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Author Topic: Abu Dhabi Safety Car  (Read 408 times)

Offline Jericoke

Abu Dhabi Safety Car
« on: December 12, 2021, 06:11:09 PM »
Bringing out the safety car was the 'safe' move.  In retrospect, a red flag would have made far more sense if you're trying to balance safety and spectacle, as Masi clearly was.  A 5 lap showdown between Lewis and Max on fresh tires?  That would be the most legendary finish in F1 history.

Instead Masi seemed to be making things up as he went.  Bottom line, all the drivers and track workers were safe, and the championship was not decided under the safety car.  It was messy, but it's racing.  At the end of the day, it was fair.  Max had the luck when he needed it.

Offline rmassart

Re: Abu Dhabi Safety Car
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2021, 06:42:14 PM »
I'm a Hamilton fan, but after the final lap I accepted Max won, with a lot of luck, but he won with a clean great drive.

But then I've been reading more about the decision to only let some cars unlap themselves and it seems that is not in the rules. It's either all or none. And if you read the rules as stated on the f1 site:

"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, any cars that have been lapped by the leader will be required to pass the cars on the lead lap and the Safety Car.

“This will only apply to cars that were lapped at the time they crossed the Line at the end of the lap during which they crossed the first Safety Car line for the second time after the Safety Car was deployed.

“Having overtaken the cars on the lead lap and the Safety Car these cars should then proceed around the track at an appropriate speed, without overtaking, and make every effort to take up position at the back of the line of cars behind the Safety Car.

“Whilst they are overtaking, and in order to ensure this may be carried out safely, the cars on the lead lap must always stay on the racing line unless deviating from it is unavoidable.

“Unless the clerk of the course considers the presence of the Safety Car is still necessary, once the last lapped car has passed the leader the Safety Car will return to the pits at the end of the following lap.

“If the clerk of the course considers track conditions are unsuitable for overtaking the message ‘OVERTAKING WILL NOT BE PERMITTED’ will be sent to all Competitors via the official messaging system"

then there are two problems with Masi's decision:

  • Letting only some cars unlap themselves is simply not in the rule book and Mercedes would have factored that into their decisions
  • After all the cars have unlapped themselves there needs to be another lap under the safety car - see my italics and bold highlight

So as I understood it, Masi started the race a lap too early because he wanted a race, when in fact it should have ended under the safety car if he let cars by.

According to the rules Masi had two options:

  • Let the race restart with one lap proper racing remaining, but with 5 back markers between Max and Lewis
  • Let the cars unlap themselves but finish under a safety car

Masi was going to do the first in order to have a last racing lap, until RB got on the phone and pushed/confused him into breaking the rules. I doubt Max would have overtaken Lewis in one lap if he had five back markers ahead of him at the start but he could have given it a good go.

As it stand this will go to the courts. There's too much money involved and the rules were broken. The problem is for once they weren't broken by the teams, but by the race director himself!

Offline Monty

Re: Abu Dhabi Safety Car
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2021, 07:20:43 PM »
If the decision making was all about a racing spectacle then the race should have been red flagged. Followed by a restart with everyone on optimum tyres (and that is rich from me because I hate the rule that allows new tyres to be fitted under red flag conditions).  What happened with Masi making rules up as he wanted was unforgivable and I think Masi must resign. I have just read that the Mercedes protest regarding the lapped cars has been thrown out. That just leaves a protest against  Verstappen overtaking Hamilton behind the safety car (which he clearly did). However, I have felt most of the year that the FIA wanted  Verstappen to win so they have got what they wanted and I can’t see them upholding the Mercedes protest.
This year has been the worst I can remember- the rules have been ignored; the decisions inconsistent and a dirty; cheating driver has been encouraged and ‘gifted’ the Championship. Hamilton had beaten   Verstappen fair and square today - he should now be celebrating his eighth title. RIP F1!

Offline rmassart

Re: Abu Dhabi Safety Car
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2021, 07:44:20 PM »
In fact the second appeal has been thrown out as well, and the statement given by the stewards is quite clear:

Which to me basically means the race director can do what he wants under safety car conditions.  I doubt Mercedes will pursue this further, because they can't overturn the result even if the courts agree with them. To overturn the result would include "whatifs" so that won't fly.

But I agree Masi's attempt to keep the races interesting, rather than the stewarding consistent is wrong and needs to change. I think he is under pressure from Liberty Media to create interesting races rather than a clean championship.

I also heard Netflix have a "fly on the wall" show running for a few seasons and that this is attracting many new fans to the sport so I can understand need to keep the spectacle going for as long as possible, because if the season finishes in August every year, there's not much drama to show on "Drive to survive" as Netflix calls it. (I don't have netflix, so I didn't know about this show).

But from a racing purist point of view I kind of think all these safety cars and restarts need to be handled differently. We now have virtual safety cars and live gaps between the cars. I think a race interruption should always end in such a way that at the restart these gaps are maintained for a lap under the virtual safety car before they can start racing again. You would red flag a race immediately, clean up the mess, go out for a lap under virtual safety car and then get going again.

Offline lkjohnson1950

Re: Abu Dhabi Safety Car
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2021, 07:46:47 PM »
I must say I agree. Merc should announce that they are considering withdrawing from F1. Not that they should do it, but the announcement should cause some interesting panic. Once the checker had fallen, protests were useless. The FIA allowed both Schumacher and Senna to keep their WDC after they deliberately crashed their opponent. Senna even announced he would do it.  SMH.

Offline rmassart

Re: Abu Dhabi Safety Car
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2021, 08:20:12 PM »
And of course Mercedes intend to appeal after their protests were rejected. Sad day. Hopefully it will be resolved in time for Bahrain :) . See you there!

Offline lkjohnson1950

Re: Abu Dhabi Safety Car
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2021, 07:43:10 PM »
I think the appeal is just pro-forma. There is no way the FIA will reverse the result now. is already full of articles about how great Max is and how it was inevitable he would be a WDC. How totally deserving he is. There is also some grumbling on other sites about how the finale broke up several mid field battles. Max was in the middle of a 5 way battle for the last points positions. I'm about through with F1 I think. We'll see how I feel in March.


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