FIA publishes Abu Dhabi report, confirms Masi made errors but states result will stand

2022 Bahrain Grand Prix

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The FIA has published its report on the controversial conclusion to the 2021 Formula 1 season in Abu Dhabi.

The findings of the report were unanimously endorsed by the World Motor Sport Council. In a statement the FIA confirmed its race director Michael Masi committed mistakes when he ordered a final lap restart of the race, following which Max Verstappen overtook Lewis Hamilton to win the world championship.

“The race director called the safety car back into the pit lane without it having completed an additional lap as required by the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations,” the FIA noted in a statement.

“The process of identifying lapped cars has up until now been a manual one and human error lead to the fact that not all cars were allowed to unlap themselves,” it added. The FIA is introducing an automated system for identifying which cars should be allowed to unlap themselves.

However despite acknowledging its official had failed to follow its rules correctly, the FIA noted there was no possibility of the outcome of the race, and the championship, being altered.

Masi was replaced as race director after the controversy
The report “finds that the race director was acting in good faith and to the best of his knowledge given the difficult circumstances”, the FIA added, “particularly acknowledging the significant time constraints for decisions to be made and the immense pressure being applied by the teams.”

“The results of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the FIA Formula One World Championship are valid, final and cannot now be changed,” it stated.

“In accordance with the rules, Mercedes made a protest to the stewards after the race, seeking to change the race classification. The stewards dismissed the protest and Mercedes then had an opportunity to appeal that decision to the FIA International Court of Appeal, but did not do so. There are no other available mechanisms in the rules for amending the race classification.”

The investigation into the incident was originally announced by former FIA president Jean Todt following the race at Yas Marina in December. Masi was widely criticised by those within the sport, fans and sporting figures beyond motorsport over his handling of a Safety Car period in the final laps of the race.

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His decision to only allow five lapped cars between race leader Hamilton and his championship rival Verstappen to unlap themselves, and withdraw the Safety Car immediately afterwards, appeared to contradict the regulations and broke with previous convention.

After the restart on the final lap, Hamilton was immediately passed by Verstappen, securing victory for the Red Bull driver in the race and the world championship.

Mercedes immediately protested the outcome of the race on two counts, both of which were rejected by the stewards of the race. After announcing they would appeal to the FIA’s International Court of Appeal, Mercedes later backed down three days after the race, confirming Verstappen as champion.

The FIA’s Secretary General of Sport, Peter Bayer, was tasked with investigating the incident. He began his inquiry in January.

Prior to the report’s release, it was confirmed that Masi would not continue as F1 race director for the 2022, with the role now being shared between Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas. New support systems for race control were also announced and changes were made to the regulations.

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FIA WMSC statement on 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix report

Findings of the analysis of the 2021 FIA Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix presented to the World Motor Sport Council

A report was presented to the World Council in relation to the detailed analysis and clarification exercise that has been conducted in response to the events that took place at the 2021 FIA Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The purpose of the detailed analysis and clarification exercise was to identify any lessons that can be learned from the events that took place and consider how best to provide clarity regarding the Formula 1 rules and regulations in order to preserve the competitive nature of the sport while ensuring the safety of both drivers and officials.

As part of the exercise, the Formula 1 Sporting Advisory Committee was instructed to consider the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations and key stakeholders were interviewed and consulted, including the Teams and Drivers, the Race Direction team, and the FIA staff supporting the race management team. The report sets out the findings, conclusions and recommendations arising from the detailed analysis and clarification exercise.

The report focused solely on the facts surrounding these events, and determined the following key points:

The safety car procedure was a central topic of discussion during the detailed analysis and clarification exercise, stemming from the application of this procedure at the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP, pursuant to Articles 48.12 and 48.13 of the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations.

The Race Director called the safety car back into the pit lane without it having completed an additional lap as required by the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations (Article 48.12).

It was apparent from the analysis that there could be different interpretations of Article 48.12 and Article 48.13 of the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations, and that this likely contributed to the applied procedure.

It was also considered that the decisions regarding the Safety Car at the end of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix likely took into account previous discussions that made clear the Formula 1 Stakeholders (FIA, Formula 1, Teams and Drivers) preference to end races under green flag racing conditions, rather than behind a safety car, when safe to do so.

In combination with the objective to finish under green flag racing conditions applied throughout the 2021 season, the report finds that the Race Director was acting in good faith and to the best of his knowledge given the difficult circumstances, particularly acknowledging the significant time constraints for decisions to be made and the immense pressure being applied by the teams.

The results of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the FIA Formula One World Championship are valid, final and cannot now be changed. In accordance with the rules, Mercedes made a protest to the stewards after the race, seeking to change the race classification. The stewards dismissed the protest and Mercedes then had an opportunity to appeal that decision to the FIA International Court of Appeal, but did not do so. There are no other available mechanisms in the rules for amending the race classification.

The process of identifying lapped cars has up until now been a manual one and human error lead to the fact that not all cars were allowed to un-lap themselves. Due to the fact that manual interventions generally carry a higher risk of human error, software has been developed that will, from now on, automate the communication of the list of cars that must un-lap themselves. In addition, the 2022 Formula 1 Sporting Regulations have been recently updated to clarify that “all” and not “any” cars must be permitted to un-lap themselves.

This process of identifying lapped cars has been reviewed as part of the recommendations previously announced by the FIA President in his statement of 17 February 2022, which also includes the creation of FIA Remote Operations Centre, the integration of a new and extended team to run trackside operations as well as a review of the interactions between teams and Race Control during track running.

The WMSC unanimously endorsed the contents of this report and the FIA will continue in its work to implement the recommendations identified as soon as possible.

FIA Executive Summary Report

To: FIA World Motor Sport Council Date: 19 March 2022

Re: Executive summary of the analysis and clarification exercise conducted by the FIA following the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Introduction: This report has been drawn up to present to the WMSC members the conclusions arising from the analysis of the events that took place during the last five laps of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix counting towards the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship. The sole purpose of this report is to draw any lessons from this situation and clarity to be provided to the participants, media, and fans about the current regulations to preserve the competitive nature of our sport while ensuring the safety of the drivers and officials.

I. THE FACTS
A) On-track events

1. On 12 December 2021, on Lap 53/58 of the race of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix held at the Yas Marina circuit in the United Arab Emirates (the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix), the last competition counting towards the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship, Nicholas Latifi (Williams Racing) crashed into the barrier at the exit of Turn 14 at 18:21:37 local time. Marshals were required to remove the car and debris from the track. At this point, the racing order was as follows: #1. Lewis Hamilton (HAM), Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team (Mercedes); #2. Max Verstappen (VER), Red Bull Racing Honda (Red Bull) and #3. Sergio Perez, Red Bull. Marshals immediately displayed double-waved yellow flags in that sector.

