Analysis: FIA’s investigation into Abu Dhabi restart row puts spotlight on Bayer

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The conclusion of last year’s championship-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix prompted a furious reaction not just from Mercedes, but also many fans and motorsport figures.

FIA Formula 1 race director Michael Masi took a hotly disputed decision to arrange a hurried restart in which a selected number of lapped cars were permitted to regain the lead lap – only those which separated leader Lewis Hamilton from title rival Max Verstappen. These departures from past practice led to cries of foul play after Hamilton, the race-long leader, was passed by Verstappen immediately after the restart, losing the race and the championship.

Four days later Mercedes backed down from their threat to appeal over the contentious call, which would have thrown Verstappen’s title in doubt. But not before outgoing FIA president Jean Todt sanctioned a detailed review of the incident.

The FIA statement which announced the review did not inspire much confidence. It claimed “significant misunderstanding” by fans – rather than the handling of the race itself – had created “an argument that is currently tarnishing the image of the championship”. Did it intend to sweep the whole thing under the carpet, ignoring the vociferous complaints of many fans and prolonged silence of Hamilton, its biggest star?

On the strength of developments since then, no. Todt’s successor Mohammed Ben Sulayem has entrusted secretary general for sport Peter Bayer (pictured top with Ross Brawn) with handling this sensitive review.

Peter Bayer, Ross Brawn, Sakhir, Bahrain, 2021
Bayer (left) will lead the review of the Abu Dhabi controversy
Bayer became the FIA’s secretary general of sport in March 2017 after being nominated by Todt to replace the departing Jean-Louis Valentin. Born in Austria, his earlier career included spells as CEO of the Innsbruck 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games and later of the Ocean Masters monohull sailing class series.

As secretary general for sport, Bayer heads one of the two main pillars of the FIA’s mission – sport and mobility. Overseeing all forms of sport that fall under the FIA’s governance – from karting to hillclimb, rally and rallycross to touring cars and all forms of single-seater formula racing – Bayer has held ultimate responsibility over the team of directors who preside over their respective disciplines. These include Masi as director of single-seater racing and Marek Nawarecki as director of touring cars.

With the directors of each discipline having the most hands-on control over their areas, Bayer’s role has been typically focused more on promoting wider FIA programmes that affect all of the categories under the organisation’s umbrella. In short, Bayer’s mission is to ensure ‘best practice’ is maintained throughout all series and championships run in the FIA’s name, from the safety of all competitors, officials and spectators to ensuring rules and protocols are followed to the letter.

An example of this is the FIA’s annual International Stewards Programme – a four-day event acting as a conference of sorts for all those involved with stewarding of FIA-sanctioned race events. A special ‘competitors’ panel’ held as part of last year’s event saw Masi host a seminar on stewarding which featured Carlos Sainz Jnr, Jean-Eric Vergne and Lucas Di Grassi alongside other notable figures within motorsport.

“An annual coming together is vital for stewards and race directors to develop the exchange and discuss cases,” Bayer said at the conclusion of the programme. “It’s great to see so many different people from all over the planet coming together and making sure they will improve their skills on how to legislate motor sport, which they do in the name of the FIA.”

Another example of the work Bayer has undertaken to ensure sporting fairness is upheld in FIA competitions targets the serious issue of corruption – this, it must be stressed, has not been alleged in relation to Abu Dhabi. The ‘Race Against Manipulation’ programme involves an online ‘e-learning’ platform for all those involved in its motorsport competitions either as drivers or officials. As well as warning about the dangers and penalties of being found guilty of any betting-related offences, the programme also aims to “identify the behaviour of competition fixers” and reminds personnel of their obligation to report anyone they suspect of knowingly manipulating race outcomes.

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Vettel and Hamilton’s Baku run-in received Bayer’s attention
Bayer’s FIA role has previously involved input into the creation of future regulations and the implementation of existing rules. When concerns over high performance ‘qualifying modes’ for power units arose in 2020, it was Bayer who informed teams of the FIA’s decision to require all teams to run their engines in the same power mode for both qualifying and the race.

