Verstappen reveals gold helmet to mark title-winning season

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In the round-up: Max Verstappen has revealed a new gold helmet design for the 2022 Formula 1 season to commemorate his world championship victory last year.

In brief

Verstappen reveals gold themed world champion helmet design

Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen has revealed an updated helmet design featuring a gold motif to celebrate his reign as world champion through the 2022 season.

The Red Bull driver secured his first world championship in controversial circumstances in the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi after overtaking rival Lewis Hamilton on the final lap following a contentious late Safety Car restart.

Ahead of the new season, Verstappen showed off in a video posted on social media the updated design that replaces the typical orange accents of his native Netherlands with gold colours and a small gold star at the rear of the helmet to symbolise his championship victory, similar to those used on the crests of national football teams who win the World Cup.

Verstappen also presented the graphical design of the number one he will run with as his driver number on his car throughout the 2022 season, as is his privilege under the regulations as the current world champion.

Force Indy team steps up to Indy Lights with Ernie Francis Jr

The Force Indy team have announced they will step up from the USF2000 series to Indy Lights with 24-year-old multiple Trans Am champion Ernie Francis Jr driving the team’s number 99 car.

The team, run by team principal Rod Reid – the only black team owner in the IndyCar system – has received support from IndyCar Series owners Penske Entertainment under the Race for Equality & Change programme, designed to increase diversity and representation for people of colour on and off-track in the US-based series.

Francis is a seven time class champion in the Trans Am series and will be the only African American driver competing in IndyCar or Indy Lights. Francis also raced in last year’s Formula Regional Americas Championship, finishing third in the standings with three race wins.

“I could not be more thrilled to promote our group to the Indy Lights championship with Ernie Francis Jr,” said Reid. “His work ethic and history of success speak for itself.”

“After getting a taste last year and beginning to learn what open-wheel racing is all about, I found myself wanting more,” Francis said.

“Open-wheel cars are incredible to drive. To know that I’ll continue my education with Force Indy and only one step away from IndyCar makes this unbelievably special. I cannot wait to get started.”

New Formula E qualifying will create championship battle “fans want” to see – D’Ambrosio

Venturi team principal Jerome D’Ambrosio believes Formula E’s new qualifying system introduced in today’s opening round in Saudi Arabia will help the series build a narrative through the course of the season.

Formula E’s previous group qualifying system was long criticised by drivers for unfairly penalising drivers nearer the top of the standings and having too much of an influence over how competitive individual drivers could be. The system led to 14 drivers heading into the final rounds of last season in Berlin with a mathematical chance of winning the championship.

Today, Formula E will introduce a new ‘duels’ system into qualifying, which D’Ambrosio thinks will help create the kind of championship battles that fans want to see in the series.

“I think it was good to address the qualifying format because things evolve rapidly in a young championship like ours,” D’Ambrosio said.

“I think it was important to do that to be able to create not only more sporting equity, but also to ensure that you build the story during the season. I think that’s what fans want as well. We need to get to the last race with a couple of drivers in the hunt and not 14 like we had last season. I think that’s a bit too confusing.

“But having said that, what we had before was right here for it’s time. And now we’ve identified something that can be improved and it was done directly as of this season. So I think it was the right call. This is my personal opinion.

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Comment of the day

With Max Verstappen named RaceFans’ top ranked F1 driver of the 2021 season, @Robbie does not expect the world champion to change his driving style any time soon…

The bottom line is Max is excellent at wheel to wheel racing and everyone on the track is well familiar with his skill and aggression that he likely learned from the likes of all the drivers preceding him, not just from his parents while karting. He takes no prisoners and it is up to the other drivers who have seen that to be aware of it if/when they get into combat with him. What we do know is that Max has said time and time again that he will not be changing his driving style. And as we see, he makes it work. This is no different than what many other drivers have done in the past and been revered for it being WDC-level driving.

Max has shot a harpoon across everyone’s bow, and they all know what they have to be wary of when it comes to racing him, what they can expect, and Max wouldn’t have it any other way. And therefore other drivers attempting to beat Max can have that challenge to look forward to, and if they succeed, well, what a huge feat for them that will be. Max will be giving the other drivers a chance to rise to the occasion, just as I’m sure Max would rather LH stay in F1 (I’m positive he will) so he can beat him on the track and not because he is no longer there. I’m sure it will be the same for the other drivers who must recognize what a mountain to climb it would be to beat Max, but then also what a mountain of reward that would feel like too.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Hoshi and Kingshark!