2. At the time of the crash, both HAM and VER were driving on hard compound tyres, each having undertaken one previous tyre change. At 18:21:54 local time, the Safety Car was deployed by Race Control. VER pitted for new soft compound tyres. HAM remained out on track on hard compound tyres, behind the safety car Once the field was under control behind the Safety Car, the recovery of N. Latifi’s car began. The speed of the recovery was, however, slower than anticipated, due in part to the car’s brakes having caught fire. On Lap 55/58, the recovery and clean-up of the incident continued.

3. At 18:27:55 local time, with the race on Lap 56/58 and the safety car still on the track as there was still significant debris being cleared by marshals on the track, the standard message “LAPPED CARS WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO OVERTAKE” was published which led to confusion amongst the teams as they were preparing for the unlapping procedure. At this point, the racing order was as follows: #1. HAM; #2. VER and #3. Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow (S. Perez having retired). Several radio exchanges took place between Red Bull and Race Control (see details on page four).

4. At 18:31:01 local time, with the race on Lap 57/58 and the safety car still on the track, the track was clear and the message “LAPPED CARS 4 (NOR) – 14 (ALO) – 31 (OCO) – 16 (LEC) – 5 (VET) TO OVERTAKE SAFETY CAR” (i.e., only the five lapped cars between HAM and VER) was published on timing page three and official message system. Three further lapped cars remained behind VER (Car 3 (Riccardo), Car 18 (Stroll) and Car 47 (Schumacher)). Those three lapped cars were not directed to, and did not, overtake VER or others. Mercedes made a remark to Race Control by radio (see details on page four).

5. Race Control subsequently notified the teams (on Lap 57/58) as follows: “SAFETY CAR IN THIS
LAP”.

6. At 18:32 local time, with the race entering Lap 58 (the final lap), the messages “TRACK CLEAR” and “CLEAR IN TRACK SECTOR 18” were published. This allowed for green flag racing conditions on the final lap.

7. On Lap 58/58, VER overtook HAM at turn five and took the lead in the race. At turn nine, HAM almost touched VER while trying to overtake him, but VER stayed ahead and crossed the finish line first. HAM crossed the finish line second.

8. At 18:33 local time, the message “CHEQUERED FLAG” was published.

B) Protests, hearings and Stewards’ decisions

9. At 19:01 local time, Mercedes filed two notices of protest pursuant to Article 17 of the 2021 Formula One Sporting Regulations (F1 Sporting Regulations) and Articles 13.1 to 13.5 of the 2021 International Sporting Code (Code). The first protest alleged a breach of Article 48.8 of the F1 Sporting Regulations on the basis that VER overtook HAM during the safety car period. The second protest alleged that there had been a breach of Article 48.12 of the F1 Sporting Regulations during the Race, and sought an amendment to the Race Classification as a result (the Protest).

10. At 19:45 local time, the Team representatives of Mercedes and Red Bull were summoned by the Stewards for the following reason: “Protest by Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team against Car 33, alleged breach of Article 48.8 of the 2021 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations” (i.e. Car 33 (VER) would have overtaken Car 44 (HAM) during the Safety Car period at 18:32).

11. At 20:45 local time, the Team representatives of Mercedes and Red Bull were summoned by the Stewards for the following reason: “Protest by Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team against the classification established at the end of the Competition, alleged breach of Article 48.12 of the 2021 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations”.

12. At 22:14 local time, after having heard the representatives of both F1 Teams concerned, the Stewards issued document 57 whereby they determined that “although Car 33 did at one stage, for a very short period of time, move slightly in front of Car 44, at a time when both cars where accelerating and braking, it moved back behind Car 44 and it was not in front when the Safety Car period ended (i.e. at the line). Accordingly, the protest is dismissed.”

13. At 23:03 local time, after having heard the representatives of Mercedes and those of Red Bull (as an “interested party”) and the Race Director, the Stewards issued document 58 (the decision) whereby they determined 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. That although Article 48.12 may not have been applied fully, in relation to the safety car returning to the pits at the end of the following lap, Article 48.13 overrides that and once the message “Safety Car in this lap” has been displayed, it is mandatory to withdraw the safety car at the end of that lap. That notwithstanding Mercedes’ request that the stewards remediate the matter by amending the classification to reflect the positions at the end of the penultimate lap, this is a step that the Stewards believe is effectively shortening the race retrospectively, and hence not appropriate. Accordingly, the protest is dismissed.”

14. At 23:22 local time, within one hour of the publication of the decision (see article 15 of the International Sporting Code and article 10.1.1 of the FIA Judicial and Disciplinary Rules), Mercedes notified the Stewards in writing of its intention to appeal in respect of the stewards’ decision regarding the article 48.12 protest. The deadline for lodging this appeal before the FIA International Court of Appeal (ICA) was 16 December 2021, 8.22 p.m. CET.

15. Mercedes did not submit a notification of appeal by the deadline (or at any time thereafter), but rather confirmed publicly on 16 December 2021 that it was withdrawing its appeal.

II. KEY ISSUES AND FINDINGS

As confirmed by the WMSC in its statement of 15 December 2021, the purpose of the detailed analysis and clarification exercise was to identify any lessons that could be learned from the events that took place at the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP and consider how best to provide clarity to F1 participants, fans, and media regarding the Formula 1 rules and regulations going forward.

1. Multiple roles and responsibilities of the race director

16. The role of the race director is by nature demanding and high-pressured. However, a recurrent theme in the detailed analysis and clarification exercise was a concern that the number of roles and responsibilities of the race director that have accumulated over the years might be adding additional pressure to the role.

17. From 1997 to 2019, the role of race director was held by Charlie Whiting. In addition to the position of race director, Mr Whiting simultaneously held the positions of FIA Safety Delegate, Permanent Starter, and Single Seater Sporting Director. Following Mr Whiting’s death in March 2019, Michael Masi was appointed as the new Race Director. Mr Masi had previously held the role of Deputy Race Director for F1, F2 and F3 from 2018. Mr Masi also took over Mr Whiting’s roles of Safety Delegate and (from 2021) Single Seater Sporting Director.

18. Suggestions made by the F1 Commission, and those interviewed included that some of the Race Director’s responsibilities should be divided and assigned to other persons to reduce the workload of the Race Director and allow them to focus on their key functions, including managing and controlling the race.

