Tost anticipates “toughest year” for budget cap in 2022

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In the round-up: AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost says 2022 will be the “toughest year” that the team will face with increased budget cap restrictions.

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In brief

Tost – 2022 will be AlphaTauri’s “toughest year” for budget cap

Franz Tost says AlphaTauri will have to be careful from the very start of 2022 to avoid problems stemming from F1’s more restrictive budget cap for this season.

As Red Bull’s sister team, AlphaTauri have been able to buy parts directly from their stablemates, including two year old gearboxes and rear suspension during the 2021 season. Tost says that buying additional parts this year will create problems with the reduced cap.

“[This] year will become for us, I think, the toughest year regarding the cost cap,” said Tost.

“[In 2021] we are far below the cost cap. That’s not a problem. But [2022] is $140 million, and buying new parts from Red Bull technology brings us as well to the limit. And therefore, we must calculate from the very beginning onwards quite well, because this situation could bring us in some difficulty.”

First head-to-head autonomous Indy race held

Computer controlled, driverless cars raced around the Las Vegas Motorspeedway as part of the Indy Autonomous Challenge.

The competition saw autonomous Dallara AV-21 chassis compete in a time trial to decide seedings before racing in head-to-head duels around the 1.5 mile oval.

Five teams from five countries entered the event, with the PoliMOVE team from Milan taking the overall event win and a $150,000 prize. The team also recorded a new record for the highest top speed recorded by an autonomous race car on an oval at 173mph.

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Comment of the day

With Lewis Hamilton still having made no public comment on the controversial end of the 2021 Formula 1 season, @david-br believes keeping quiet as he considers his F1 future is the right move…

One thing’s certain, Hamilton made the right option to go radio quiet. Maybe he quickly decided he’ll return in 2022 or even decided he’s leaving, but either way, announcing that news immediately after the decision would be taken as (a: stay) vindication of the Abu Dhabi farce or (b: leave) miffed that he lost the championship. So delaying his response was a sound ploy. The most likely scenario, that he wanted and maybe still wants to ponder the decision, also benefits from keeping quiet, as anything he says will be endlessly analysed in the motor racing world, making it more awkward for him to take an opposite stance or change mind later, plus the media noise would cloud his decision.

I’ve been thinking about this on and off ever since the season ending. I don’t think Hamilton should continue if he thinks Formula 1’s integrity was compromised by the way Abu Dhabi ended. Why? Because he’ll be suspicious that however well he drives, races and even championships may be decided again in what he sees as a cynically contrived way. It would be better to retire now, dignity intact, and let Formula 1 face the consequences of what it allowed to happen. Certainly the sport will suffer more. However much it wants to be a show, it requires legitimacy as a sport. Having it’s most successful ever driver retire because he thinks it’s no longer a real sport would be hugely damaging. It only makes sense for Hamilton to continue if he wants to race and enjoys the racing. But maybe he will put 2021 out of his mind and refocus, if so fine. Perhaps he should.

That doesn’t mean we have to accept it. I’m still stuck between the version that Masi was simply out of his depth and succumbed to Red Bull pressure and a more cynical version that Masi was also pressured by other elements beyond the teams to allow the race to restart when – and this is the crucial bit – had the situation been reversed, Hamilton had pitted and Verstappen stayed out, the race wouldn’t have restarted. Can we ever know? Probably not. More likely is that Masi was ‘trained’ from the outset of his race director career to focus on ‘show’ whenever possible, which is indeed what we’ve seen in countless decisions since he took over from Whiting. So the strings that needed pulling to make him restart the race probably only needed subtle tugs, nothing particularly blatant.

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On this day in motorsport

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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110 comments on “Tost anticipates “toughest year” for budget cap in 2022”

  1. Racefans: Knowingly engaging in ridiculous conspiracy theories since 2021.

    Keep on going guys – soon you might end up like PlanetF1!

    1. Agreed on both counts :P

    2. @cduk_mugello If you mean my comment (can’t see anything else that qualifies) it’s not a conspiracy theory: it’s a theory, for what it’s worth, about why Masi may have felt pressure to end the race in such a way to provide a ‘show.’ Given thousands of people inside and outside Formula 1 came to the very same conclusion, it’s hardly red pill stuff. The rest is speculation about why Hamilton has gone quiet.

      1. There are thousands of flat eathers , so if loads of people agree it doesn’t mean it’s not a conspiracy theory

        1. Eh, there are millions of round earthers, doesn’t mean that science is a conspiracy theory. Not sure how that logic works.

      2. @david-br Both explanations you suggest for Masi’s decision at Abu Dhabi (either Masi was influenced by Red Bull, or by “other elements beyond the teams”) are literally conspiracy theories, since either way they involve someone conspiring with Masi.

        You’ve left out the most likely explanation, which is the one that has been given repeatedly – there is broad agreement among the FIA, teams and commercial rights holder that races should be ended under green flag conditions if possible, and Masi did his best to facilitate this on his own initiative, without needing his strings to be pulled by anybody.

        1. This back and forth is so tiring… Everyone needs to get over it, everyone will have their own opinions.

          1. Well the ‘Hamilton has had a helping hand all his life’ theory is still running after a decade, with not much kickback on here. And ‘what about Silverstone’ is still a favourite amongst many after six months. Even amongst those who say it’s time to get over this.
            So this one will run and run. Not least because the likely explanation is that Masi is completely out of his depth and therefore will soon be causing more controversy.

        2. @red-andy we’ve had an individual from FOM who posts on this site, and they have stated that Liberty Media has leant on Masi to put more of an emphasis on the show when making decisions – for example, heavier use of the safety car to close up the field and more red flags to restart races – and, if necessary, to ignore prior precedence when it comes to decision making on how to run the races and on driver conduct on track to facilitate more exciting racing on track.

          The suggestion that “More likely is that Masi was ‘trained’ from the outset of his race director career to focus on ‘show’ whenever possible” does therefore seem to be correct – even individuals within the body that holds the commercial rights to the sport have accused Liberty Media of putting, and continuing to put, pressure beyond the remit of what the commercial rights holder should be doing on Masi to use the tools he has at his disposal as race director to “spice up the show”.

          1. we’ve had an individual from

            The anon account ofter throws in these kind of remarks.
            But it fits the conspiracy so it must be true :)

          2. erikje
            And yet you’re the one who is actually peddling a conspiracy theory (not me)! namely that the Mercedes team conspired to keep Hamilton out rather than pitting him for new tyres so they could secure the constructor’s championship. Seems it’s easy to throw around this accusation without much self-reflection.