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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77 comments on “Verstappen reveals gold helmet to mark title-winning season”

  1. Actually I think that looks like quite a cool brain bucket.
    Tacky but sweet.

    1. Ye, a little flashy, but I’ not oppose FIA allowing/proposing a golden helmet for the WDC champion.
      Either that or the car getting the number golden or some golden details.
      the result might not be entirely classy, but it would be interesting.

  2. Oh – and for the caption competition to follow.

    “Whoa – is my head really this big?”

  3. Couldn’t agree less with COTD.

    Max’s wheel to wheel racing is his weakest attribute. He is blindingly fast. Maybe faster than Lewis, I don’t know. But his overtaking is far too brutal. I accept that the rules – in the main – allow him to get away with this approach, but in my humble opinion this demonstrates a flaw within the rules rather than highlighting Max’s skillset.

    1. Yeah agree here. Max literally drives people off the road. Brake tests them causing collisions. Doesn’t ever back out which causes himself to crash when he could just back out and try again and stay in the race. I don’t get anyone thinking all of that is acceptable every single week. The one off incident could be excused but it was every time he was near Hamilton he did not race safely at all.

      1. @davidhunter13 Lewis Hamilton has many times done exactly the same. There is even a video compilation about it on Youtube. And the brake-test is just you repeating what Hamilton said. In the penalty given to Max in Saudi, there is not any particular mention of brake-testing. There is a mention of the sudden move that caused the collision, but Hamilton had around 5 seconds to react. Simply he didn’t want to pass Verstappen before the DRS detection point.

        1. Huh, the telemetry showed Verstappen did brake in front of Hamilton, so that’s not true.

          1. He slowed down normally during 5 sec and braked at the end. If that was a brake test you need a rookie to fall for it.

          2. @erikje:

            the key point for the Stewards was that the driver of Car 33 then braked suddenly (69 bar) and significantly, resulting in 2.4g deceleration.

        2. @omarr-pepper the reason why the stewards judgement did not use the term “brake testing” is because that is not an official term, and thus they are not supposed to use that term in their statements.

          When they use the terminology of “braking in a sudden manner” and “braking in an erratic manner”, which is how they were describing Verstappen’s behaviour, as well as referencing the high pressures in the brake system and the high deceleration, that is the way that they would describe an individual who is braking in a way that would be deemed a “brake test”.

          Therefore, though they are not meant to use the term “brake testing”, the way that they have described the sequence of events that Verstappen is their way of saying that Verstappen was brake testing in all but name, with the official terminology of “erratic braking” being used in place of “brake testing”.

          1. anon
            I thought you understood F1 cars and racing.
            Nobody is as stupid to risk another car drive into your own gearbox.
            It was not a ‘brake test’ but a manoeuvre to force Hamilton to unlap himself at that part of the circuit *.

            * this is not an official term either, and that’s why they call it “braking in a sudden manner” and “braking in an erratic manner”.

          2. jff, you might say that “nobody is stupid enough to risk another car driving into their own gearbox”, and yet you will find quite a few historical examples of drivers doing exactly that.

            Keke Rosberg developed a bit of a reputation for doing it to others, particularly as a retaliatory measure in practice and qualifying sessions if he’d been blocked on another lap – the Verstappen family would know well about that as Jos’s manager, Huub Rothengatter, was on the receiving end of such treatment from Rosberg. Patrese was caught rather flagrantly doing it, and quite literally paid the price when the stewards fined him for making Bailey crash into the back of him, whilst Mansell and Senna were accused of doing it to each other more than once, again to the point where they eventually crashed into each other and took themselves out of the race.

            There was an example of Blundell rather blatantly doing it against Barrichello in the 1995 British GP, with the response of the commentators commenting about how it was a sign of Blundell’s “toughness” in a fight.

            Montoya and Villeneuve also repeatedly did it to each other in 2001, eventually resulting in Villeneuve crashing during the practice sessions of the 2001 Canadian GP because of damage he picked up after one incident where he brake checked Montoya, which resulted in Montoya running into the back of him. Indeed, that streak of brake checks went on for long enough that it reportedly nearly ended up in a brawl in the drivers briefing between the two, and it was only at that point that the FIA finally stepped in and told them to calm down. Montoya himself was not a stranger himself to such practices either, as he himself would later engage in brake checking others – even causing a multi-car pile up at Monaco during a practice session because he did so.