2. Radio communications between F1 teams and the Race Director

19. Radio communications between F1 teams and the Race Director were identified as another key issue during the analysis.

20. Direct radio communications between the F1 Teams and Race Control were made public from early on the 2021 season as part of a broader media strategy. It should be noted that only part of the exchanges was made public.

21. Following the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP, there was a significant amount of media attention and public debate directed towards the communications between the race director and the Red Bull Racing Team Principal on the one hand, and the race director and the Mercedes team principal on the other hand, especially the conversations which took place during the final laps of the race

22. On Lap 56/58, after the message “LAPPED CARS WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO OVERTAKE” was published, the conversation’ between Red Bull’s Team Principal (Christian Horner) / Team Manager (Jonathan Wheatley) and Race Control (Michael Masi) was as follows: –

Team Principal: Christian to Michael. –
Race Director: Yes, go ahead Christian. –
Team Principal: Why aren’t we getting these lapped cars out of the way? –
Race Director: Just give me… because Christian… just give me a second… OK, my main, big one is to get this incident clear. –
Team Principal: You only need one racing lap. –
Race Director: Yeah. –
Team Manager: Obviously, those lapped cars, you don’t need to let them go… right away round and catch up with the back of the pack. –
Race Director: Understood. –
Team Manager: You need to let them go…. –
Race Director: Understood. Just give us a second. –
Team Manager: … and then we’ve got a motor race on our hands. –
Race Director: Understood.

23. On Lap 57/58, after the message “LAPPED CARS 4 (NOR) – 14 (ALO) – 31 (OCO) – 16 (LEC) – 5 (VET) TO OVERTAKE SAFETY CAR” was published, Mercedes’ Team Principal (Toto Wolff) radioed Race Control:
Team Principal: Michael… Michael, this isn’t right. Michael, that is so not right. That is so not right. [later] Team principal incorrectly stated: He [VER] just overtook under safety car

24. Thus, much of the debate centred around the purpose and appropriateness of those communications and whether in-race communications between the F1 teams and the race director should be broadcasted or even permitted at all.

25. The consensus of those involved in the detailed analysis and clarification exercise was that the respective communications to the Race Director by the Red Bull Racing and Mercedes Team Principals during the final laps of the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP had a negative impact on the smooth running of the final laps because they were distracting when the race director needed to focus on making difficult and time-pressured decisions.

26. Indeed, when the safety car is deployed, the race director must in particular monitor the cars on track, the order in which they are placed, the deployment of the appropriate flags, the progress of the marshals’ intervention and then, if the clerk of the course considers that conditions so permit, order the safety car to leave the track.

27. The race director must therefore manage both the cars on the track, the intervention of the safety car and what happens at the scene of the incident, i.e. a considerable number of tasks to be accomplished in a minimum of time to allow the race to resume safely and as soon as possible, while at the same time responding to the demands of the team principals. This requires immense concentration.

28. Hence, it was found that these communications were neither necessary nor helpful to the smooth running of the race. Rather, the consensus was that they add pressure to the race director at a critical time (i.e. at a time when the race director must simultaneously monitor the cars on the track, the deployment of the appropriate flags, and the progress of the marshals in clearing the track, and also liaise with the Clerk of the Course in relation to the end of the safety car period) and might seek to influence (whether directly or indirectly, or intentionally or unintentionally) the decisions made by the race director.

29. With the foregoing in mind, the consensus of those involved in the detailed analysis and clarification exercise was that communications between (on one hand) F1 teams and (on the other hand) the race director during a race ought to be restricted so that the race director would be free to perform his/her crucial role without unnecessary disruption and distractions.

3. Safety car unlapping procedure

30. The safety car unlapping procedure was a central topic of discussion during the detailed analysis and clarification exercise, stemming from the misunderstanding regarding the application of this procedure at the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP, pursuant to Articles 48.12 and 48.13 of the F1 Sporting Regulations.

31. It was apparent from the analysis that there could be different interpretations of Article 48.12 and/or Article 48.13, and that this likely contributed to some of the confusion surrounding the safety car unlapping procedure. It was therefore considered that these provisions of the F1 Sporting Regulations would benefit from clarification.

32. It was also considered that the decisions regarding the safety car at the end of the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP likely took into account previous discussions (including at meetings of the F1 SAC, the F1 Commission, and F1 Team Managers) that made clear the F1 teams’ preference to end races under green flag racing conditions, rather than behind a safety car, when safe to do so. The F1 drivers’ consultation confirmed that finishing a race under green flag racing conditions remains desirable, but that safety should always come first. If for safety reasons it is not possible to withdraw the safety car, the F1 teams confirmed that they would accept finishing the race under safety car conditions.

33. The process of identifying the lapped cars used to be a manual process. For 2022 season a software has been developed that will automate the communication of the list of cars that must unlap themselves.

NB: On Lap 58/58, HAM radioed to Mercedes “This has been manipulated”. It is worth noting that neither the International Olympic Committee (IOC) nor Sportradar have reported any integrity concerns regarding the official betting activity on the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

34. In a recent E-Vote, the WMSC has confirmed a rule change that clarifies that in case of unlapping “all” cars rather than “any” cars have to unlap. Further investigation into the F1 timing system shall clarify whether a “virtual unlapping” procedure could bring advantages and simplification.

35. The results of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the FIA Formula One World Championship are valid, final and cannot now be changed. In accordance with the rules, Mercedes made a protest to the stewards after the race, seeking to change the race classification. The stewards dismissed the protest and Mercedes then had an opportunity to appeal that decision to the FIA International Court of Appeal, but did not do so. There are no other available mechanisms in the rules for amending the race classification.

4. FIA race management team structure

36. The support available to the race management team was identified as a key issue by participants in the analysis, in the context of ensuring that the Race Director is able to perform his/her role to the best of his/her ability.

37. Responsibility for supporting the race management team lies primarily with the FIA Single Seater department. When consulted in relation to the support that they provide, department staff reported that the team was positive and worked well together. They noted the demanding nature of the race director role, particularly in light of the race director’s multiple roles and responsibilities. They also identified the need for additional support and resource in order to improve the functioning of the department and thereby provide better support to the race management team.

38. Additionally, the staff identified the need to improve communications between the FIA office in Geneva and track staff, and between the F1 sport and F1 technical departments. They also noted the complexity of the F1 regulations (in particular the F1 technical regulations, the technical directives that supplement them, and the F1 financial regulations) and the reduction of the duration of consultancy agreements from three years to one year, often resulting in higher staff turnover and so reduced familiarity with the rules.

