Logan Sargeant, Williams, Yas Marina, 2021

F1 “a massive step up” says Sargeant after first test

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Williams junior driver Logan Sargeant said his first Formula 1 test in Abu Dhabi was “the experience of a lifetime.”

In brief

Stopping power of F1 car “like nothing I’ve ever felt before” – Sargeant

Sargeant, who signed to Williams’ junior programme during the United States Grand Prix weekend, ran his first day in an F1 car as part of the Abu Dhabi young drivers’ test yesterday. He called it “everything I expected and more.”

“The team did a great job preparing me for today and giving me the confidence to go out there, enjoy it and do the best I could,” said Sargeant.

“We got through the run plan and I really progressed a lot throughout the test. The first couple of runs felt unbelievable with the amount of grip and power the car has, but I got used to it fairly quickly and felt comfortable by the end of the day.”

Sargeant, who came within four points of winning the Formula 3 title last year and recently made his Formula 2 race debut, said the FW43B was “a massive step up” from those cars. “The brake performance is much better and there’s a lot more downforce. The stopping power was like nothing I’ve felt before.”

Brawn: Wolff and Horner comments to Masi not acceptable

In comments reported by Auto Motor und Sport, Ross Brawn said interventions made by team bosses Toto Wolff and Christian Horner during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix overstepped a line.

“It is not acceptable that the team bosses put Michael under such pressure during the race,” said Brawn. “Toto Wolff cannot demand that a safety car should not come, and Christian Horner cannot demand that the cars have to lap back. That is at the discretion of the race director. We will stop this contact next year.”

Hazel Chapman 1927-2021

Hazel Chapman, the Lotus Cars co-founder and board member of Lotus Cars, Team Lotus and Lotus Components, died on Monday at the age of 94. She ran the Lotus car building business, with designer husband Colin Chapman and was instrumental to the motorsport portion of the business.

She stepped back from the main business of Lotus in 1982 after being widowed and went on to run a classic racing and heritage section. She still signed off all Lotus cars, even after the sale of the business, including the Elvija in 2019.

Chapman was also the founder of British women’s racing club The Dog House and worked as a timekeeper, as well as being involved in the business of running the Lotus F1 team.

Nissany and Drugovich continue at DAMS and MP in F2

Felipe Drugovich, MP Motorsport, Bahrain International Circuit, 2020
Drugovich will return to MP, who he drove for last year
Roy Nissany has confirmed he will continue for another season with DAMS, with Felipe Drugovich switching from UNI Virtuosi to MP Motorsport in Formula 2 in 2022.

Nissany and Drugovich finished sixteenth and eighth respectively in the 2021 championship.

Hinchcliffe retires from full-time IndyCar racing

James Hinchcliffe has announced he is retiring from racing in IndyCar full time. The six-time race-winner posted an update to social media saying he would not be looking for a full-time IndyCar seat in 2022, after splitting from Andretti at the end of the 2021 season.

“With a decade-plus of incredible memories in the bank, I am happy to announce I am stepping away from full time IndyCar competition,” Hinchcliffe announced. “This was not a decision taken lightly, and it was one made with the full support of my family and closest supports. There were many factors, both personal and professional, that led me to this decision, but it truly felt like the time was right.”

Hinchcliffe insisted his decision “is by no means a retirement from racing” and said it “has freed me up to dip my toes into other forms of motorsport and explore other interests and opportunities.”

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Comment of the day

After Mercedes Formula E driver Nyck De Vries topped the timesheets for the first day of post season testing, BLS suggests a solution to the current championship predicament.

I’m just waiting for Masi to announce that the young drivers test is actually worth 396 points, so in fact De Vries is the 2021 champion.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Max Jacobson, Steph90, John White and Reiter!