        3. You’ve left out the most likely explanation, which is the one that has been given repeatedly – there is broad agreement among the FIA, teams and commercial rights holder that races should be ended under green flag conditions if possible, and Masi did his best to facilitate this on his own initiative, without needing his strings to be pulled by anybody

          If there wasn’t a perfectly valid and precedented option written in the rules to do so, I would agree with you. The fact that he made up a completely new, unprecedented procedure instead of using the one written in the rules which would accomplish that aim suggests that there was more to it than that. Personally, I don’t think there was a conspiracy, but I do believe that Masi succumbed to pressure from Red Bull (as well as general “improve the show” pressure), thinking that it would make for a more exciting end, and there was then a scramble by him, the stewards and Red Bull to twist the rules to make it seem to be allowed after the fact (in an attempt to try to stop the controversy bringing the sport into disrepute).

        4. @red-andy They’re ‘literally not’ conspiracy theories. You’re literally confusing saying someone was pressured into a decision with saying someone was conspiring.

      3. @david-br not conspiracy just faneboiism.

    3. @cduk_mugello @aussierod @diezcilindros I feel a need to point out here that David-BR is very clearly not stating that the Abu Dhabi farce was a deliberate act to favour one driver over the other, but is saying that there is a cynical interpretation of the events that David BR cannot dismiss.

      I think if you pick out a specific section of a long comment and take it out of context to accuse someone of pedaling conspiracy theories – I find that a little unfair. I get that people are understandably very sensitive about the shambolic way the season ended after such a long year of escalating tension and divisiveness between the fans, but I think we could all benefit from acting in good faith and not always assuming that everyone else is acting in bad faith.

      Again – as I’ve said many times before – the COTD is not always one I agree with. I value anyone who is able to able to articulate themselves and their opinions in a detailed, nuanced way and recognises that their opinion is inherently subjective, as David BR has.

      Finally, believe me when I say I am as sick of the negativity over last year’s events as anyone. I’m genuinely excited about sharing the new year of motorsport with everyone on here and seeing some incredible feats of driving prowess across all these series we love so much.

      1. @willwood
        Well said.

        However, with respect to the final paragraph, I don’t think the negativity will dissipate until there is some positive movement seen to ensure such a farce cannot happen again. At this point in any other year, especially one with such a radical shake up of the rules, I would be jumping up and down with excitement over the upcoming season. I cannot find any enthusiasm for the upcoming season, though, with this dark cloud hanging over it. I’m currently preemptively mourning for the death of the sport I love, and I know many who are in the same situation. I know it sounds dramatic, but it’s the honest truth as I currently see it, and this “negativity” is something which will only stop for me one of two ways: a commitment from the FIA to make meaningful changes to prevent such a farce from occurring again, or me weakling away from a sport I have loved for the vast majority of my life.

        1. I still miss the most likely theory.
          The fact Mercedes prioritezed the team over the driver.
          They did not wanted to loose the wcc and as a result they sacrifice their lead driver. Lewis asked twice for new tires. And loosing the lead with Redbull 1 and 2 and Bottas further behind, created a realistic scenario they would have lost the wcc.
          Lewis is utterly disappointed by his team and as always toto is great in changing the story.
          It wad the strategy that lost Lewis the race. Masi only created the situation to let them race.

          1. Thank you, @erikje, for that comment. You never fail to amuse.

      2. Thanks @willwood
        As you pointed out, though, the comment, which you kindly (!) selected as COTD actually tries to second guess what Hamilton might have been thinking. It’s part of a thread responding to a newspaper article on Hamilton going quiet and speculation about him leaving Formula 1, which is a non-story if he doesn’t and a huge story of he does, I guess.
        The fact is, as I said in another comment, Masi knowingly broke the normal SC protocoi, which he also knew Mercedes had anticipated by pitting Hamilton, to knowingly give Verstappen a huge advantage for a final lap of racing. It wasn’t a ‘mistake’ as such. And neither was it really an example of ‘let them race’ when he, like everyone else, knew we weren’t going to get a relatively fair battle but a complete disparity in the relative performance of the cars. Those are just facts. What we make of them, well, that’s up to everyone to reach their own conclusions, including of course Hamilton.
        Yes the season was excellent. But the negativity was generated by the last few laps of the season. I’m sure I’ll be watching this year and I doubt we’ll get a repeat of the Abu Dhabi situation, perhaps ever, where the title battle came down to the final laps of the race and the race director made a dramatic intervention in what unfolded. However, there’s no way around it: Abu Dhabi will be remembered just as strongly in F1 history – and studied and analysed – as much as Senna and Prost in 1989 and 1990. Only the protagonists won’t be just the drivers.

        1. Only the protagonists won’t be just the drivers.

          I suspect the drivers won’t really be involved in the analysis of this decision, because it wasn’t anything to do with the actions of the drivers. The future analysis is more likely to focus on the “dramatic intervention”.

      3. @willwood I like the way you take part of conversations. When there is “an open lobby” where anyone can write anything it will get nasty. Talking about sports can make it sound even more like a toddler fight.

    4. Agreed, the editor could have kept the comments about Hamilton (which are fine, even if they are arguable as F1 has demonstrated for 70+ years that it is far bigger than any one driver or team) and cut the last paragraph. That they chose not to, and rather chose to endorse it, is a bit odd.

      1. Publication of any COTD is not an endorsement, as Will stated.
        I’m not sure Formula 1 has ever comprehensively shown it’s bigger than Ferrari, btw. Drivers, yes. But it would still be hit badly by Hamilton leaving. They need a rival to Verstappen and would have to quickly find another compelling driver and narrative, while deflecting any negative views of F1 as no longer a real sport (bound to be made).

  2. RandomMallard
    9th January 2022, 1:01

    I think the belief behind heritage/race is that there are plenty of people who could be very talented and very good at something, be that driving or engineering or anything else, but for lack of opportunity, lack of role models (Lewis being the only black driver in F1, Bubba Wallace in NASCAR etc), or a variety of other reasons, they haven’t became involved. In my opinion, the initiatives should be about trying to get people involved in these areas, but not necessarily giving them a free pass. Like the OP, I’m not trying to start a war, increased representation is only a good thing imo, if the talent warrants it, and its allowing people to realise their potential that these initiatives should be aimed at.

