picking just one of them up satisfies my request…

      1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
        15th December 2021, 9:43

        What if you told him to pick any socks to wear?

        1. @fullcoursecaution Again, context is king. If wearing socks, requiring 2 – no more, no less – is implied. If you’d said any socks in the cleaned laundry pile, you’d once again expect all to be collected.

        2. Wear as in errode?

          Well obviously not as “Wear” in this context clearly means to put on…

  5. It is ridiculous, the hand of god wasn’t overturned, England didn’t get the World Cup. If the referee makes a mistake, it’s just that. Ever seen a football match played over because a fault of the referee.

    Masi should resign, team principles should not be allowed to talk to the race director, it should not be broadcasted.

    But overturning the decision is unjustifiable for the other parties. (As well as it is now for LH) but we can’t turn back time. There will always be a loser.

    1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
      14th December 2021, 18:36

      Brilliantly said – nothing needs to be added – well done

    2. there is a big difference: a soccer referee can decide independently. a penalty is only a penalty when the referee sees as a penalty. michael masi has to follow written procedures. he made a mistake, a very big mistake, mercedes must appeal. this would be good for the sport, not the opposite!

      1. The football referee also has to follow written procedures. He/she just cannot say: “Oh he stepped on that grass to hard, PENALTY!”

        1. At the time a referee without VARS could conceivably say he missed it so play on.

          How is that even comparable to a restart after a safety car?

      2. Really so a football referee can make up his own rules on the field? He can give a penalty for a handsbal on the middle of the field, or give a corner at the sideline. Rules are rules no matter which sport. And a mistake is a mistake.

        So it’s total BS. Proof he did it on purpose and we’ll talk again.

        1. probably you understand what i mean: a football referee’s decision could be subjective. referee A sees something as a foul, while B doesn’t. masi cannot decide like this, he has to follow the sporting regulations. mistakes in football and mistakes like made on sunday are not the same. it was a legal mistake and when legal mistakes happen in other sports the game usually needs to be replayed. of course this is not possible in f1, but mercedes should bring it until the end

          1. That’s just nonsense. There is absolutely no difference with the football referee.

            Playing with 12 man is, but that would just end in DQ that team.

          2. I have never ever seen that WorldCup finales are played over if the referee made a mistake or didn’t apply the rules because he saw it different. The whistle signal is the end and i have seen many many wrong teams winning. It sucks but that is life too.

            So if Massi saw it different so it’s his but the fact is Max overtook Lewis before the finish and crossed the line first. And there was protest before the Stewards but that was solved and closed.

        2. Prove he did it on purpose? There were three options open to him completely within the rules. 1. Allow the race to complete under SC with lapped cars in place. 2. Green flag with the lapped cars in place. 3. Allow all the lapped cars to unlap once safe to do so, and then likely complete the race under SC conditions. All of these options would very highly likely have allowed LH to win the race. He made up another option which gave MV a clear run on brand new softs. He has directly influenced the result of the series. While I totally agree that the result needs to stand, this clown also needs to lose his job for gross misconduct.

        3. This was not a mistake. Masi knows the procedures, he’s followed them dozens of times, and he’s stated publicly that he’s required to follow them.

          This wasn’t anything but making something up to spice up the show. He knew very well he wasn’t following the regulations. He may, possibly, believe the BS that he’s allowed to do whatever he pleases, but he still operated this SC completely differently to all others throughout the history of the sport.

          This is not like a football referee missing a hand ball or foul, it’s closer to a football referee awarding a penalty for a foul on the half way line. It’s saying “I know this is what we normally do, what I’m supposed to do, but I’m going to do something completely different”. That’s not right or fair in any sporting competition, and I don’t know if any time anything remotely similar had happened before.

        4. You do know that Masi isn’t the stewards? The stewards are the referees and we’ve seen both teams accept, with varying levels of grace, a bad decision. This is the Pitch manager sending out a lawnmower during a penalty and parking it over the goal mouth.

    3. @hannesch the thing is, this is more like the referee giving a penalty but placing the ball at half the usual distance from the goal by accident

      1. @mrboerns When he gives a penalty while the handsbal was just outside the penalty erea , it was a mistake. Good luck going to the CAS

        1. @hannesch but this isn’t even close to similar. That would be like the race director and/or stewards not seeing a car being bumped off track. The officials are humans and don’t always see everything, which is fine.

          Again, this is more like the referee awarding a penalty for a foul on the half way line in the final minute with scores tied. He knew the procedure, but decided to invent something brand new which had never been done before and which significantly benefitted one driver over and above all others. Even if you accept the BS that the race director can do whatever the heck he likes (AKA the ‘F you’ rule), it’s still completely unacceptable.

    4. I think this is basically correct. I think Mercedes should probably appeal the decision but I don’t really see how the outcome can be changed. I think it’s important to pursue the issue though as it appears that FIAs own rules have been broken. The point as well is that in this instance, the rules are pretty clear cut and this action could lead to a proper review at least.

      I don’t really see how Masi can survive this. It’s been quite widely reported that many teams have lost faith in him. How is the there ever going to be any respect and a decent relationship between Mercedes and him now.

      I also agree that team principles should be banned from talking to the race director during the race.

      1. Redbull openly canvassed to have cars in between it and Mercedes be alliwed to unlap and requested for 1 racing lap knowing fully that they were disadvantaging Mercedes.

        Whereas Masi was the instrument to deliver the match fixing by breaking the rules.

        Hence Redbull arent mere
        passengers. They deserve to have the championship stripped

    5. This isn’t the equivalent of ‘the hand of god’ (that was when his driving at Brasil turn 4 went inexplicably unpunished) it’s the equivalent of a team being 4-0 up and in stoppage time the referee declaring ‘next goal wins’ and awarding the team that’s 4-0 down a free kick on the edge of the box, then after being pressured by that teams manager removing the defending teams wall.

    6. The native difference here is that the procedures were knowingly not followed. If a referee specifically said “the ball went out of play, I know that the rules call for a throw in, but I decided that I was going to ignore that”, do you really think there would not be uproar? Do you think the team it went against would just sit quietly?

      An official making a mistake, on his own, because he didn’t see what happened correctly is one thing. An official ignoring the rules and making up his own is completely different.

      1. “The native difference here is that the procedures were knowingly not followed”

        That’s conjecture

        1. Not so. Masi knew that the procedure was to let all the lapped cars through. He even said so last year when justifying the length of a safety car period. It’s been quoted several times that he said then he was required to do so. Therefore he knew that was what he must do, so he knowingly didn’t follow that procedure.

        2. No it’s not conjecture – in rejecting Mercedes protest on the day, the stewards even admitted that procedures were not fully followed.

      2. Proof there was intent. Good luck

        1. He knew the procedure. He’s applied it over and over, this year and others, and he even said he is required to follow it last year as justification for a particularly long SC period. I think this is pretty strong evidence that he intentionally didn’t follow that procedure: he didn’t follow it, he know the procedure and that he was required to follow it… What other conclusion can be reached?

        2. a RD must know the rules. the book is not that thick. a cab driver cannot ignore red lights, cause an accident, and then get away with ‘it was a mistake’.

    7. in my opinion it was no mistake, but a deliberate act to change the result.

    8. “Ever seen a football match played over because a fault of the referee.”
      Yes, as for Bundesliga at least in two occasions: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost_goal
      The match between Bayern and Nuremberg in 1994 was replayed as the Ref rewarded a goal to Bayern which didnt happen. Same for Leverkusen vs Hoffenheim in 2013.

    9. Just because I’m a lot anal about specifics, can I just point out that overturning the result of the Hand of God match would not have handed England the World Cup. It was a quarter final match.

      Carry on…..

    10. @hannesch But it’s no longer 1986, we have VAR now in football and such a goal shouldn’t now stand. And yes, football games (and other sports) have been replayed because of irregularities during the match.

      1. The football analogy is better compared to a racing incident call.
        Massi didnt follow SC rules.
        Paddy Power will be paying on both Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen to win the F1 World Drivers Championship . Reducing the chance of getting sued?

      2. Which worldcup final is ever been replayed?

    11. Hand of God is one of the greatest plays in sporting history. Nothing more satisfying than getting away with cheating against cheaters

    12. Except, uniquely, we CAN turn back time. This is probably the only time we can know exactly how the race would have finished if the rules had been followed.

    13. I can agree with all of this. Max should remain WDC.
      However as a minimum the FIA/Masi should at least apologise to Lewis for the mistake they made.
      Refs do this this in football I see know reason why this cannot happen.

    14. @hannesch
      The hand of God was just another casual referee mistake that didn’t change the final outcome of the match. 5 minutes after it Maradona basically whipped the floor with half the English team. The rest were saved by the fact that they were out of his way.

      1. You know in Football that goal was very important without it could be a draw. That kind of shocks can (and will) break the spirit of a team on that moment.

    15. Very different…

      The Hand of god was a split second decision by the referee who quite easily could argue that he did not see it and video replays were not available to the referee back then. As far as I know the rules also say that the result can not be changed after the event.

      What happened at Abu Dhabi was massively different as the Race director has a team of people working with him to apply the rules. He has video replays, he has the rule book right in front of him and also this was not a split second decision. It is also baffling as we have seen so many safety cars and they always manage to follow the rules perfectly fine!

  6. I think sacking Masi is the best thing that can happen to F1 and also the best thing Mercs can hope for from all of this. It was a wonderful racing season, utterly soiled by dodgy rule enforcement, not just the last race.

    1. The only fair outcome is for Lewis to be handed the WDC and the race be classified as the safety car not ending thus frozen grid.

      If not what is the point of wasting millions protesting ONLY to get masi sacked when Lewis was robbed of a WDC due to the race directors deliberate meddling and inventing new regulations on the fly at the end of the race during the shambolic sc restart?
      If the safety car procedure followed normal standard protocol Lewis would win anyway and be WDC but that did not happen because race control made up new rules on the spot to deliberately manipulate the order(under sc ONLY lapped cars in front of P2 was moved out of P2 way so he has a clear shot at P1 ..that’s a world first) so protesting to reverse the result is justified and logical.
      Another argument is if this was the second race of the season would the race restart? most likely not so where in the rules states that the race directors can make up new FIA rules because they want a have a drive to survive worthy last lap?

      More importantly The biggest area where Mercedes have got a huge argument is the last minute change to ONLY allow lapped cars sandwiched in between P2max and P1lewis to effectively get out of max’s way and unlap and no other lapped cars in the point got the same treatment.
      extra fuel for the conspiracy is why did race control say no[lapped] cars will overtake for the restart and suddenly change their mind as there was no time to allow all cars to unlap as this would trigger sc to stay out own lap longer?
      The argument is that masi was ordered by an outside source or conspired to change this rule at the very last minute to ONLY remove lapped cars in max’s way as it would benefit him massively(if the race restarted with all lapped cars in place lewis would win, max being stuck behind lapped cars and not allowed to overtake them until he crosses the line to start the last lap would cost him too much time to catch lewis ) and artificially gave him the best opportunity for an easy overtake on Lewis on new softs vs old hards.


      Its highly likely that Mercedes will overturn this result if they go all the way

      1. It’s so funny that you think your favorite driver is the best ever and also that he needs a lawsuit to win with the fastest car

        1. You obviously haven’t heard. It wasn’t the fastest car so says Adrain Newey so please stop putting out false information.

      2. @ccpbioweapon I’m a big fan of Hamilton and feel that he was handed the very smelly end of the stick in Abu Dhabi. Masi did not follow the procedures that he previously told teams he had to follow. He made it up on the spot.

        That said, I cannot see how Hamilton ends up with the WDC. The best outcome I can see is that the FIA admit the rules were not followed at the end of the race and as such the result is not valid. The race will be declared null and void and stricken from the record. Hamilton and Verstappen will end up on equal points, but Verstappen will retain the title on countback.

        1. I think the only fair outcome would be for both drivers to be awarded the Championship. Max does not deserve to have it taken away as he did nothing wrong, but clearly Hamilton would have won it if the rules had been followed…

          Given they were equal on points going in to the race, I do not think anyone would complain about them sharing the award.

          1. I would! Sharing a WDC is embarrassing

          2. More Embarrassing than a corrupt sport or removing the WDC from Max?

      3. All, clearly the lapped cars controversy can be argued from both sides – Was it against the rules? Did Masi overstep his authority? Should Max be penalized for the actions of others? etc., etc. So let’s put that aside for a moment and focus on the other protest. For the overtake under SC conditions, Max did go ahead. It was as much admitted by the FIA, Red Bull, and the cameras. In the past, such action has essentially been unanimously addressed by the application of a 5 second penalty. End of discussion. However, that did not happen. I fear the outcome of the overtake protest dismissal clearly sends the message that overtaking under a SC is OK as long as the order is returned before the SC line. So, does that mean the expectation is that the next time a car is overtaken there should be no penalty? Does that ring true? What do you think will happen if a driver decided to overtake the safety car? I mean, at the SC line it is already expected that drivers will be ahead of the SC because it pulls off before the line. However, I dare say that there would not be enough rule books to throw at the driver who decides to do that, even though the precedent is set.

        Masi (and FIA) argue that the top priority is safety (he can no longer argue about being a rule follower). What do you think would happen if a driver was amping up beside another driver as Max was to Lewis and they hit a track worker or caused another incident. Again, not enough rule books. The FIA should apply the overtake rules and penalties (which have often been applied after a race). It is clean and fair. Either way, I can’t see Masi getting a job even as the race director for a merry-go-round of cars at the Chesterfield Carnival – the organizers won’t want the controversy.

    2. I don’t think that’s a solution. They should build systems and help around him. Being race director is a unique skill build over years. So it’s easy to hate on Masi. He was in a lose lose situation for himself and he tried to resolve it on track. Red flag or faster over taking by the lapped car would have been better. Finishing behind the SC is just lame. Don’t forget, it’s a sport for entertainment.

      1. He was not in a lose lose situation. He has manufactured that himself. If he had stuck to the rules no one could rightfully complain! Finishing behind a SC is not ideal, however it is what the rules stated should happen. You can’t change the rules in a whim just to create entertainment. Imagine if in the world cup final the referee added an hour on to the match for entertainment value just because he felt like it… If the SC rules are not wanted then they should go through a formal change process not ignored… We have seen many races finish under a SC why should this one have been different?

    3. Its a shame the FIA cant be sacked. Masi is just a symptom of the deeper problem.

  7. Lets get serious about this. If Masi would make everything right in the final laps, the outcome would be the same. Lets dig a little bit on it.

    Safety Car was deployed 5 laps before the final. After 2 o 3 laps it would be letting lapped car to unlap themselves, so the Safety Car would be enter al the same lap that actually did. So the outcome would result would be the same and the bad luck of a Safety Car for Mercedes would be the same.

    Just because Masi delayed the process of unlapping, the result would be different. Mercedes count on the end of the race under Safety Car, that everybody (including Mercedes) doesn’t want to be the end of the season. If Mercedes box Hamilton and Max became leader by staying on track with medium tyres, at the end of the safety car Hamilton would be able to attack Max. So Mercedes and Hamilton risk to finish the race under yellow flag.

    They now relay on a procedure that, after all, don’t really affect them, but wants to alter the outcome by shortening the race laps by one, just because Masi mess up. That actually would be outrageous.

    1. Sorry about my redaction. English is not my first language and when I’m writing quickly, I made a lot of mistakes

      1. Your English is fine but your logic is wrong. First and foremost, had the safety car protocol been followed, Max wouldn’t have even 1 single lap to try and overtake Hamilton, since SC would have had to return the lap AFTER all cars unlap themselves. But assuming Masi decided to keep the cars in between HAM and MAX to give the latter 1 lap chance to overtake HAM, he wouldn’t have been able to pass Hamilton since there were 5 cars in between them. So realistically speaking as you wanted, Max wouldn’t have been a champion if rules were followed.

        1. +1. Reading OP’s post came across as revisionism to me.

        2. I think what SuperIU is trying to say, is that the first blunder was saying lapped cars will not be able to unlap, which delayed the decision to then allow cars to unlap by about a lap. If cars were allowed to unlap on time, and that decision was not delayed, the safety car would have returned to the pits on lap 57 after cars unlapped on lap 56. Max would have still been directly behind with 1 to go.

          I think this more shows how many errors Masi has made, and how he seems to crack under pressure, which then encourages team bosses to pressure him to get their way. The only question becomes, if not Masi, then who?