He had input into the drastic overhaul of F1’s technical regulations for 2021, which was later postponed to this year due to the pandemic. And he is involved in the discussions between the FIA, F1, teams and manufacturers over the future power unit rules for 2026 and beyond.

The Abu Dhabi case is not the first time an incident during a grand prix has been escalated to Bayer’s level. Other serious matters have also received his attention.

A few months after taking up his role in 2017, Bayer was among a panel of FIA figures which reviewed Sebastian Vettel’s collision with Lewis Hamilton in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Having angrily driven into his rival during a Safety Car period, mistakenly believing Hamilton had deliberately brake-tested him, Vettel was handed a 10-second stop-go penalty by the race stewards and summoned to an extraordinary meeting with the FIA in Paris to explain himself to Bayer and Todt. No further penalty was issued to Vettel after the then-Ferrari driver accepted full responsibility and gave a public apology for his actions.

Two years later another serious matter received Bayer’s attention. During the Monaco Grand Prix Sergio Perez narrowly avoided hitting two marshals when they ran across the track. Bayer commissioned a report into a safety lapse which could have had dire consequences, and subsequently decreed footage from Perez’s onboard camera should be used before future racing events to educate marshals about the dangers of crossing a live track.

Bayer’s remit as regards the review of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is to supply “proposals to review and optimise the organisation of the FIA F1 structure for the 2022 season”. He has also been appointed as the FIA’s director for single-seaters. He therefore has the scope to push for significant changes, which many will expect following an episode which tarnished the reputation of the world championship.

Bayer’s role in the FIA’s response to the Abu Dhabi controversy does not begin and end with the race. Following Hamilton’s failure to fulfil his obligation to attend the FIA’s prizegiving gala in Paris in December, Bayer is required to report the infringement to the president.

It remains to be seen how dim a view they may take of that breach of protocol given the arguable mitigating circumstances. But significantly, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has already given Bayer his backing.

Toto Wolff, Mercedes, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2021
Woff says he’s had “assurances” from Bayer
After a Formula 1 season which involved several debatable on-track incidents, Wolff said his team’s decision not to take their case over the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to the FIA’s International Court of Appeal was due in part to assurances from Bayer that the body would be active about addressing concerns and complaints over stewarding in the sport. Wolff also indicated other team principals feel the same way.

“I think in the day and age of transparency such decisions cannot be made any more in backroom deals and why I am optimistic is that most stakeholders in the sport will share my frustration on the decisions that have been made all throughout the year,” Wolff explained last month. “I had assurances from Peter Bayer and Stefano [Domenicali, Formula 1 CEO] that in the next weeks and months we will close the gaps that have opened up more and more over the last few years.”

The appointment of Bayer shows the FIA and its new president do not underestimate the damage which was done to the sport’s credibility by the events of Abu Dhabi and are taking serious steps towards tightening up their procedures to avoid a repeat.

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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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58 comments on “Analysis: FIA’s investigation into Abu Dhabi restart row puts spotlight on Bayer”

  1. I’m hopeful of changes that will reinvigorate my love for the sport. But frankly, not expecting much.

    1. I have had little time for Masi since he took up the job, and believed he lost the (drivers briefing) room post Brasil. And I’m not sure how he continues given that he will have a number of controversial decisions to make on a regular basis every season that will now be more under the spotlight than ever before.
      But all he has to say is he was overwhelmed, had to make too many last minute decisions under a lot of pressure, and in hindsight got it wrong. The FIA; as they should have done a long time ago, then give him the resources that a RD should have.
      What would be a failure is if he stands by his decisions and the FIA back him in that stance.

      1. What would be a failure is if he stands by his decisions and the FIA back him in that stance.

        Completely agree.

    2. Masi doesn’t even keep the track limits the same from one day to the next…

      1. Imho there are not that many significant and race deciding inconsistencies throughout the season that were actually on Masi as opposed to on the stewards such that they will feel he needs replacing. I think indeed he will be defended for his last laps decision but they may make a rule to take some pressure off him in the case of a similar incident happening again. I wonder too if that will just be for the final race of the season particularly, as I do think there would be a lot more patience and understanding if a race ended up behind a safety car that wasn’t a Championship deciding race.