    1. This argument about “role models” is utter total nonesense.
      Its totally ridiculous to only look up to a person who looks like you and not the values or ability that person espouses.

      I hardly saw “people that looked like me” being shown in any positive light on TV or in any real position of power in the corporate world when I was growing up. If we are to believe the role model concept, I would have never made it past my high school, let alone attended one.

      This thing with race needs to stop. Kids should be thought to learn values of successful people regardless of what they look like. A lot of the big tech companies in Silicon Valley are now run by Indians.. How did that happen?

      Teach people to be the best they can be at what ever they do or what they want to do, this is the only way forward. F1 lives in a bubble, they need to realise that the vast majority of people don’t give a #$&k about it. Attracting talent based on race is racist. Best person for the job, that’s it. If you don’t get diversity, too bad.

      1. The onus should not be on the oppressed individual to just work harder. It should be on society to remove any barriers of discrimination.

      2. RandomMallard
        9th January 2022, 8:21

        I completely agree that the best person for the job should be getting it, and disagree with diversity quotas as such. But the person who actually is the best for the job may not know they are, because they, because they haven’t had the opportunity to try it. I agree that people should do whatever they’re best at or whatever they want to do, but for some people, factors outside of their control (inadequate STEM education is a known problem in many deprived areas in the UK for example) which is may prevent them from knowing what they is. In the UK there are currently several initiatives to get more girls and women into STEM subjects, because there’s the potential that they could do very well in those subjects, but there has always been a bit of a stigma that it’s a men thing (even looking at University applications/place breakdowns, it’s not uncommon to see engineering course be 80%+ male). These initiatives generally seem to be working quite well as far as I am aware.

        I’m very aware that I’m coming from the perspective of a white male, so am in theoretically/historically the most privileged position. But I believe in diversity through opportunity, where everyone should have the chance to get involved in something, and then the best talent wins out, rather than necessarily diversity through quotas.

  3. RandomMallard
    9th January 2022, 1:08

    That autonomous Indy thing is quite interesting. I assume that with it being the same car, the competition element is provided by teams creating their own software to actually drive the car? If that is the case, I’m interested to know whether it is pre-programmed or utilises machine learning.

    On a similar tech basis, I’ve been using Python to analyse F1 data recently, and it isn’t too difficult to get your head around, especially if you’ve had some experience of programming before. Here is a really good set of tutorials if anyone’s interested. I believe the library pulls the data from F1’s Live Timing service for anything beyond 2018, but I don’t know the source for certain, so do keep that in mind. I highly recommend it regardless. Can do some great analysis/graphing with telemetry, such as comparing Hamilton’s Q3 lap in Singapore in 2018 to the other laps set that session, or Max’s nearly-lap in Q3 in Saudi Arabia.

  4. I hope Hamilton’s waiting for the outcome of the FIA investigation. Would be satisfying to see him tell them where to go if next year will be circus as usual with no acceptance of fault.

    1. Do you think they’d really be all that concerned if Hamilton tried to take the moral high ground? Again?
      Given the newer, younger and more exciting drivers in F1, I think they’d be quite content for him to move on now.

      There is no fault. The FIA ran their racing series their way – that’s what needs to be accepted.

      1. Go ride a bike, there’s been no shortage of drivers saying the way things were done were wrong and unacceptable. If FIA takes the line you just did, there’ll be a lot of people switching to indy, to say the least.

        1. The drivers can say whatever they want to say. Their opinions are equal to yours, mine and Masi’s.

          It’s the FIA not taking that stance that lead directly to the final lap of that race – and indeed the complete season leading up to it. The sporting regs shouldn’t be the crooked democracy riddled with unwritten interpretations demanded by the competitors that they are.
          Zak Brown made such statements just yesterday. The teams are interfering too much in the running of F1.
          The drivers might want a word with their bosses if they want to sort things out.

          Of course they wouldn’t be switching to Indycar. People say that every time F1 does anything.
          For Indy to compete with F1 for global audience and market share, they have to become a world championship. Now, which organisation is the only one with the authority to grant World Championship status?
          Ah, yes. The FIA.
          They’re also a spec series, and we know how F1 fans feel about spec series….

          1. The sporting regs shouldn’t be the crooked democracy riddled with unwritten interpretations demanded by the competitors that they are.

            No they shouldn’t, you are right. They also shouldn’t be able to be thrown away by the officials. Neither are acceptable.

            IMHO (though I know there are many who disagree) all rules should be made as close to black and white as possible. The more grey areas, the more inconsistent decisions become, and the more crooked the sport looks. The ultimate expression of that was shown in the final laps of Abu Dhabi.

          2. No set of rules can ever be written that covers every scenario effectively @drmouse. No two incidents are ever exactly the same. Somebody has to interpret and apply rules, and judge how a given incident and scenario fits within that rule structure and what needs to be done about it. A human, or multiple humans. There is no other way.
            Race control is about management and problem solving. And even when faced with the exact same problem, individuals will come up with a whole range of different ways to solve it. Not necessarily right or wrong, just different.
            The FIA came up with a way that was apparently different to your way, but you aren’t accepting it. In your opinion, it was not different; it was wrong – which actually ties in perfectly with the FIA’s statement that some fans are clearly misunderstanding.

            I understand you (and several others) don’t like (and/or can’t accept) that the FIA is doing their thing with their own product, but that’s just the way it is.
            The commercial side of F1 is inseparable from the rest of it now. This is the way everyone with their finger in the pie wants it to be.

          3. That’s true enough: The FIA can do whatever they want with their series. If they want to throw out established procedures and precedents, ignore the rules, and make stuff up as they go along, they are entitled to do so. In my eyes, they cannot call F1 a sport with any credibility when they do so, but if they want to transform F1 into a TV reality show, that’s their prerogative.

          4. Not only can the FIA do whatever they like, they can call it whatever they like and describe it any way they like, because it is theirs.
            But regardless of what they call it or how they describe it, it is undeniably entertainment. Its two primary objectives are making money and attracting eyeballs, and it achieves those by being and doing things that attract attention. What about that does not spell out “SHOW?”

            If you put as much effort into accepting what happened, moving on and looking forward to the coming season as you do in yelling from your soapbox, you’d probably feel a lot better about it.
            Hot tip – drop it and do something else entirely for a couple of weeks. Seems to me like you need a break from F1 for a little while.