IV. The Recommendations

39. Recommendations are set out below to address the findings and conclusions in this report. These recommendations have been presented by the FIA President to both the F1 Commission and the WMSC, and were publicly announced in a statement of the FIA President released on 17 February 2022.

Recommendation 1: To assist the Race Director in the decision-making process, a Virtual Race Control Room should be created. Like the Video Assistance Referee (VAR) in football, it will be positioned in one of the FIA Offices as a backup outside the circuit. In real-time connection with the FIA F1 race director, it will help to apply the Sporting Regulations using the most modern technological tools.
3 See www.fia.cominews/fia-president-mohammed-ben-sulayem-opens-way-new-step-forward-formula-1- refereeing.

Recommendation 2: Direct radio communications during the race, currently broadcast live by all TVs, should be removed in order to protect the Race Director from any pressure and allow him to take decisions peacefully. It will still be possible to ask questions to the Race Director, according to a well-defined and non-intrusive process.

Recommendation 3: Unlapping procedures behind safety car should be reassessed by the Fl Sporting Advisory Committee and presented to the next Fl Commission prior to the start of the season.

Recommendation 4: A new race management team has been put in place starting in Barcelona for the test session. Niels Wittich (former DTM Race Director) and Eduardo Freitas (former WEC Race Director) will act alternatively as Race Director, assisted by Herbie Blash (former right-hand man of Charlie Whiting) as permanent senior advisor.

40. Many improvements, such as recruitments and the division of the race director’s many roles and tasks, have already been made. Furthermore, the role of executive director of the FIA Single Seater department was created within the FIA in December 2021, which Peter Bayer holds in addition to his role as Secretary General for Sport.

41. However, in order to finalise the new structure: – A new F1 sporting director will be recruited (process finalised), – An additional senior regulatory legal counsel will be recruited to strengthen the legal support (i) during the F1 competitions (regardless of the time difference) and especially during the weekend and (ii) on F1 sporting matters.

42. It is suggested that all the recommendations that have not already been implemented are actioned as a matter of priority so that the benefit of the lessons learned from the detailed analysis and clarification exercise can be maximised for the for the 2022 season. The WMSC members will be kept regularly informed of the progress made.

2022 Bahrain Grand Prix

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

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114 comments on “FIA publishes Abu Dhabi report, confirms Masi made errors but states result will stand”

  1. What a long report, like a story.

    1. Yup. tl;dr

    2. Unfortunately it does not include the part about the very unusual and premeditated decision of not allowing lapped cars to overtake.

      1. You haven’t read the report, have you?

        Fact 3:

        3. At 18:27:55 local time, with the race on Lap 56/58 and the safety car still on the track as there was still significant debris being cleared by marshals on the track, the standard message “LAPPED CARS WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO OVERTAKE” was published which led to confusion amongst the teams as they were preparing for the unlapping procedure.

  2. Fact 2 is wrong: Max had done already 2 out stops at that time

    1. Pit stops *

    2. @anunaki

      I thought this too. He pitted for mediums under the VSC didn’t he?

    3. True, that was the first thing I noticed. Took a lot of time and the first description is already wrong.

  3. What a waste of time that was.

    1. Agreed, and thanks for the compliment by copy cat my account here.

      1. Why have you copied my name? You clearly don’t even have an account here. Strange. Anyway, Hamilton was still robbed and this “report” highlights that. I don’t understand how the result can stand. Thankfully most people agree and even Max knows his champions tarnished.

        1. RandomMallard
          19th March 2022, 14:22

          I don’t think the unregistered account is the one copying the name here. The unregistered “erikje” has been a well known member in these comment sections for as long as I can remember (and I’ve been regularly checking here for at least a year by now). Your profile page shows your account was created 17 hours ago at the time of writing. I’m very much not a judge who can determine what is and isn’t allowed, but I would recommend checking article 4 of the comment policy.

      2. I thought both accounts belonged to the same person :)

        1. Nope, a copy cat.
          But its always nice if you have followers even stalkers like this one (not so sure)
          But its probably one out of the realm of f1 fool and his multiple accounts here.

          1. Maybe you should finally get an account yourself instead and also pay Keith for the content you clearly love to argue about incessantly

          2. @nanotech it’s free to register an account, which makes it all the more curious why some people who come year after year haven’t done so.

        2. It definitely can’t be the same person, or would be weird if so cause the registered one is clearly in the hamilton camp, unlike the unregistered; in case the registered erikje’s question was serious, I can also confirm the unregistered one has been around for years on here.

    2. Yep, can we now investigate the totally inadequate penatly given to LH for Siverstone. This is a bigger sporting problem in my opinion.

  4. As expected the report is as beige as possible.

    1. Yep. Here’s what happened. Doesn’t the poor race director have a hard job? Those naughty teams keep talking to him. Was the interpretation of the rules wrong? Nah we’ll just ignore that question.

      Just felt like it was mitigating the FiAs involvement and not really drawing any conclusions. Not sure why we had to wait 3 months for that bum covering exercise to be finished.

    2. A report so transparent you can see through it. Just what the drivers and teams were calling for!

  5. Nothing on the prevailing circuit and track temperatures and at the venue.

  6. Procedure of Recalling of safety car and ending it? Anyone?

  7. Basically a whitewashing of events, as expected… nothing new to see here.

    1. Well it confirms Hamilton would have won the title and made history had it not been for Masi.
      It confirm Verstappen is champion in name only. HUMAN ERROR makes it abundantaly clear
      Masi went against the spirit of the rules with his extreme interpretation of those rules.

      There’s no way anyone can say he was just applying the rules, they way some say they
      are only following orders. He could have done the right thing and chose not to.

      Short of calling Masi a cheat, it doesn’t get much clearer.

      1. EXACTLY…….the major take-away from the entire situation, besides the FACT that the results were so entirely botched that a defeated driver was promoted to the win, was the FACT that the FIA hasn’t the stomach for credibility. Could they simply have stated the obvious….the rules were NOT FOLLOWED. Thus, be go back to the nearest lap in which, THE RULES WERE BEING FOLLOWED, and take the results from that point. Simple. Equitable. Unquestionably correct.
        A very sad day for Lewis, but a much sadder day for F1 and the FIA. History will not be confused about the proper result, the proper champion.

  8. No mention of any change to article 15.3 is there? That’s one of the main issues isn’t it?!

    1. RandomMallard
      19th March 2022, 14:57

      @oweng From what I can tell, the report mainly deals with the actual incident itself, and doesn’t concern itself with the Mercedes protests beyond saying they were dismissed, which may explain why 15.3 is emitted. I’m equally disappointed it isn’t mentioned though.

