2021 F1 Thread

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No findings until 18 March - same day as practice for season opener.

If, as I suspect, Massi is replaced as race director I wouldn’t think describing him as a “scapegoat “ or “sacrificial lamb” entirely apt. It was his decision to only unlap some of the cars in Abu Dhabi to facilitate a final lap under race conditions, and this was contrary to the same standard safety car regulations that he correctly quoted when defending the lengthy deployment of the safety car in the 2020 Nurburgring race ”There’s a requirement in the sporting regulations to wave all the lapped cars past”.

IMO he made a bad decision under a pressure from the two team principals. But this is a multi billion dollar industry, the pinnacle of open wheeler racing, and the FIA should be seen to consistently apply their own regulations to make the racing fair, not interpret them to manufacture an entertaining finish.

The dilemma for the FIA is that if, as a result of the inquiry, they do replace Massi, it will be seen tacit acknowledgement that the championship deciding decision was incorrect, which then taints Verstappen’s deserved title.

However, the controversy of his inconsistent policing of the rules this year is not isolated to the Abu Dhabi GP and has led to disquiet amongst a number of teams. Added to this is the perceived threat from Hamilton to retire if the inquiry doesn’t address the “problem”, and I think the writing is on the wall for Massi.

I understand that although the findings of the inquiry aren’t due to be handed down till March 18th, the teams will be informed of the results well before this.

Interested to hear other opinions on this.
100% agree Masi is likely to be sidelined / shown the door to placate stakeholders. Doing it (announcing it) right at season start allows focus to move quickly to the racing rather than announcing sooner and having another 1-2 months of speculation. Agree it casts “doubt” on Verstappen‘s title although again by burying it at season start everyone moves on quickly. Agree some of the season decisions (hello Spa…….) were crazy.

The whole “let the lapped cars past” is madness and needs to be got rid of anyway. That’s the luck or otherwise of where the safety car falls.

Hamilton will go away looking like a pretty sore loser if he walks - but then F1 has always pandered to it’s “favourites”.
It is an interesting rule the lapped cars - safety car. Was it borrowed from CART/IndyCars? Its a wonder why lapped cars can't stay lapped. They got there for a reason- wave blue flags on the restart (when safety car pulled in).

Edit: can see the championship point issue if someone got lapped (under blue flags) just before a safety car deployment and their direct rival (who was mere seconds in front before the safety car) got 'saved'.
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Think the rule is longstanding.

As otherwise you have a mix of slower (lapped) and faster cars at the start, which is dangerous, and/or means a whole confusing heap of blue flags.

The problem is the additional safety considerations that have been added, which means they wait until everyone is off the track before commencing unlapping, so any flag incident is 4+ and typically 5-6 laps under SC.
And the pit lane speed limits - which means there is an increased benefit to pitting under SC/VSCs..

I think best solution would be to let lapped cars drop back and manually increment the lap counter (though they would gain a fuel advantage).

And to have an even slower pit lane speed when under SC/VSC to lessen that advantage.
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More short term an issue for Hass.

Russian paid driver who brought with him sponsorship by Uralkali, a Ruasian group specialising in potash, where the drivers father is a Director.

As mentioned in the article above, they've already decided to remove the Uralkali logo and Russian flag imagery from the car.

But will be counting on the sponsorship $s coming in.

Hass was also the team with the 2019 sponsorship issues with Rich Energy.
Further chat to continue in the 2022 thread. What an interesting season 2021 was.
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