          5. But regardless of what they call it or how they describe it, it is undeniably entertainment. Its two primary objectives are making money and attracting eyeballs, and it achieves those by being and doing things that attract attention. What about that does not spell out “SHOW?”

            Of course it’s entertaining, a good show, for those who are happy for it to be just that. So is WWE. So is TOWIE. So is Coronation Street. Good for you if that’s what you want, what you’re happy with. I’m not. I need it to be seen as a fair sporting contest, and AD marks a very clear line for me.

            If you put as much effort into accepting what happened, moving on and looking forward to the coming season as you do in yelling from your soapbox, you’d probably feel a lot better about it.

            If I “accept what happened”, I accept that F1 is no longer even pretending to be a sport, and moving on involves walking away from the only sport I have ever truly loved. There will be no looking forward to the new season. I am not ready to do that yet, to abandon something which has been a massive part of my life for decades, and there is still time for the FIA to fix it (though I’m holding out less and less hope). I certainly won’t feel better about it, and in fact will probably feel worse for a significant period of time.

            Instead, I will hold out hope until the last that enough is done by the FIA to make me feel like F1 is going to be a sporting contest once more. I will continue arguing the point with people on forums like these, although I will do my best to keep it respectful. I will continue writing to senior figures in an attempt to stop this happening. I will continue fighting to the end, until all hope is gone. Only then will I accept this travesty, mourn for the death of the sport I loved and try to find something else to fill the void it leaves.

          6. Breakups can be tough @drmouse, but they are a part of life.
            Cry to the moon if you must, but inevitably you’ll have to accept that she’s already left you for a younger, more playful guy. She doesn’t need you anymore and she is not coming back.
            Just be careful she doesn’t report you to the police for stalking….

          7. Oh, and no, I’m not happy with F1 being what it currently is, but it’s a simple case of take it or leave it. Some aspects of F1 are still enjoyable enough and interesting enough for it to earn some of my time.
            There are plenty of other car racing series I can, and do, watch instead (and/or as well as) to fulfil my desires.

            Each and every racing series has its own personality, and once you let go of the whole ‘purity is everything’ approach it’s so much easier to find them all more enjoyable.

          8. Breakups can be tough @drmouse, but they are a part of life.

            True, and if I must walk away, I will. Don’t expect me to be happy about it, though.

            Oh, and no, I’m not happy with F1 being what it currently is, but it’s a simple case of take it or leave it. Some aspects of F1 are still enjoyable enough and interesting enough for it to earn some of my time.

            That’s fine for you. To be honest, there is an element I will likely continue to follow: The technical competition. I don’t need to watch, pay for or go to the races to do that, though, and there is no enjoyment for me in a contrived, manipulated farce where the RD is allowed to make up rules whenever he feels like it.

            Each and every racing series has its own personality, and once you let go of the whole ‘purity is everything’ approach it’s so much easier to find them all more enjoyable.

            I don’t expect “purity” from F1 and never have. I know it must balance business, entertainment, and sport, but it must have a reasonable balance of all three for me to enjoy it. I always felt it did before, though it was a very precarious balance, but to me the decision in Abu Dhabi shows it has abandoned the sporting aspect entirely. As entertaining as I can see WWE can be (my wife and several friends are fans), I’m no more interested in that than I am an F1 with no element of sport.

            Again, though, there is still time for the FIA to do something about it, and there has been a tiny glimmer of hope in the words of the new President. Only a tiny amount, and not enough for me to give any benefit of the doubt yet, but it is enough for me to not walk away as yet.

            TBH even if it does get to the point where I must walk away, I am likely to be bitter about it. Who wouldn’t? I’ve put years of my life and thousands of pounds into F1 over the years. Describing it as a breakup is a reasonable analogy: if a partner changed their behaviour significantly to the point where they were no longer someone I could stand to be around, after a marriage of several decades, and basically told me “you can like it or get lost”, I would be furious, bitter, resentful… The same is true if I suddenly discovered that they were completely different to the person I thought they were, and that they had been putting on a front to deceive me. I don’t know many people who wouldn’t find that completely understandable, and I would likely become very angry with anyone who told me to “get over it”, “just accept it”, at least in the short term. Heck, when my first wife left me, it was months before my mood started to stabilise, and years before I could think about any of the time we had spent together without anger and resentment (even now it can bubble up unexpectedly). You certainly shouldn’t expect people to “get over it” in a few weeks…

        2. There has never been a shortage of drivers, so the FIA isn’t going to be too bothered either way. F1 made guys like Norris, Leclerc and Russell popular, not the other way around.

  5. I assumed Dubai again for Gasly (& Leclerc, who eventually chose Mexico), but he chose something else this time, albeit Norris once again in Dubai.

    Re COTD: No, the same outcome would’ve been most likely also with reversed positions since avoiding an SC finish was Masi’s determination, even if that meant protocol breaching.

    1. Again, there was a way within the written rules to allow a finish under green flags without “protocol breaching”: leaving lapped cars in place.

      1. That would have really gifted the race to Lewis. Just like an red flag.
        I guess that’s acceptable on this forum.

        1. He was over 10 seconds clear in the lead. They would have gifted him nothing. Both those alternative situations would have reduced the advantage he earned on track. But at least it would have been done within existing rules.

          1. @oweng +1 erikje seems to have forgotten that point

        2. It’s fairly clear that the lapped runners would have been out of the way very quickly. Therefore, although Lewis would have built up a small lead, given his massive tyre advantage I believe Max would have caught him in time to challenge into the last few corners. The result would not have been nailed on in either direction.

          However, as you continuously go on about how it was Mercedes decision not to pit, it was also Red Bull’s decision to pit. I can’t remember the exact position before that, but there would certainly have been far fewer lapped runners between them (if any) had they not done so. So by your own logic, had Max have failed to catch Lewis in this situation, surely that would have been down to Red Bull’s tactical mistake, not the actions of the race director.

          And finally, unlike what actually happened, not allowing any cars to unlap is a procedure which is clearly spelled out as an option in the rulebook, and the decision is completely in the hands of the race director, and he was already planning to do so before he suddenly changed his mind and made up new rules on the spot. There is no possible argument that he wouldn’t be allowed to do so, and he would need no unprecedented and twisted use of “god powers” to do so. Even if someone tried to argue against it, he could easily have pointed out that the only other procedure written in the rules would have led to a finish under the safety car, and I’m pretty certain that any suggestion that he behaved as he ended up doing would have been laughed at as ridiculous.