  9. So, hypothetically, if Masi were to give Lewis the black flag (just because) and Lewis lost the chamionship because of it, FIA would stil stay there is nothing they can do to reverse the decision even though the black flag was completely unjustified? When have we become so brain dead that common sense is not considered and following rule book is all we can do?

    1. But Mercedes could and would protest and the stewards would decide and then the court of appeal.

    2. RandomMallard
      19th March 2022, 14:27

      Masi cannot give a black flag, only the stewards can. Obviously, that could still be as flawed as the RD, but that’s the reason the appeal courts exist. In this case, Mercedes chose not to pursue it to the appeal courts (and for the record I still think the FIA should become party to the Court of Arbitration for Sports so a somewhat independent judge can preside)

    3. No. That would not have been in any way under “good faith” on Masi’s part.

  10. Interesting, so no breach of rules noticed and only recommendation points very acceptable.
    It still is a pity they sacrificed Masi without any defense by him (at least not public)
    Looking at the amount of flak and death threats he received from a “fanbase ” not very nice for him.

    1. Haven’t seen anything about the amount of flak he got. I would have thought most wouldnt even know how to contact him.
      So how many threats did he get, tens, hundreds, thousands?

    2. Actually, two of them. But I guess you just refuse to see it, no matter what.

    3. RandomMallard
      19th March 2022, 14:33

      Interesting, so no breach of rules noticed and only recommendation points very acceptable

      In the report, this could be seen as being the case. Rule breaking is implied, but never explicitly stated.

      However, the accompanying statement from the FIA is much more to the point:

      The Race Director called the safety car back into the pit lane without it having completed an additional lap as required by the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations (Article 48.12).

      This is saying the rules were not followed. Pretty clear cut if you ask me.

      1. Indeed, but why not in the report. There’s the place for those argumented remarks.
        Strange..

        1. Indeed, but why not in the report. There’s the place for those argumented remarks.
          Strange..

          I think the FIA are still trying to sweep things under the proverbial carpet.
          Admitting that Masi did it wrong and that he brought the safety car in a lap before the regulations allow is probably a massive step for them. Any further steps toward making the correct changes will have to be done slowly and quietly.

      2. RandomMallard
        19th March 2022, 14:55

        For reference, here is that statement from the FIA. I forgot to link it.

        https://www.fia.com/news/fia-announces-world-motor-sport-council-decisions-25

      3. Ah but that’s where the rub is; Masi had the authority and indeed did order the safety car in. His authority as RD in practice overides (Article 48.12) on this specific occasion.
        Just the same in footy when a ref makes a decision that stops the game at a crucial point, but then there’s no foul, changes the momentum of game but cannot be reversed.

    4. Read carefully and you know the key finding is that Masi made errors which resulted in Max’s championship. The circumstances leading to the errors were explained. The reasons they don’t mention name or be transparent are legal ones – that does not need much speculation. They can’t change the result and that is not expected. Ignoring that there is an error made, stubbornly stating there is no breach of rules, reflect poorly on you. Remember, you can still keep your main life’s mission – defending Max’s 2021 championship as a deserving one. You know in your heart and in your mind, that no matter how much you protested, how many fake accounts you create, how annoyed you are that there are so many millions of fans who don’t acknowledge Max as deserving champion, it is now in F1 history that Max’s championship needs a really long explanation as to why is he is crowned a champion. Certainly no other world champion needs “explanation”. Moving on? Oh yes, with knowledge that Max’s championship is tainted.

      1. Not sure to whom you are talking.
        But the deserved victory in that last race was and will never be tainted for someone who looked at the race.
        Of course hamfans are disappointed. I would be if this happened to max (in fact a lot of stewarding was “against” him last season). But only very frustrated fans keep on reliving the fantasy hoping in their dreams Lewis could have won.

        1. “Looking” at the race means ignoring how decision in the last 4 minutes of the race was managed? How? You covered your eyes, ears, and block your mind off the facts that Masi broke the rules to enable the win? As you still do now by blocking what the report said? You continued to contribute on site like this one, sprouting nonsense about Merc’s wrong strategy? It has nothing to do with Hamilton anymore or other drivers disadvantaged by Masi’s decision. So, keep the “fandomness” to your Max. As mentioned above, result will not change, nor it is expected to. So, do enjoy the trophy and the no.1 display on the car. It is you who need to fantasise that Max is a recognised un-tainted champion. And yes, do move on.

  11. As we all knew anyway. Masi screwed up big time and handed the title to Max.
    Max is not to blame for this though and does deserve the title (just as Lewis would be fully deserving had the rules been followed)
    Lets move on now and get racing. This has been blead to death.
    #44

    1. You rad a lot of things that are not in the report. Nothing new but still telling.
      Your last remark I agree. But we already found out groundhog day is favorite by Keith. So expect a lot of repeats…

        1. Go away – pest

          1. Does that usually work in your social group?

      1. For someone who doesn’t seem to like many of the comments, or indeed the authors content, you do seem to enjoy it here, Erikje.

        1. I do, is that a problem for you?

          1. Why would it be a problem for me?

            It’s an observation. You complain about the articles, and about the comments, and then you continue to participate.

  12. Lol – imagine a whole report that’s no doubt been reviewed and re-reviewed over and over prior to release only for it to confidently state that Max had made one pitstop prior to Latifi’s crash.

  13. Also – how come there’s no mention of when the safety car was supposed to come in per the rules (end of following lap) and whether that will be changed or not?

    1. It is referenced in the recap of the stewards’ decision but what is the status going forward?

      1. I’ve not read the report in full yet bit keith does say: “The race director called the safety car back into the pit lane without it having completed an additional lap as required by the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations,”
        I cant take this as gospel but…

    2. RandomMallard
      19th March 2022, 14:40

      @sebsronnie As DeanR states, the report does kinda mangle it’s words a bit. The official statement from the FIA is a lot more clear cut in it’s analysis:

      The Race Director called the safety car back into the pit lane without it having completed an additional lap as required by the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations (Article 48.12).

      This is, at the bottom of it, an acknowledgment that rules were broken.

      In terms of the future, the rule has been tweaked so the SC now comes in at the end of the following lap after the unlapping message has been sent out (previously it was after the last lapped car had passed the leader). It wouldn’t have made a difference in Abu Dhabi; what Masi did would be just as wrong under the new wording as it was under the old wording. I think it does help clarify things a little bit, as well as meaning under a few select circumstances (where the message to unlap is sent near the end of a lap) where you could theoretically restart the race one lap earlier (and still be following the regs).