On this day in motorsport

Today in 2006 Fernando Alonso tested a blank McLaren ahead of his move to the team
  • On this day in 2006 Fernando Alonso, who had recently won his second world championship for Renault, did his first test for McLaren at Jerez. For contractual reasons his car, helmet and racing overalls were unbranded

Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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61 comments on “F1 “a massive step up” says Sargeant after first test”

  1. More changes need to be made, but I’m pleased that Brawn recognises the issues of team principals bothering the race director like that. Masi has been poor this year with many terrible decisions, but there’s no benefit to having competitors trying to sway his opinion while doing his job.

    1. Masi could have said simply, “leave me alone while we clear this mess” though and got on with his job. The fact that he didn’t pretty much allowed for team principals to continue pressuring him.

      The fact that it’s broadcast these days just suggests that things are more focussed on adding to the drama than they are on allowing officials to make good and correct decisions.

      1. @ciaran @dbradock
        I agree with both of you. I don’t think teams should have a direct line to the race director. But I also think that the reason they put so much pressure on Masi is that he has succumbed to pressure before – and he predictably did again in Abu Dhabi.

    2. Big question is, will the bosses at Liberty Media allow such changes?

      1. Of course they won’t. I’m sure they’re delighted with the “show” and the fact that social media will rage for weeks

  2. If the caption on the pic of Alonso driving the unbranded McLaren had said it was The Stig, with that helmet, I would have believed it.

    1. That was The Stig didn’t you knew?

    2. @x1znet Some say he went 1 on 1 with The Stig and won. Some say that he is obsessed with the number 3 and he has somehow managed to distroy many bridges. He’s not The Stig but he is The Stig’s spanish cousin. El Stig

      1. @qeki Brilliant!

  3. As a long time reader of this website I’m disappointed in the promotion of this continued criticism of the stewards and Masi. I expect nothing less from the comments section but I expect more from the editors.

    Masi did not cause the crash.
    Masi made 100% the right call to deploy the safety car.
    Masi did (rightly or wrongly) what he could to ensure the biggest race of the decade ended under green flag conditions.

    Hamilton and Mercedes were exceptionally unlucky with the circumstances. But no more so than if Baku was the final race of the year and Max lost the title due to a tire explosion with 2 laps to go. It is a 22 race season.

    I take exception to the ‘blame the ref’ culture that permeates through sport at all levels. They’re human and they’re doing there best. Take it on the chin and accept it.

    Huge credit to Lewis and his family for doing exactly that. He puts his team boss, the media and his supporters to shame.

    1. Is that you Christian?

      1. Replies a boy but bot a fan.

    2. “Masi did (rightly or wrongly) what he could to ensure the biggest race of the decade ended under green flag conditions.”

      I think that rightly or wrongly bit is worth a bit of investigation. I don’t think putting the result down to luck is necessarily correct, when the race directory is being directly lobbied by the teams to keep the safety car out or put it away when the outcome of that decision is completely clear.

      Take Masi out of it for a second, should F1 really be aiming to end the race under green flags at all costs? Especially when it leads to the regulations – which are in place for fairness and safety – not being followed? Is that not a clear example of putting entertainment before the sport?

      1. Yep I agree, the incident is definitely worth investigation, debate and clarity for future. And it would have been no matter the decision Masi made at the time. It was destined to be controversial.

        Luck comes into it as it is quite feasible Merc could have pitted Hamilton for new softs, in which case Verstappen would certainly have stayed out to assume the lead. The lobbying from Merc and Red Bull would then have been 100% the other way round and I am sure Masi would have made the same call to restart the race with back markers cleared. In which case it is quite possible Hamilton would have won the championship in a similar vein to Verstappen.

        I wonder what everyone’s opinion would be on the exact same decision if the result was reversed ?

        1. I wonder what everyone’s opinion would be on the exact same decision if the result was reversed ?

          I would still say it is unforgiveably rude and offensive to treat other F1 drivers (those who were not allowed to unlap themselves) like an irrelevant piece of dirt by Michael Masi.