            Similarly, we have an active driver on the grid now who has been penalised for doing that, which would be Alonso – he was caught brake testing Doornbos during the practice sessions for the Hungarian GP, promptly earning him a fine and a warning from the stewards that he’d be getting a harsher penalty if he did it again.

            To say that nobody would be stupid enough to do it is thus quite wrong when we know that drivers have been punished for doing exactly that – we even have cases of drivers taking themselves out of the lead of a race by doing that.

        3. Lewis will push people to the outside, he will defend aggressively, yes– but that’s not what Max does.

          Max doesn’t pretend he’s trying to go through the corner on a racing line. He straight-lines deep into the corner so he can claim the corner as “his”, leaving the other driver the choice to drive off the track, or collide. Either way, the other driver loses enough momentum that Max can over-brake in the corner, and still (sometimes) stay on the track. He went off the track in Brazil, and stayed on the track in Abu Dhabi, but still, he deliberately drove in such a manner as to force the other driver out of the corner– and if there IS a crash, well, he got there first, so it’s his corner, right?

          It’s a terrible tactic, because the only way to defend against it is to either do the same thing, do it earlier, or crash. It’s Gran Turismo driving at it’s finest. He’s very quick overall, but his wheel-to-wheel is dangerous.

      2. @davidhunter13

        The goal was clearly to force Lewis past so he would get to the DRS detection line first, not to cause a collision. The incident was also caused by the unprecented refusal of Lewis to overtake. There were two stubborn drivers who each refused to get to the line first, each going far beyond normal racing behavior.

        Repeating the falsehood that Max intended for Lewis to run into him just shows your bias.

        1. +1 very well worded!

        2. @aapje Agreed. It’s not like Max makes a habit of this, nor LH makes a habit of it either. A very unique circumstance in a very highly charged rivalry. I still don’t understand why LH didn’t just blow past Max as he kept slowing and slowing, as I would have thought that would have negated any advantage Max may have had at catching and drs’ing LH back. Yet another reason to hope drs is either eliminated or repurposed.

      3. Did you notice his aggressiveness increased after Silverstone? I wonder why that was?…
        He did exactly what he needed to do to mentally break Hamilton and dethrone him.

    2. @cairnsfella While there have been many times where he really makes the wrong move, to call his wheel-to-wheel skill as his weakest point is a stretch. See the many times he has pulled the most outstanding moves (Brazil 2019, passing Hamilton twice with different approaches, or Mexico last year, passing both Mercedes at the start, or even Jeddah passing Ocon and Hamilton in the tightest space). If anything, he will hopefully learn from the wrecks and avoid the all-or-nothing approach that has ended many of his races.

      1. @omarr-pepper

        While there have been many times where he really makes the wrong move, to call his wheel-to-wheel skill as his weakest point is a stretch.

        If anything, he will hopefully learn from the wrecks and avoid the all-or-nothing approach that has ended many of his races.

        Genuinely do not wish to be rude, but isn’t this a blatant contradiction (unless you believe that he has ‘even more’ to learn from other aspects of his racecraft.

        1. Why a contradiction? He pulls the most spectacular overtakes. So it’s not as if he can’t do it. But he needs to learn to wait for one more lap or turn at times. I agree with you there.

      2. And to just elaborate a little further, my criticism of Max’s wheel to wheel racing does not therefore imply he has never performed any great overtaking maneuvers. In the same way that if I highlight a poor move against Lewis does not automatically suggest that Lewis does not wrong.

        1. Massively torn by Max’s wheel to wheel combat. I would say that he passes cars of similar speed (not back markers, but the likes of a Ferrari or McClaren) much quicker than most I’ve seen, even Hamilton. But in relatively equal machinery or slightly less it’s cringe worthy. Just look at the number of the headline pics on this site and most have max overtaking off track, crashing or pushing Hamilton off track.

    3. Lewis was the best overtaker but Max is even more ruthless. Any driver that is as aggressive as Lewis and Max has to rely on the other driver to get out of the way, though there is lots of skill involved otherwise everyone would race as close as these 2.

    4. Agree. I remember Raikkonen complaining on the radio about Max taking him out of the black stuff every time and angrily and sarcastically asking if that was allowed so he could do it too.

      He overtakes like he’s on a video game.

    5. Max’s wheel to wheel racing is his weakest attribute.

      While I agree with much of your sentiment, I disagree with this. I do think Max has some great wheel-to-wheel skills, and has the potential to be one of the all time greatest F1 drivers. He just didn’t demonstrate them well this season.

