Formula 1 ‘tarnished’ by FIA after controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff has said Formula 1 needs to implement more changes than just “replacing the race director”. The Austrian was left furious last month when race director Michael Masi allowed some lapped cars to overtake the safety car at the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen had just pitted for fresh tyres, and Masi’s decision made it much easier for the Dutchman to overtake and snatch the title on the last lap. Per the Spanish branch of, Wolff said: “It’s a bigger problem, my values ​​are simply not compatible with the decisions that were made.

“It is not just about replacing the race director. The whole decision-making system must be improved.

“It’s one thing to drive hard and have different points of view between drivers and teams, that’s normal. But inconsistent decisions inevitably lead to controversy, much of it totally unnecessary.”

His thoughts are shared by Labour peer Lord Peter Hain, who is the Vice-Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Formula 1.

He told that the FIA needs to have a “heart to heart” with itself as Formula 1’s reputation has been “tarnished”.

He said: “The FIA needs to look itself in the heart. The FIA is the regulatory body, it can’t afford to have Formula 1 tarnished in this way.

“The FIA needs to have a heart to heart about all this and make sure it isn’t repeated.”

Lord Hain also claimed the race had been “rigged” to create a dramatic ending.

He continued: “As a lifelong Formula 1 fan, I thought it was a perverted outcome.

“The finish was effectively rigged by the stewards in order to produce a dramatic finale for the theatre rather than a racing outcome.

“I think it has left a sour taste unless you are a die hard Verstappen fan, but even many of them have admitted that it has left an unpleasant taste in their mouth.

“Ok, the rules are very complex for the average fan, but at least there is a consistency there. This was clearly contrived and manufactured to allow that kind of finish.

“I thought Lewis behaved with enormous dignity afterwards, going to the Red Bull pits to congratulate them, but he must feel absolutely gutted and that the rules are rigged against him.”

Mercedes appeared to be concerned about controversy going into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The team called upon the services of Paul Harris QC while the team was in Abu Dhabi.

They duly lodged two protests after the race, but their case was dismissed.

Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner accused Mercedes of “intimidating” behaviour after they brought a lawyer to the track.

He told the Telegraph last month: “We were summoned to the stewards’ hearing and confronted with a barrister I had last seen dealing with a tyre issue that they had back in 2013.


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“Suddenly you’re in the thick of it. The stewards in the room, they weren’t professional lawyers. There was a finance guy, the drivers’ steward and a local steward in there.

“Is it fair then to be faced with a QC? That can be quite intimidating. He’s not an operational member of the team, he’s not a sporting director.

“This is an issue that needs to be considered by the FIA. We don’t want to be taking lawyers, let alone barristers, racing.”

The FIA released a statement following the race, and added that a “detailed analysis and clarification exercise for the future with all relevant parties will now take place.”

They said: “This matter will be discussed and addressed with all the teams and drivers 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.

“It is not only Formula 1 that may benefit from this analysis, but also more generally all the other FIA circuit championships.

“The FIA will therefore do its utmost to have this in motion within the Formula 1 governance and will propose to the Formula 1 Commission to give a clear mandate for study and proposal to the Sporting Advisory Committee, with the support of Formula 1 drivers, so that any identified meaningful feedback and conclusions be made before the beginning of the 2022 season.”

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