      2. Contrive2Survive
        14th December 2021, 19:01

        RB took the chance to come in again for softs knowing the risk of falling behind 5 cars, 5 cars that Lewis had already passed. Mercedes stayed out knowing if the race did restart for 1 lap at least they’d have the 5 car buffer and an extremely talented driver to hold off Max on new rubber for half a lap. Not only did Masi break regulations regarding unlapped cars he totally changed the factors RB and Mercedes used in making their decision whether to pit or not. By doing this he also massively favoured 1 driver and disregarded all the others, not just Lewis. There is no debate, I don’t understand what’s wrong with people to be honest:-/

    2. Masi didn’t delay unlapping. It can only occur when the hazard has been cleared (as the unlapping cars need to travel at high speed to reach the back of the pack before racing resumes — in normal practice, anyway).

      1. There is no need for that in the final laps of the race as even a 15 second gap will be more than enough to prevent the leaders from catching the released backmarkers. It’s good that the resumption of the race is a separate article from the unlapping procedure for this, and other, reasons.

        1. well there is a need. its the rules. otherwise just give mazepin 500 points and crown him FIA WDC, cause there is no need not to.

        2. I can see your point, and it is a very good argument to change the rules around waiting until the end of the following lap in next year’s regulations. The idea could go through the proper procedures and come onto the rulebook with unanimous agreement from all teams, or else it could be brought in later (the year after?) without.

          That doesn’t change the fact that the regulations exists as written now, and Masi ignored them and made up something brand new which benefitted one driver above all others. That’s still not fair or right in a sporting competition, even if there are ways the rules could be improved.

          To be completely honest, if they want races to end under green flag conditions as a priority, the change I would make would be along the lines of “If an incident requires the deployment of a safety car in the final 5 laps, or the safety car is out when the remaining lap count falls to 5, the race shall be red flagged.”

    3. With the “action” on lap 57 under normal circumstances of the SC coming in on the following lap that would of been the final lap. On the final lap the SC pulls into the pits and the cars have to go past the chequered flag and are not allowed to overtkae.

    4. The cars were not allowed to unlap themselves earlier for safety reasons. The whole point of the SC is to create a gap on the track so that the marshals can safely recover the vehicle. If the cars had been unlapping themselves then there would not be those gaps. It is quite common for there to be a delay in letting the cars unlap themselves for this very reason. In fact it is very normal and happens almost every time! Normally the cars are allowed to unlap themselves after the track is deemed safe to do so and then the safety car is given an extra lap in order to allow the (now unlapped) cars to catch up to the back of the pack. The only strange thing about the initial SC period here is that Massi for some reason told everyone that cars would not be allowed to unlap. He had no reason to broadcast this. Other than that there was nothing unusual about the SC period until the bizarre decision regarding the ending of it…

  8. This was just the last mistake in the sea of many mistakes during this season. Some have worked in Hamilton’s favour. According to the British commentators themselves no less the there was a mistake at the beginning of the race, when Hamilton didn’t give the first place back. If that wasn’t the case we’d probably see a very different ending anyway. The season lasted for so many months, yet here we talk about something only because it happened last. If the rules were strictly enforced both Verstappen and Hamilton would be banned for a race of two this season.

    1. All other controversial decisions throughout the season happened on track and are based on subjective interpretations of those events. This final issue is with the FIA breaking its own rules and is nearly entirely objective. It’s not about luck or interpretation, and there are no equivalent controversies anywhere this season.

      The question we have before us is whether or not the FIA can dispense with its own rules in order to turn F1 into more of a spectacle? If the answer is yes, then what’s the point of having a rulebook? Why bother pretending it’s a sport? If the answer is no, then we need to take them to task for their actions, because they completely undermined arguably the most important race of the turbo-hybrid era.

      I don’t want Max to lose his title. He is a worthy champion and I don’t begrudge him that. But I hope Mercedes sues the FIA into the ground and/or wins full recognition that the FIA screwed Lewis.

    2. It wasn’t a mistake. He made up rules that don’t exist. He even told teams last season that he has to let all lapped cars past the SC. He knew what needed to be done, he arbitrarily decided to do something that had never been done in F1 before.

  9. In my view they should appeal this regardless of the outcome. Otherwise, we are just letting the FIA do what they want without following the rulebook.

    1. The outcome has to be the FIA need to do something otherwise things don’t change.

      1. Agree with both of you. It would be for the good of F1 & the FIA if the entire season was given a post-mortem examination. From the on track incidents, penalties, non-penalties, races which never should have been (Spa), all the way to the SC fiasco. What a mess of a season, this is no longer a sport.

  10. Netflix would love if this turn into a trial.
    Added bonus: some evidences surface that this could be crashgate redux.

  11. I’m sure they do have a good basis for an appeal but I kind of wish they’d let it go now. I thought it was a complete farce but if Lewis can get straight out of the car, congratulate Max and shake Horner’s hand, I’m sure the rest of us can move on too.

    1. That’s the thing though, there is no moving on if the FIA are left unquestioned. This is about the future of the sport, if it is fair and correct or if it is going to not follow the rules and become an absolute show as if wwe.

    2. Ham knew before the safety car had even been called back in he had lost and the race restart had / is being manipulated. The radio call between him and his engineer can be heard as its going on.. He would have had time to think of the right thing to do, which he did with honor and pride knowing he rightfully won but congratulated MV on his masi handed on a plate first ever championship title…

      1. It was only close because he wrecked max at Silverstone…far more dangerous than anything Schumacher ever did.

        1. @realnigelmansell Maybe time to move on?

          1. No this is our Australia 94

        2. Max also wrecked himself at Silverstone. He had every chance to give Lewis space but chose not to do so.

          Also remember Max on top of Hamiltons car at Monza where Max made a move that could never have worked…

  12. Did anyone place a bet on Hamilton yesterday?, if they did surely they should be refunded!. Mercedes need to take FIA and Liberty to Court. The Judge should void the last race so Max remains Champ but with an Asterix and Masi and the entire Race Control staff should be fired because the entire season has been a fiasco.

  13. I see 3 possible outcomes:

    1) Mercedes do not appeal and, in return, receive some guarantee from FIA that the rules will be applied more consistently and/or Masi will be fired or have his authority dilluted;

    2) Mercedes appeal and lose

    3) Mercedes appeal, win and the race is annulled, which would not alter the championship standings

    I don’t see the argument for the last lap not counting, its like saying that Masi was wrong only when it went against Merecedes interests. Fair enough, that may be the case, but how can one argue for a last lap annulment onlty?

    1. @fw11b Annulling only the last lap wouldn’t be entirely unjustified since that lap should’ve also been an SC lap as per unlapping protocol.

      1. @jerejj but in this case wouldn’t the judges be rewriting the rules to mandate that all lapped cars must unlap themselves? Can they do this?

        1. There has already been races in the past that have been ammended to a few laps before. Canada 2018 springs to mind. It’s also not unusual for races to be overturned entirely on a technicality. In my lifetime I have experienced hopeless cases win on a technicality and not their merits. While Merc’s case has some merit, there is no doubt there is a technical argument as well.

          1. @blazzz Canada 2018 was shortened because the checkered flag was shown two laps early and it may have confused the drivers. Mercedes would have to argue that the cars would not have been able to unlap themselves before the end of the race and, as such, the last formation before the order would have to stand. Still, it’s very hypothetical..

          2. 52.2 covers this eventuality and thus not relevant or applicable to this appeal case.

          3. @FW11B

            Merc do not have to prove that the cars would not be able to have unlapped themselves quick enough as the rules are clear and there was no way the race could have finished with a hot lap. The SC would not have been called in until the last corner of the last lap even if the cars had unlapped themselves by teleporting to the front instantly…

        2. Tbh, the letter of the rules say that the cars must be told to unlap if it is safe to do so. It is only if the race director deems it unsafe that he can skip the unlapping. There may have been a way to argue that it was unsafe at the time, but given he allowed 5 cars to unlap themselves, it would be very difficult now.

          1. “If the clerk of the course considers it safe to do so, and the message “LAPPED CARS MAY NOW
            OVERTAKE” has been sent to all Competitors via the official messaging system, any cars that
            have been lapped by the leader will be required to pass the cars on the lead lap and the safety

            Actually It seems that it is entirely up to the race director. I am also pretty sure that the “Lapped cars may now overtake” signal was not given as otherwise the other cars would have overtaken Max. They were specifically told not to.

        3. @fw11b Good question & I’m not entirely sure TBH.

        4. @fw11b But that’s exactly what the rules say.

          48.12 If the clerk of the course considers it safe to do so, and the message “LAPPED CARS MAY NOW
          OVERTAKE” has been sent to all Competitors via the official messaging system, any cars that
          have been lapped by the leader will be required to pass the cars on the lead lap and the safety

          Masi arbitrarily decided that only the cars between HAM and VER should move out of the way. In addition, the safety car is supposed to stay out for an additional lap after the lapped cars have been released, but he called it in immediately.

      2. If you annul the last lap you have a race that hasn’t complied with the sporting code and thus no points can be awarded. A shortened race can only give points if it’s suspended (read 6.5 that covers shortned races)

        So if the last lap didn’t comply with the sporting code, then the race itself hasn’t complied with the sporting code.

        1. If it can’t give points, it could still potentially be counted as a win, which would leave them tied on both points and wins and continue the count back. Not sure who has the most second place finishes.

          I’m not sure exactly how the roles would work, though, nor how the courts would decide. We’re into lawyer territory. I really wish Masi had just followed the regulations, however it went, and this farce had been avoided…

          1. It wouldn’t count as a win, it’d be a non event. Also on count back Max won more races. He wins no matter what.

        2. I dont remeber seeing a single green light lap at spa.. But yet officially a race happened but yet we never got a green flag during those 3 laps behind a safety car…

          1. The FIA state how the race complied with 6.5 at the bottom of the race result sheet. I am not looking it up again today. It’s on the FIA documents website.

        3. This has happened before though and the race was indeed judged to have been completed and points awarded.

    2. @fw11b the fact that Max didn’t have competition in the final lap from behind as he was required by the Sporting Regulations makes the final lap illegal. It’d be akin to Max racing 1 lap by himself (or Lewis if you wish) on track. This is a competition and Max didn’t have the requisite competition for it to qualify as a valid race lap.

      It also prevented Lewis from backing him up into the competition. In fact, on that merit Max should be disqualified from the race as Max ultimately didn’t comply with the sporting regulations on the last lap which would have required competition from both front and back. It’s Masi’s fault but the final lap by Max was illegal and therefore his entire race was illegal. Just as a driver serves a penalty for a team’s mistake, Max has to be held accountable for race direction’s mistake here

      Lewis’ final lap was legal, as was Sainz’s so they can keep their laps and results with Sainz bumped to P2. The only illegal lap was Max’s.

      In fact, Max was allowed to get side-by-side with Lewis (and may have even overtaken Lewis) something that can only happen if Max’s not competing. Sainz would have to be side-by-side with Max, Bottas too, and so on and so forth until all racing cars were side-by-side…

      1. @freelittlebirds I see your point but I doubt this will happen… Verstappen was benefited, obviously, but he didn’t issue orders to race control (or Latifi for that matter) to put himself in that situation. Furthermore, to punish a driver for race control’s mistake would create a dangerous precedent.. what if a driver is benefited for pitting under a yellow flag when a red flag should have been issued, for example?

        1. @fw11b Well, here’s an extreme. Race direction tells a driver to take P1 on the grid at the start of the race. It turns out that the driver is supposed to start in P3. The driver wins the race and the other teams tell race direction that he started in the wrong position.

          Does the driver keep the victory? No, his start position is illegal and he’s disqualified because he started the race in the wrong spot. Race direction apologizes, goes to court and that’s that.

          The car and driver pay the price ultimately regardless of whose fault it is. It could be their own, it could be the team’s, it could be race direction’s. It doesn’t matter whose fault it is – fairness and the rules require the car to be disqualified.

          1. I understand your point but I can assure you that’s not going to happen. In your (hypothetical) example the driver does actively take P1 knowing it’s against the rules.
            Verstappen did absolutely nothing. He just stayed where he was.
            So hoping for a penalty is a lost cause. The only chance Mercedes have is that the last lap wont count.

          2. @roadrunner Max’s knowledge is immaterial in terms of disqualification. But to your point, he was side-by-side (if not ahead) with Lewis at the restart. That suggests that Max knew that he wasn’t racing anyone behind him, otherwise he had to invite the person to be side-by-side with him, right? Have you ever seen a safety car restart where a car is side-by-side with the leading vehicle? It’s impossible if you’re in a real race…

      2. @freelittlebirds I can understand the crux of your argument, but I don’t agree that Max’s entire last lap was illegal. Don’t get me wrong, Mercedes have been deeply wronged through the worst race direction I’ve ever seen (except maybe the Bianchi incident), but I don’t think you can hold Max accountable. He’s had no input in the decision, and as @FW11B points out it sets a dangerous precedent.

        As far as I’m aware (and after an admittedly brief read through the regs), there is no provision in the F1 Sporting Regulations or the International Sporting Code that there has to be competition from both ahead and behind. If I’ve missed something, please do point me in the right direction and I’ll be willing to reconsider. And I think the simple defense to that it “there was competition, there was just lapped cars between us”. And if (and as I say I can’t find anything that does, but please do correct me if I’m wrong) the regs say there has to be competition from in front and behind, then how come Sainz’s last lap was legal, but Max’s wasn’t. If Max’s lap was illegal because there was lapped cars behind, then under those rules surely Sainz’s lap was illegal because there were lapped cars in front?

        And as I say, holding a driver accountable for the governing body’s mistake is unlikely to stand up anywhere. The key difference between holding the driver accountable for a team mistake vs a governing body mistake, is that the driver is affiliated to the team in question, as an entrant representing that competitor (competitor in the FIA sense meaning a team). To use another recent example, Manchester United were drawn in an ineligible fixture in the Champions League draw (yesterday as I write this) because of a technical hitch on UEFA’s side. Manchester United weren’t punished for that mistake by UEFA, and if they had been I have no doubt it wouldn’t have stood up in court. It does set a dangerous precedent (although setting dangerous precedent’s has become a speciality of the FIA recently).

        I completely agree that Lewis has been wronged here by the FIA. However, I don’t think Max can be blamed or punished for it

        1. Unfair advantage. All the regulations are designed to prevent a driver from holding an unfair advantage.

          Sainz is a victim as he had too much competition vis-a-vis Verstappen.

          Lewis is a victim as he couldn’t use strategies to back Verstappen into Sainz.

          The advantage lasted one lap and it was substantial enough to change the race and championship.

          It’s irrelevant if Max knew about it, was guilty, happy, sad, heart-broken. The only relevant thing is that he benefited from an unfair advantage during the race.

        2. As for Champions League, they fixed that right? F1 could have fixed it post-race. Mercedes even tried to help them fix it. They can’t allow a driver to have an unfair advantage that wins the race and championship. It’s bad enough they gave it to him but allowing him to keep it is in a different category.

  14. I think people pointing out “but Hamilton benefited from inconsistencies during the season too” are wrong. It’s not a matter of balancing the wrongs to make it right. FIA’s obligation is to follow the rulebook they wrote, and to make sure others follow it. They didn’t do any of that a lot of times this year, creating burrying the lines that confine what’s right more and more… It’s impossible, currently, to know whether things are legal or not during a race…

    Had they released the lapped cars right away instead of saying no, then yes, would’ve saved the sport of all this post-championship conundrum. And surely lobbying the race director while he has to make a decision in seconds doens’t help either.

    I’ll be happy if FIA admit they were wrong, Masi stands down and two-way radio communications between FIA and the pitlane are banned.

    1. I agree. I hope they appeal not to overturn the result. That ship has sailed, but to make the FIA conform to their own rules. To me this lawsuit should be more about the teams having clear rules that are always applied, no matter the circumstances.

      1. The appeal is literally to change the result. So if they aren’t appealing to change the result… then there’s no appeal.

      2. @talus21 I disagree. James Hunt was disqualified from the 1976 Spanish GP, only to have the win reinstated on appeal 2 months later. I hope this takes far less time to sort out but to say “That ship has sailed” isn’t right if there are valid grounds to appeal, which I think the above article makes very clear that there are.