      1. Since the RD had the executive power to order the safety car in, and indeed did, how can they – or more to the point you – say a rule was broken?
        Surely this is the sort of gap/conflict/loophole/oversight in the regs that allows teams to introduce things on cars that ought to be clearly not allowed. The more rules they write the more ambiguity creeps in.

        1. The real problem is, it’s not in the report. It’s a constructed addition by fia but not part of the report.
          It should be, with arguments that are missing now.

  14. Why not ? Lance Amstrong got his titles removed too. Max is a fake champ and instigated this whole farce by relling his race engineer that the cars needs to be removed between him and Lewis, Horner and Weathley took it over from there and gave Masi orders to rigg the result to hand the title to Max.

    1. S
      I
      L
      V
      E
      R
      S
      T
      O
      N
      E

      !!!!!

      1. I still don’t get why some keep bringing up Silverstone like it was some heinous intentional pre meditated collision.

        I thought then & I still think now that it was nothing more than a racing incident, Perhaps more Hamilton’s fault but it’s not as if he threw it into a non-existent gap from miles back in some reckless move that was never on.

        And from memory that was the view shared by most drivers both past & present both in F1 & other categories.

        1. And it was penalised appropriately given the crime. They all act like Hamilton wasn’t even penalised.

        2. HAM was found at fault.
          HAM lost 10 seconds
          VER lost 18-26 points for the race
          Plus an engine penalty for the next race.

          VER was favourite to win the race and would have probably pulled 7 points on HAM. Instead he lost 25-32. So he ended up in hospital and had a swing of 32-39 points.

          So overall I’d say that’s quite a lenient penalty!

          1. RandomMallard
            19th March 2022, 15:51

            In 2021, 10 seconds was pretty much the standard penalty for causing a collision where one party is deemed wholly or predominantly at fault. It’s what Tsunoda got in Brazil, it’s what Verstappen got in Saudi. It pretty much became the penalty associated with causing a collision. And of course, the FIA weren’t to know whether or not Hamilton would have won the race when he got his penalty. In football, if someone handles the ball in the box, a penalty is given immediately. You don’t wait until the end of the game before the referee decides how many goals to give the other team as a penalty. It was the same in Silverstone. He’s been penalised, it’s perfectly legitimate overcome that penalty.

          2. So what penalty do you think Hamilton should have got for what most agree was nothing more than a racing incident.

        3. Its not like anyone told Verstappen to shut the door on hamilton, driving like ‘i dont see him’. That was all Verstappen. Some might say it was typical verstappen. Its a wonder really that he hasn’t come a cropper before Silverstone.

          Let see if the likes of Leclerc will let Verstappen just ‘send one’ the way we currently accept uniquely Max.

          1. He was hit by a Hamilton signature move. Ham used it several times in his career with a lot of succes and little penalty.
            So he will probably use it more often.
            He should have been black flagged.

          2. If it’s a “Hamilton signature move” you’d think Max in all his brilliance would have seen it coming and avoided the collision.

      2. The paper champ took himself out on Silverstone, due to his overly aggressive driving style.

        Plain stupid to always come up with it like it was solely HAMs fault. Fact is, he was judged to be predominantly to blame, but even this is harsh. He avoided contact about 5 times throughout the first half of the lap, cause the crash-kid drove like an unprofessionell madman.

      3. @depailler Silverstone was 100% Max’s for turning in Lewis despite he had tons of space to his left.

    2. Simple – Lance cheated, Max didn’t. You see refs make mistakes in almost every sport and the result is never changed.

      Max is the champion and there’s no asterisk. He won it over the course of the season and got a bit of luck at the end – luck that he wouldn’t have needed if it wasn’t for lots of bad luck throughout the season.

    3. Just like the Duracell rabbit.

      Max should have won clean and easy, with a large advantage and several races before the last. However it was a lot more fun this way, it is lotsa fun watching all the hambrigrade foaming at the mouth

    4. RandomMallard
      19th March 2022, 14:49

      Max never asked anyone to order the lapped runners through. His only reaction to being told they initially weren’t being allowed through was “Yeah of course. Typical decision.” and “I’m not surprised”. Neither of which could be realistically interpreted as “[t]elling his race engineer that the cars needs to be removed between him and Lewis”. If you stripped titles away from anyone who complained about refereeing decisions no one would have won a football title in years. As Pete Baldwin says above, Max isn’t in the wrong here. The situation was absolutely wrong and unfair, there’s no doubt about it, but Max didn’t cheat in Abu Dhabi.

  15. The last comment I hope to make on this incident. All F1 fans were denied a worthy finish to an exciting season.
    The unfortunate thing for everyone including Masi, is that after all of the questionable decisions throughout the season, Masi made the correct decision at the end of the race when he announced that no cars would unlap. Mercedes wanted to finish under the SC but could not argue the decision to not unlap the cars and finish under green. The finish would have been exciting as Max would need to pass the back markers to get to Hamilton. But then Masi, at the last minute, “mistakenly” only sent the unlap message to the cars between 1 and 2, and “mistakenly” called for the SC to exit the track immediately, and we were all robbed.

    1. Bang on, Jim.

    2. Nope, we were not robbed. We got a very exiting end and a well deserved champ.

      1. Clearly, as a Max fan you were not robbed. You suddenly saw a last lap miracle come out of nowhere to hand your favourite driver the title at a time when all seemed lost for him.
        We, on the other hand, were robbed of an honest fight between two contestants who both deserved to win the title. As things now turned out, Lewis was a sitting duck on those tyres. And he was on those tyres because Mercedes expected the race director to follow the usual procedures. Instead the race director made several “human” errors and handed clear advantage to one of the two contestants, thereby robbing us of said honest fight.
        I wasn’t going to be disappointed if Max won or if Lewis won. Both drivers’ campaigns last year showed some great driving, but also some questionable moves. And both drivers had stewarding decisions go in favour of them and against them.
        But the race director’s poor choices brought the very last and deciding lap of the entire season into disrepute. And that leaves an unwanted taste in my mouth.

        And like many others have said, can we now please lay this to rest? There is a whole new season with new cars and a ton of intriguing technical rules and solutions to enjoy!