        1. It’s indeed an important point @robbie.
          If the first race of the year and the final were swapped, hardly anyone would be talking about SC’s coming in at unusual times or a limitation on the number of cars allowed to unlap themselves, but they would very much be debating track limits and their implementation.
          No matter which race of last season happened to be the final, there would have been debate about it, because it was close and many things happened over the course of the whole season leading into it.
          Imagine if Imola, Baku, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Silverstone or Monza had been the final race….

          In the grand scheme of things, Abu Dhabi wasn’t that special, nor completely surprising – but it seems so because of its position on the calendar.

          Anyone else notice that 3 of the most controversial races of the year just happened to have Sprint Qualifying? ;)

          1. I disagree. I strongly believe that there would be serious questions being raised about the safety car decision no matter when it happened, possibly even more so if it had been made without the pressure of a championship finale. It was unprecedented, unnecessary, and unsporting.

            I still think we need to seriously discuss the standard of the stewarding and officiating in general this season separately. The issue with Hamilton on the first lap was ridiculous, as were many others over the course of the season, and that needs addressing urgently, too. But they all pale into insignificance compared to an official ignoring the written rules and making something up on the spot which hands a significant advantage to one, single driver. That needs addressing.

          2. What kind of tainted glasses are you peering through? It is obvious that a call made in a season ending championship deciding race will be bigger than any call made in the first race. You have the opportunity to overcome incompetent management in the first race, in the last race you simply lose, with no chance to redress the error. Just like a poor call made in the first quarter or first half of a sporting match may upset you, but you have the remainder of the match to try to turn the tables. If it happens in the final moments, you’re simply screwed.

            Lewis and Mercedes were screwed by an arbitrary decision by a mess of a man who was in over his head all season. It’s a complete joke. Just like when the drivers were looking for clarification on forcing other driver’s wide, and they got nothing but “well, the exact same incident may or may not incur a penalty based on who is stewarding that particular weekend”. What leadership. Masi must go, and if the rulebook cannot be adhered to, which it clearly was not in the final race, the rulebook is useless as is F1. Call it entertainment, as the WWE did in changing from WWF, because you’re no longer a sporting event.

    3. I think you’re right. FIA will wallpaper over the issue. Some wise man said “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

  2. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    14th January 2022, 8:15

    Are they looking at only 1 incident not the season as a whole? This inquiry is pointless and will lead nowhere.

    1. +1
      there is a lot more to investigate, including the conductance of the teams (and especially some of the team principals) before, during and after races.

      1. I don’t think it’s fair to hold the teams responsible. If they are given a channel of communication with the race director, of course they are going to try and use it to their advantage.

        The onus is on the race director to either ignore these desperate pleas, or remove the channel of communication if he cannot do so.

        If I break the law, I can’t use “but he told me to!” as an excuse. Likewise, we shouldn’t be blaming the teams for Masi’s errors.

        1. The teams were never told to break the law. They never did break any rule for that matter.

          But willingly boundaries were crossed, not only during races but also through the media, to apply pressure. It got worse during the season as tention was rising. That contributed to unfortunate climax in AD, in my opionion. And it is a problem that should be adressed too.

    2. The issue in dispute is the race director not applying the rules. Thats the only situation to be directly investigate. Its not the same family of issues as fans opinions about penalties or driver incidents. They happen every year and are not what this is about.

      1. The race director not applying the rules was the symptom of a much broader range of problems, including the handling of previous incidents during the season or seasons before that and pressure that was performed on the race director from a lot of stakeholders with different interests.
        In my opinion, if you want to prevent events like what happened in Abu Dhabi a broader investigation is necessary leading to a new rule book and a better position for the race director, independent from the (influence of) the F1 teams and the FIA.