      3. @talus21 I really don’t understand why people keep saying the result can’t be overturned. It’s the wrong result. It’s technically incorrect. If the rules weren’t followed, how on earth can you say the result can stand?

      4. Don’t get me wrong, I hope they do change the result, I just don’t think they will. But I am hopeful that if they do appeal and it goes to court the result is that the rules are less open to interpretation.

    2. Add the FIA print things in place to force the rules to be followed more closely and prevent this kind of thing happening again, and I’m with you. In fact, that’s what I’m after from this. Somehow I don’t see it happening, though.

  15. Personally, I hope Mercedes win their legal battle. That was a horrible ending to a championship that just felt false and manufactured. Having said that, I do hope the win doesn’t strip Verstappen of the championship. He did nothing wrong and deserves it.

    My hope is the legal outcome finds gross misconduct on the FIA’s behalf, and they have to make solid changes to the rules, to stop all this inconsistancy. I can’t see how Masi can stay. Hes lost the respect of the general audiance, but more importantly, hes lost the respect of the teams (I dont think he ever really had this)

    1. @davehaslanded It’s true he did nothing wrong in that race, but he didn’t deserve it. He wasn’t fast enough, nor did his team manage a strategy that got him in the lead, nor was there an event outside anyones control that was lucky for him. He was given it, but the the decision of the race director to break the rules.

      If this result is allowed to stand, then it’s tacit acknowledgement that the rules are meaningless. The race director can just declare a race as he sees fit. That’s not a sport.

  16. I’m just wondering… suppose they did take it a particular court and win.

    Would the outcome actually, definitely be ‘we rule that the classification at the end of Lap 56/57 should stand, not the classification at the end of Lap 58’? I’d have thought the court could also say ‘the race is null and void’ and nothing changes…

    1. A nullification of Lap 58 means you end up with an event non-compliant with the sporting code which requires 305km to have been achieved. Shortened races have to be ‘suspended’ to be able to allocate points (6.5), with the only an exception for accidentally early chequered flags.

      as they race wasn’t suspended… there’s no mechanism with the sporting code to award points. i.e winning their appeal means Max still champion.

      If anyone thinks the FIA will rejig the order of Lap 58… well I have bad news for you. They won’t and can’t.

      Merc, I suspect, didn’t realise this on their rushed initial appeal.

      1. There is precedent. When the chequered flag has been waved early, fire insurance, the classification has been taken at that point, with full points awarded. If your points was correct, surely those results would have had to be nullified…

        1. Ooops, not fire insurance, for instance

        2. 52.2 covers an early chequered flag so not relevant.

          1. Hi Alan, your point may well be valid and you’ve made it several times. However, the gist seems to be within these comments (with the exception of polarised fans) that most would like Merc to continue the appeal in order to force reform. Therefore, if Merc feel the same way, surely they’ll have to appeal the result since they have no avenue to appeal against the egregious mistake itself?

      2. It isn’t compliant because race control changed the rules on the fly. That and had they followed the rules correctly, the order at the end of lap 57 would be the same at the end of lap 58. Gaps between cars may change but the positions would not (baring any retirements).

        If the rules had been followed correctly, the running order after las 57 & 58 would be the same. So the result should change. If this goes to CAS and they say the result can’t stand, do you really think the FIA would have any choice but to flip the result to the running order as on lap 57?

      3. Alan Dove

        You’ve already got a race that isn’t compliant.

      4. If they nullified the race then they would get appeals from other teams who would lose out on money

    2. @neilosjames when a referee makes a mistake, it’s the referee that gets punished. Not the teams, nor the game result is changed.

      Same way here, there is no way Max can be penalized for a mistake Masi made. Most probable scenario if Mercedes goes to court, they win compensation of some sort and Masi resigns.

      Also Mercedes didn’t appeal, they submitted an intent to appeal which they had to do in order to keep their options open. If I had to bet, they’ll probably settle this with FIA and Liberty somehow and won’t appeal.

      1. I think they can have a special meeting about it with the other teams. Red Bull is also very unhappy with all the inconsistencies this year.

      2. @afonic

        Max shouldn’t be penalised, but he also shouldn’t be rewarded – he should (like all drivers) get the correct outcome for the race.

        Penalising Max would be correcting the result AND giving him penalty points. I’ve not seen anyone suggesting that.

        1. @fluxsource it seems that the “correct outcome” for the race is Lewis Hamilton winning it, isn’t it?

          1. @afonic In this case, yes, but not as a rule.

  17. I am in favor of Mercedes appealing, or at the very least not going down gently, because of the principle of it. Granted, they may be acting in their self-interest (I doubt they would consider appealing if Lews had won), but the last few years have seen an increase of decisions that seem to have been made with the view of adding entertainment to the race rather than following the rules. The last race was this culmination of this “netflix” mentality, and if someone doesn’t take a stance, even if for selfish reasons, Formula 1 may run the risk of being just as artificial as a wrestling show (no disrespect to professional wrestlers).

  18. @jelle-van-der-meer how can you validate the pass when he wasn’t even under pressure to be overtaken as is required by the sporting regulations of the race? The only situation where Max wouldn’t be racing anyone from behind under Safety Car is if he’s last in the race.

    It’s quite possible Max would have finished 3rd, not 1st and the lap that allowed to pass Lewis and only worry about an overtake is illegal in F1 when you’re fighting for P1 and P2 with more than 2 cars left in the field.

    In fact, Max was so illegally free to race Lewis that he lined up side-by-side with Lewis at the restart. If he was racing Sainz behind him, he’d know that he can’t do that. Otherwise, Sainz and Bottas could have lined up next to Verstappen with 4 cars next to each other. At the start of the safety car, all cars should be side-by-side to make sure they all have equal advantage to take P1.

    There are so many things wrong with this that the court should probably just ask F1 to fix it without a review as it’s a waste of the court’s time, unless F1 believes that they were justified in breaking all rules to hand the victory to Max. In which case, the court should review the case and award extraordinary damages to Mercedes and Lewis for intentional breach of contract by F1.

    1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
      14th December 2021, 19:07

      Very easy – if Latifi would have hit the wall 2 laps earlier you would have ended up in the same situation just without all the Mercedes and Lewis fans blaming Masi for losing the race. It was just bad luck for Lewis and finally some good luck for Max to somewhat balance the season.

      Max did nothing wrong and won the race fairly, if you want to disagree with the referee decision go ahead but it will not change the outcome nor will Mercedes appeal which if they have any decency they would retract.

      1. @jelle-van-der-meer

        Latifi would have hit the wall 2 laps

        But that’s just pure conjecture.

        What is factual is that as per the rules Sainz was not given a fair crack to challenge as well Verstappen while Verstappen was given an open goal to challenge Lewis. The more the facts come to light, the more it stinks.

        1. +1 also Max took a big lunge into T3 and was quite slow out of the corner. A Ferrari with a double tow might have had a shot at the lead. The only driver given a chance was Max. That isn’t sport, that’s fraud.

        2. chiefersutherland
          14th December 2021, 19:36

          You’re dreaming if you think Sainz was going to inject himself into that battle. What could he possibly gain in that instance?

      2. If, if , if. But it didn’t it happened when it did. The regulations have not been followed and the stewards have admitted that but not fully explained how the regulations work to the satisfaction of Mercedes hence their appeal.

      3. @jelle-van-der-meer

        I do understand that you’ll be upset if they take away the championship from Max but I can’t see anyway that this result can hold and Formula 1 moves forward. It’d be akin to McLaren keeping the WCC in 2008 and the prize money.

        The stakes are a race victory and a championship for Mercedes and Lewis. I can’t see them settling as neither Toto (who’s the wealthiest team principal) nor Lewis need the money and this has really got them fired up.

        1. Sorry 2007…

        2. There’s no mechanism to change the result in Lewis’s favour. F1 is moving forward whether you like it or not.

          1. It’s not a matter of changing the result in a driver’s favour. As I explained Max’s final lap is completely illegal in F1. It’s an automatic disqualification from the race. Without a classification for Abu Dhabi’s for Max, all the other drivers are promoted.

            I guess Max could remain champion with 25 fewer points than Lewis? I wouldn’t be surprised if F1 attempts to try that and Mercedes appeal that too.

      4. Hamilton would have pitted if he hit 2 laps earlier. He also would of pit if they knew that Masi would have restarted the race despite the rules

      5. @jelle-van-der-meer Alternatively, if Latifi hit the wall a lap later, the race definitely would’ve ended under SC conditions as the moment Latifi’s car got cleared & marshals off the track would’ve also happened a lap later & consequently on the final lap.

  19. He’s mistaken. Just because someone is a layer doesn’t mean they are right.

    There’s no mechanism to change the championship result which is the key component of Mercedes’ appeal unless the ICA breaches the FIA F1 Sporting Code which would be an egregious abuse of power. I’ll explain. The case for the appeals rests entirely on changing the result, NOT on whether the FIA broke the sporting code.

    Mercedes requested the final lap be nullified. The issue with this, and the lawyer should know this, is that would result in the inability of the FIA to issue points for the race. This would result in Max remaining champion.

    Points are allocated for Events (6.4). An Event, under 5.4, is a race of 305km in length. If we nullify the last lap of the race, as per Mercedes request, then we the Event has not ‘finished’ as the required distance, under the sporting code, has not been met.

    Now, the mistake is to believe points can be awarded because the race was over 75% in distance. The problem with this is the regulation that covers shortened races (6.5) starts with “If a sprint qualifying session or race is suspended under Article 50, and cannot be resumed…”. Sunday’s race was not suspended and we don’t have a time machine to change that. The only exception to 6.5 is 52.2 which references an accidental early chequered flag.

    So what are we left with? We are left without an event that adheres to the Sporting Code. And that means there’s no mechanism to award points. If there’s not mechanism to award points, Max is champion.

    Some say we can amend the results of Lap 58 but that would be an insane level of interference from a governing body it’s hard to describe the insane level of consequences of that. We can’t assume that Hamilton would have finished on lap 58 under different conditions, no matter how unlikely that is. So to award Hamilton the position of 1st on lap 58 would be based on nothing more than a hypothetical which the lawyer will know is very very very dodgy.

    The lawyer, at least here, is saying “yeah there’s a case the FIA broke the rules” but the problem is no one is talking about a mechanism the FIA can use to change the result. In my view, it’s impossible for a result change to happen.

    1. Completely wrong.

    2. Points are allocated for Events (6.4). An Event, under 5.4, is a race of 305km in length. If we nullify the last lap of the race, as per Mercedes request, then we the Event has not ‘finished’ as the required distance, under the sporting code, has not been met.

      The biggest flaw in your argument is that you are quoting regulations that apply to all things being equal (ie a race with no interruptions). This wasn’t the case. Are you aware that in Canada 2018, the race was indeed shortened by two laps due a technical breach of waving the chequered flag early, and the results were duly ammended? This isn’t even the only example neither.

      it’s impossible for a result change to happen.

      Again, any a result have been changed. Belgium 2008, Canada 2018; in fact China 2014 was the same as well.

      In that race (China 2014)- Kamui Kobayashi’s last-lap move on the Marussia of Jules Bianchi for 17th didn’t count. Which means if Merc can successfully argue that Lap 58 should have occurred under the SC or all lapped cars should have been allowed through- it opens the door for that sort of remedy.

      The ruling stated: ‘Should for any reason the end-of-race signal be given before the leading car completes the scheduled number of laps, or the prescribed time has been completed, the race will be deemed to have finished when the leading car last crossed the line before the signal was given.’

      Finally, there is also the small matter that alot of people seem to have forgotten- which was part of Merc’s complaint. Max going past momentarily under the SC. This is a slam dunk penalty on it’s own if the rules are applied correctly-
      Art 5.3 –no driver may overtake another car on the track, including the safety car, until he passes the Line for the first time after the safety car has returned to the pits.

      There is no way F1 comes out looking good whether Merc loses the appeal or Verstappen is ‘stripped’.

      1. “The biggest flaw in your argument is that you are quoting regulations that apply to all things being equal (ie a race with no interruptions). This wasn’t the case. Are you aware that in Canada 2018, the race was indeed shortened by two laps due a technical breach of waving the chequered flag early, and the results were duly ammended? This isn’t even the only example neither.”

        Obviously you didn’t read my post. My ‘biggest flaw’ is covered by 52.2 of the Sporting Regulations. So an early chequered flag is not a precedent.

      2. @blazzz Also, 2019 Japanese GP for a premature session finish signaling. This figuratively meant Perez uncrashed himself.
        I agree with you in principle, though.

        1. 52.2 covers this eventuality. I stated that. So early chequered doesn’t act as a precedent.

    3. Again, full points have been awarded when the chequered flag has been waved early.

      1. 52.2 covers an accidental early chequered flag. I am pretty sure I saw a green flag on Sunday at the start of lap 58, didn’t look very black and white to me.

        So this line of argument is null and void.

      2. chiefersutherland
        14th December 2021, 19:38

        He talks about that as an exception!

    4. Even if the only remedy were to distribute no points or wins for the Abu Dhabi race, maybe Mercedes would consider that preferable. Annul the final race, Max remains champion, Mercedes have their argument validated, next time Masi and FIA play less fast and loose with their own regulations to benefit one driver and team over another (or all the others). May actually be the best solution going forward.

      1. … and Sainz loses his podium?

        That’s not very sporting is it? The race isn’t ALL about Mercedes Benz F1.

        And I haven’t even mentioned the financial and contractual implications of declaring the Abu Dhabi race a nullified event for Liberty, organizers etc….

        1. That wouldn’t be Mercedes’ fault, it would be the FIA’s for breaking their own rules. It would be harsh on those who lost out, but it’s already harsh on those who lost out because the FIA screwed up.

      2. To be honest, any outcome which shows the FIA/Masi in the wrong would be a good result. Personally, I hope that something can be done which doesn’t affect the championship standings, but which forces systematic change in how rules are enforced in F1. Something has to massively change, and if it can be done without the further damage of changing the result it will be the best possible outcome.

        1. My gut is they’ll do what they always do. Wait for the hysteria to blow over… make some quiet internal changes, maybe a reg tweak here or there. And that’ll be that.

          1. Maybe so, but that’s the point of keeping up with the appeal. If Mercedes just drop it, the FIA will do nothing. If Mercedes keep the pressure on, something may be done.

    5. Why not award half points for an unfinished race – they can only do that at Spa?

      1. Spa was suspended. 6.5, which covers points allocation for shortened races, is for events which are ‘suspended’. Sunday’s race wasn’t suspended.

        There’s no way to allocate points for a retrospectively shortened race that wasn’t suspended.

        Unless you want to break the Sporting Code, you can’t delete the last lap without creating a non-compliant event.

        1. The first ever race I watched (Canada 1995) was cut short by two laps in retrospective because the final lap couldn’t be run fairly and safely due to spectators on track.
          There was no premature chequered flag and no suspension earlier.
          So there is kind of a precedent.
          But I absolutely agree with you that the result could and should not be overturned. The damage is done and strip Verstappen off his title would an inappropriate interference, but for clarity I’m kind of hoping for an appeal…

          1. Disagree, as the failure to follow the rules provided the opportunity for Max to make the pass. It shouldn’t stand.

          2. Excellent recall. I would love to know the sporting regs in 1995.

        2. What is very clear is that the race never resumed, so Max definitely didn’t win. As soon as the order to un-lap was given the safety car was in play until the end of the lap. What followed was not an F1 race under FIA rules and therefore whatever happened was null and void as far as F1 and FIA racing was concerned. The only question for the court is whether to allow the status quo at the point the rules were abandoned to stand, ie Lewis wins, which to most people would appear to be natural justice and also, given that over 95% of the race had been completed would fit with the spirit of the rules and the racing ethos, or they should nullify the whole race, in which case Max would be the champion but only due to the FIA and Masi failing to administer the race properly. In which case they would then be liable for tens of millions of pounds in damages for costing them the world championship.

          It should be an easy decision for the FIA and it’s to their eternal shame that, having seen what happened, they didn’t come out immediately and take the appropriate action. To a large extent, it’s worse than what Masi did

  20. Whichever way you look at it..Masi chose the Workd Champion…knowing Max had new softs..and Lewis had worn out hards..then he put Max behind Lewis…
    Mercedes should take this all the way..and I woukd be surprised if the FIA were not trying to persuade merc to back off…as he is there steward and all claims would be against him and therefore the FIA

  21. Clearly Mercedes have a slam dunk case here when you also take into account discovery, testimonies and all the race footage data . The biggest problem is how will the FIA crisis manage and spin this train wreck and the pr disaster fallout?