      Unfortunately, this season has shown him to often be aggressive to the point of bullying. So many occasions, he has forced other drivers to back off or crash. While this level of aggression is sometimes necessary, it seems to have his go-to move this season. Had Lewis fought with the same mindset, the 2 would have crashed at nearly every race and Bottas would have taken the WDC. I believe he needs someone to stand up to him and use his own techniques against him to teach him that this isn’t always the wisest course, or else we will see more drivers adopting this style and a massive increase in crashes.

      I am, of course, well aware that Hamilton showed some of this tendency earlier in his career (and I disliked him when he was racing like that). However, that approach cost him dearly, and I believe he learned that it needed to be applied sparingly. The risk with Max is that it has succeeded for him this year, which is only going to encourage him to continue, or even increase, his level of aggression, as well as encourage others (including young racers) to adopt the same style.

      1. @drmouse I think too it very much depends on the lay of the land in terms of competitiveness. Last season we had ultra-hungry Max and RBR finally in a competitive car for the season, against the mega dynasty that has been LH/Mercedes, in cars that traded being better one track to the next, but only marginally. LH showed similar traits with Nico in 2016 when it was so close between them.

        “The risk with Max is that it has succeeded for him this year, which is only going to encourage him to continue, or even increase, his level of aggression, as well as encourage others (including young racers) to adopt the same style.” That remains to be seen, and there is no reason to suggest Max will want to or need to increase his “level of aggression” (which to him is just hard fair racing most of the time), just because he was let to race, as the teams have generally wanted. It will be up to the other young racers to do their own thing. Tell me, did MS’s career long bullying behaviour set a precedent and teach youngsters that anything goes? Did it cause an escalation of his type of behaviour. If that actually happens, well, by now F1 would just be one big expensive smash-up-derby.

        I think overwhelmingly the stewards get things right, and as well drivers police themselves as to what they might think they can get away with or is worth the risk and what they might want to even try, based on their own unique internal mechanisms.

      2. @robbie that’s a reasonable opinion. Let’s see where things go.

      3. @drmouse I am unsure we disagree that much, as my comments were really intended to refer to this past season, and I would struggle to disagree with the rest of your comments.

        As you and others have perhaps intimated (and I apologise if I am misconstruing your comments) it simply seems as though Max may well be able to contest positions cleanly, but has established that to be in with a chance of regular wins, these more marginal moves are necessary. If one can acknowledge that I am referring to professional racing drivers, then I personally believe anyone could execute these ‘dive and block’ moves. I accept that in the context of the championship, and the Max and Lewis rivalry, then any position challenge/change is exciting. But in this became the norm across the field I feel confident that more people would ultimately decide that it isn’t the racing we want to see.

        One hope that I have (and it is pure hope and not based upon anything) is that whilst Max’s desire to win may remain high, his ‘desperation’ may be a little less extreme and consequently we may see fewer of these moves.

    6. Max often behaved like he was entitled to pass other drivers, even if there wasn’t really the space.

      It will be interesting to see whether the golden-helmeted, number 1-wearing Dutchman takes that to the next level and genuinely goes too far on many occasions during the coming season.

      Penalties could decide his season if he’s not careful.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        28th January 2022, 14:31

        @sonnycrockett I’m surprised Helmut and Horner don’t have #1 tattoos on their foreheads :). They probably haven’t thought of it

  4. At the end of the day, had Hamilton won the championship he would have been ranked #1 and Verstappen #2 in the rankings. We can try to pretend they’re fair and judge drivers on their merits, but they don’t.

    Verstappen drove in a manner that was not befitting the rule book on a number of occasions and got away with it because the powers that be wanted to see a close championship fight. The exact same reason is why he won the championship and is now being lauded as a deserving world championship.

    Congratulations to him, he won, nobody can take that away from him and the years he has dedicated to the sport. But the manner in which it happened, and the back patting he gets for it, frankly, at times, makes me sick. It’s a highlight of a lot of what is wrong with the world. Cash is King.

    1. It was too far to say the rankings don’t judge the drivers on their merits, but I still stand by it deciding this decision. When the two drivers were so close all season, it would be nonsensical to say had Hamilton not won the championship that he wasn’t the better driver.