        1. leading to a new rule book and a better position for the race director

          As long as that race director is confined to following the rules in all but very extreme cases (specifically where there are no rules to cover a situation or where it would be dangerous to apply the rules as written), that’s all well and good. It sounds like you are advocating allowing the race director more freedom, though, and that’s something I cannot support. Free him from interference, great, but only as long as he operates within defined rules.

          1. No, I wasn’t advocating for more freedom for the race director. He has to operate within a set of clear rules.
            This will be a learning proces.
            Some people here were suggesting to review the calls of the stewards and race director after every race, to improve the quality and consistency of the calls. I think that will be very good.

          2. I’m with you then

  3. Before the comment thread turns into yet another debate about who made what mistake for what purpose or if there was even a mistake made at all, let’s all just wait and see. It’s fine to have an opinion, but no amount of telling someone else they are wrong because you disagree is going to help the matters.

    Bayer’s remit as regards the review of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is to supply “proposals to review and optimise the organisation of the FIA F1 structure for the 2022 season”.

    Two things concern me with this. I don’t think any re-organisation can be had before the 2022 season with the timeline given. And the structure alone is not the problem, the regulations themselves need to be reviewed, there are too many blurred lines, ignored regulations and “gentlemen agreements”.

    1. @skipgamer

      Indeed. If he strictly follows this remit, we might see a rushed report with only solutions that are viable in the short term, without a real solution.

      Of course, he wouldn’t be the first person to (partially) ignore his mandate and do what he thinks is right, so it might still work out.

    2. Sounds like they’ve already reorganised (there’s an org chart floating about, don’t recall if it’s been on here) which is probably the crux of the matter.
      I’d be very surprised if they haven’t already spent many months considering revised regulations and procedures. Tightening up the couple of supposed loopholes that were exposed in the last race wouldn’t take much time.
      There will be some that oppose it of course but I can’t see a majority of teams arguing against complete clarity.

    3. And the structure alone is not the problem

      I can’t, personally, see how “structure” is even a part of the problem, unless they mean Masi having too much on his shoulders and his role needing to be split between a dozen or so people. Or I guess it could be a euphemism for “who needs to be blamed and fired”. Either way, if that is the strictly-defined limit of the investigation and that is stuck to, it will accomplish nothing meaningful.

  4. One of the real questions for me is the role Liberty played in all of this, with their constant push to cater for a bigger (Netflix) audience they are probably the ones who had the most to gain from a spectacular finish of the season. One can wonder who persuaded Masi to change his mind and make the dramatic call he did. I doubt that it was Toto or Horner.

    1. Who was it that complained about the lapped cars not being unlapped? Horner.

      Toto complained about the safety car earlier, which frankly, was out of line. And I think Toto realizes that as well now.

      Masi seems to be a decent guy overall– I think his job is too big for one person. He’s trying to replace Charlie Whiting, who built the job around himself over two decades, and even with two years following Whiting around, that’s a lot to ask. During multiple races, Masi has apparently been trying to split his attention between track safety, technical issues, and running the race.

      In one case, he literally said he hadn’t been able to refer an incident to the stewards because he was overseeing repairs to the track.

      Keep him in charge of track safety and technical scrutineering, but get someone else to take over as race director, then overhaul the rulebook, or at least, issue some public clarifications on how to interpret said rulebook.

      1. In one case, he literally said he hadn’t been able to refer an incident to the stewards because he was overseeing repairs to the track.

        I think most would agree that track safety takes priority for someone in Masi’s role – especially so when the stewards are free to conduct their own investigations on any incident they deem deserving.
        They are watching the race too….

  5. One of the real questions for me is the role Liberty played in all of this, with their constant push to cater for a bigger (Netflix) audience they are probably the ones who had the most to gain from a spectacular finish of the season. One can wonder who persuaded Masi to change his mind and make the dramatic call he did. I doubt that it was Toto or Horner.

  6. When reading the title I was confused why a pharmaceutical company would be involved in this, but that’s not what Bayer refers to…

  7. The article confuses me.

    If Bayer is now the Director of Single Seater racing that is a post Masi held, isn’t it? So Masi has already been replaced by Bayer in that role which encompasses Race Director for F1 and other support races but not single seater races at other venues at other times?