    Again this has nothing to do with some questionable stewarding decision that’s open to interpretation 11 races ago that people always strawman but STRICT FIA rules and established protocol that governs F1 .
    If you don’t have strict adherence to the laws F1 loses all legitimacy and will be as real as the WWE.. Masi and/or the people who made the calls at the end of sc was clearly manipulating the race inventing new rules on the fly to benefit one driver and have a drive to survive friendly last lap.

    Also This isn’t just about Max or Lewis, it’s about the integrity of F1 as a sport AND let’s not lose sight of how Masi totally disregarded every other drivers right to fight for points like blocking Carlos Sainz’ potential chance of winning his first ever GP by not unlapping the cars that separated Him and Max.

    I hope Daimler and Toto go all the way to overturn the results to protect legitimacy F1. It would be sad for max to lose his title but he wouldn’t win the title if standard protocol was fallowed in the first place and if there was no farcical yellow flag Mario kart stewarding creating new rules to only benefit max Lewis would’ve won the race by a huge margin anyway.

    1. It’s not a slam dunk win, far from it. The appeal is of the race result. The appeal isn’t “we want to prove the FIA made a mistake”. There’s no way to change the race result without nullifying the whole race which means Max remains champion.

      1. They wouldn’t nullify the race Alan. Stop trying to act smart when you clearly don’t understand the rules.

        1. POints (6.4) are awarded for finishing position in a race event is (which have to be at least 305km under 5.4). If a race is suspended and doesn’t complete the 305km points can be awarded according to 6.5.

          A deletion of lap 58 would result in a race that was not 305km and wasn’t suspended… and thus…. not compliant with the Sporting Regulations and thus you can’t award points for a race finish that never happened.

          I thought complying with Sporting Regs was the whole point of this reaction int he first place?

          1. That’s right, correcting the result in any way will break definitely other rules. So which break will be deemed the right one. Always the original outcome.

            Can’t make a wrong right with another wrong. Right!!

          2. Spa 2021 would like to say hello. 3 laps under safety car snd verstappan gets handed a race winning 12.5 points

          3. Spa doesn’t really matter here, as article 6.5 (which provides for half points) applies ‘If a sprint qualifying session or race is suspended under Article 50’ … Spa was, but Abu Dhabi wasn’t.

          4. the deletion of lap 58 simply results in the chequered flag being shown too early. therefore all fine, last legal standing counts.

        2. and if you’re gonna accuse me of not understanding the rules, be specific with how my interpretation is wrong. Don’t write “you don’t understand”

          1. Well, if they award half points and send the race back 1 lap hamilton is champion, he doesn’t need full points. Not saying I agree with that outcome championship wise, just saying if it went back a lap and gave half points mercedes would still be interested in that.

          2. The Sporting Regulations only provide options (article 6.5) to give half points to suspended races (article 50), not because a team doesn’t like the outcome of an, admittedly messy, safety car period.

      2. That’s still a good outcome.

        1. @macademianut +1
          It’s quite indicative that Alan Dove thinks this is just about who wins, not the sporting principals at stake.

          1. My sporting principle is to follow the FIA F1 Sporting Code and protect the sanctity of green flag racing.

            People are literally advocating for a decision to be made, in a COURT, which contravenes the F1 Sporting Code so that their favorite driver can be named champion.

          2. It’s quite indicative that you all say it’s about the sporting principals while most just want to see LH be the champion.

            If it were for the principals just nullify the results. But oh no that’s not right either.

          3. People are literally advocating for a decision to be made, in a COURT, which contravenes the F1 Sporting Code so that their favorite driver can be named champion.

            I can only speak for myself, but personally, I’m advocating for the FIA and Masi to be held to account for breaking their own rules by intentionally not following the procedures laid down in the regulations, and for things to be clarified so that they have to comply with those regulations correctly in future. I cannot see that happening without a large amount of pressure, which the Mercedes appeal and associated publicity will at least help with.

          4. It is about who wins, hence Mercedes not only appealing the result but also trying to get Verstappen penalized for a non-existent overtake behind the safety car. It’s only about who wins, and none of the other nine teams have cared to protest the result. Not even Mercedes’ own customer teams.

          5. not existent overtake is just wrong. although I agree no sactioning should be applied for that. but one cannot deny the existence.

          6. “protect the sanctity of green flag racing.”

            You don’t seem to understand that if the rules had been followed correctly, lap 58 would have been under a yellow flag.

            You keep saying the race has to run the full 305km and that because it wasn’t suspended the result should stand. Clearly you’re happy to cherry pick this rule and ignore that race control chose to ignore a different rule.

            Unless Mercedes drop the appeal, this should be overturned.

    2. Have you ever considered that lewis running away to five easy championships has also damaged the sport’s integrity?

      1. @realnigelmansell That is neither Mercedes nor Hamilton’s problem. The blame lies with the other teams and drivers.

  22. @fw11b The race would not be annulled. In many ocasions the chequered flag was waved wrongly and the final results were the classification of the previous lap

  23. I feel that Mercedes should appeal … but not with the intention of trying to reverse the outcome. That would only open an enormous can of RB flavored worms. I think that the best way out of this mess is for Masi to resign, sooner than later, and have the courts declare the results of this race null and void. The championships would then be handed out according to the standings after the Saudi Arabian GP. I’m not sure how this would play out further down the field, but Verstappen would still be the drivers champion, with Mercedes remaining as the winning constructor. Not everyone would be happy of course, but something’s gotta happen here. Trying to sweep this awful mess under a rug should not be an option.

    1. “I feel that Mercedes should appeal … but not with the intention of trying to reverse the outcome.”

      Then what are they appealing? The appeal is of the race result.

      If they want to seek damages there’s other methods for that.

      1. seek the prohibition of future damages, by holding the responsibles accountable for their doing

      2. Broadsword to Danny Boy
        15th December 2021, 9:47

        I expect a damages court case might start with the question: “why did you not appeal to give the FIA an opportunity to put things right?”
        I suggest that would be an entirely fair approach in most damages cases would it not? So don’t assume this is all that’s coming, it may just be stage one…..

    2. @schooner Nullifying the Abu Dhabi GP results wouldn’t change any other team’s final WCC position either as the same order remained since the Mexico City GP.

      1. it would change P4-P6 in the drivers championship

        1. edit: P5-P7 sainz, lando, leclerc

    3. I think it is worth looking at it this way:
      – Mercedes are Constructors World Champions, they can write “World Champions 2021” on their adverts.
      – Mercedes win the highest prize money
      So in some ways their gain from Lewis being Driver World Champion may not be so critical, maybe it is more pride.
      The FIA messed up big time, really big time. Hundreds of millions of car development undone by Masi inventing a new procedure when none was necessary.
      Undoing the Drivers World Champion would now be a huge mess.
      There are at least 4 weeks until any actual appeal is heard.
      So how can Mercedes come out vindicated, the FIA punished, and Max and Red Bull still champions.
      Could we see some deal in advance of the actual appeal date?
      – Masi fired.
      – Max doesn’t use #1?
      – Some sort of equalization of who is the present World Champion for the next year? All F1 info to mention the Mercedes Constructors with as much emphasis as Max’s Drivers titles.
      – Mercedes get some dispensation under next years financial rules?
      – They (Merc, RB, FIA etc) agree that is settled? No bringing up the legitimacy of Max’s title etc etc.
      Are there other/better options?

    4. @schooner
      if the result isn’t reversed why bother wasting peoples time and spending millions on legal fees to appeal in the first place?

      If the race directors followed standard procedure and not try to invent rules on a whim to unfairly benefit one driver to get juicy footage for the next series of drive to survive Lewis would be WDC.
      He was robbed of a win and WDC due to the race directors making up rules at the last second wanting an epic last lap. why was lapped cars left in place apart from the the ones only in max’s way that got arbitrarily removed? was this because race control wanted to give Max the best chance of overtaking lewis so moved traffic out of his way? why was max allowed to race lewis but carlos sainz in third was not allowed to directly race max? carlos was stuck behind lapped cars which also was at the benefit of max because he does not need to focus on defending going into T1.
      Race control by malice, incompetence or fraud deliberately meddled with the end of the race witch denied Lewis a WDC.

      So the results should be reversed and Lewis taking the win and WDC

      1. There’s no mechanism for the results to be ‘reversed’.

        What Merc asked for, a lap deletion, would end up with a grand prix that would not have been run to the sporting regulations… and thus…. Max is still champion.

        1. Looks like there is a mechanism, from the International Court of Appeals:

          10.10.2 In addition, the ICA may admit or dismiss the
          appeal, in whole or in part, and may decide to confirm,
          waive, mitigate or increase the penalty inflicted. It may
          annul or amend the results of a competition, but it is not
          empowered to order any competition to be re-run.

          I don’t see what stops ICA declaring the safety car restart null, and saying the race is effectively stopped at that moment (so probably the order 2 laps before would count). That would fit all regulations.
          Not that I think they will do that.

  24. And this lawyer has failed to address, as expected, what the correct redress would be for the contravention by FIA of its own rules.

    1. But he does think Mercedes is entitled to a proper explanation of how the regulations were applied in Abu Dhabi compared to Masi’s instance at a previous GP and perhaps at that point a good lawyer might just be able to tie them in enough knots that it becomes reasonable for the FIA to actually have to do something.

      1. Masi’s insistence at…

      2. Per as the world goes Merc is entitled everything;)

    2. Considering that I’m unaware of any similar case been brought in the past, I don’t think anyone can predict what an appropriate redress would be. Nullification of the race result, taking the result before the error occurred, fines or damages… We just don’t know.

      Whatever the appropriate redress, the FIA need to be forced to admit they screwed the pooch royally and make changes to fix the officiating of the races.

      1. The sporting code will protect the FIA in terms of changing the result. Unless they don’t read their own regulations, Merc haven’t got a leg to stand on.

        1. Well, there’s precedent for them not reading their own code…

        2. Alan Dove You keep saying this, and it keeps being untrue. Saying it yet again won’t will it into existence.

  25. What a sad bunch of losers…

    1. Until it happens to your preferred team and driver.

    2. It is. And only because they want lewis to win.
      I understand the disappointment. I would have been disappointed when it happened to max.
      But to stretch the reality with the most ridiculous arguments is way out of line.
      The resut of the race will not change. There was a fair battle and max won.
      The FIA.Masi made a decision you can disagree with. You can attack the Fia and rightly so this season.
      There are lots of situations that needed clarification.

      But is does not change the outcome of the race.
      There is NO chance the last lap will be nullified. Reasons above sum it up.

      Again, i get your disappointment. But that is not enough to change things.
      This will be a discussion topic for the rest of the winterstop. Like the 2016 championship where Rosberg beat Lewis fair but received a lot of flak for it.

      1. it was no fair battle and based on the rules hamilton won. its just rules were broken to manifacture a invalid result.

      2. Do you really think that any team would be acting differently if they believed the officials had acted illegally in a way which cost them a championship? That, if the positions were reversed, red bull wouldn’t be doing exactly the same (except also whining that everyone was biased against them)?

        Any team who genuinely believed that they rules had not been followed in a way which cost them a championship would, and should, take it as far as they can.

      3. And Max will always have an asterisk against this “win” as a result, because one clearly wrong decision has decided the championship.

      4. But everyone will know it was gifted, not won

      5. Except in the fair part Hamilton was 12s ahead of Verstappen with lapped cars between them and five laps left to run. Then Masi made up new rules that nobody had seen before, handing the WDC to Verstappen.

  26. Mercedes F1 cannot overturn the result now, but they can, and probably will, get a multi million payout to compensate their sponsors for the total cockup by the FIA
    A confidential payout of circa $100 to 200 m plus a change in the way races are run in the future may do it?

    1. That would require Merc to threaten with different court action and open floodgates for further litigation. Not sure even Merc will want to open that pandora’s box.

      1. Not really. The FIA do not want this appeal to go on. No matter the outcome, it looks bad for them and the sport. They could offer a settlement to Mercedes to drop the case, this happens regularly in the legal and business worlds.

        That said, I hope this doesn’t happen without at least an apology, and admission of wrongdoing, and a clear commitment and plan to improve.

  27. Mercedes F1 cannot overturn the result now, but they can, and probably will, get a multi million confidential payout to compensate their sponsors for the total cockup by the FIA

  28. As long as the judgment is going to be done by only FIA appointed personnel, it is highly unlikely they will even admit the race director was wrong. The post-rationalization of the events simply leads to more problems. If the rule book doesn’t clearly state that one rule overrules another, then it doesn’t overrule. Now, I can take any rule and say that it overrules another at any time. That’s what this interpretation has led to.

    1. Usually you will see if this then that. You will also see this is the rule unless any of these are true.

      If it is not stated it is unclear how it can be implied I suppose.

  29. Really the only just end to this season would be to also award Lewis the title and have joint holders. You can’t take away the title from Max- wasn’t his fault what happened, and both drivers deserve it. I’d rather have a first of this kind that gives back some integrity to a shocking decision that cost Lewis the title in the first place. Clearly after saying they couldn’t pass and then changing his mind he was pressured by Horner. Remove that conversation and Masi wouldn’t have questioned his original decision and Lewis would have won.

  30. I feel for Michael Masi. In any job I’ve had, the priorities were pretty clear. Sure, they were usually aiming to do everything well, but we all knew what to sacrifice when it came down to the crunch. But F1 is preaching two completely different things. It wants to be a great sport with the integrity that’s supposed to be inherent to a sport, but also wants to be a great show (as we’re told at least 200 times during a SkyF1 weekend), which means that it’ll sell off its integrity to be entertaining. But when you come down to the last lap of the championship race, and suddenly you can’t have both, I’m pretty sure Michael Masi suddenly realized that the governing body he works for really doesn’t understand their own direction.

    After watching what was supposed to be the ‘best season of F1 in recent history’, I look back at it as chaotic, confusing, and disenchanting. Really, the governing bodies just have to get off the fence and answer one simple question for us: Are you a foremost a sport or a spectacle? Then, when they choose one over the other, we were forewarned.

  31. I heard an other lawyer say they (Mercedes) have no case. Why is it only the Islanders who get so overheated over a genuine loss?

    1. there was no genuine loss, but a cheated result. not living on am island though, just some common sense and ability to read and understand rules written in english language.

    2. Because it wasn’t a genuine loss? Nothing is genuine when officiating chooses to ignore the rules and an unfair advantage is gained.

  32. If not for “re-view” for the title then for the political benefits in 2022 Toto should continue pressing FIA and Liberty media. Otherwise Merc’s positions in 2022 will be hugely compromised on all levels of the FIA politics. At least he should try to “exchange” his appeal for some political gains for the future in F1…

  33. I’ll play the devil’s advocate here.

    “Race director Michael Masi and the stewards’ interpretation of the FIA’s 2021 Sporting Regulations has been called into question by racing drivers, pundits, and legal commentators alike

    um yeah, no comment. I had a laugh though.

    Michael Masi’s approach in similar circumstances at the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix where he stated ‘There is a requirement in the sporting regulations to wave all the lapped cars past’ [emphasis added] before the safety car returns to the pit lane and the race recommences ‘therefore the safety car period was a bit longer than what we would have normally wanted

    He could just argue that he did not understand the rules fully back then while he was making that statement, that he has full control of the safety car, and he does now. “I did not understand and made a wrong statement in the past. I apologise for everyone affected.”

    He can also make a statement apologizing to the teams for any inconvenience caused by not clearing the backmarkers between their ranks and just focusing on the leader and 2nd place and thank Mercedes for their input for the future. Case closed.

    The point is the rules are too vague and the other teams that were the actually affected ones since they were ignored didn’t care to protest. Unless Mercedes protested for Bottas (they can’t now).

    But your honor we wanted the backmarkers to stay where they are so our driver was at least protected. We calculated the race to be over behind the safety car and we didn’t pit. We couldn’t defend with 50laps old tires.

    That’s what it comes down to if FIA wants and I think Mercedes will not win that by pursuing the above technicality.

    1. Read the regulations. They are not unclear unless you are trying to make them so. Read in context, there is very little which could cause confusion to anyone not trying to be confused. If Masi can’t understand them, he’s an imbecile.