      2. Nope, we were not robbed. We got a very exiting end and a well deserved champ

        F1 fans were robbed.
        Max was robbed. Don’t tell me you don’t believe the Masi farrago damaged Max’s reputation.
        Speaking as a non-Max fan, I don’t believe Max deserves any of the fallout. It can’t be nice for him, knowing he wears a faux crown. No sportsman/sportswoman wants to be gifted a title they didn’t earn (see the Winter Olympics, where a female slope style, IIRC, skier got a medal she didn’t believe she deserved and was protesting about it)

    3. 100% it would have been a stellar fight from Max to the last turn and we were denied that. Not Max’s fault obviously, he just benefited from it, and for that he can’t be blamed. You can blame Masi, or Red Bull, or F1 but Max andLewis just did the driving

  16. Don’t see whether the question of whether the safety car should come in at the end of the lap AFTER the lapped cars are let through answered in the lengthy text. Isn’t that the key thing? Was the interpretation right or wrong? A whole lot of words for nothing meaningful said.

    1. RandomMallard
      19th March 2022, 14:51

      In the accompanying FIA statement on the report, they do pretty much admit that the rules weren’t followed:

      The Race Director called the safety car back into the pit lane without it having completed an additional lap as required by the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations (Article 48.12).

      So no, it doesn’t appear to actually be in the report, but the FIA and WMSC seem to have come to the conclusion that the rules were not interpreted properly

  17. This is what happened, this is why it happened, this is what should change, most of which has already happened.

    Don’t know what people were expecting. It’s much better than it could have been and definitely not “white washed” or “hand waved” away.

    You can read between the lines, Masi didn’t have the support he needed, and misunderstood the rules, and flat out made mistakes.

    Manually deciding which cars needed to be unlapped and making the crucial error regarding that was probably his ultimate undoing. Good to see that’s a fully automated process now, although I’m sure there’ll be kinks to iron out going forward.

    1. That’s what most comenters are failing to see in this report. The recomendations laid out here are basically saying ” these were the mistakes made and how to prevent them”. The objective of this report was to study a situation and provide ways to improve the handling of races, not to judge a single individual or to determine the “right” outcome of the race.

  18. NB: On Lap 58/58, HAM radioed to Mercedes “This has been manipulated”. It is worth noting that neither the International Olympic Committee (IOC) nor Sportradar have reported any integrity concerns regarding the official betting activity on the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

    Haha, obviously he wasn’t talking about betting patterns when he said that, but ok.

    1. RandomMallard
      19th March 2022, 14:53

      Agree that it’s definitely not what Lewis meant, but I think it’s important to note that no irregular activity was reported. Always a good thing to check.

  19. Masi made two errors.

    1) Asking only lapped cars between LH and MV to unlap, rather than all cars. For this, they tried to mitigate it by saying “any” =/= “all”. Which we all know is nonsense, but whatever.

    2) Asking the safety car to come in at the end of the CURRENT lap, rather than the NEXT lap, after the message to unlap was sent out. To me, this is the bigger error. How come this has not been addressed whatsoever? The thing about finishing under green conditions, well they must only ever be done under the constraints of the rules, correct? If Mercedes and other teams agreed that the rules as written are secondary to the spectacle of a green finish…then that’s one thing, but I believe nothing of such ever happened cause otherwise we’d have heard of it.

  20. I know that the radio communication part has been published before, but the part between Red Bull and Masi is really appalling. Masi just seems to take orders from Red Bull and he reversed his decisions just the way Red Bull asked.

    I’m not blaming Red Bull though. Given that they had the opportunity to communicate with the race director directly, it’s understandable that they tried to pressure Masi to make decisions that benefited them. But it’s a shame that Masi submitted the way he did.

  21. Now can somebody at Mercedes explain why they refused to pit HAM whereas, he was 12s ahead when the SC was deployed and 14s ahead when he was the pit entry, thus having a free pit stop?

    1. I’m not at Mercedes, but they have explained the (IMHO correct) strategy.
      Under the actual rules, if he had pitted, LH would have risked losing track position, the race, and the championship. Pit stops do not always go smoothly, after all. The MB strategists realised that (under the rules) with only a few laps left the race would either finish under SC (LH wins), or (if crash was cleared quickly) there would be many lapped cars between MV and LH (LH excellent chance to win, one lap with a hampered MV).
      All this was discussed in the radio messages at the time, and by the people involved ever since.
      The strategists have loads of experience, off site analysis teams, computer models, AI etc. to predict these things, and many contingency plans. All of which rely on consistently applied rules.

    2. To be fair.. It was very risky. They could and probably would lose track position. Still the option to pass max, while Lewis had a faster car was there.
      Whoever, they decided to gamble and gambled wrong. They lost as a result of that strategy.
      Masi only created a situation but not the outcome.
      Most hamfans know.. But they decided to moan and hope for something that never will happen.

      1. Yes, and I really doubt that, like some people said, the race would end under SC then, they wanted an exciting finish and would’ve made the last lap with green flag conditions no matter who was ahead.

  22. Jean Todt who was on his way out has left us with one final reminder of what he can do when he tries. He set a precedent now that every team/driver that feel that the officials (race direction, stewards) didn’t act properly are entitled a detailed investigation and probably the job of the person who they feel made the error.

    After all, Hamilton has been always calling for justice and equality, so all the other drivers/teams should get the same treatment. Glad that Jean Todt was blocked by Ferrari president John Elkann after he proposed his services to serve as a senior advisor for the brand.

  23. Thank you for the report. 3 months seemed like a long time, but now I’ve seen the report I can understand why it took so long. Good principles to uphold, I’m sure.

  24. Report is still inaccurate, contains assumptions and doesn’t address that the mistakes made by the race director affected the race result and ultimately the championship. Oh well it’s a closed book now. We shall see if the stated changes will improve the sport presuming they want it to remain a sport.

    1. What was inaccurate? Seems to me they covered all the critical points down to the second.

      1. MV made two tyre changes, not the one.

  25. In line with my expectations. Masi made a mistake and RB calls applied to much pressure and a this helped lead to this mistake.

    I’m happy with the changes and we will see how they apply this year.

  26. Rubbish report, but at least mistakes were acknowledged.

  27. Thank god they took 3 months to say the results will not be changed!

  28. One thing I don’t understand. Why were the other 3 drivers not allowed to unlap? Its not as if it would have taken any additional time, right?

  29. Alex McFarlane
    19th March 2022, 14:57

    I’ve put the incident out of my mind as what’s done is done, but what would have happened if the rules had been followed?

    1. Finish under SC or green last lap with 5 cars between HAM and VER.

      1. Or unlap all cars, very well possible and the result would have been the same and no rule was in contention.
        But that does not fit the poor Lewis narrative.

        1. How can you not understand that would’ve been impossible?

          Either some/all drivers unlapped and the race finishes pretty much under the SC (as they have to restart at the end of the next lap, which was already the final lap). OR they left the lapped cars as they were and went racing at the end of the current lap.