      1. I usually find your comments very balanced Tristan, and whilst I would not say that this one is entirely unbalanced, I am unsure it is fair to label the suggested alternate outcome ‘nonsensical’. I am inclined to agree that it may have gone that way for reasons outside of pure seasonal evaluation. For example Lewis would not only have won the DC but also the record number of DC’s. Of course, this should not sway such a ranking, but I have a feeling it may have done even if not consciously so.

        Lewis had some great races this year, no doubt. I only consider Max being ranked at No.1 reasonable given that the those responsible for enforcing the rules clearly consider Max to be within them more often than I do. Otherwise I would have said Max’s ‘lows’ were enough to knock him down a ranking (or two).

        Of course I should once again pre-empt (not from yourself Tristan) the potential suggestion that Lewis had lows too, and some questionable moves. This, however, is the subjective side of things and in my mind there is no doubt that Max transgresses – at the very least – the spirit of racing rules far more often than most others on the grid.

        1. F1 is not gymnastics.
          Trying to cause an accident everytime you overtake is not considered a skill just because the organisers choose not to look at it. If the driver ahead had continued as he was supposed to, we will be calling all those attempts mistakes and there were so many.

          1. @OOliver

            The fact that you falsely claim that Max is trying to cause crashes is enough to disqualify you as a serious commenter.

    2. @skipgamer

      You can’t blame an athlete for taking advantage of what the referee allows, even if it doesn’t match your sensibilities. You have to blame the referee for that, not the athlete.

      A football/soccer player who exaggerates just enough to get a lot of free kicks, without the referee seeing him as a faker that he doesn’t believe by default, is a better player than one that doesn’t play the referee as a fiddle. That most fans don’t like this kind of behavior doesn’t take away from the fact that it achieves the sporting goal, even if it doesn’t achieve the goal of many spectators. The points aren’t awarded by the spectators, though, but by who makes the most goals.

      Ultimately, it’s very hard to argue that Max’ aggressive driving cost him in the championship (although it also didn’t benefit him that much). Monza didn’t cost him, and it wasn’t particularly aggressive anyway (with other drivers making the same move in the race, but being given room, which Lewis seemed to do as well at first, before closing the door). Silverstone wasn’t particularly aggressive, nor unfair, as decreed by the stewards. None of the other aggressive driving against Lewis cost him anything, although it didn’t benefit him much either.

      In contrast, Lewis made quite a few mistakes that did actually cost him, which for me was the reason why I would put Lewis in 2nd, regardless of how the last race would have ended. The gap in mistakes was more significant than any potential gap in driving performance (which is hard to judge accurately anyway because the cars differ).

  5. Re Formal E, I honestly have no interest in deciphering your ‘new’ qualifying format or any of your weird energy things during races. Please, define a car and systems and let the racers and teams get on with it. Also, your tracks are really boring concrete walls. I compared Monaco F1 lap times for 2021 and you are about 20 seconds slower than F1. F3 cars, and maybe F4, would be faster. Yeah, you have lots of ‘aero’ stuff out there on the chassis, but they probably aren’t doing anything at the speeds you run; FF1600 is actually more interesting. Boring.

    1. ‘Formula’ I wish there was an edit on this site…….

    2. There is virtually no aero on a Formula E car, the small amount of downforce is generated only by the diffuser – they don’t even have rear wings.

      All racing series have formats, including qualifying rules. Otherwise it would not be a sport.

      1. @hazelsouthwell
        Thank you!
        Sensible response!

  6. So only in three races did that specific monocoque copy get used.
    This means he used another for the other 15 races or perhaps two over those, meaning three over the season.

    Haas liveries: I can’t really choose between the black-gold & most recent ones.

    I share COTD’s view.

  7. COTD:- Just a little over the top :))

    1. @johnrkh there is also the irony that the same individual who praises Verstappen’s moves as “bold” or praises him for “taking no prisoners” has used the same complaint that Schumacher would “take no prisoners” in his driving to criticise the latter. It would seem rather ironic that the same traits that were apparently so awful in Schumacher are the same traits that result in robbie praising Verstappen.

      1. Using text out of context is a bit unfair. But nothing unusual here.

        1. I reject the notion that Max is anywhere near like MS was. Completely different individuals in a completely different time and atmosphere. I equate Max’s moves more akin to LH on Nico in 2016. I’m squeezing you, legally, after having left you room when the onus was on me to do so, and you can either back off, go off, or hit me. Then there came that race when Nico indeed had enough and got stubborn, and hit LH. Then there came that race in Silverstone last year when LH decided the same.