    2. Yeah, I agree with that @jerejj. I get the CotD about the pressure/expectation from Liberty and the teams on Masi to “let them race” and to see a green flag finish, that part is by now pretty decently established to be very real

      I feel the part where you get into conspiracy theory part @david-br is with your assumption that the same would not have happened were the positions the other way around on track. We have seen ample pointers that there was no “Max must win” attitude (why else wouldn’t they pounce on the opportunity to punish Hamilton for going off track earlier, for example).

  6. OK, come on, that’s enough: it’s time to move on.

    It’s a poor COTD, and specially the line “Had the situation been reversed, Hamilton had pitted and Verstappen stayed out, the race wouldn’t have restarted” shouldn’t have made the editor’s cut. Had the FIA wanted Max to win, they would have penalized Lewis for the first lap incident.

    Let’s face it. The penultimate lap decision was awful, a mistake, illegal, Masi should be banned for that. But come on: had he did things right, lapped cars would have unlapped themselves in lap 56 and then we would have had a last-lap decider… exactly the way we had.

    It’s the same as if in football a player falls in the box without being hit, the ball goes on for a second, a teammate scores and the referee, completely wrong, undoes that and points the penalty dot for the previous fall. That penalty decision is ridiculous, but the “right refereeing” would be a goal anyway.

    Lewis lost because he didn’t pitted under SC, it was a Mercedes call, probably because their lack of confidence about overtaking a hard-shod Max on a wheel-to-wheel battle, with Verstappen satisfied with a double DNF. But it is what it is; bad timing with Latifi. Even with Masi doing it properly, Mercedes would have lost it. Accept it for good.

    1. @diezcilindros Thank you! It is a relief that there are still people on this website with common sense.
      Mercedes messed up and they knew it. “Is he right behind me?”. “He will be”….
      Leaving Hamilton on 40 lap old hards and knowing with half a lap to go that Red Bull for sure would pit for softs is the big mistake that cost them the championship. Not the half baked decision 3 laps later.
      Besides, Lewis defended like Bottas. He literally lost his 8th title by leaving the door wide open.

      1. @marcusaurelius Had he covered the inside line, Max would’ve passed him on the outside instead.

        1. @jerejj He would have tried. But Hamilton could have run wide like Max did on the first lap. Anyway, that would have been a proper defense. But this was sitting duck stuff.

          1. @marcusaurelius

            Max could easily have used a “cut back” had Lewis run wide. The fact is that with the tyres as they were and a full lap to go at, Max was almost certainly going to get past. The best driver in the world can’t defend against a determined opponent with that big a performance delta.

            (Before someone points out Perez again, the tyre delta was not even close to as big there, and Lewis knew he had plenty of time to get past safely and without damaging his tyres too much. The situation is not comparable.)

    2. Agreed.
      I’m surprised to see Racefans fanning the dying embers of this story.

      1. The dying embers? It’s the biggest controversy with officiating in F1 since Balestre’s antics. This’ll be talked about for years or until the FIA cleans up its act.

        1. Only by those who don’t accept it and move on.

        2. It’ll be talked about for years sure… but that doesn’t make it daily news.

          1. It only happened a few weeks ago. Such a massive controversy is not going to go away quickly, especially when nothing is coming from the FIA which suggests there will be anything but a cover-up.

    3. RandomMallard
      9th January 2022, 8:27

      I think the argument is that “if Masi did it properly”, the rave wouldn’t have restarted. The Safety Car is supposed to come in at the end of the lap after the one where the lapped cars are let through, which wasn’t the case here. Masi created a contradiction by calling upon article 48.13 immediately after 48.12, and as a result had to break 1 article.

      For the record, I don’t advocate changing the result, I don’t see any reasonable method theough which that could be done. But I do want to see the FIA held accountable for it.

      1. For the record, I don’t advocate changing the result, I don’t see any reasonable method theough which that could be done. But I do want to see the FIA held accountable for it.


    4. you know you have a choice not to read it?

      1. That’s missing half the articles on this site then :)

    5. @diezcilindros You need to think this through. If the situations were reversed, the teams pressuring Masi would also have been reversed. Mercedes would be pushing for a restart and ‘let them race’, not Red Bull. Would they have tried? Possibly. Wolff had been urging Masi not to call out a SC. But with the same amount of pressure and the same arguments? I don’t think so. Remember that it was Red Bull’s mantra throughout the season to ‘just let the drivers race’. That’s how they defended Max’s driving in Brazil (successfully). And it’s precisely what Masi shouted at Wolff when the Abu Dhabi race restarted: ‘it’s called racing!’ I’m not suggesting collusion. I’m suggesting Red Bull had more ability to pressure and convince Masi into restarting than Mercedes would have had and that pressure to restart would have been backed, tacitly or explicitly, by his Liberty bosses and FIA for the ‘show.’ It’s a perfect storm that wouldn’t have materialized if the roles were reversed, I don’t think. Pure speculation, obviously.

      1. @david-br

        I’m suggesting Red Bull had more ability to pressure and convince Masi into restarting than Mercedes

        I’m interested in asking, in your opinion, who is more at fault here? Do you blame Red Bull or Masi?

        Personally, I put 80%+ of the blame on Masi, and a small amount on RB. Obviously RB technically shouldn’t be pressurising Masi in that way, but as you note, Mercedes haven’t been any better. Toto’s admitted that both he and Horner overstepped the mark, and we’ve seen other teams get angry on the FIA hotline as well over the course of the season, but naturally it’s not broadcast as often as the title protagonists. But it’s Masi’s job not to get overly influenced by them. He’s supposed to have enough judgement to be able to stand up to them. That’s why I place the majority of blame on Masi.

        That’s also why I feel Masi has to go, not only has he broken the rules, but he’s also proved he’s not got full respect from/control over the teams, which is kind of important for him to have. The teams know they can exploit him, and naturally will try to. I also think we should ban Team-to-FIA radio unless it’s a safety-critical issue (or in response to an initial message from Race Control of course). Although that’ll just become a question how far the teams can bend the definition ‘safety-critical’ to their advantage

      2. @david-br I reject your ‘theory’ (don’t dare call it a conspiracy lol) that Masi can be influenced by one team over another. That any one TP has more influence than another over Masi. As much as some want to knock Masi for some decisions that were made this season, and let’s recall many were out of his hands, to claim he can be influenced to favour one team is I think as insulting, negative, and damaging to Masi and F1 as anything that has happened this season.