    If that is true there are directors of races for other series which might be available to replace Masi, or Bayer could be RD for a while during a recruitment period?

    Or are they replacing Masi as Single Seat Director but not F1 weekend race director so as to spread the workload which, in truth, is too heavy these days and as it increased did Charlie Whiting no favours.

    This is all so very much FIA, flourishes and whistles, flashes and bangs and deep sincere voices but little clarity. A ‘find the lady’ management style. Now you see it, now you don’t and only we know where the lady is.

    In short a demonstration of the work needed to sort the FIA out. Starting with rather more transparency than currently exists.

    1. So Masi has already been replaced by Bayer in that role which encompasses Race Director for F1

      Nope, they are two seperate roles, Masi just held both. This is possibly a move to help reduce his workload so he can focus on his Race Director role.

      1. Or the beginning of his end as a race director?!
        Even if he’s not sacked, doing the job would become very ‘uncomfortable/difficult’ for him because from now on, his every decision would be put under the microscope, including a closer oversight / supervision from Bayer, the newly appointed director of single seaters! And woe betides him if he makes another controversial decision.
        This all on top of the fact that he’s definitely lost the trust of some of the teams and some of the drivers, which in turn means they are will likely question his every call / decision!

        In other words, he has been overtaken by events since the last race of last year and his position as a race director has simply become untenable; he will need a ‘VERY THICK SKIN’ to stay on!

  8. Makes sense, as the running of the FIA motorsport series are his responsibility. 99% of the time he won’t have to get involved, but this is seen as controversial enough to warrant a more active role.

    That said, it seems pretty obvious that they’ll endorse the stewards verdict, maybe clean up the rules a bit to remove some ambiguity, and move on. Which is fair enough, as aside from not allowing all cars through there was little wrong with how it was handled.

    1. ….and restart a lap early. There i fixed it for you.

      1. Which was sensible, in that particular context.

  9. This article offers me a glimmer of hope that this will be handled in an acceptable manner. I’ll reserve judgement until the investigation is completed.

  10. I believe that the right thing to do in that situation was to red flag the race, clear the debris in peace and have a 4 lap battle. As such, my suggestion would be that they can revise the rules that safety car is not allowed in the last X laps (maybe 10, but number to be confirmed based on the specific track etc) and instead, for accidents where a SC is needed the race is immediately red flagged. This allows for marshals to clear everything safely and in relative peace and it allows for races to finish under racing conditions.

    1. As such, my suggestion would be that they can revise the rules that safety car is not allowed in the last X laps (maybe 10, but number to be confirmed based on the specific track etc) and instead, for accidents where a SC is needed the race is immediately red flagged.

      I’m not a fan of this proposal. In these situations, the officials would have the option of either keep the race going (under yellow flags) or red flag the race. Relatively small incidents could affect the outcome of the race in a major way.

      I don’t think the current SC rules are the problem. They have worked quite well in the past and races have been finished behind the SC before. The problems start when the officials don’t follow the rules, but instead go full dictatorship mode.

      1. Totally agree. This is my point when I heard the new president talking about the “rule is written by human”, the rule is open to interpretation.
        No I disagree. Everything is fine. It is just the race director did not follow the rule.

      2. I don’t think the current SC rules are the problem

        I think they are a part of the problem if they want to stop races ending under the safety car*. Currently, there are plenty of situations where, if handled by the rulebook and standard procedures, there is no way to avoid ending under the safety car. This was the case in Abu Dhabi. There was a way to apply a non-standard but written and precedented procedure to avoid it (not letting the lapped cars through), but had Latifi’s car taken only a short amount more time to clear, even that would have been impossible.

        If they want to make it a priority not to end races under the safety car, the rules need to change to allow this in a documented and consistent manner. Something like “Red Flag if it would normally be SC/VSC but there are 5 or fewer laps remaining” would be an easy-to-understand rule which would mean a green flag finish in all but one circumstance (incident on the last lap). There are few other options which would be even close to as effective, assuming green-flag finishes were a high enough priority.