        2. erikje, I see the usual troll has awoken – come back to initiate the next phase of your harassment campaign? Angry that your attempts to threaten me into silence haven’t worked?

  8. Quite surprised that there was no mention of the story on the BBC about the ongoing enquiry by F1 management into race management

    1. @ahxshades I hadn’t spotted this. I usually find the BBC articles pretty quickly. Having had a quick read through, it seems like a very interesting article.

      1. It actually worries me a lot. It says they are going to change the structure to give the RD freedom to make decisions without as much pressure, but it suggests to me that they are going to do nothing to restrict the powers the stewards’ decision from AD gives precedent for. That would leave the RD the “legal” power to do anything he wishes with safety car (or race starts) no matter what any other rules say, with no limitations or restrictions, any time he wants. As I’ve mentioned several times, that’s not a situation I can accept, so this article reduces my confidence that I will be watching F1 next year.

        1. As I’ve mentioned several times, that’s not a situation I can accept, so this article reduces my confidence that I will be watching F1 next year.

          Of course you have to draw your own line in the sand, but what I’ve been wondering after reading this in your comments here and there: this rule (I assume – correct me if I’m wrong) has been in the book for many years. There hasn’t been any reason for close scrutiny up till the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. What is it that makes you want to switch off from F1 as a whole, rather than “when the SC comes out, I don’t trust it anymore”, or “I don’t trust it as long as Masi has a say about the SC”? As long as the SC doesn’t come out, there shouldn’t be an issue?
          Don’t get me wrong: there’s many reasons to hate F1 (the politics and the unequal playing field, to name a few) and I can see how you’re disappointed (not the result, but with how that rule was applied), but I’m struggling to see why one rule that hasn’t caused much/any stir over recent years suddenly is a reason for you to ‘cancel’ (as such) F1 in total.

          1. this rule (I assume – correct me if I’m wrong) has been in the book for many years. There hasn’t been any reason for close scrutiny up till the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

            AFAIK this rules has not been used before AD, and I am certain that it hasn’t been used to ignore applicable procedure and use a newly-invented one instead.

            I had read the regulations before AD, and remember seeing 15.3. Personally, I had never seen it used to make up new rules, and it looked to me like it was just establishing the relationship between the RD and CotC, so I saw no problem with it. However, it has now been established by the stewards to mean that the RD can ignore any part of the rules with respect to SC and, by extension, race starts, making up whatever new rules he wants in those two areas, even if there are established procedures which completely cover both the situation and all informal agreements in place.

            What is it that makes you want to switch off from F1 as a whole, rather than “when the SC comes out, I don’t trust it anymore”, or “I don’t trust it as long as Masi has a say about the SC”? As long as the SC doesn’t come out, there shouldn’t be an issue?

            I don’t think there has ever been a championship where the SC hasn’t been used since the SC was introduced. I seriously doubt that this year will prove any different.

            Also, this interpretation of 15.3 also, logically, applies to race starts, too, due to 15.3d. So, if I don’t trust any race where the safety car is used, then how can I trust any of them at all, given they all have race starts of some description?

            I’m struggling to see why one rule that hasn’t caused much/any stir over recent years suddenly is a reason for you to ‘cancel’ (as such) F1 in total.

            Again, this all comes back to it not having been used like this before, so it was not known that it gave the RD the right to so this. Before AD, I thought that the RD had to follow the rules, as fuzzy as they can be at times and as inconsistent as their application often is. Seeing not only that the RD could throw away the rulebook and all established procedure, but also that the stewards confirmed that the rules mean it was legal for him to do so, makes all the difference.

            As an example, let us say that you have a contract with someone for them to come in and clean your home. You see a clause which allows them to bring additional staff to help with the performance of their business. Your understanding is that this would be bringing extra cleaners where needed. But then, you arrive home to find one of their accounts staff is sat in your living room with their laptop, updating the company accounts. They tell you their internet had gone down and they needed to file some tax paperwork, they had just finished and would leave now.

            You check with a lawyer, and they tell you this is completely allowed by the contract. Not only that, but it would be completely permitted for them to bring half a dozen or more staff around to perform any of their business. They could take over your living room all day to get admin done or use your washing machine to clean their uniforms and bedding from other clients’ houses. They even provide catering services, and could take over your kitchen to do so.

            You approach them, and they say they would never do that, this was a one off due to exceptional circumstances. Would you accept that and leave the contract as is? Would you trust that they would never do this again, when they have already abused your trust?