      Also, it is a vital part of the race directors job to understand the rules and procedures. If he can’t, he’s not competent to do his job.

      Third, unless documentation can be found to say that his earlier statement was incorrect, saying “I got it wrong then, it’s been clarified since” is unlikely to stand up in court. Especially as he has followed that exact same procedure at every SC period since, bar this one.

      It looks like they are grasping at straws after the fact to defend the indefensible.

  34. It’s embarrassing and I wouldn’t believe that Mercedes can fall to such a bottom of embarrassment.

  35. But what exactly is the remedy to such a situation? There is none in the regulations, is there? So what’s stopping FIA saying because of this one incident the entire race is void? Wouldn’t that still make Max the champion so this is not really a solution.

  36. You’re only increasing the inevitable frustration.

  37. Doesn’t matter how good the legal basis is, it will set a nasty precedent if they win and it’s decided that actually Hamilton wins the race and Max comes second. The most they can do is throw out the race result, meaning they finish level on points and Max wins the WDC by countback on wins

  38. Apart from Hamilton fans, most people everywhere I went had the feeling all year that the championship is rigged for Merc and Lewis again, because of FIA being lenient towards them most of the time, Lewis getting nonexistent slap on the wrist penalties, FIA introducing mid season rule changes to court legal advantages of redbull, bs penalties against everyone who tried to touch the 7 time golden boy, very finely timed SC and red flag periods in some races.
    All these things somehow went under the radar of the people who are now crying about the integrity of sport.
    Never seen such double standard fanbase like this ever, even though Im not new to F1 watching it over 20 years.
    Mainstream UK media feeds the usual propaganda Hamil eing so graceful in how he handled how he is lost (no he dont, he didnt even go to the press coference, if he wouldnt be so careful about his false public image he would bang the door with the merc lawyers) but his fanbase can still handle this loss how a real champion would… but cant

    1. Completely agreed. If the fia hates him so much why has he waltzed to six of the seven last drivers championships and generally been treated hands off this year.

    2. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      15th December 2021, 9:31

      Two of his non existent slap on the wrist penalties actually meant he was one more away from getting a 10 place grid drop.
      You might of seen he did impede a Haas when he came out of the pits. That was a tight call for another reprimand or as you call it non existent slap on the wrist.

  39. Massi made a mistake, but I think that he does not deserve all the criticism that he receives. His job is not easy and Wolff and Horner have been allowed to put too much pressure on him.
    In my opinion FIA should have protected him by stopping the teams from contacting him during races.
    Asking for Massi’s resignation or removal is not fair because he was not treated fairly in the first place.

    1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      15th December 2021, 9:26

      You don’t get a free pass by claiming your job is not easy.

      Masi and the stewards have been criticised correctly for not being consistent. The only way to do that is stop doing what they are doing. Max didn’t get penalised in Brazil and then wonders why for doing the same thing in Jeddah he gets a penalty.

      1. @andyfromsandy

        I agree with your points. I did not phrase what I meant correctly. What I was trying to say was that he does not deserve the online abuse that he gets. FIA put him in this place and did not support him properly. I wouldn’t like him to be used as a scapegoat. He just crumbled under pressure.

        1. Okay. Sometimes you just have to go to your boss and ask for help, assistance or guidance.

  40. OMG @Hannesch you posted this twice and nobody reacted, but I really think you’re onto something here. Maybe it didnt fit there narrative:

    You can say what you want but this rule was never applied right. Since there are many occasions where twice lapped cars were not allowed to unlap themselves twice. So with that retrospect, any means not all. and they had all rights to do it this way.

    1. The sporting regulations don’t require lapped cars to ‘unlap themselves’;

      ” any cars that have been lapped by the leader will be required to pass the cars on the lead lap and the safety

      The regulation only requires that all the lapped cars pass the safety car and the other cars on the lead lap. It doesn’t require them to rejoin the lead lap.

      1. @mazdachris
        Beat me to it :) Exactly what MazdaChris said.

      2. @mazdachris

        Tell me which situation you will create in the following

        A) Leader
        B) Driver down 2 laps
        C) Driver down 1 lap
        D) rest of the field in the lead lap.

        they get the signal to pass the SC
        B en C gets past the SC

        Then we have
        A) Leader
        D) rest of the field in the lead lap.
        B) driver now down 1 lap
        C) driver now in lead lap.

        The same situation starts again. Since C is still not on the lead lap, they are required to pass the cars on the lead lap.

        Please explain why we don’t have to apply this rule again.

        ” any cars that have been lapped by the leader will be required to pass the cars on the lead lap and the safety

        I mean this genuinely. Not to troll.

        1. @hannesch
          1. Lapped cars aren’t automatically required to pass the cars on the lead lap and the safety car. They are required to do so, if the clerk of the course considers it safe to do so and the message about it has been sent to all competitors.

          2. After the lapped cars have overtaken the cars on the lead lap and the safety car, they aren’t allowed to overtake anymore (“without overtaking” as stated in 48.12). So even if they’d catch the safety car train again, 48.12 forbids them from overtaking any other cars after the safety car.

          3. Theoretically I think it is possible that, in case the lapped cars would catch the SC train again, the clerk of the course could allow lapped cars to pass the cars on the lead lap and the safety car again. But that would be a new decision and a new message to competitors. In practice this would never happen, since the safety car will return to the pits at the end of the following lap once the last lapped car has passed the leader (unless the clerk of the course considers the presence of the safety car still necessary).

        2. @hannesch

          You have to look at the whole wording of Article 48.12 as that basically lays out a sequence of events. Here’s the wording in full:

          If the clerk of the course considers it safe to do so, and the message “LAPPED CARS MAY NOW OVERTAKE” has been sent to all Competitors via the official messaging system, any cars that have been lapped by the leader will be required to pass the cars on the lead lap and the safety car.

          This will only apply to cars that were lapped at the time they crossed the Line at the end of the lap during which they crossed the first Safety Car line for the second time after the safety car was deployed.

          Having overtaken the cars on the lead lap and the safety car these cars should then proceed around the track at an appropriate speed, without overtaking, and make every effort to take up position at the back of the line of cars behind the safety car. Whilst they are overtaking, and in order to ensure this may be carried out safely, the cars on the lead lap must always stay on the racing line unless deviating from it is unavoidable.

          Unless the clerk of the course considers the presence of the safety car is still necessary, once the last lapped car has passed the leader the safety car will return to the pits at the end of the following lap.

          So it breaks down into the following procedure:

          1 – Clerk of the course judges that it is safe for lapped cars to overtake;
          2 – A message saying “LAPPED CARS MAY NOW OVERTAKE” is sent to all competitors via the messaging system;
          3 – Any cars which have been lapped by the leader* should pass the cars on the lead lap, and the Safety Car;
          4 – Those cars should make their way round the circuit at an appropriate speed, and if possible take up position at the back of the train.

          *defined as “cars that were lapped at the time they crossed the Line at the end of the
          lap during which they crossed the first Safety Car line for the second time after the safety car
          was deployed”

          So the instruction under the regulation is that the cars which have been lapped, pass the cars on the lead lap and the safety car. Once they have done so, they’ve satisfied this requirement (step 3 above), and should then form up (if possible) at the back of the queue to await the restart.

          So another way of looking at it is that, once the message “LAPPED CARS MAY NOW OVERTAKE” has been received, you then follow this decision tree:

          1 – Am I in a lapped car?
          Yes – Goto 2
          No – Remain in position and stick to the racing line until the restart

          2 – Have I passed the cars on the lead lap and the safety car?
          Yes – Goto 3
          No – pass the cars on the lead lap and the safety car, then Goto 3

          3 – Have I proceeded around the circuit at an appropriate speed and joined the back of the queue?
          Yes – Remain in position and await the restart
          No – proceed around the circuit at an appropriate speed and join the back of the queue if possible, then await the restart.

          I hope this isn’t belabouring the point. But the rule is really very clear and logical. The message is sent, and all of the cars which are not on the lead lap have to pass the cars on the lead lap, and the safety car, and then drive round to the back of the queue if possible, before waiting for the restart.

        3. @hannesch While we, as fans and watchers of the sport, refer to this process as “unlapping”, it isn’t referred to as such in the rules. The rules just say lapped cars must pass the lead car and SC and make their way to the back of the pack.

          The whole purpose of this process is to unmix the slower and faster cars, so the slower ones don’t interfere with the restart (they’d start getting blue flags immediately).

          You’re hung up on the word “unlapped” when it doesn’t even appear in the regulation.

      3. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
        15th December 2021, 9:22

        That conveniently leaves out the part that the safety car then comes in at the end of the following lap.

    2. @hannesch
      Lol, I’m not sure if you are joking or if you confused your multiple accounts.

      In any case, what you are saying doesn’t make any sense. All lapped cars are required to pass the cars on the lead lap, but once they do that, the safety car will return to the pits at the end of the following lap: “Unless the clerk of the course considers the presence of the safety car is still necessary, once the last lapped car has passed the leader the safety car will return to the pits at the end of the following lap.”

      48.12 doesn’t actually say that the lapped cars are required to “unlap” themselves. It says that they are required to pass the cars on the lead lap (and the safety car).

  41. Funny top sport lawyers in The Netherlands say there is no chance that Max will lose his WDC to Lewis in a court case according to dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.

    1. Only british laywers understand the mindset of the brits…
      Thats how they pay there bills.

      1. It could just as easily be said that only Dutch lawyers understand the mind of the Dutch. Stop making this nationalistic: it’s about a race official ignoring the rules, not about any driver or nationality.

    2. @kavu That probably helped sell a lot of papers, right?

    3. 2 advocates, 4 opinions. As ever And neither of them have any clou because it’s a hell of a job to work through all the pages and precedents. They just give their opinion, don’t be afraid or encouraged by them. It’s just 50:50

  42. I don’t think it’s outside the realms of possibility that Mercedes could win a legal case but the result could stand, with the FIA paying damages as a remedy. I don’t see how there could be any real justification for saying that the ‘correct’ result was that Hamilton won. He didn’t win – didn’t cover the race distance in the shortest time – Verstappen did. And Verstappen did nothing wrong, broke no rules. There’s no justification for stripping Verstappen of the title and giving it to Hamilton based on some arbitrary judgement.

    Every action which would retrospectively alter the outcome of the race would affect other competitors in a disadvantageous way. Competitors who raced fairly under the direction of the race officials.

    The end of the race stank. But it happened. You can’t make it unhappen and replace it with a race ending which exists only in your imagination.

    1. @mazdachris if Mercedes win, Verstappen wouldn’t get any points for Abu Dhabi as he wasn’t legally racing in accordance with the Sporting Regulations due to the infractions caused by race direction. That would automatically promote the other drivers in the race.

      1. @freelittlebirds

        Why do you single out Verstappen as the one that “wasn’t legally racing in accordance with the Sporting Regulations due to the infractions caused by race direction”?

        All drivers were racing under the same circumstances.

        1. @exeviolthor not all drivers, some drivers were driving with less competition than they should have been. You’re right, though, some other drivers were also driving without the same amount of competition as their position would require.

          1. @freelittlebirds

            The point is that from a legal point of view Verstappen did nothing wrong. None of the drivers did anything wrong as all of them followed what the race director said.
            You cannot single out the one that were benefitted from what happened and say that they were not legally racing.
            It would be the same as saying that a football player should not have scored a penalty kick that was awarded unfairly.

          2. @exeviolthor I think you answered your question. If a penalty kick is awarded unfairly and proven to be unfairly awarded, do you think the player will keep the goal and the team the victory?

            I gave a few similar examples. In this case, Verstappen would also be a victim but it’s not like he had a chance at winning the race without an unfair advantage which is why he was given that advantage. It was unfortunate that he was incorrectly awarded the championship but he had already lost it. At least he was WDC for 2 days…

          3. @freelittlebirds

            I’ve never heard of any case where a team lost a victory in court just because a penalty was unfairly awarded. Do you know of any such examples?

          4. @exeviolthor soccer is different – they do allow unfair results and it’s part of the game. F1 has a history of changing things. Are you familiar with Spygate and Crashgate?

          5. @freelittlebirds

            Soccer is no different to F1 in this. For example one could say that not penalizing Hamilton for leaving the track and gaining an advantage in turn 1 was unfair. It doesn’t matter, though, as the stewards judged that it was fair. It is the same with any decision of a referee in football. Once the decision is taken then it is final.

            Spygate and Crashgate are more comparable to match fixing rather than what happened in Abu Dhabi. Match fixing is punished severely in all sports.

            Also, in Abu Dhabi it was the race director’s mistake so the teams cannot be held responsible. In Spygate and Crashgate the violations were committed by the teams themselves so those involved were penalized. Even in these cases, though, the race results were not changed when the violations were revealed.

          6. @freelittlebirds What you’re saying is that an unfair advantage for Max that decided the championship when it was clearly in Lewis’ hands would be allowed to stand.

            I would perhaps agree with you if Max was leading the race and then kept his lead with an unfair advantage. It would be incredibly harsh to disqualify Max because race direction gave him an unfair advantage. I’m sure Mercedes would agree with Max keeping the win and championship.

            But winning a race and a championship with an unfair advantage, it would take a crazy person to agree to that.

            Let’s put this to the test by hypothetically asking both Max and Christian prior to this weekend’s events. If you had asked Max this question and used 2 drivers he didn’t know, he would vote in favor of the driver who was ahead in the example and say that the 2nd car had an unfair advantage. As would Christian Horner.

            So it would take someone totally illogical beyond Horner and Verstappen to agree to let the race results stand where a driver enjoyed an unfair advantage. The person would have to be cuckoo…

          7. @freelittlebirds

            Yes, but the question here is not whether there was an unfair advantage given to Max, but if the race result can be overturned legally. From a legal standpoint Verstappen and Red Bull did nothing wrong.
            For the race result to change, Mercedes will firstly have to counter the ruling of the stewards that article 48.13 takes precedence over article 48.12 and secondly find a rule that can be used to argue that the race result should be based on the classification of the penultimate lap.
            I am not aware of any such rule, but I am not an expert so who knows…

          8. @exeviolthor what does Max’s involvement have to do with it? If Newey came out and said that Red Bull was running a 7 cylinder engine and it’s proven to be the case, do you think Verstappen will keep any of his results even though he wasn’t involved?

            But speaking of involvement do you honestly believe that Horner and Max were unaware that having no lapped cars in front and some lapped cars behind him was an advantage for them?

          9. @freelittlebirds

            How is having an illegal car comparable to the race director making a bad call? Both Red Bull cars would definitely be disqualified if the cars were illegal.
            Also what does being aware of the advantage that they got have to do with anything?

          10. @exeviolthor I think we’re beating this to death. You clearly are advocating for a permanent illegal or unfair result. I’m against that. That’s all there is to it. I’m underqualified to sway your opinion, if that is even possible :-)

          11. @freelittlebirds

            I am not advocating about anything. I am only arguing on whether there is a good legal basis for for an appeal as the article suggests. I only jumped in because you said that Verstappen was not racing legally. This is not correct.
            An appeal by Mercedes will be against the decision of the Race Director and not on whether Verstappen got an unfair advantage or not.

        2. I’m with you there. If Max was racing illegally on that last lap, everyone else was, too.

          1. @drmouse how was everyone else racing illegally? Lewis is a clear victim as he lost options due to Verstappen’s unfair advantage. Sainz is a clear victim as he also lost options due to Verstappen’s unfair advantage.

            We can look at every case individually but all the other drivers were hampered vis-a-vis Verstappen. The lapped drivers weren’t affected. But to all intents and purposes, Race direction bestowed the unfair advantage on Verstappen.

            All of us can see that including Red Bull who accepted the unfair advantage. They should have declined the offer. Once they ran 1 meter with the unfair advantage, that Red Bull was illegal.

            Now Checo’s Red Bull wasn’t illegal but that really doesn’t help them as he retired.

          2. @drmouse and again I’m using fairness and legality interchangeably which many of you have pointed may not be the correct interpretation as Verstappen may be allowed to enjoy an unfair advantage in the sport and win a race and a championship because of that unfair advantage.