    2. Either, the race would have restarted without the lapped cars being moved out of the way, or the race would have ended behind the safety car.

      So Verstappen would have had to clear 5 cars before coming up to Hamilton, or the race would have finished with them line astern with Hamilton acting as the safety car (so the safety car isn’t in the photos)

  30. “The race director called the safety car back into the pit lane without it having completed an additional lap as required by the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations,” the FIA noted in a statement.

    “In accordance with the rules, Mercedes made a protest to the stewards after the race, seeking to change the race classification. The stewards dismissed the protest […]

    So what I’m hearing is that Mercedes protested the fact that the safety car rules weren’t followed. I’m also hearing the FIA stating that the safety car rules weren’t followed.

    So why did the stewards dismiss the protest? Where’s the discussion about the stewards getting it completely wrong? If the stewards are going to continue to rubber-stamp the race director’s decisions, what’s the point of appealing to the stewards?

    Finally, does this mean that their novel interpretation of 15.3 stands, and the Race Director is allowed to call the safety car in at any (all?) time(s)? Because the way they interpreted the rules, the safety car can be called in at any time, regardless of the safety issues on the track, and doesn’t have to follow the safety car rules. Ever.

  31. Got their facts wrong

    2. At the time of the crash, both HAM and VER were driving on hard compound tyres, each having undertaken ONE previous tyre change.

    Verstappen was on his Second set of hards

  32. Similar to Putin’s war in Ukraine. Putin made errors, but occupation forces will stand in Ukraine. No support for F1 from me anymore.

    1. RandomMallard
      19th March 2022, 21:42

      I said it yesterday, and I’ll say it again. What happened in Abu Dhabi was very bad for the sport, and rules absolutely were broken.

      But it is nowhere near comparable with what is going on in Ukraine.

      1. I didn’t mean it to be directly similar. F1 is “microcosm” compared to Ukraine (macrocosm). Similarity is that both are being destroyed by shameless cheats.

  33. They thing is, Masi could have signaled for the other lapped cars to hurry through and un-lap themselves, and it wouldn’t have made a difference, if the safety car came in and Max still had an opportunity he was going to get it. So I don’t buy the idea that if the other cars had been allowed to un-lap themselves, it would have meant another lap or more time, etc., and Max wouldn’t have had a chance. If the call which went to the cars who did un-lap themselves was made to all cars, then they would have sped through, and it would have still been Max under Lewis’s tale, with a lap to go. It just didn’t make a difference for anyone whether or not he called for the others …it just seemed like he was only clearing the space between Max and Lewis, and in practicality, that’s what Masi was doing, because, as he said to Toto “…it’s called a motor race,” etc.

    So Mercedes griping that the other cars should have been let through really is predicated on their making everyone believe they were counting on that happening, that their strategy to not have Lewis come in for tires too, was based on the fact they thought it would take more laps than what were left to clear the track and un-lap the cars …which makes no sense, again, because those who did un-lap themselves got the command to do so and bam — they were around Lewis. If the others had gotten the call, they would have done the exact same thing within a matter of seconds. Massi just decided not to bother, and Mercedes can’t claim this “messed their plans up” or they would have planned differently.

    The command to un-lap, once given, was superfluous with regards to how many did so; it wouldn’t have changed the time factor ..and that is what Mercedes can only say in their claim which might have some credibility, which is once the safety car is out there, and once cars have un-lapped themselves, the rules say — or don’t, this is what I’m still trying to figure out — that there should be one more lap …before the safety car dives in and away we go, etc. But that is a crazy idea on a few fronts: one — Mercedes didn’t know when Latifi crashed how many laps it would take to clean up the mess and get green again, so they made a calculation, not based on the rules, but a sheer guess, that it would take too long before the race would be over; Red Bull guessed the other way. No one was basing that on a rule, but just a gut hope one way or the other.

    Mercedes after the fact bitch that technically, another lap under safety car was called for, but the track was clear, the cars who needed to un-lap themselves so the lead cars could be clear had done so …what in god’s name would any sport, with a half-billion fans watching around the world, holding their breath — the entirely viability and rational for the sport on the line, have the directors say, well you know, even though the track is safe, the cars are in their positions, and the championship is on the line …let’s end this under a yellow flag. That’s a ludicrous idea, and Mercedes would whole heartedly argue for the opposite if Lewis were in Max’s position.

    Masi felt the rules gave him latitude to give the green if everything was clear; that he wasn’t bound by the spirit or the absolute letter of the rule to keep the safety car out any further …that the point of everything was to let the cars race …AS LONG as nothing in Mercedes’ strategy decisions had been — directly (you can’t claim an indirect effect) affected by the call to go green It hadn’t; they made their tire decision based on a hunch, not a calculation that there were a stipulated amount of laps under yellow to be counted on, because during the window (which was seconds) where they could have pulled Lewis in, there.was no way of knowing that.

    Masi had to make a call, use his best judgement, in the interest of the viability of the race, and the sport in general, all in seconds, with Toto and Christian both screaming in his ear. His decision made for one of racing’s most exciting moments. The other choice — each one under the spirit of the rules able to be rationalized (or else Lewis would have been declared champion after the fact) — would have resulted in a collective global yawn and a terrible ending to what was finally an exciting season. There was no favoritism involved …except toward the fans.

  34. Late to this one, I know, but this has been a busy weekend.

    I am pleasantly surprised with this report and the accompanying official statements. While they don’t go as far as I wanted in certain areas, they do acknowledge that errors were made, which is a good start (even though this is couched in weasel words). It’s not the whitewash I expected, and is just enough for me to very cautiously give a very small amount of the benefit of the doubt. I can’t get as emotionally invested, nor put in as much time and money as I previously had, but I’m willing to give them a chance this year and see how it goes. I doubt I’ll be watching anything more than the races, and likely not even all of them (even now, I don’t feel very bothered about watching the races, but my wife will be watching so I may as well).

    Let’s just hope the officials don’t screw up this season, it looks like it could be a good one.

  35. Jan Siekierski
    25th March 2022, 8:47

    It appears to me that something other than, human error or a mistake or team leaders conversing with Massi, has been the problem.
    In the wider world betting is a source of revenue for gamblers.
    Corruption is the method favoured by unscrupulous “gamblers” to become rich.
    It is easier to blame Massi error than look for corruption! Indeed had Massi been threatened in someway by a mafia type organisation it wouldn’t surprise me.
    Has any police investigation been undertaken? Or is that another taboo?

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