        * I will point out that this is all based on the assumption that green flag finishes are a sufficiently high priority. Personally, I don’t find an SC finish to be as big a deal as some others do, and don’t think it’s worth the effort to redesign the rules, other than to get rid of or limit the “screw you” rule.

        I know many disagree with me, but if I was completely in charge I would actually get rid of the SC entirely. Every lap behind the SC or VSC is a wasted racing lap, and we’ve seen “races” where the majority of the “race” has been behind the SC. My own opinion is that the vast majority could be handled under the VSC, and where they can’t, it would be safer and more effective to red flag (with an accelerated restart procedure). However, I know this is a controversial view, and I do understand, if not agree with, other people’s objections to it.

      3. Davethechicken
        14th January 2022, 15:57

        My opinion is the safety car has been non-sporting since it first appeared in 1993. I have always disliked it and continue to do so.
        It is a random factor for the teams that can be controlled and dictated by the RD and as crashgate showed even the teams themselves!
        Gone are the days of drivers pushing to get a 20sec lead as the SC destroys that.
        Opportunistic free pit stops under sc are fundamentally unfair, determined by where you are on the track by chance when it is called.

        1. I’m no fan of the safety car in general, but there is little which can be done to avoid destroying the lead when serious incidents occur. As soon as it is too much to handle under the VSC, as soon as they need more time than the gaps in the traffic allow, you’re going to have to do so either by SC or red flags, and that will close up any gaps.

          I guess you could attempt to have everyone spread back out to where they were before the SC/red flag was thrown, but that would be incredibly complex to try to manage. The only other option I can see would be to have all cars stop on track where they are until the incident is cleared (as they do at the karting tracks I have visited), which would require radical changes to how the cars are designed to be even close to feasible.

          1. Davethechicken
            14th January 2022, 16:23

            I don’t know if you recall Dr Mouse, but back in 1993 there was dissatisfaction at the SC for above reasons.
            I don’t know the answer but suggestions could be the race is paused whilst it is out and any one who pits can return to their previous position thus everyone can have a free pitstop. Or time them off from a rolling or standing start with the gaps restored, ie you get a green light after the car in front and the previous time gap is passed. Wrc style

          2. I was 12 in 1993. I was already a big fan of F1, but can’t remember anything to that level of detail.

    2. Of the three possible outcomes (finish under yellow; have a mad scramble rules inconsistent one lap race between cars with different tires; and have a 4 lap race with all cars on the same rubber), I’d like to have seen either finish under yellow or red flag it and have a real 4 lap shootout. Of course, this is applying hindsight and may not be fair but who would argue a 4 lap shootout was less fair than what happened. Hamilton had actually dominated the race up to that point, eh?

      1. but who would argue a 4 lap shootout was less fair than what happened.

        Everyone who chose to pit under SC, perhaps? And everyone who feels that would be a misuse of the Red Flag.
        And just for the sake of it, I would. Completely nullifying all the strategic choices made up to that point would be a very disappointing way to end the race and the championship.

        Hamilton had actually dominated the race up to that point, eh?

        Yeah, he and his car were the fastest on the day. The content of the race is very important.
        But as far as results go, crossing the finish line first is the only thing that matters – barring any post-race penalties.

        1. Davethechicken
          14th January 2022, 16:00

          The SC nullifies strategic choices almost every time it appears for one driver or other. It is fundamentally unfair.

          1. The SC only nullifies strategy if everyone pits.
            In the most recent example; Verstappen pitted but Hamilton didn’t.

            That’s strategy, right there.

        2. Everyone who chose to pit under SC, perhaps?

          Only one person who pitted under the SC got any advantage from it anyway, IIRC. All the others were pretty much just stuck where they were. Given a choice between the 2, I am sure that many of them would have preferred the Red Flag and a chance to actually race the last few laps.

