Very Unsatisfactory End to an Exciting F1 Season

barlew

MOST VALUED CONTRIBUTOR
Yes, it was a strategy call. However Mercedes made their decision based on the globally understood safety car rules that were in their favour...until Masi changed them.

In the 'free' stops that Max had, it was a no-lose option. Still don't know why Mercedes brought Hamilton in straight after Max had stopped for hards, as Hamilton's mediums were fine and he could have had another 10 laps on them and avoided the Perez defence.

If Bottas had turned up, then both teams might have been able to use the same defence.

I hope it doesn't drag on, and the bosses (or Hamilton) asks the team to back down and accept the result.
Apart from as the FIA have pointed out in the rebuttal of Mercedes complaints the decision that was made fell within the rules. Masi didn't change anything, its just unfortunate that the rules as written literally overwrite each other.

What was controversial was how the race director announced his decision as initially the teams were told that lapped cars were not to overtake the safety car. Then for what ever reason that decision was reversed.

Mercedes knew that Red Bull were basing their strategy on a safety car. Hamilton himself pointed out to his team that if they didn't change tyres they were going to be in a dodgy position. They chose not to and the result is what it is.

Do I think the FIA handled the decision making well. No not really it was messy and contradictory. Do I think that the rules need re-writing absolutely I do however the decision that was made is black and white in the rules.
 

ActuallyDenz

Lord of Steam
Clearly this will be the outlying opinion but I thought it was a phenomenal end to such a crazy season. Finishing it with a final lap decider was class.
I agree. That was the first race I'd watched in a few years and most of the race showed why I gave up - Mercedes have exceptional cars and the best driver on the grid, so while Perez did a cracking job of holding Hamilton back, the race as it was shaping up was only ever going to be Hamilton's. Mercedes gambled on there not being a second safety car and so Hamilton's tyres were 40 or 41 laps old by the end? Madness!

Had Mercedes been informed that there was going to be that final lap decider, Hamilton would have pitted, got himself some soft tyres and almost certainly have won given the outright pace the car has.
 

barlew

MOST VALUED CONTRIBUTOR
I agree. That was the first race I'd watched in a few years and most of the race showed why I gave up - Mercedes have exceptional cars and the best driver on the grid, so while Perez did a cracking job of holding Hamilton back, the race as it was shaping up was only ever going to be Hamilton's. Mercedes gambled on there not being a second safety car and so Hamilton's tyres were 40 or 41 laps old by the end? Madness!

Had Mercedes been informed that there was going to be that final lap decider, Hamilton would have pitted, got himself some soft tyres and almost certainly have won given the outright pace the car has.
This is exactly my thinking. I cant remember what lap he was on but Hamilton called in to his engineers to tell them his tyres were not going to do the course of the race. At that point all it would have taken was bad luck to strike and his sure win was in jeopardy. Low and behold that bad luck did strike and Mercedes strategy did not pay off.
 

Bigfoot

VALUED CONTRIBUTOR
Masi did not follow the rules as written. He only let some lapped cars pass and not all of them. He then didn’t follow the rule that said the safety car should stay out until the end of the next lap. The race director might control the safety car, but surely he still has to do that within the rules. If there is another rule that states that the race director can do whatever he likes, ignoring all other rules, then the system is completely pointless. Precedent is a big thing in law, and the laws had never been applied in that way before. The result is a complete mockery. The last lap wasn’t exciting, since Masi effectively handed Max the race by his arbitrary decision, reversing the 10+ second advantage Lewis had before the safety car. This situation would not happen in any other sport.
 
If Masi wanted to 'make a race of it' like he suggested, then why not red flag it, let everyone put the soft tyres on and have a standing start?

Changing his mind after the Red Bull / Mercedes dice have been thrown only shows his bias.
 

barlew

MOST VALUED CONTRIBUTOR
Masi did not follow the rules as written. He only let some lapped cars pass and not all of them. He then didn’t follow the rule that said the safety car should stay out until the end of the next lap. The race director might control the safety car, but surely he still has to do that within the rules. If there is another rule that states that the race director can do whatever he likes, ignoring all other rules, then the system is completely pointless. Precedent is a big thing in law, and the laws had never been applied in that way before. The result is a complete mockery. The last lap wasn’t exciting, since Masi effectively handed Max the race by his arbitrary decision, reversing the 10+ second advantage Lewis had before the safety car. This situation would not happen in any other sport.
So I know you are never going to agree with me and I understand why but this is why you are wrong.

The FIA F1 Sporting regulations give Masi total and final say in the deployment and use of the safety car. The extract below is taken directly from https://www.fia.com/sites/default/files/2021_formula_1_sporting_regulations_-_iss_5_-_2020-12-16.pdf please note the emphasis is mine.

This statement is why Masi was allowed to do what he did and why he was allowed to specify that only those 5 lapped cars needed to unlap (granted it was handled extremely poorly).

"15.3 The clerk of the course shall work in permanent consultation with the race director. The race director shall have overriding authority in the following matters and the clerk of the course may give orders in respect of them only with his express agreement:

a) The control of practice and the race, adherence to the timetable and, if he deems it necessary, the making of any proposal to the stewards to modify the timetable in accordance with the Code or Sporting Regulations.
b) The stopping of any car in accordance with the Code or Sporting Regulations.
c) The stopping of practice or suspension of the race in accordance with the Sporting Regulations if he deems it unsafe to continue and ensuring that the correct restart procedure is carried out.
d) The starting procedure.
e) The use of the safety car"


Your next point is that the safety car should have pitted the following lap as detailed in article 48.12. In the FIA official response letter "Decision - Mercedes Protest Art. 48.12" found here https://www.fia.com/sites/default/f..._-_decision_-_mercedes_protest_art._48.12.pdf

The FIA clearly state that whilst article 48.12 was not fully implemented it was superseded anyway when article 48.13 was triggered. Therefore the safety car must pit the end of the current lap.