          3. @freelittlebirds

            The only way we can say this is legitimate, that Max was racing illegally, is to say that the safety car should never have come in. In that case, nobody should have been racing. Everyone should have been driving significantly slower than they did, nobody should have been overtaking or battling…

            I am unsure if any other overtakes took place on that last lap, the only one I can remember is Max, but that doesn’t change the fact that every driver out there was breaking what would have been the regulations had the safety car stayed out. In short, I don’t find your argument to be convincing, when it comes to legality.

            In terms of fairness, I agree that Max had a massive advantage handed to him by race control. However, that isn’t Max’s fault. He is following the direction of the officials, as he should. I don’t think it fair that he be penalised for Masi’s mistake, no matter the advantage he gained from it.

          4. @drmouse Well, did Max and Red Bull ultimately accept the massive advantage? When Max looked behind and saw lapped and decided to go side-by-side with Lewis, was he not aware that they he wasn’t under threat of being overtaken? Did his team protest it or simply grab the unfair advantage that was handed to them?

            Even if Red Bull they didn’t know, if a car has an unfair advantage over any other car, that car should be disqualified. Period! The how, where, what of the provenance or origin of the unfair advantage is immaterial.

            If Masi had allowed Russell to win this race by accidentally putting him in front of everyone (for whatever reason) granting Russell an unfair advantage, would Russell have been allowed to win the race and keep the result? Sadly, Russell would have been disqualified. He’d have every right to be upset, to seek damages, etc. But he wouldn’t be able to keep the victory.

            How is this any different?

            Anyway, just my 2 cents.

          5. @freelittlebirds to interfere with your discussion (apologies): it’s not Red Bull’s or Max’s job to regulate the sport, it’s their job to complete (in this case) 58 laps as fast as possible within the rules set out by the regulations. The regulations are applied at the discretion of the race director and the race director gave them the opportunity to do what they did.
            Yes, sports regulations should be based on fairness, but not on politeness. It’s a competition after all. I would even argue that, if teams start deciding for themselves what is best for other teams (F1 teams saying ‘no, after you!’ to one another is a hilarious thought in itself) would create dangerous situations.
            Bottom line: the race director should apply the rules and he decides on how to apply them. Yes, he made a mess of it and there should be a protest, but you can’t blame competitors for taking advantage of the situation that was given to them by the referee.

      2. @freelittlebirds

        I’ve seen you claim this in a number of different comments and to be honest I really think you’re misinterpreting something, or clutching wildly at straws with this. Could you please indicate which part of the sporting regulations you think Verstappen breached?

        1. @mazdachris +1 to this and +1 to the original comment.

          I’ve had a brief look through the sporting regs and can’t see anything that states how much competition there has to be. And the counter arguments are clear: “there was competition, there was just lapped cars between us”, and “there was competition, there was just a gap between us”. If everyone else apart from Lewis and Max had been DSQed, then maybe you could say there is less competition, but the cars involved were still all in the race, so that competition is still “there” as such.

          And re. the original comment: the more this goes on and I think about it, the more I think damages to Merc is the most likely outcome. I doubt the FIA will count back results one lap, but I could see them awarding the differential in prize money to Merc in damages. Whether through the case in the FIA Courts or, if it’s legally possible (which I have no idea if it is, I’m just curious), through an external Civil lawsuit against the FIA.

          1. @randommallard all sports are governed by fairness. it’s not the level of competition, it’s the fact that Max enjoyed an unfair advantage to at least 1 driver. The advantage of having new tires wasn’t unfair and clearly legal but the advantage of having lapped cars behind him and no lapped cars in front of him was unique to Max’s situation and clearly unfair to Lewis and Sainz.

          2. @freelittlebirds What I believe you’re interested in is article 11.9.3.j of the International Sporting Code, which says a driver/Competitor can be disqualified for:

            being guilty of improper conduct or unfair practice

            The question has to be whether Verstappen is guilty of unfair practice. He’s certainly involved, but as he had no part on the decision, I think it’s unlikely a Court of Law could find him guilty. Generally, you have to commit an action that puts you at fault to be guilty. The party guilty of unfair practice/improper conduct here would likely be the FIA.

            I think the most telling sign here is that Mercedes are not particularly angry at RB, and are not pursuing any direct action (other than the overtaking under SC but I think they feel that was always going to be a throw away attempt anyway) against them or Max, but more so at the FIA. Likely because they know that getting a successful case against them will be much, much easier than against Red Bull.

        2. @mazdachris I can’t tell you 100% if it’s legal or not. But if the word fair is in any regulation then it’s illegal because race direction put Verstappen in an unfair situation to at least Lewis and Sainz. So if the sport is governed by any rule that uses the word fair or a synonym, Verstappen was racing with an unfair advantage and that will automatically disqualify him regardless of who put him in that situation.

          But even if the word “fair” doesn’t appear in the sport code or regulations, sports courts I’m sure focus on fairness (like all courts) and clearly Max had an unfair advantage to the other 2 drivers and particularly to Mercedes who are going to be appealing. I can’t imagine a car being allowed to win a championship with an unfair advantage and the only reasonable thing would be to exclude the car from the race.

          But race direction did that so Max isn’t guilty? Well, if race direction had asked Usain Bolt to start 10 meters ahead in a 100m race, would Bolt have been allowed to keep the gold and the world record? Surely not. He only ran 90 meters and had an unfair advantage. Not his fault but surely he’d be excluded from the race even if he was asked to start there. He can sue, he can vent, he can… But the one thing he won’t be allowed to do is keep the gold medal and world record.

          1. @freelittlebirds

            You should probably have a read through the sporting regulations because I think you’ll find them to be a lot more procedural in nature than what you’re describing here. It’s concerned with things like race distances, star procedures, and so on. Not generalised statements on the nature of competition.

            There are no areas within the sporting regulations where Verstappen has failed to do what was required of him. Unlike your fictional 90 metre race, Verstappen completed the full race distance in accordance with all of the direction given to him by the race officials.

            I feel like you’re trying to reach for a justification for punishing Verstappen (and rewarding Hamilton) for a mistake by the race director, where really none exists. Once the call had been made by Masi to allow those cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to overtake, that set in motion a sequence of events which gave an additional advantage to Verstappen. This is fundamentally unfair, I agree. However, once that advantage had been created, any redress which takes the form of altering the race result would merely confer that advantage upon someone else. There is an imbalance of fairness which can now never be addressed by manipulating the race result further; only an even greater level of unfairness could be created by attempting to do so.

            You may well feel aggrieved that your preferred driver was on the receiving end of this unfairness, but there were 18 other drivers in the race, none of whom should be considered acceptable collateral damage in redressing the damage done.

          2. @mazdachris I don’t disagree with you that the rules are procedural and technical but I’m sure fairness is mentioned somewhere and I hope that courts focus on that.

            Any sport has to be governed by fairness. If Verstappen enjoys an unfair advantage, regardless of who bestowed that advantage upon him (team or race direction), his result should not be allowed to stand. Red Bull might wish to appeal for P2 prior to being given an unfair advantage but that really won’t solve their problem.

            If we have to accept a Championship that’s been awarded by an unfair advantage to another driver by race direction and there’s no way to resolve that in a court, I’m pretty sure we have much bigger problems as a sport and also as a society.

            Let’s hope you’re dead wrong :-)

          3. I believe fairness is mentioned in the ISC as one of the key principals which must be adhered to in all rules and decisions in any FIA competition.

          4. @freelittlebirds

            I’m interested in your definition here of fairness to be honest. I totally agree that what happened was unfair. However I’d say that any remedy for this should be one which seeks to restore fairness.

            The race result cannot be amended now to one which is fair. What you seem to be suggesting is that this is ok, as long as the person disadvantaged (effectively punished) is Verstappen. I don’t see how this is a reasonable position to take.

            If you want to look at all the other ways in which the race may have panned out after the deployment of the safety car, there are many where Verstappen could still very possibly have won. How are you measuring the damage done by this unfairness other than by a measure which assumes that Hamilton should have won the race? We could debate this until the end of time but there is no reasonable way of quantifying exactly what the impact of the decision was.

            I fully agree that those responsible should be held accountable. But that responsibility falls on the FIA, not any individual competitor.

          5. But if the word fair is in any regulation then it’s illegal because race direction put Verstappen in an unfair situation to at least Lewis and Sainz

            Nope, that’s not what happened.
            It was a Mercedes decision not to pit.
            Lewis knew the consequences inmediatly.
            So it’s not the AD that put Lewis in that position. Try to understand that!
            That’s the reason why toto lost it completely, he was aware of the strategic blunder when the race would resume. They gamble and lost.

          6. @mazdachris

            I fully agree that those responsible should be held accountable. But that responsibility falls on the FIA, not any individual competitor.

            I’m not disagreeing with you that they are the ones that are ultimately at fault.

            However, in this sport the car and driver pay the price and in this case Max enjoyed an unfair advantage. Red Bull could have protested and asked for the other cars to be unlapped so as not to enjoy the advantage between Sainz and Lewis. They jumped at the opportunity to take advantage of that unfair advantage, did they not?

            If it cannot be redressed and that’s really the easiest way out, the monetary damages will probably amount to more than F1 can afford at this moment making Toto and Lewis owners of the sport which I don’t think is right either.

          7. @mazdachris as you pointed out, you and I know it’s unfair. Did Red Bull not know that? 1,500 people working at Red Bull didn’t know that it was unfair to only unlap the cars between Max and Lewis? I don’t think Max can say that he didn’t know that he was being an unfair advantage when he could see that the cars behind him were all lapped cars… Did he protest that? Did his team protest it?

            Mercedes protested on their behalf. Did they back up Mercedes and say “Masi, that’s unfair!”

          8. @freelittlebirds

            You cannot penalize a competitor just because the race director made a mistake.
            The only thing that can be done is to either accept the result as it is or cancel the event.

            Actually there was a case in 2003 Brazil GP where Raikkonen lost the victory to Fisichella because of a timekeeping error. The race was stopped on lap 55 because of an accident. The rules state that in such a scenario the final positions are those in effect two laps before the lap on which the race was stopped. After reviewing the evidence it was found out that Fisichella had already started lap 56 before the race was stopped so as he was leading lap 54 he was awarded the victory.
            This is the only case in the history of the sport where a driver lost a victory without being disqualified or being given a time penalty.
            The only way for Mercedes to win an appeal is if they can find something in the rules that can shift the end of the race one lap earlier. I am not aware of any such rule, but please go ahead and prove me wrong if there is something there.

    2. The race finished when the cars were told to un-lap themselves. What happened after was outside the rules of F1/FIA and so there was no F1 race. There may have been a “Masi fantasy race” that only allowed 2 cars and was not raced using FIA rules. But the F1 race was finished, by the instruction of the Race Director.

  43. Well… Masi did exactly as Liberty Media wanted and they got more likes because of it; I think it’s just that he got overwhelmed by the stressful situation, Toto and Christian yelling at him, and the very few laps remaining in the race.
    Where he to have a bit more composure, he should’ve let all lapped cars pass immediately, end the SC and have maybe two laps instead of one of racing. Mercedes fully expected this to happen as evidenced by the radio when Lewis asks and Bonnington tells him Max “will be” right behind him… Which would have ended the race exactly like it did.

    As a decades long fan, I don’t particularly like what Liberty Media is doing (stretching the spirit of the rules and apply them inconsistently to maximize drama and get more likes), but I also see that if the rules were applied correctly —and immediately— in the last laps, the result wouldn’t have changed a bit.

    As someone else has said here, any decent court should dismiss this on the basis of being an internal argument between silly rich companies, their arbiter, and rich kids over who’s the fastest.

  44. I wonder how many people -directly or indirectly close to FIA/F1/LM- made last minute online bets on Verstappen, as soon as they were informed about what Masi was going to do (deployment of the SC, cherry-pick of the backmarkers who could unlap themselves between HAM and VER and the green flag in the very last lap).

  45. Lawyers will say anything if they think there’s money in it.

    There is not way this action will result in the result being overturned, Mercedes should desist now.

    1. I agree that there is no chance of will be overturned, but disagree that they should drop it. Masi and the FIA need to be held to account for their actions. If they drop it, it could be taken as a tacit admission that Masi was right in his behaviour.

  46. Quite funny how FIA’s defenders have gone from “Masi did everything right” to “results can’t be changed”.

    They may be right regarding the latter, but I think there is one thing they are missing: a court’s decision implying that the race director ignored the rules and that Hamilton should’ve won, would be a huge win for Mercedes also, even if the result doesn’t change. It would make Hamilton the moral winner.

    I’m quite sure that FIA knows they messed up and they don’t want this to go to court. I believe there will be some sort of a deal between Mercedes and FIA and possibly some sort of public apology from FIA also.

    1. @hotbottoms

      I agree, the most likely outcome would be a settlement between the FIA and Mercedes. Any amendment to the race/championship result would create even more unfairness than already exists, and would likely inflict quite a lot of reputational damage on Mercedes themselves.

  47. I’m getting tired of this. The race is over. The world saw the pictures of Max celebrating his title win. Let’s move on.

    1. If we move on, the officials are free to continue ignoring rules and making up new ones as they see fit, and F1 losses all credibility as a spring competition. We shouldn’t nice on until, at the very minimum, the FIA admit they screwed up and make changes to ensure nothing like this can happen again.

  48. A better question would be, what can they do?

    Declaring the result void would still leave Max as champion on count back of him having more 1st place finishes.

    1. @royal-spark Merc want to see the race classification taken from the end lap 57, instead of 58, according to the protest document from the stewards.

      In the protest, they ruled that “not appropriate”, so my gut instinct is the International Court of Appeal will side by that, but I still think it’s the best shot they’ve got.

      More likely I think the FIA and Merc will reach some kind of settlement that will most likely include damages to Merc amounting to the prize money difference between 1st and 2nd.

      1. That’s Merc’s biggest error – Asking for a lapo to be nullified.

        Points are allocated for Events (6.4). An Event, under 5.4, is a race of 305km in length. If we nullify the last lap of the race, as per Mercedes request, then we the Event has not ‘finished’ as the required distance, under the sporting code, has not been met.

        Now, the mistake is to believe points can be awarded because the race was over 75% in distance. The problem with this is the regulation that covers shortened races (6.5) starts with “If a sprint qualifying session or race is suspended under Article 50, and cannot be resumed…”. Sunday’s race was not suspended and we don’t have a time machine to change that. The only exception to 6.5 is 52.2 which references an accidental early chequered flag.

        So what are we left with? We are left without an event that adheres to the Sporting Code. And that means there’s no mechanism to award points. If there’s not mechanism to award points, Max is champion.

        1. Masi nullified the lap already, Max didn’t win the F1 race

        2. I think the problem is that, while you may be correct in your reading of the rules, there has never been any situation like this, as far as I am aware, in the history of the sport. We have no idea what would happen and how any panel would interpret the rules. These are completely uncharted waters which Masi has thrown us into, with no precedent to follow.

          1. And CAS can just “adjust” results. It doesn’t need to go through the same mechanisms that occur on a race weekend.

          2. @fluxsource CAS has no jurisdiction over FIA events except when doping is concerned. The Constitution of CAS makes it clear that they can only act as an arbiter if the charter of the governing body concerned gives them explicit power to be an arbiter, as is the case, for example, with Article 61 of the Olympic Charter. The FIA Sporting Code makes it clear that the final level of appeal for anything other than doping is the International Court of Appeal (I believe the reason it’s different to doping is that the FIA is part of the World Anti-Doping Agency, which does recognise CAS as an arbiter).

            Agree @drmouse; it’s completely unprecedented waters we’re into now.

  49. Says the person who is getting paid by Mercedes to try the case. Good luck with that.

    1. Note, this is a different, independent lawyer. Try reading the article.

    2. @ryanoceros Yes, zero points for reading and for common sense. You really think their lawyer would be throwing out arguments for journalists to publicize before Mercedes submit their appeal?

  50. As a couple have pointed out above, lawyers will say whatever they feel will get them the most money or chosen to represent a client. But looking at this statement, it appears to confirm what we already knew: Race Control made an extremely bad and inconsistent decision. I think everybody kind of got that already. However, it doesn’t really address what I feel are the two big elephants in the room:

    1) This is going to be appealed to the FIA Courts. It appears the Court of Arbitration for Sport has no jurisdiction over the FIA except over doping cases (part of the constitution of CAS is it only has jurisdiction if it’s explicitly mentioned in a sporting bodies’ charter, such as Article 61 of the Olympic Charter). Getting the FIA to admit that the FIA was wrong is always going to be an uphill struggle.