          2. @drmouse thanks for the elaborate comment! I guess we have a difference in perception and/or opinion.
            If, as you give as an example, someone who has been cleaning my house for years one day brings their colleague because their internet isn’t working I wouldn’t be completely shocked nor kick them out. Things of course would be different if, for instance, it was the first day on the contract and they immediately bring their entire office or that I find out that the internet and power usage skyrocketed since they started cleaning the house.
            I guess it’s a matter of trust, which I know comes on foot and leaves on horseback.

            Seeing not only that the RD could throw away the rulebook and all established procedure, but also that the stewards confirmed that the rules mean it was legal for him to do so, makes all the difference.

            I don’t think the stewards said “from here onwards the RD is the sun king and he can do whatever he wants”, but that in this case (at this event with these circumstances) the RD was allowed to do what he did within the rules. It isn’t said (again: trust) that on any further occasion they will immediately be as lenient on the RD – definitely if you take the inconsistency of the stewarding into account ;)

          3. I don’t think the stewards said “from here onwards the RD is the sun king and he can do whatever he wants”

            To quote the stewards decision:

            That Article 15.3 allows the Race Director to control the use of the safety car, which in our
            determination includes its deployment and withdrawal.

            At the very least by this decision, the RD is completely at liberty to deploy or withdraw the safety car at any time, regardless of any other rules, no matter what other procedures have or have not been followed or what the state of the track is. The RD has complete control over its deployment and withdrawal at a bare minimum from this.

            They have also legitimised, at least tacitly, the race director ordering certain cars to be able to ignore rules around overtaking under SC conditions. There are very strict conditions around when a car can overtake other cars or the safety car, and the only one which applies in this case is

            If the clerk of the course considers it safe to do so, and the message “LAPPED CARS MAY NOW OVERTAKE” has been sent to all Competitors via the official messaging system

            (my emphasis)

            As far as I am aware, this message was not sent to all competitors. Instead, a different message was sent out ordering certain, specific competitors to be allowed through. If he had sent the required message, the cars between Max and Carlos would have started to make their way through. There is no provision within the rules for that, unless you extend 15.3e to cover it.

            This would actually be less of a problem had he followed the required procedure, letting all lapped cars begin to overtake but then sending out the “SC in this lap” message and bringing it in early. It would still have been a breach of precedented procedure, but 15.3 would be considered much more limitted in scope. He could even say he made a mistake, and there would be no comeback within the rules as, once that message was put out, the SC was required to come in no matter who had got through. But by ignoring the messaging he was required to use and choosing only specific cars to be allowed through, the powers granted and used within 15.3e massively jump.

            It isn’t said (again: trust) that on any further occasion they will immediately be as lenient on the RD – definitely if you take the inconsistency of the stewarding into account

            I don’t think that arguing that inconsistent stewarding protects us from abuse by the officials is a great argument, even though I’m pretty sure it was intended as a joke. However, we do now have a precedent which says the race director definitely has complete control over the deployment and withdrawal of the SC irrespective of what the rest of the rules say.

    2. @ahxshades

      The entire story is based on anonymous sources, which bring into question the extent to which these sources are part of the decision making and are accurately reporting the state of the investigation/plans or whether they are trying to influence those by misrepresenting them to the public, to create an expectation. The latter is quite common and why many stories with anonymous sources turn out to be untrue.

      1. It’s ok @aapje – they put the story in the round up 2 days later :)

    3. @ahxshades
      It’s not worth mentioning as it is written by Andrew Benson, the master of nothing. I can bet my house without even reading the article that he is doing his usual thing. Writing his own fantasies and wishes into the article citing credible sources…

      1. It’s ok @tifoso1989 – they put the story in the round up 2 days later :)

        1. @ahxshades
          Oops… I think they saw your comment and wanted to satisfy your request :)

  9. I disagree with COTD to an extent. Max has proved before he can be excellent wheel to wheel, but I feel on some occasions last season he was not up to the standards he has shown before. Others have mentioned Hungary 2019, and as I mentioned yesterday, I was sat at Vale watching his battle with Leclerc at Silverstone in 2019. Thus was aggressive but fair. At some points last year, I think he dropped below the standards he’s previously shown he can be capable of. His speed is incredible, and his wheel to wheel can be, but I feel 2021 was not his greatest example of those skills

    That said I do quite like that new helmet.