          1. Seriously?
            You are more concerned about the feeling of lapped drivers than having a proper car race?

            It seems EQ accountants have taken over the F1 fan base :P

        2. I can’t speak for everyone but myself – my opinion would be the same: match-fixing by the race director.

        3. It wasn’t destined to be controversial. Had the rules been followed then there would have been no controversy at all. Masi pretty much chose the only controversial option available to him.

        4. The biggest issue i have is that a race director made an unprecedented, unpredictable, split-second change to established procedures which was focused on just the two title competitors.
          I’m yet to see a credible argument that this was done for anything other than the sole intention of ensuring a green flag, ticker-tape finish to the race and championship. That’s 100% NOT his job. He’s not there to put on the show, he’s there to manage the race and manage the FIA rules. Ergo, he stepped outside of his remit, either on his own volition or under instruction. This is what needs investigating. How is it possible or acceptable that you can have one guy, possibly swept up by the occasion, bringing a multi-billion dollar sport into disrepute?

          1. @shakey66 I agree except that it seems to me that Masi was focusing on one of the title competitors, not both. Restarting with Max immediately behind Lewis on much better tyres did not allow fair racing, it pretty much guaranteed that Max would win.

            It’s the reinterpretation of the rules on the fly that bugs me. If it was done to allow fair racing then it should have been done properly and let all the drivers change their tyres. Otherwise, follow the rules as written and understood.

      2. should F1 really be aiming to end the race under green flags at all costs?

        If it’s safe to do so, absolutely.

        SC and Red Flag rules ruin racing too much. Those rules should only be used for safety reasons and not to reset races, and even less so neutralise them over the finish line.

        Imola and Spa were a farce, where those rules needlessly impacted the results.
        Abu Dhabi is another example where the SC ruined it by reducing the gaps so close to the end. But at least they raced the final lap.

        Rather than stop principles cry to the race director on open mike (to which Masi can use his Aussie one-liners), they should overhaul the SC and Red Flag rules.

    3. why, because you disagree with the editiors? Masi could easily have red flagged for a proper green flag finish. Masi put the sport into disrepute, and actually several times this year. He manipulated the championship outcome.

      1. Masi put the sport into disrepute, and actually several times this year. He manipulated the championship outcome.

        Actually, Michael Masi can call him almost “lucky”, because of the unimaginable farce in Abu Dhabi, for example farcial Belgium GP with no racing laps is almost forgotten by many, especially by Max Verstappen fans.

      2. @kpcart
        A red flag was not warranted as the circuit infrastructure was not damaged and it could be properly dealt with in a timely manner under safety car conditions.
        A red flag would have gone against Masi’s pre-race assessment of how an accident at that corner would be dealt.
        A red flag would have provided even greater jeopardy and potential for disruption to the running order at the time in comparison to a rolling start.
        A red flag would have attracted just as much, if not more, criticism claiming it was done ‘just for the show’.

        But some think it would have given Hamilton a better chance of holding his lead and hence they think that’s the call that should have been made. Demonstrates the point I’m trying to make really.

        1. As both the option that Masi used and the red flag would have been controversial, why didn’t he just stick to the rules, that he himself spoke of last year in the Eifel, and finish under the safety car.
          Red Bull might not have liked it, but they wouldn’t have been able to question the decision.

          Masi has to go, asap.

    4. Does his nationality have anything to do with your opinion of him? Honestly its hard to find anyone, even Max fans, who think he’s done a decent job this season.

      1. Quite possibly, we all have our biases.

        And whilst you’re right, there are very few who would say he’s done a good job this year, there are also plenty who would sympathize with the difficulty (sometimes impossibility) of his position, compounded by the fact that he took over from Charlie in very difficult circumstances and without the internship that this role demands.

        1. @aussierod It’s not like he was new to race directing. And he’s been in the F1 RD role for two years, how long does he need to learn his role? Maybe if he stuck to his job, instead of getting wrapped up in the show element, he’d do a better job and appear more competent.