    2) It doesn’t really mention anything about what Mercedes could do to try and rectify the decision. The International Court of Appeal has the power to amend results, but my gut feeling is they would side with the stewards in saying that shortening the race retrospectively would be “not appropriate”, but I think this is the best shot Merc have got. The ICA cannot order a re-run, but that would be logistically impossible anyway. You can’t penalise Verstappen, as he hasn’t broken any rules.

    I think the big thing Merc have on their side may actually be the interpretation of Article 15.3. As the article is mainly talking about the responsibilities of the Race Director versus those of the Clerk of the Course, possibly Merc could argue that the article means the RD can override the Clerk, but not the sporting regs, over SC procedure?

    I’d be interested to see (and I’m not sure if this is legally possible, but I’m curious nonetheless) if Merc could launch a civil case against the FIA for damages (i.e. the prize money they’ve lost as a result of this), or even if a civil court could grant some kind of injunction that declares Lewis champion? I’m definitely not saying this should happen, I’m just curious to find out if it were even possible.

    1. I’ll add that I feel very sorry for both drivers in this case. Both have driven amazing seasons and we’re both innocent parties in this farce, yet could still see the whole thing changed by something out of their hands. They’ve driven amazing seasons and nobody deserves the final outcome to be decided in this manner.

      Hamilton was probably robbed, but at the same time you can’t blame Verstappen (in this case) for something that was completely out of his hands.

      The redeeming factor I suppose is the relationship between Lewis and Max themselves still seems to be in a pretty good state, so I hope they both realise that the other is in a situation neither of them have control of.

      1. Completely agree with this. All of this is completely unfair to Lewis and Max, and indeed all the drivers, teams and personnel. Masi and the other officials should feel very shamed of themselves for bringing the sport into disrepute this way.

    2. Some people seem to misunderstand what article 15.3 is about; it’s only about the relationship between the clerk of the course and the race director. While the clerk has their own set of tasks, and the race director will usually go along with whatever the clerk does and rubber stamp their decisions – the race director still has the final say.

      Like the FIA noted to the stewards, their view is that the unlapping procedure does not need to be completed if the safety car can be called in earlier. And since all participants have repeatedly, reportedly even specifically here in Abu Dhabi prior to the event, supported the idea to ‘let them race’ they have a pretty solid reasoning for ending safety car periods as soon as possible.

      What still needs to be explained – and then never happen again – is the business of only allowing certain lapped cars through. For the result of the WDC that doesn’t matter though, as nobody honestly believes Sainz would have been able to challenge Verstappen and even if all backmarkers had been removed, the situation between Hamilton and Verstappen would be the same as it was.

    3. “2) It doesn’t really mention anything about what Mercedes could do to try and rectify the decision. The International Court of Appeal has the power to amend results, but my gut feeling is they would side with the stewards in saying that shortening the race retrospectively would be “not appropriate”, but I think this is the best shot Merc have got”

      It’s not their best shot. If you deduct a lap then you can’t allocate points. The race isn’t 305km as the Sporting Regs requires. It wasn’t suspended so 6.5 can’t become active. 52.2 covers early chequered so that doesn’t act as precedent.

      So you don’t have a legal ‘event’ according to the sporting regs… thus you can’t allocate points.

      1. “My sporting principle is to follow the FIA F1 Sporting Code” The problem with your argument is, the FIA didn’t apply their own code correctly.
        So to elucidate. The FIA have to apply their own regulations in full, unequivocally. There are some grey areas, and these are dealt with by the stewards that attend their respective grand prix. WITHIN the rules. These grey areas are racing incidents that are either out and out racing incidents, in which no driver gets penalised. Or drivers’ bad driving is penalised.
        The Race Director on the other hand isn’t dealing with grey areas. His modus operandi is black and white. And he has one job. To apply the Sporting code, by the letter. Which he did not do. This cannot possibly be because of INCOMPETENCY. (We know this because of his express views at the 2020 Eiffel Grand Prix – ‘all backmarkers must be allowed to unlap’ remark, and the rules have not changed in that respect). But because of CORRUPTION. This came about because of an emotional bias: Either he favoured racing over safety. Or he favoured Verstappen over Hamilton. Whichever of these two scenarios, he managed to deliberately ignore the FIA’s own rules. Maybe because he had a big shot directing him in his ear, someone higher up? Who knows, but it is hard to believe one man afflicted with requisite hubris to go against the rules.

        There is no precedent in which the FIA has blatantly disregarded the rulebook over a black and white issue before. So we are in uncharted territory. Your assertion that the championship cannot be overturned isn’t the slam dunk outcome you think it is. Because nowhere does it say in the rules the FIA can break their own code of conduct (and get away with it). Remember, this was corruption. Not incompetency. That is unprecedented. Just as 2008 Crashgate was unprecedented in its unique area.

      2. Good spot Alan I hadn’t considered that possibility (and by the sounds of it neither had Merc)

      3. You can have shorter races. This has been done multiple times, including 3 times over the past 4 years. One of which was this year. Yes there are specific procedures for covering early chequered flags and suspended races, but that just demonstrates that you don’t need to have a full length race.

        1. 6.5 is the rule that allows for shortened races to be declared ‘results’ and points to be awarded. The event wasn’t suspended, and thus you have no mechanism by which points can be awarded. What you have is an event that isn’t compliant with he Sporting Regulations (less than 305km – see 5.4)… and thus thew whole race would be null and void.

        2. @fluxsource Yes there are cases of shorter races before. Red flags have their own rule (75% distance for full points), but that rule only applies to full points.

          The other shorter races are because the chequered flag was shown early. The race ends when the chequered flag is shown (or full distance is reached, to ensure the race isn’t too long). The regulations cover this, and say the race ends on the lap the flag was shown. However, by backdating the results by a lap, you potentially create a situation where the race hasn’t officially ended, as no flag was shown (as it was shown on lap 58), and the 75% rule can’t be applied as there was no red flag.

          (I’ll add that this is not concrete or definitely how it would be interpreted, because we’re in completely unchartered territory, but it’s one of the (endless) possibilities Masi’s incompetence has left us with.)

  51. The world sat and watched Masi manipulate the sc car rules to make sure Max was gifted the title. Farce.

  52. All this sound to me like someone saying:

    “Hey guys, you just beheaded the wrong bloke. Put his head on back again”

    So, good luck getting the head back on.

    1. Mercedes should appeal, not necessarily for the title to be handed to Lewis, but to establish clear precedents and ensure thst this sort of nonsense doesn’t happen again.
      I don’t understand why anyone would be opposed to Masi clarifying exactly why he decided as he did.
      Do it, Mercedes!

    2. If someone had just beheaded the wrong person, of course that can’t be undone, but it would still be right and proper to pursue action against those who had just done such a terrible thing.

  53. As soon as Latifi crashed Masi had a choice. It was agreed before the race that a red flag would not be called if there was a crash at T14 so a safety car was the obvious choice, at that point it was obvious they would do everything in there power to get at least one lap of green flag racing with the whole world watching. If you think this was simply to give max the championship you are entirely delusional, it was to give the championship an ending that was exciting for the neutral. Lewis was exceptional lucky in 2008, he was fortunate in silverstone, Imola and Hungary, that’s how it works, it’s sport, not life and death. We had a great season and Hamilton and Mercedes will be back next year to fight again.

  54. And good luck trusting a lawyer, too. There are any amount of jokes about that .

  55. “…regulations are to be enforced ‘based on the fundamental principles of safety and sporting fairness.”
    This will be key and it can be proven that sporting fairness didn’t happen because Ricciardo pitted to get fresh tires to try and get into the points. The cars in front of him were allowed to unlap and then compete for 10th place.

  56. Just some clarifications for the normie casual fans who post:

    “Cars should have unlapped themselves two laps earlier. Max ends up right behind Lewis and wins with the fresher tires. Same result.”

    Race control couldn’t do that because workers on track removing latifis car and clearing up debris, you cannot release cars to unlapp themselves driving full speed with people on a live circuit. This is why race control panicked with the shambolic restart ONLY unlapping cars in front of max and NOT behind so he can still have a clear run on lewis but not run the risk of triggering another sc lap if ALL cars was allowed to unlap.

    “why didnt merc pit lewis after the crash”

    Because red bull would just invert what Lewis does and gain position because Lewis was ahead of max but not ahead far enough to have a ‘free’ pit stop so rb being behind had the benefit of countering what Lewis did plus they had nothing to lose.
    More importantly merc strategists calculated looking at the severity of the crash basing the cleanup time off previous crashes that there would be a very high chance the race would finish under caution or one green lap BUT with the lapped traffic left in place(it was mathematically impossible to allow all cars to unlap after the track was ‘clear’ and have a green lap as explained in the first answer) which gave Lewis valuable breathing room for one lap sprint.
    Mercedes strategists understandably did not calculate that at the very last moment before the pace car was due to come in was race control inventing new rules on the fly to effectively ONLY allow the ‘buffer’ cars to move out of max’s way and bring the pace car in leaving Lewis a sitting duck.
    You could go further and say if they did box lewis , max would stay out to take first and masi would finish the race under yellows…

    “max should keep the WDC ”

    Why? he only won the race thus WDC due to fraudulent means(no fault of his own) caused by race controls explicit and targeted manipulation of the sc restart procedure. If the race was restarted with ‘buffer’ cars in situ Lewis would win because he could sprint away early and gap due to the natural accordion effect whilst max is stuck behind lapped cars and cant overtake a single one until he (under the restart rules) crosses the line to start the last lap, if the sc stayed out one more lap lewis would win, if there was no sc lewis would win, so the only scenario here where Lewis had a low probability of winning was the one the race directors created on the fly seconds(one example is that the race was going to restart with lapped cars in place before at the last second masi changed his mind) before the safety car was due to come in done in attempt to manipulate the race result.

    1. So a repeat of your non arguments and opinions. That doesn’t make them any better.

      1. Just because you disagree with them doesn’t make them “non arguments and opinions”.

  57. As a huge Red Bull fan it pains me to say I hope Mercedes win the appeal. The is brazen and blatatnt unfairness. But I suspect the FIA will close ranks as I am sure they are calculating the repercussions instead of doing the right thing. I also wonder if Mercedes are concidering withdrawing from F1 behind closed doors? I wouldn’t blame them and would totally support them.
    P.s – has anyone been talking about the Max weaving on the straight in the last lap shootout. Should he be penalised for that?

    1. Weaving to block an opponent is illegal. Weaving to break a tow on an distance is not seen as a major problem. Weaving in the braking zone is not allowed.
      But in regard to the cutting corner by Lewis only a point of attention.

  58. The fairest outcome would be splitting the title between them both, neither driver did anything wrong and neither driver deserves to have it taken away from them in either circumstance. It would be a nice and satisfactory outcome from a season where both drivers would have finished on 9 wins each.

    1. Totally agree! Both deserving too

  59. I never thought that childishness surrounding the last season of Game of Thrones could be beaten, but these comments are are proof positive that anything is possible.

  60. This is so ridiculous, everyone is all of a sudden wanting this handed to lawyers and bureaucrats because some form of ‘injustice’ occurred. It’s like a cycle of stupidity that no one learns from.

    If we have to wait days, weeks, months, years for hearings, appeals to finish, the race is meaningless, we should just rip the cars off the tracks and argue who ‘should have’ won. How driver X ‘deserves’ the win, how driver Y ‘illegally’ gained a potential advantage and must be sanctioned because lawyers, lawyers, lawyers.

    It sucks any enjoyment out of watching racing, there is no thrill if it all has to be decided by a committee weeks after an event. Ridiculous foolish people.

    1. ‘It sucks any enjoyment out of watching racing’

      Dont know about you but I just wasted 9 months watching a reality TV sports show….. never again

    2. @jasonj It’s not “injustice”. It’s about the sport’s referees applying the rules as written and not making stuff up on the own.

      1. @scbriml No offence Steve, but it doesn’t appear you understand the word injustice in this context, it’s ‘unfair’ or ‘lack of fairness.’

        So other than that, I guess you are in favour of potential legal challenges to every race result. You should be happy if that’s the case, you get to wait for months on each result, as every decision is analysed, how lawyers and other sleazy pedants can hijack every event and spend themselves into ever less interesting minutae.

        I prefer a simple, solve it on the day and move on with you life scenario. Even when I don’t agree with the decision. Nothing is worse than dragging it through arbitration, then appealing and appealing…..

        1. I accidentally pushed the report button. Sorry.

          1. @jasonj Sometimes, thankfully rarely, something happens that’s just so wrong that to simply shrug your shoulders and sigh “Oh well, what can you do?” is worse than actually trying to do something about it. This isn’t about the result, it’s about understanding what appeared to be a manufactured situation that was unprecedented and ran contrary to all previous instances.

            Real F1 fans deserve at a very minimum a full explanation of what happen in the last few laps in Abu Dhabi. Why did Masi say he was going to do one thing, then do the exact opposite after Red Bull complained? Why did Masi only allow cars between HAM and VER to release? That alone was hugely unfair on all the drivers behind VER. Why wasn’t Sainz given the same opportunity to attack as Verstappen? Why was the SC brought in on the same lap as lapped cars were released, when the regulations clearly say it comes in on the lap after? Why did Masi make all these arbitrary decisions?

            The whole thing smells of an engineered result to satisfy a growing TV audience. It wasn’t a sporting event, it was a manufactured-for-TV reality show. It’s a huge slap in the face for the impacted drivers and teams that have literally spent hundreds of millions of dollars and flogged themselves hard all through the year to achieve a result, then had it thrown away in the apparent quest for “a show”.

            Will Mercedes go ahead with their appeal? I hope they do, even at the risk of being labelled “sore losers”, because they (and us) deserve answers. I have no doubt that if the roles were reversed, Red Bull would be doing exactly the same thing. If they go ahead, I see next to no chance that the result will change, but I would hope for a detailed explanation and clarification as to whether the Race Director really has the authority to basically make up rules as he goes along and clarity on how things will be dealt with in the future. I know, I’m a dreamer.

            Just because we would like to have instant, confirmed results, doesn’t mean that past injustices shouldn’t be righted. We have situations where athletes from different sports have been stripped of medals and titles many years after the event because of irregularities, drug taking or basic cheating. Just because it happened some time after the event doesn’t make it wrong to correct it. I see this from the perspective of the athlete who inherits the medal/title after the event. They were wronged and denied the very public glory of the win/medal/title. It’s scant reward for them, but it’s still the right thing to do.

            To be clear, I’m not accusing Red Bull of doing anything wrong, and as above, I really can’t see any way the title can be taken away from Verstappen. But the way it happened absolutely stinks.

      2. @scbriml Steve, I think we agree. I don’t want this happening again, I think a good hard long look needs to be had at all sides of the communications and ‘decision’ making. It’s wholly unacceptable for vested parties to be lobbying with a race director before, during or after a race. It’s open for corruption.

        This highlights a systemic failure, change is needed for the future.

        But, all parties involved need to accept results and move on, like Mercedes have done, reluctantly.

        Dragging this out after each race, never knowing a result, always having lawyers involved is petulent bush league thinking. I don’t care what team, what driver, it’s poison

        They should accept the result, hash it out within the race weekend if it’s controversial and move onto the next race clean.

        When situations like this occur, investigate and rectify potential errors for the future, make sure it doesn’t happen again. Take lobbying and politics away from decision makers. Never let them have corruption potential. Sack them all of necessary, to keep the sport clean.

    3. Its the fault of the responsibles, not of the betrayed

    4. It sucks any enjoyment out of watching racing, there is no thrill if it all has to be decided by a committee weeks after an event. Ridiculous foolish people.

      What “sucks any enjoyment out of watching”, for me, is seeing that a race director can arbitrarily ignore and change rules to such an extent that they can, effectively, decide who is going to win a race or, in this case, a championship.

      Nothing would be going to “court” if the officials had followed their own rules. This is happening because Masi decided to make something up instead of following the procedures he’d be following all season, and in all his previous seasons.

      Stop “blaming the victim”. Mercedes have done nothing wrong in this, they are challenging the actions of Masi and the FIA, who did. Blaming Mercedes is like blaming the guy who was murdered, because he happened to walk down a particular street wearing the wrong colours.