        Otherwise, I don’t disagree that Masi may have had discussions with the teams and with Liberty Media about letting them race when possible, particularly once it was apparent that we were finally in for what was looking to be a legit season long challenge to the usual Mercedes/LH domination. They’ve talked about drivers having more freedom to race for years. Races and Championships not decided in the board room. Let them race is not a new thing borne in 2021. I reject your notion that ‘let them race’ is some mantra taken up this season mainly by RBR. I can’t blame Liberty at all for wanting us to see things settled on the track rather than the stewards’ room. It is what the fans and teams usually want too. And especially after 7 years of predictable Mercedes Championships. I think Sprint Qualifying was borne of too much predictability from such a long string of LH/Mercedes domination.

        I speculate that now that there has been a break in the domination (just barely as Mercedes were still WCC), and they are on to a wholly new chapter this year, and the cars should be able to race more closely, there shouldn’t be as much reflex to play in the grey area a bit, under the guise of ‘let them race.’ What I mean is that I speculate that with these cars so hard to race closely on such questionable tires, having made it so hard for anyone to compete, they may have felt the need to create some show to help these cars, and/or the series along by giving the drivers some slack at times. I speculate that the new cars should reduce the need to create a show because they will make the show on their own. Perhaps with more action in general there will be less of a desire to ‘let that one go’ for the sake of the show. That’s my theory.

        1. @robbie Nobody is against ‘let them race’, as I’m sure you’re well aware. The crucial point is racing within defined regulations, track limits, with due concern for safety etc. And those were the points of contention. And I don’t think you can rule out unintentional bias. Like I said, it’s speculative. However, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask the question, would the same have happened with the situations reversed? That’s the basis of sporting fairness and it must surely be the question Hamilton asked himself in the immediate aftermath, which was the issue I was originally responding to.

          1. @david-br Seems you’re asking the question having somehow already made up your mind that Masi would not have made the same decision had the driver positions been reversed. Whether or not LH is feeling conspired against is for only him to know, and perhaps he’ll tell us when he next meets up with the media. I suggest he likely does, given that in 2016 he even had his own team conspiring against him with his ‘they want Nico to win’ public discourse. From my standpoint, while Max ending the LH/Mercedes WDC dynasty may have been compelling for Liberty, I don’t see why LH getting his 8th WDC wouldn’t have been just as compelling a story.

          2. @robbie I said I was undecided. You on the other hand have persistently claimed ‘nothing to see here’ on literally any incident to do with Red Bull or Verstappen. I’ve never once seen you recognise that maybe, just maybe, one of their rivals may have had a point. Fine, up to you, but this projection of bias works both ways.

          3. @david-br Hmm just a couple of comments above you seem pretty sure that situations reversed, somehow, without the weight of Horner’s lobbying shall we say, TW wouldn’t have had the same influence, and I have to assume you are saying that either way Max was going to prevail at the hand of Masi, and I can’t see any evidence for that whatsoever. I guess you’re covering your remark by saying it’s pure speculation, which it is, but you certainly don’t sound undecided to me. I just can’t figure out what you have to go by that basically suggests Masi can be bought. I don’t mean literally, but that he can be swayed away from his position of non-bias.

            As to my bias, yeah of course I’m going to side with Max wherever possible, but for example where I thought Silverstone was the right call against LH, I also thought Monza was the right call against Max.

          4. @robbie Like other Max fans, you read everything through a b+w prism. I simply don’t think Mercedes would have applied the same pressure to restart or would have been convincing in their argument as Red Bull. If you accept that Masi altered the usual SC protocols, then he did so for a reason, right? And he gave the reason: they wanted racing. And not just any racing. ‘They’ (which is up to Masi to define!) wanted a race between Hamilton and Verstappen for the ‘championship battle’. Even if it meant an unparalleled decision to allow some cars to unlap but not others, which was demonstrably unfair to others further down the grid. As they indeed complained. That has to be a decision made under pressure, since in a less pressured situation he would have surely taken the normal course of action. So what was that pressure? Time, other teams, the desire for a show rather than a finish under a SC? Who knows. But certainly part of that pressure was from Red Bull. If so, that’s a subjective and variable factor. Swap Red Bull for Mercedes and you don’t necessarily get the same outcome. This really isn’t conspiracy theory level, it’s what many former drivers, team managers and pundits also concluded – that Masi, under pressure, made some bad decisions. Maybe Peter Windsor asked the best question. While also speculating it might have been down to the desire for a ‘show’ rather than sporting fairness, his main complaint was the lack of protection of the race director from undue pressure from any of the teams, and a basic lack of infrastructural support compared to the array of people – including data analysts and strategists – the teams have at their disposal.

          5. I simply don’t think Mercedes would have applied the same pressure to restart or would have been convincing in their argument as Red Bull.

            Mercedes were applying the same pressure not to call the SC just moments earlier, and then applying the exact same pressure not to restart @david-br.
            And your conclusion to Masi choosing to use a SC and then restart the race as he did is that it’s because Red Bull ‘convinced’ him it was the right thing to do.
            At no point have you acknowledged that perhaps – and this is just speculating, of course ;) – that Masi made his own decision regardless of Red Bull’s and Mercedes’ communications?
            When faced with two teams wanting opposing decisions, what can he do? He has to make a decision, and I’m not convinced that, in that moment, he’s giving much thought to who will benefit and who will lose out from it – only that a decision has to be made using the information available and in the best interests of the entire competition/show/business.

            Which is exactly what he did.

          6. S Agreed.

            @david-br To me you are basically saying that in your opinion if the drivers’ positions were reversed TW wouldn’t have been as successful at lobbying Masi as Horner was. I think that it is insulting to Masi as it implies firstly that he can be swayed, and secondly that he indeed was. Personally I’m very confident that he is neutral. So I just don’t buy your premise that Masi made his decisions in order to favour Max/RBR. I think he was favouring the season ending under a green flag, and not just fizzle out behind a safety car.

            Masi has had support from the teams all season long and in previous seasons, including when he was under Whiting, for the ‘let them race’ concept whenever possible, so it is not like he came out of the blue on that one, and as to “pressure” or “bad decisions” I’d like to hear from Masi on that. For all we know it was something closer to a no-brainer for him to have decided the way he did, having come down to exactly what was going on with the Williams’ car recovery and how that all timed out such that this was what he had to do in order to see the season end under racing conditions. For all we know Masi wouldn’t do anything differently if he had it to do all over again. I don’t disagree though that perhaps something can be changed as per what Peter Windsor was talking about, but I would like to know from Masi exactly what his thinking was and what he really felt pressure-wise, rather than people projecting on him what he was thinking and feeling at the time.