    5. Long before the final race complaints have been made about how Masi dismisses complaints made about his performance arrogantly, even when it was obvious he didn’t act correctly.

      How come even before the race ended, we were predicting what Masi was going to do. Wolff suspected what was going to happen 3 races ago.
      There is no defense for his actions, he is not a 12year old that can be flustered.

    6. I agree Aussie Rod.

      I don’t understand the legalism on display in these forums.


    7. Sorry Aussie but on this occasion it’s entirely justified.

      I also hate the witch hunts and blaming referees when outcomes don’t match people’s hopes and expectations. Officials, like players, coaches, strategists etc all make mistakes when the bullets are flying and they’re making split second judgements. This performance, however, was a conscious fudge of the rules to conform to an agenda outside the sporting regs or spirit of competition.

      Specifically, Masi’s mistake here was that if he wanted to ensure the race finished under green he should’ve red flagged as per Baku. This could be a genuine mistake, it happens, lot of pressure, forgot a precedent or didn’t have a sufficient process in place to guide his decision making at that point in time.

      Masi’s undoing is that instead of letting his decision to leave the cars on track, understanding that there may not have been enough time to get a proper safety car restart (all cars unlap), play out. He made the decision that no cars could unlap themselves (I’m assuming as there was potentially time to get 1 green lap in). Insert Christian’s suggestion – which shouldn’t affect his judgement. At this point he makes a clear error in judgement by ignoring the rules, which he knows well, before the track is clear (read: safe) issuing a command to release a subset of the lapped cars and the the safety car to come in and green flag conditions to start a whole lap earlier than they should.

      He justified this by saying he wanted to finish under green flag conditions, which is his personal prerogative, agreed with teams but not a sporting/technical rule. Morally, he will think he did the right thing as it’s important to see cars going racing but it’s simply not his role to override the rules. He made a mistake in not stopping the race to ensure a racing finish and made a catalog of errors trying to fix the situation to fit his own agenda, for this he deserves scrutiny and in all seriousness needs to go.

    8. Masi did (rightly or wrongly) what he could to ensure the biggest race of the decade ended under green flag conditions.

      I think this is where we differ.

      There can be no “rightly” when the rulebook is ignored and a brand new procedure invented on the spot which hands a massive advantage to one driver and no others. There were several options available to him in the rule book, most of which would have given a green lap, but he ignored all of them and made up something.

      Had he followed any of the procedures available in the rulebook, he was legitimately shielded by the rules. But by making up something himself, it is perfectly legitimate to criticise and question him on something which was entirely his own making.

    9. @aussierod Thank god, finally some common sense. My vote for Comment of the day.

  4. Did FIA show their new Safety Car? Liberty Media created it to use it during F1 races in 2022 season. It is a lot bigger and has a tank gun! It will appear once during any (All!) race and the race leading driver at that moment will be kidnapped. For the TV, of course! Michael Masi will be obliged to call Bruce Willis to save the kidnapped driver. It will be so entertaining! What an F1 season it promises to be! Even better than this year’s farce ending!

    1. That would be too predictable – we need it to be more random and arbitrary :P

      1. Michael Masi and FIA is not done, yet. :P
        Has FIA already announced their new additional points scoring system to be used in F1 from 2022 season? Any (all!) F1 team will be obliged to applaud and praise Michael Masi before any (all!) GP. The best admirer will be awarded 3 points, the second best admirer – 2 points and the third best admirer – 1 point from the Clerk.
        Nevertheless, Michael Masi may override the Clerk’s decision.

  5. Masi, for his part, knew that it was an unspoken wish of the rights holders to let this Grand Prix end at racing speed. He defended himself before the FIA ​​court, pointing out that all teams had long ago expressed the wish to end a race under a green flag if possible.

    Interesting tid-bit from the auto-motor-und-sport article. And this is where we get to the crux of the issue. It’s no doubt Brawn will be supporting Masi because he has been achieving the goal of more excitement wonderfully this year.