          1. It depends on whether the red flag is called direct from green, or if the SC has bunched the field up first, @drmouse.
            That particular incident didn’t warrant a red flag – but if they threw one for ‘competitive’ purposes, they’d most likely have done so after the field was already bunched up behind the SC.
            So those who had pitted already under that SC would have lost their strategic gamble. Some did anyway, as it turned out, but not for that reason – not that it made a difference in either championship.

            If you give competitors a choice with anything, they’ll always take the option that serves them the best. The obvious reason why it should never be done, of course.
            And if they had thrown a direct red, I’d bet that there’d be just as much discontent about that decision as there was about the one they ultimately took. There was no way the final race of that season wasn’t going to be controversial. Pretty much everyone wanted it to be, and F1 needed it to be.

          2. My point is that, where you said that “everyone who chose to pit under the safety car” would argue it was less fair than what actually happened, I doubt that is true. Given that what actually happened nullified any advantage of pitting for all drivers except one, many of those drivers would probably not consider that more fair than a red flag. This isn’t because their gamble didn’t pay off, but because the race director acted in a completely unprecedented manner, making up brand new rules which nullified that advantage for all but one driver.

  11. The solution is simple. Since it is about the SHOW and safety, any crashes should be red flagged. Did I say any, I meant all.

    Retirements would be covered by a safety car.

    Spin outs would get the virtual safety car.

    Just keep it simple.

    1. I forgot to add that all red flags are followed by a standing start regardless of conditions. Remember it is about the SHOW and safety.

      1. If it’s all about the show, they should throw a safety car every 10 laps or so anyway. It would be much more exciting if everyone was continuously bunched up and could never extend a lead over their rivals. Of course, that wouldn’t be very sporting, but it doesn’t seem they really care about that anyway, and it makes a lot of sense for the show.

  12. RandomMallard
    14th January 2022, 17:51

    I really, really hope Bayer can conduct this investigation properly and thoroughly. He seems like a good man for the job having seen some of his credentials in this article. Hope he can follow it through.

    I disagree with the idea of getting rid of the SC. I completely understand that it isn’t very sporting, but in my opinion, the gain in safety factor the SC brings is worth the pay off imo. The one thing that I would like to see considered, but not brought in as a knee-jerk reaction without proper thought (we’ve seen before where that can lead us), and that is closing the pit lane under SC again. Fuel is no longer an issue with people having to pit, but you would have to weigh up the positives and negatives properly. For example, while it may stop people gaining advantage under SC, someone running longer than anyone else could gain a significant disadvantage if the SC comes out at the end of their stint, and they have to pit very close to the restart (having lost the gap they created) and lose a large number of places. These are the reasons I would like to see this properly considered, not introduced as a short-term stop-gap in reaction to a single event.

    1. How about allowing drivers to pit during a safety car period if they want to / need to, but in doing so they automatically must serve a 10 second penalty before tyres can be changed? That would work to nullify the “cheap pit stop” advantage, and make it less of a “no-brainer” decision.

  13. An example of this is the FIA’s annual International Stewards Programme – a four-day event acting as a conference of sorts for all those involved with stewarding of FIA-sanctioned race events. A special ‘competitors’ panel’ held as part of last year’s event saw Masi host a seminar on stewarding which featured Carlos Sainz Jnr, Jean-Eric Vergne and Lucas Di Grassi alongside other notable figures within motorsport.

    I haven’t been able to find any information about the 2021 conference, nor have I been able to find any information about this year’s conference. For example, I can’t find any video on Youtube from the conference. Also, what is the agenda for this year’s conference and who are the guest speakers? Does anyone have any information about these conferences?

  14. One question the FIA could ask themselves is why they take a different approach to the restart of a race under full Safety Car and VSC. Both situations result in a rolling restart so why maintain track position and gaps under a VSC and take a completely different approach under full SC? Red flags are rare and give teams time to reconsider strategy so can reasonably be treated differently. Given the performance difference between F1and safety cars is there a case for saying they are becoming more trouble than they are worth other than possibly in very wet conditions?

  15. Good article. This gives me hope for F1 and for me to continue to follow this sport

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