I have paraphrased and haven't posted the exact quote as I posted it in a previous quote.

Whilst I know you wont agree with me the fact is the rules were followed it is literally in black and white for you to read. Masi had the authority to do what he did and the rules allow for the safety car to pit when it did.

Do I think the rules need rewriting? As I said before yes because they're contradictory but what happened was within the rules as they stand.
 
I see it that he had 4 clear and completely understood options in front of him:
  1. VSC to maintain the gap
  2. all to overtake and finish under SC
  3. none to overtake and let Max try to overtake the back markers and then Lewis
  4. red flag with everyone changing tyres and a standing start
So what made Masi decide that this was the best time to invoke the rarely/never used God mode and change his mind after Red Bull / Mercedes had already played their cards (and after Horner moaned at him), and after he'd told the field that there would be no overtaking?

There's either a bias or he wanted an artificial result for the TV.
 

barlew

MOST VALUED CONTRIBUTOR
I see it that he had 4 clear and completely understood options in front of him:
  1. VSC to maintain the gap
  2. all to overtake and finish under SC
  3. none to overtake and let Max try to overtake the back markers and then Lewis
  4. red flag with everyone changing tyres and a standing start
So what made Masi decide that this was the best time to invoke the rarely/never used God mode and change his mind after Red Bull / Mercedes had already played their cards (and after Horner moaned at him), and after he'd told the field that there would be no overtaking?

There's either a bias or he wanted an artificial result for the TV.
Oh I 100% agree with you, that decision was made for TV. Lets not forget F1 is currently in the middle of a bit of an image crisis and the sport is desperately trying to get new viewers. The decision was definitely made with this in mind.

However the decision was not against the rules...
 

Bhuna50

MOST VALUED CONTRIBUTOR
Ultimately if they really wanted to make it fair and wanted to make it a proper race, the way to have done it would have been to red flag with still about 3 laps to go - this would have enabled both teams to have fresh soft tyres and then recommence the race from either the grid with Ham/Ver 1/2 or a rolling start allowing them both then 3 laps of actual fair racing on new tyres each.
 

barlew

MOST VALUED CONTRIBUTOR
Ultimately if they really wanted to make it fair and wanted to make it a proper race, the way to have done it would have been to red flag with still about 3 laps to go - this would have enabled both teams to have fresh soft tyres and then recommence the race from either the grid with Ham/Ver 1/2 or a rolling start allowing them both then 3 laps of actual fair racing on new tyres each.
Agreed however you would then have an entirely new set of controversy with Mercedes lodging complaints saying the FIA had disposed of Hamiltons lead.
 

Bhuna50

MOST VALUED CONTRIBUTOR
Agreed however you would then have an entirely new set of controversy with Mercedes lodging complaints saying the FIA had disposed of Hamiltons lead.
Yes, but that is always the risk with any safety car impacted race and has worked in favour of both racers at some point or another.
 

barlew

MOST VALUED CONTRIBUTOR
Yes, but that is always the risk with any safety car impacted race and has worked in favour of both racers at some point or another.
Like I said in the previous post I agree with you but if Hamilton had still lost Mercedes wouldn't have just bowed out. They would have said the race should have been completed under the safety car.

Like I said in one of my earlier posts the FIA would have been in the wrong no matter what decision was made.
 

ActuallyDenz

Lord of Steam
To solve the controversy, I would like to propose that I should be F1 champion this year. It's the fairest way - Hamilton & Verstappen have made millions racing this year, and I get my name in the history books. Everyone's a winner!
 

NoddyPirate

VALUED CONTRIBUTOR
I won't add too much extra to the debate here - but suffice to say:

Masi needs to be sacked, plain and simple. I am a Lewis fan and feel he was mugged really, but I also feel for Max as there will be a cloud over his first Championship because of how things have been handled - not just in Abu Dhabi, but throughout the whole second half of the season. The total farce is Sainz being left in P3 with lapped cars between him and Verstappen, which meant he was unable to get involved in that last lap. The Championship is supposed to be decided over the course of 23 races. Masi did all he could to make it all about the last lap. I really miss Charlie.....

I can understand how people become bored with F1. Sometimes I wish it was like F2 where all the cars are basically identical and the cream really do rise to the top, not just those with the best car or best support. But it often boiling down to one driver or one team or whatever is perfectly standard for the sport. I've been watching F1 for more than 30 years now. There have been many periods of single drivers stealing the show season after season, or single teams winning everything year on year. That's nothing new. What makes it really exciting though is the transition periods in between - that's what's happening now with RB looking to steal the show back from Mercedes, while some of the underdog teams start to also show promise. I think next season will be a cracker to be honest!

I think Lewis is one the best drivers in history. For his consistency, his overall car control, his race smarts, and wet driving skills. Verstappen is also in a class of his own but has shown a lack of race thinking more than anything else. His clash with Ocon in Brazil in 2018 was such a rookie mistake to make - yet he seems to have continued doing the same sort of things year after year. Whenever Max builds enough experience to think like Lewis does, we may have a no GOAT - but not yet......

So the only good thing I can say about the end of this season - is at least it was one of the two best that won the Championship. With Masi in charge anything was possible. Mazepin could have been promoted to the top for all we know!
 

barlew

MOST VALUED CONTRIBUTOR
I reckon next season is going to be one of the best in the history of the sport. It is going to be such a grudge match now.
 

AgentCooper

я за україну ✊
Moderator
Isn’t that the almond fondant stuff they put on the outside of a Battenberg cake?

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