    It’s one thing to aim for more excitement at a top level, ie with the introduction of next years cars that will lead to more overtaking or changing of tracks, it’s fair, the same for everybody – planned, obvious and transparent. It’s totally different to aim for it at a stewarding level allowing, hence promoting dangerous driving and allowing such decisions as half the field to “unlap” themselves and not have a restart, which compromises the sporting integrity.

    People are quick to blame Masi or say that it’s an FIA issue not a F1 issue, but it’s very clear the influence he’s been under that’s led to the decision making. It’s nothing new and has been happening for a long time. This is where I feel, despite the wording, and despite Mercedes correctness to the letter of the law in appealing, that it just isn’t going to happen.

    Either way, waiting with baited breath their decision. This part of F1 is just as exciting as the on track action for me – and judging by the amount of comments on the posts in the last couple days, I’m not the only one.

    1. And this is where we get to the crux of the issue.

      Exactly. I also wonder (which might’ve been highlighted in one of the other articles on this site, don’t know for sure since there’s too many of them) what the value is of such an agreement (the desire to finish the race under a green flag) with teams and shareholders involved, in relation to the sports regulations.

    2. I agree.

      If there is a wish to end all races under green flag conditions wherever possible, modify the regulations to that effect. Just as an example, they could say that any incident in the last 5 laps causes a red flag and at least 1 racing lap at the restart, maybe with the option to allow teams to add fuel if the red flag is on the final lap.

      An agreement like this season, to finish under racing conditions wherever possible, is not license to throw away the rules.

  6. There is plenty of blame to go around for the mess the last race ended in.
    IF Merc had pitted Lewis, IMO he still would have been ahead of Max. Granted Carlos would most likely have won, but Lewis would have outscored Max.
    Race control should have followed the rules and either let none of the cars un-lap themselves or let all of them through, not some half measure. Sure the race would have ended under the safety car, but it’s not like it has never happen that way. Or Max would have had to charge through the blue flags to attempt an overtake. The manipulation and bending of precedent should not have happened. Nor should safety be set aside for the sake of “the show”. You listening Toto and Christian?
    Taking the WDC from Max would be a major black eye for F1 and should not happen. It’s over and done and next year is next year. I’d rather see HAM mount a stunning season as a comeback answer in 2022. Rather than look in the F1 history book and see “2021 WDC Lewis Hamilton*”, with the * being that it was decided in the courts and not on the track.
    Finally, do you miss Charlie? WWCD?

    1. If a robber robs you, are you saying “It’s over and done” or you try to regain your money?

    2. Nah, that doesnt sit well, your talking from one side of the argument. at the moment it is 2001 WDC Max Verstappen* and F1 has already given itself a black eye. They have to address this in someway or another to appease both sides fans now, and and not sweep into under the carpet. That race finish was the epitome of unacceptable to so many F1 fans.

    3. If Mercedes had pitted Lewis and the safety car rules had been followed, the race would have effectively finished under safety car except for the last couple of corners (had it come in at the proper time).

      Mercedes didn’t do anything wrong, they didn’t have a choice to pit Lewis. Red Bull didn’t do anything wrong. It’s all on the race director.

  7. If true, ending the ability of teams to barrack the RD is huge news. I wonder how it will be enforced? Two-way communication is needed; perhaps it will be teams can’t speak unless spoken to?

    (I’d also suggest that only one nominated person from any team can talk with the RD. No more Horner or Wolff getting involved.)

    1. @dang I think just ban all but one person per team from communicating directly to the RD, with warnings and penalties for lobbying the RD (beyond checking if incidents had been noted, and requesting for an incident to be noted—but no arguments put forth unless requested specifically by the RD).