    1. Well, many times last season his wheel to wheel action was spot on, and when he had to get more aggressive, no surprise it was because he was going up against the mega dynasty that is LH/Mercedes. I think we should always expect sparks to fly and things to get a little ragged when it is so close and so much is at stake between two top teams and two top drivers.

  10. Re: COTD I guess it depends on your affiliation as to what you perceive as great wheel to wheel racing. Some of the greats in Senna, Schumacher and now Max are lauded for their all out ruthlessness and eagerness to bang wheels at 300kph while others prefer the cleaner or more professional approach of an Alonso for instance. Over the course of history it’s likely been that the most aggressive approach has tended to win out, stakes are high and in this sport track position is king so if someone will yield they’ll more often than not lose all things being equal. You can probably see it in the WDCs over the years.

    For me I grew up watching in the early 2000s where there’s always been a rule against causing a collision so my general feeling is that they should be avoided and that drivers shouldn’t generally drive into others hoping that the other will leave the circuit. I think if they got rid of that rule and the driving guidelines that aren’t being policed effectively I’d totally get on board with that driving style and think the racing would be lots more fun.

    As-is, with drivers, fans, media alike openly questioning and ridiculing the approach taken with driving behaviour/standard/safety, it’s just another energy-sapping disappointment about the sport.

  11. Wait WHAT?!? They’ve made a documentary about that attention seeking psycho who made a gigantic controversy, attacked all kinds of people and glorified himself for being traumatized by a garage door handle?!
    I just can’t….

  12. The Cassation also ordered the return of the confiscated yacht, but the twist is that its legal administrator recently sold it, …The yacht was snapped up at a judicial auction by Bernie Ecclestone, a friend of Briatore and former Formula 1 boss, at a discount price of €7 million (about $7.8 million), a third of its estimated value.

    I couldn’t help but smile when I read this. The Italian Government seizes Flavio’s yacht claiming he was defrauding them of taxes, gets tired of waiting because Flavio kept appealing every time he lost a court case over it, so they put it up for auction, and Flavio’s best friend buys it. Then the case goes to the Cassation, the Italian Numbero Uno Supremo court, and they find Flavio wasn’t guilty of tax fraud … so now the Italian Government is supposed to return the yacht to him, but they have sold it, so they have to compensate him for selling his yacht. Bernie bought it for about 7M Euros, which is about 1/3 of its actual value, meaning Flavio is in line for a 21M Euro payout.

    1. @drycrust

      And then Bernie sells it back to Flavio for 15M, so they both make a profit off it.

      BTW. The Italian courts are notorious for how long cases take and how arbitrary the decisions often seem. It’s not the fault of Flavio (or anyone else who deals with those courts) that things take so long or that they try to exhaust all options.

  13. Gold hemet, #1 on the car, Verstappen is not missing out on any chance to rub it in.

    I bet Hamilton is in a gym somewhere getting combat fit, rerunning ‘Michael, no Michael’ on a loop, drawing motivation.

    That is what Kobe, MJ would do.

    If he wants to make it personal he can, deliver one more championship beating golden helmeted #1, then he can retire as GOAT.

    1. I’m picturing a Rocky IV style montage with an angry Hamilton doing pull-ups til he pukes!

    2. He already told if he became champion he would drive with number 1 and that is what a champion always should do.

  14. Surprised no news about Yamamoto taking up a role in red bull power train as his own company. And also about Honda continuing till 2025. A welcome change for F1.

  15. What, no jokes about Verstappen holding his helmet?

    1. I know!

      And most of his newer fans will probably be doing the same too!

  16. I wonder if Max will use phony gold to match his phony title?

    1. A phony title would be going for a Sunday drive every weekend unchallenged and then being handed a trophy at the end. Max had to battle for his and really should have won by a bigger margin.

  17. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    28th January 2022, 14:26

    Very massy – sorry, I meant classy:-)

  18. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    28th January 2022, 15:07

    The COTD did get one thing right but let’s be honest even that wasn’t 100% right as expected:

    Max has shot a harpoon across everyone’s bow

    What is more akin to what happened is that

    Max has shot the FIA’s harpoon across Lewis’ bow throughout the entire season and instead of being disqualified, has gotten a championship for it showing everyone that racing Max is a lose-lose situation.

  19. The Braketester needs to win a championship first. He only won a Masi Rules Lap. Hamilton 8 x FIA Rules Champion.

  20. Have I missed something but how Jerome became team principal? It feels a long way from driving Marussia in P20..

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