  61. has anyone been talking about the Max weaving on the straight in the last lap shootout. Should he be penalised for that?

    Sound a bit like clutching to straws to me. Besides the dodgy SC procedure, Merc also alleged that Max had (sort of) overtaken Lew behind the SC, which was pretty lame and promptly rejected. But they said nothing about Max weaving. They surely would have if there was the shadow of a case.

    And pretty much everybody agrees that however questionable the FIA decisions about the final lap, the way Max executed it was clean and proper.

    The way I remember it, Max went from side to side when he was well ahead of Lew, trying to break the tow, which is usually allowed. When Lew was coming closer, near the braking zone, Max stayed put so there was no weaving. I should watch a reply but can’t be bothered. Anyway about half the people posting here are bending themselves backwards trying to nullify Max’s win every which way and (almost) nobody mentions the alleged weaving so there must not be very much to it.

  62. An appeal is not enough. There must be a thorough match fixing criminal investigation!

    1. I’m not sure what you mean by “sort of”. If Max crossed the finish line “sort of” ahead of Lewis would he be in first or second place? The sporting regs don’t cover sort of, just that a competitor can’t do what he did. If Merc and the FIA are smart and Merc appeal the race result, the appeals court could uphold this appeal and issue a time penalty to Max in order to put the finishing order, points awarded and the WDC into the place it should have been based on correct application of the safety car regulations.

  63. In summary.
    A car crashes, a safety car comes out, 15 cars are still running, some of the cars pit, others don’t pit. Some expect a restart and others don’t. All is fair at this point but the race director makes a decision.
    A few cars are allowed to unlap which actually isn’t true because the cars are never allowed to unlap which requires them joining the line of cars on the lead lap. The unlapped cars don’t gain an advantage by the decision.
    Other cars are not allowed to unlap leaving them at a disadvantage. Because of the lack of unlapping, other cars are at a disadvantage because there are back markers between.
    Only 1 car received an advantage by the decision. This is a slam dunk lawsuit as the race director made a ruling that gave an advantage to 1 car and caused a disadvantage to all other drivers on the track.

    1. A few cars are allowed to unlap which actually isn’t true because the cars are never allowed to unlap which requires them joining the line of cars on the lead lap. The unlapped cars don’t gain an advantage by the decision.

      That’s a great point. There’s no reason to allow backmarkers to go past safety car if there’s insufficient time to rejoin the train further down the track. But technically, it’s probably within the rules just to go past safety car to meet unlapping requirement. Despite it being unfair, because they’re almost a lap down on where they would be.

  64. The only rational course of action here is to rerun the whole season again from the beginning, say in 2022, and whoever wins this time is definitely the rightful champion.

    1. So everything was right at the beginning of the season?

      I’d go further back, maybe fifteen years, before the infamous Hungaroring qualifying incident…

      Or maybe back to Lucy (the Australopithecine), or all the way back to the Big Bang, let’s replay the Universe again


      1. I think you’ve fallen into the trap of taking a joke seriously.

        1. So you think my answer was serious. Pray read it again…

          1. I’ve read it again, you might have been able to pretend you got the joke if you hadn’t added the last line!

  65. In a way Iam glad this didn’t happen to Lewis as there is no way i could look someone in the eye and say ‘that was all fair and square’. Everyone who is into F1 and doesn’t support RB knows it was wrong and Lewis was robbed, anyone not into F1 will continue to think F1 isn’t a sport and now I have to agree with them. F1’s global reputation is in the toilet as it has shown itself in front of a World wide crowd, people who have never watched a race were watching, that it is an entertainment show and nothing to do with Motorsport, India in 2013 withdrew there tax exemption on F1 as they considered it a form of entertainment and not a sport, now that decision as been proved correct.

    1. The whole season was a joke indeed. This sport has zero value this way in terms of being a sport. Its a show. Lets bring some dice next time

    2. I think if you have the best drivers in the world on the radio saying ‘what on earth is going on?’, and a brand new audience of millions saying exactly the same, you have a problem you need to get on top of. Not sweep it under the carpet.
      I’d like to think that with Mercedes, Liberty and the FIA going dark, and reports that over half the teams see the need for something to be done, that we will see a statement from the FIA that mistakes were made, and whilst we can’t change what happened, we can make sure we put in place mechanism’s to ensure it never happens again.

  66. Is there any precedent for what we saw in the history of F1? (In particular any precedent of a ‘partial unlapping’ of cars?)

  67. To sum it up:

    Mercedes argument is to invent a race of one lap shorter that does not comply with the sporting regulations, so Hamilton can win in invented illegal race, when he lost in an legal race that actually happened.

    At least Masi has an argument that complies with the sporting regulations which states that he has overriding power in the use of the safety car.

  68. Mason has to admit he is on the take, or incompetent. I’d let him choose. Either way, he has shown to not be up for the job.

  69. Does FIA still have those 100 million US dollars they received from McLaren in 2007? Maybe FIA should apologize to Mercedes and Hamilton for Abu Dhabi “marasmus” and give that 100 million US dollars to them?

  70. Lawyers………..half are right and half are wrong in any case!

    1. Exactly, heard just as much lawyers say yes there is a case as ones that dont deem it possible. Seems like a Mercedes RedBull situation amongst them.

  71. One thing for sure, if the situations were reversed Red Bull would be straight to court and threatening to pull out of the sport, which they seem to do regularly.
    So please all those calling Merc “sore losers” including Mr Horner are hypocrites.

    1. I wonder if MB’s actions after the result hurt the brand……..I think it might.

      1. Its incredible. Instead of maximizing the WCC they do this after being favored countless times this season. Mercedes is not only the biggest joke of the year, they also threw their brand in the bin. I can not see how Toto could have possibly f up more. We wont be seeing him coming back in his current role, I am sure.

        1. The usual “brand image” retort is load of rubbish.
          Do you seriously think people base their car buying decision on what happens in F1.
          Its getting your brand name out there that counts.
          I kind of detest Amazon because but I still use them because they are reliable.
          I don’t buy Red Bull but thats because I hate the test not because of Horner LOL.

        2. after being favored countless times this season

          “Oh No! The FIA don’t like us and keep telling us we’re naughty, wah! We don’t care how many times Max got away with stuff nobody else did, we want it all our way! Wah! Wah! Waaaaaah!”

          If you can’t see the difference between all the previous inconsistencies and a race director making up a brand new rule which has never been used before and, in effect, hands the title to one of the contenders, I can’t help you.

    2. And they would be wrong. This shouldn’t be about a particular team, the race should end on the weekend of the race. Any team that has these petty disputes And calls in lawyers is wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

      1. It would have ended on the weekend of the race had Masi followed the rules. If you’re not happy about it, join the campaign to make sure the official don’t ignore the rulebook and make up new rules on a whim.

        This is not a petty dispute, this is an argument over the very basic, fundamental principals of fairness in any sport. If the officials are not bound by the rules and can make it up as they go along, how can any contest be fair? Should the ref in football or rugby be able to decide to end the match after 10 mins early or extend it by an hour? Should the officials in athletics be able to end the 400m after 200m and take the result there? Should the race director be able to ignore qualifying and just line the cars up in the order he choses? That’s what’s at stake here: The very sporting integrity of F1.

    3. Marko has already mentioned that. Which will see a lot of posters twisting themselves up like pretzels to say the opposite of what they are saying now.

  72. Well it is Christmas Pantomime season after all!
    Cardashians. F1 outed as being a staged reality show.

  73. To sum it up:

    Mercedes argument is to invent a race of one lap shorter that does not comply with the sporting regulations, so Hamilton can win in invented illegal race, when he lost in an legal race that actually happened.

    Good luck with that.

    At least Masi has an argument that complies with the sporting regulations which states that he has overriding power in the use of the safety car.

  74. To sum it up:
    Mercedes argument is to invent a race of one lap shorter that does not comply with the sporting regulations, so Hamilton can win in an invented illegal race, when he lost in an legal race that actually happened.

    Good luck with that.

    At least Masi has an argument that complies with the sporting regulations (15.3) which states that he has overriding power in the use of the safety car.

  75. Another point is which court to pick with the appeal.
    To FIA’s court of appeal where actually the accused will have to rule against or for himself ??? or to CAS and independent court that can ( and if not blind will actually ) rule against FIA ?

    If I were at Mercedes shoes I would choose the second, don’t know however if it is necessary to go to FIA’s first and CAS is only the “last resort”.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      15th December 2021, 9:47

      According to the CAS website:

      For a dispute to be submitted to arbitration by the CAS, the parties must agree to this in writing. Such agreement may be on a one-off basis or appear in a contract or the statutes or regulations of a sports organization. Parties may agree in advance to submit any future dispute to arbitration by the CAS, or they can agree to have recourse to the CAS after a dispute has arisen.

      As I understand it, there is nothing in the regulations that states CAS will be involved in appeals so this would have to be agreed to by the FIA. Of course, there may be something agreed by the teams and FIA previously we’re not aware of but this is something you need to ensure you have in place before you need it – otherwise it’s like crashing you car and then trying to arrange insurance cover.

      It’s been reported that the governing body’s International Court of Appeal in Paris as the only arbiter for settling disputes, meaning Mercedes will have to convince a panel appointed by the FIA to find against the FIA. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/sportsnews/article-10305759/MARTIN-SAMUEL-Mercedes-claim-Court-Arbitration-Sport.html

      Whether that’s correct or not (and I wouldn’t generally trust the Daily Mail to tell me what day it is) I don’t know but I’ve not found anything to suggest otherwise yet.

      If that is the case, I don’t see Mercedes winning so they would perhaps be better off taking the approach of saying “what is done is done but we are going to fight to have the rules fixed going forward.” Mercedes deciding not to appeal is obviously good for the FIA so Mercedes could agree not to appeal on the condition that new rules are adopted to ensure nothing like this happens again?

  76. RaceFans is so hurt about me pointing out their logical flaws that they can’t bear to see my replies anymore, everything has to await moderation (never gets posted). Let’s try a simple name change.

  77. Dear FIA, please do the right thing and put your hands in the air and admit that a huge mistake was made with regards to the safety car.

    What is really important right now? Surely trying to restore credibility to the sport after what was the most amazing season.

    We are now in unprecedented waters no matter which way is turned and the best way forward is to take steps to restore as much credibility as possible.

    The world championship should not be taken away from max no matter what, but perhaps in such an unprecedented situation why not have Lewis as joint winner too?

  78. It’s a typical Anglo-Sax way – if you can’t win, sue the opponent. The sport decided by the greedy lawyers is not a sport but a dull court soap opera.

    1. Wind your neck in

    2. They aren’t going to sue the opponent though are they?

      If anyone gets sued it will be the officials who appear to have altered the rules to ‘fix’ the result.

    3. It’s a typical Anglo-Sax way – if you can’t win, sue the opponent.

      They are not “suing the opponent”, they are challenging the decisions of the officials.

      The sport decided by the greedy lawyers is not a sport but a dull court soap opera.

      The sport decided by race officials ignoring and making up rules is not a sport but a manufactured TV reality show.

  79. This is not a defence of Michael Masi but after 3 days of reading arguement and counterarguement i have some sympathy for him. He had an almost impossible decision to make in a very short space of time whilst (staggeringly) being harangued by Wolf and Horner. Meanwhile the cars were circulating and the few laps left were further reducing his options. I for one was praying for the safety car to come in – irrespective of the rules as i suspect were a significant proportion of the tv audience. Could i argue he made the wrong call, yes based on themore unfirned argumwnts, but i remember the tv commentators discussing the various scenarios as they played out – without having to choose one under pressure. Whatever happens team principles should in future not be allowed to call the Race Director whilst a Safety Car is circulating.

    1. When under pressure by just following the regulation as he did at the Eifel GP would of relieved it in my opinion.

  80. I think Mercedes need to carefully consider what they want from any appeal. I cant see any viable solution that will end in Lewis being WDC. If they expunge the result then Max is still WDC. They cannot/will not classify a race short of its intended distance, so asking for the result to be taken from before the safety car is not realistic. What is there that can be done that ensures Lewis becomes WDC? Realistically, nothing and Lewis doesn’t want to win that way.
    What I think they should definitely pursue is ensuring Masi and the whole race direction team are made accountable for their shocking decisions, not only in this race but all season long. Max is 2021 WDC and its deserved (as it would be if Lewis had won) but Masi has alot to answer for.

  81. I’m no lawyer but seems to me like they are confusing ‘consistency’ with ‘legality’ and that the whole cornerstone of their argument is what is fair and what is not. Unfortunately for them, F1 and sport in general tends not to be fair sometimes! Mercedes and Lewis have won races and gained crucial championship points in the past due to ‘unfair’ but entirely legal timings of red flags, safety cars etc.

    It’s painful to lose a title on the last lap but Merc and Lewis fans have not had to process a defeat for so long that I feel they are a little immature when it comes to dealing with such an understandably galling and devastating outcome.

    1. Just to clarify my above comment before anyone jumps on it, I by no means include all Lewis fans in that last statement. I’ve seen plenty of reasonable comments from many, there just seems to be a hard-core sticking to the ‘illegal’ argument.

      1. where you miss the point . We are talking about the ‘referee’ race control deliberately breaking the set rules and conspire to invent new ones that never existed before to benefit one driver, stop cherry picking events like questionable on track incidents that has nothing to do with this race which are open to interpretation or where Lewis benefited from ‘#blessed lUcK’ , the problem is that there was an deliberate attempt to not follow established FIA protocol making up new rules 3 minutes before the end of the race to artificially benefit one driver and meddle in the race order..

        one example is that Mercedes didn’t pit Hamilton because leaving him out was the best strategy under the rules, everyone was certain including redbull that the race would finish under yellows or there would be one green lap WITH ALL lapped traffic left in place, Lewis would win in that scenario because lapped cars would slow max down as he cannot overtake them until he starts the last lap, masi in my opinion ONLY ordered the cars in max’s way to unlapp themselves to meddle in the race in order giving max an easy slam dunk overtake on lewis as he would be directly behind him for the restart.
        The fact that ONLY lapped cars in between max and lewis was ‘removed’ and no other lapped car behind (carlos in 3rd was denied a fair racing opportunity to challenge max for 2nd because he did not get the special treatment max got) proves that masi deliberately broke the rules and the last lap should be invalidated handing Lewis the win.

        If the rules aren’t really rules and race control can create new ones at the last second then how can teams decide the correct strategy? Whats the point hiring them if F1 has got WWE race control and can change rules on a whim?
        Masi crowned Verstappen on Sunday, that shouldn’t be his choice and Mercedes should appeal to get max stripped of his title and Lewis crowned WDC.

    2. In the other safety car periods though how was the period run? Were only a few lapped cars allowed through? Was the interpretation of a regulation changed to suit a race conclusion?

  82. This is now just descending in to chaos, ensuring F1 gets publicity right in to first race 2022.

    Win for everyone.

    Mercedes now need to think how litigation effects their brand value.

    Dominating F1 for years, to the point of making it dull, and now to fighting off track in court room.. Not sure that is a good look.

    Being second occassionally should be good for their brand recognition.

    This year they were able to show off their technical ability in turning the season around and winning WCC, quite awesome.

    They can now win next year and look good.

    Also if Lewis is able to win WDC next year, he will do so against a champion, cementing his greatest ever claim.

    Winning this year would still leave the ‘it was the best car’ excuse.

    So they need to be careful.

    Other than that many times referees effect Football games, not much different this, race director decided something to enhance the show.. Now what litigate something to no end?

    1. You should send that to Netflix as a proposal for next years script.

    2. The only chaos is in the media and forum commentators.

      Mercedes have decided not to make any comment on their plans. It is upsetting the media as they have to sit and wait. The media is dreaming up all sorts of nonsense to keep viewers and advert clicks coming for revenue.

  83. I see a lot of gaslighting in the comments.

    No, this is not about accepting of what happened on Sunday and just move on for the love of F1.
    No, this is not about keeping your mouth shut in order to keep the higher ground for the public perception of your brand.

    These are all arguments that suit the abuser. Instead, it would be better to call the abuser out, and have the outcome of their manipulative behaviour overturned in court. Maybe they will take a second look at their system that enables such behaviour. Only then they will learn. F1 as a whole will benefit in the end.

  84. Wow, 528 comments, this is 25% bigger than any other thread I’ve seen since I’ve been on f1 fanatic!

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