    2. I don’t see who speaks to RD as an issue; just don’t broadcast it. This was another stupid move by Liberty to spice up the show and create another false narrative as they do with the drivers radios. Only this time the teams hijacked it for their own ends. Maybe Liberty thought exposing Masi in this way was a price worth paying for the benefit of the show.

  8. I’m under a lot of pressure at work as well, and my boss expects me to handle it, because I get paid well to handle them. Masi’s capitulation is a great example of the Peter principal, he’s got to go and both the FiA and Liberty Medial have to publicly apologize to Hamilton, Mercedes and the fans.

    Max can keep his title, but it will always have an asterisk next to it. Hopefully he’ll get another one some day to lessen the effect of this one.

    1. Yes, an asterisk saying “by the mistake of FIA” is considerable solution.

      1. Considerable solution …if FIA is brave enough to apologize for their mistake and pay Mercedes and Hamilton millions for their mistake.

    2. Max can keep his title, but it will always have an asterisk next to it. Hopefully he’ll get another one some day to lessen the effect of this one.

      Same thing if it was HAM, actually even worse if we think if would have been the 8th WDC. If we’re talking about consistency, at least during the entire champ, I find it impossible to think that HAM would have been a legitimate champ given Silverstone and the charade from the 1st lap of Abu Dhabi by letting him keep 1st position and not even investigate the “incident”! Plus, BOT left the team now and he did not even got back that win from HAM.

  9. Im trying to think of anytime that the FIA has ever admitted a mistake or apologized in the 20 years ive been following F1…

    1. Remeber a farcical finish to the season in 1999. In the second-last race of the season, Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher dutifully gave up the race win to his teammate Eddie Irvine, so Irvine take a four-point lead in the championship to the final race of the season – a slender points margin over title-rival Mika Hakkinen, who finished that penultimate race in third in his McLaren.
      But that night, the FIA disqualified both Ferraris, promoting Hakkinen to first place and ensuring he would win the F1 title.
      The Ferraris had been in breach of technical regulations due to the baseplates of their barge boards being 10mm too short. Ferrari argued this offered them no performance advantage, but it didn’t matter – rules were rules.
      Ferrari appealed, and the ICA held a hearing on the Friday of the weekend of the final race at Suzuka. Remarkably, the decision was overturned. Ferrari argued the measuring system used was inaccurate and the ICA agreed, stating in their decision that the “measuring equipment available to the FIA Scrutineers at the Malaysian Grand Prix was not sufficiently accurate”.
      Ferrari had successfully claimed that their cars were within a ‘5mm tolerance’ of the allowed length, not the 10mm measured by the FIA Technical Delegate in charge of the race. Ferrari had also deployed exactly the same car design in a race three weeks earlier, after schematics were scrutinised and agreed to by the FIA.
      It was a hugely embarrassing scenario for the FIA, who had failed to pick up the issue three weeks earlier, or in any of the other scrutineering sessions throughout the race weekend. The Ferrari duo had their places and their points reinstated.
      The F1 world was in uproar, with many believing that the FIA and its ICA had only reversed the penalty so that the title fight would go down to the last race.

      1. Remember a farcical finish to the season in 1999

        That was 22 years ago :)

  10. Cotd is comedy gold

  11. Great COTD.

    1. I forgot: So no more TP contact, only team managers.

  12. We will stop this contact next year

    Ooops ! Very surprised to be honest because Brawn has been in favour for every gimmick spicing up the show and the FIA channel contact with teams has generated a lot of talk and is very entertaining from that point of view especially with Horner and Wolff onboard. I think maybe the FIA or Masi directly complained to the FOM having had enough from both Toto and Horner and the last message “Toto, we went car racing !” says it all.

  13. 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…”

  14. It is not acceptable that the team bosses put Michael under such pressure during the race,” said Brawn. “Toto Wolff cannot demand that a safety car should not come, and Christian Horner cannot demand that the cars have to lap back. That is at the discretion of the race director. We will stop this contact next year.

    Thank God! 1st step in the right direction was made.

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