          7. @robbie I really don’t care if it’s insulting to Masi. The race ending was an insult to those of us who watched a season of Formula 1 expecting fair application of the sport’s own regulations. Your defense of Masi’s abritrary decisions in the last laps of the Abu Dhabi race is ridiculous. I can accept he may have made mistakes under pressure but in no sense was his decision-making consistent and it basically determined the race and championship winner. I don’t think this anything else to add here.

          8. @david-br Fair comment. I respect your opinion. I think it will be very interesting to hear Masi expand on this. To hear what the FIA may do about this.

  7. Massi did what he always did in the past: make the race end with green flags (at the request of the teams) and let the lapped cars pass (he usually lets all of them pass, it was odd that only a few did this time, but if all of the, did pass as usual -and there would have been time as they didn’t need to be far up the road- the e d result would be the same.

    Wanting Hamilton to have won is natural among fans, but it’s natural that that also affects a pragmatic view of the events.

    1. @James Coulee, The only way for getting a green-flag ending without any protocol breaching would’ve been keeping all lapped drivers in the mix.

      1. The regulations have a provision that allow the Race Director final say on the proceedings, over the regulations, precisely for situations like these when the spirit of the regulations (its intentions) may need to be implemented in very particular not predicted situations (the famous 15.3).

        This Sporting Regulation was overseen and approved by the F1 Commission and Strategy Group where the teams, including Mercedes, are represented and vote.

        1. The spirit of the regulations, though, was not followed. The spirit of the regulation which allowed lapped cars through was to get them out of the way of those on the lead lap, not just out of the way of the top two. This decision basically said “the only two cars which actually matter are the top two, everyone else can get stuffed”. They may as well have just had everyone but Lewis and Max pull into the pits and retire.

        2. @James Coulee Yes, but not for entertainment purposes.

      2. Even if the lapped cars had all stayed in place, they would have been blue-flagged immediately anyway @jerejj.
        End result for the top 2 = almost certainly the same.

        Then the whinging would instead be about the SC being on track in the first place.
        Or about Latifi being bribed by Red Bull, or some other joke that F1 fans never have any trouble concocting.

        1. There would have been no legitimate criticism had the written rules been followed. Yes, the timing of a safety car can feel horrifically unfair, but that’s just the luck of the draw. Changing the rules at the last minute in a way which only benefits one driver on the track is not the luck of the draw.

          Realistically, had Masi left lapped runners in place, Lewis would have had a small lead by the time Max was past. This would have taken a little while to claw back, but we would probably have seen a battle in the last few corners. However, that’s a very different situation to changing the rules to put Max directly behind Lewis at the start of the lap, with an entire lap available to attack on brand new tyres. Masi’s decision changed it from Max having a good chance to fight and take the win to there being a virtual certainty of an overtake. That’s a massive difference (and actually removed the excitement of the last lap, because it was pretty much nailed on what would happen barring an absolute miracle).

          1. Any virtual certainty of an overtake was due to Mercedes’ pity strategy.
            Those chose, twice, to maintain track position over pitting for tyres.
            They lost the gamble.

            I have no idea what you were watching, but the last lap was the best of the lot – regardless of what Race Control may or may not have done.
            Championship-wise, they did the fairest thing possible. They put the two contenders together to battle it out mano o mano, with no interference possible from any other cars on track.
            Imagine if they’d left the lapped cars there, and a Mercedes partner (Vettel and Norris) had blocked Verstappen for the entire lap? They would have nothing to lose by doing so except their own race result, but would ‘gift’ the win to Hamilton.
            The displeasure of that scenario playing out would dwarf this one.

            Of all the options available, and those that some think weren’t available – they chose the right one, IMO.

          2. Any virtual certainty of an overtake was due to Mercedes’ pity strategy.

            Had the lapped runners been allowed past earlier and standard regulations followed, that’s true. However, as it stands, the virtual certainty is from Masi’s decision to invent a brand new procedure.

            If I fail to maintain my car and the brakes fail, causing a crash, that’s down to my own failure. If someone cuts my brake lines, though, whether I’ve maintained my car is irrelevant: The person who cut the brake lines caused the brake failure and, therefore, the crash. Even if the brakes would probably have failed anyway sometime soon, the fault lies with the one who made the choice to change the circumstances.

        2. @S Blue-flagged immediately, yes, but Max wouldn’t have passed all five into T1.
          Even if useless, I reckon the time lost in getting through traffic would’ve cost him a realistic overtaking chance as he consequently would’ve probably only caught HAM in S3, the most corner-rich one.

          1. Given the ‘3 blue flags’ rule, Verstappen would have cleared then very quickly, had they all done what is required of them, @jerejj.
            Verstappen would then have benefitted greatly from Hamilton’s tow all the way down the straights.

            Unless they wanted to be deliberately obstructive, they would probably have pulled out of the way almost immediately anyway to allow the leaders to battle.

          2. And again, had that happened, then it’s down to strategy and the luck of the draw. That is not what happened though, and the deciding factor in who won the race was Masi’s decision above all else.

    2. Massi did what he always did in the past

      This is provably untrue. Always in the past, if the procedure dictated that the race would have ended under the safety car, that’s what happened. Always in the past, if lapped cars were allowed past, they all were and the SC came in at the end of the following lap. Always in the past, Masi had stated he had no choice but to do this. This was a completed departure from what has been done in the past by all measures.

      1. @drmouse You continue to make a strong and compelling case, except that there hasn’t been a lot of precedent (particularly for Masi) for a final race Championship decider, gone into with the two season-long rivals tied, with then a safety car with a handful of laps remaining, and what would have been for many a total anti-climax to the unique season we had had if it had ended under said safety car. Other than for LH fans.

        You are right to repeat ‘always in the past’ except for when it came down to a very unique set of circumstances that added up to a perfect storm in the very end of the season. I think just as they give drivers some leeway with incidents in the first lap, so too they may give some leeway with such highly charged races as the last one of 2021. While Masi’s decision in the end was well worthy of much debate, it would seem he indeed acted within his authority, even if it was a departure under extreme circumstances. Even if it was a departure from what he himself has said in the past. It would have been hard for him to not only predict the circumstances of the ending of the last race of such a contentious season, but how he would react, as it all had to play out in real time. As to how it affected some drivers differently from others who didn’t get to unlap themselves, well, sorry to you guys but that last lap was all about LH and Max for the Championship, and their ‘needs’ were never going to take precedence over those of the Championship rivals.

        1. What’s wrong with it being an anti-climax? At least that would be fair. I would prefer an anti-climatic end that followed the rules rather than an exciting finale that was enabled by rules not being properly followed. It’s not even unheard of for a title decider to end under SC, it happened in 2012 when Paul Di Resta crashed near the end.

        2. @robbie
          Again, there was a written procedures, completely precedented and within his remit which would have allowed the race to finish under green flags and would have been much more exciting that the “well that’s it, Verstappen has won” moment as soon as he made this decision. That amounts to this being an abuse of his powers which massively tipped the scales in favour of Max, even when taking the unofficial agreements into account.

      2. I seems to remember that after those ending under safery cars RC would make sure the race wouldn’t end behind safety car. And not that funny the safety cars stops before the finish to let them through.

        But they could just enter 1 rule No safetycar finish by adding 1 lap after safetycar ending. Easy rule

        1. Given that agreement, if there had been no other way to end without the safety car then I could just about agree with him making the rules in this manner. However, that is not the case. He had one option very clearly open to him to use within the written rules, without using his “screw you I can do what I want” powers (bringing in the safety car without clearing lapped runners). This would not only have been far less controversial and within the written procedures available to him, but also would have produced a much more exciting finish (instead of the instant “well, Verstappen has won then” the moment the SC came in).

          There was absolutely no need to do what he did, which actually reinforces to me that he should not have such power. It is open to abuse, which is borne out by the fact that he did abuse it in this case (IMHO).

          1. @drmouse Like I say, you make a compelling argument. There is no question you are right that Masi could have just kept the cars between LH and Max in place. I do question how much he was ‘abusing’ his powers, for there is always the possibility that the cars between LH and Max would have leapt out of Max’s way, not wanting to hinder him from his chance at LH, and I really don’t envision them having to be blue flagged to do so, so I wonder if the outcome would have been the same as we got, however, I take your point that if that had happened it at least would have had better optics for Masi. I guess it is up to the FIA to decide if he abused his powers and if a rule has to be put in place. I’m not convinced he was all that abusive. Would it not have also been taking a bit of license on his part to leave the lapped cars between LH and Max? Perhaps his thinking was that by releasing at least the 5 he did, and thus ensuring a green flag finish, this was a hybrid decision, a compromise given everything that had culminated to bring the season to that moment in time.

          2. @robbie

            Maybe he did think that. However, given that the written rules and procedures (without taking the “I can do what I want, screw you all” interpretation into account) unequivocally allow him the choice over whether to allow the lapped cars through, it has been done before, and that the alternative written procedure would violate the agreement everyone had made (don’t finish under SC), it would have been much less controversial than what he did.

            Again, I find it incredibly difficult to believe that anyone would have taken it seriously that he could do as he did if it was suggested before he did it.

            In my own opinion, it still amounts to abuse of his powers, and merely strengthens the case that he should not have that power. This is, of course, only my opinion, and others are free to disagree. I really struggle to see how anyone could consider his actions to be even close to fair or sporting, though, which is one of his first duties.

          3. @drmouse As per my comment above, fair comment, and I respect your well-articulated opinion.

        2. @robbie Thank you, and I will say I do respect your counter-points (here and elsewhere), they have made me really think about my own position and consider things from different points of view.

  8. This situation will just give Max a huge psychological leverage for next year, too: Hamilton is not showing any strength with this way of dealing with loss.

    (It’s not an embarrassing loss: Ver was lucky, as was Ham against massa in the past, or this year when a Safety car also allowed Ham to recoup a lot of lost points, and sprint races allowing him to overcome penalties, etc… but the stats also show that Ver was completely dominant this season and was quite unlucky several times too, especially with 2 of his DNFs.

    So there’s no shame in this loss. He should show strength and move on with his head held high. He’s a 7 times champion for god’s sake. If there where a conspiracy it would be easier to defend it is FOR Hamilton, as there are not only the incredible results but the interest in helping the driver that does most for F1’s marketing.

    1. Hamilton is not showing any strength with this way of dealing with loss.

      How on earth do you arrive at such a diagnosis? We now have to read armchair psychology reports in the comments?

      1. It’s an opinion, @Emma.
        And no, you don’t have to read it.

        1. Of course it is an opinion. A rubbish one [in my opinion]. I’d actually love to be able to skip over comments like most of yours which is why a block button is high on my wish-list for this site. And – before you remind me – I’m aware it works both ways and I’d be happy with that.

          1. Classy response @emma. Thank you for reading my commentary :)
            Feel free to add something constructive some time, rather than just blurting insults and shutting people down.

  9. I see the the nothing to see here, why can’t we move on brigade still can’t move past these threads without also giving their opinion on the controversy. Clearly they are not prepared to ‘move on’ after all.

    1. You have a point. Let people moarn for a while and cry out the nonsense they invented to accept their loss.
      But for those not moarning it’s hard to read the nonsense. Do accept that too!

  10. had the situation been reversed, Hamilton had pitted and Verstappen stayed out, the race wouldn’t have restarted. Can we ever know? Probably not.

    This was part of Mercedes’ thinking I am sure. He’s not retiring I am sure. This would be crazy if he does.

  11. I don’t agree with the comment of the day, staying quiet for this long isn’t a good move. When you got Latifi coming out and saying he’s getting death threats, and the particularly gross comments that are inside any reply to anything Red Bull or an affiliated driver posts the spite is getting out of hand and the silence – the longer it goes on is fuelling it. A word from Hamilton – at the least distancing himself from what’s being said and done in his name would do a lot to stop some of the toxicity.

    1. @rocketpanda well at least it’s cheering to hear all the positive comments for Hamilton to reappear on social media! Had no idea you were such a fan.

  12. Wasn’t it only Wolff who suggested that Hamilton might walk away from the sport? That’s about as reliable a source as Helmut Marko on how good Verstappen is. It’s the same story as last year’s ‘Will Hamilton be on the grid next season?’ – we should regard it as a Christmas tradition and not project all our frustration with the season finale on it.

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