So much for Abu Dhabi being “done and dusted”

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As the stunning new Formula 1 cars of 2022 hit the track together for the first time at the Circuit de Catalunya two weeks ago, it seemed the sport might have finally put the controversial conclusion to last year behind it.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner and his opposite number at Mercedes, Toto Wolff, faced the media together in an FIA press conference at lunch time. Both indicated they were ready to draw a line under the acrimony of Abu Dhabi, where the championship outcome swung on race director Michael Masi’s shock decision to arrange a restart in a manner which contravened the rule book and broke with past practice.

“I think ’21 has been well documented, maybe we share a difference of opinion over Abu Dhabi but that’s now done and dusted and all focus is very much now on 2022,” said Horner, who was even prepared to accept the drama had got out of hand over the course of 2021.

“What you did see last year was a fantastic competition from the first race to the last race. I think a key part of Formula 1’s revival in popularity has been that competition. So certainly we hope that there’s going to be an equally exciting year, ideally a little less exciting at times, but an exciting season ahead.”

Wolff and Horner appeared before the media at testing
Wolff also said he was eager to put the past behind them. “It got fierce at times and brutal, but there’s a lot at stake. It’s the Formula 1 world championship and there’s the fighting on the track and the fighting off track for advantages, so that’s okay.

“But I agree with Christian. We need to move on. There’s been so much talk about Abu Dhabi that it came to a point that it is really damaging for all of us stakeholders of Formula 1, and we’ve closed the chapter and moved on.”

The following day Max Verstappen sharply criticised the FIA’s decision to offer Masi a different role within the organisation – or, as Verstappen termed it, “sack him”.

With this, Verstappen’s first comments since the sweeping changes the FIA announced to race control following Abu Dhabi, it seemed the key players had said their last on the affair. One day earlier Hamilton had shut down further questions on Abu Dhabi. “I feel like I addressed pretty much everything I needed and wanted to address last week,” he emphasised, “I don’t really have any more to add to it.”

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But it turned out the matter wasn’t quite “done and dusted” for Horner. He spoke to the BBC yesterday and was pressed on whether Masi’s crucial decision to only allow a portion of the lapped cars to unlap themselves and bring the Safety Car in a lap early had been a violation of the regulations, as Mercedes argued.

Safety Car, Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi, 2021
Analysis: The four minutes that changed the destiny of the 2021 world championship
“Michael Masi actually didn’t break the rules, he applied them in a way that hadn’t been done previously,” Horner insisted. How enthused the FIA was about its race director choosing the final lap of a championship-deciding race to apply its rules in this wholly novel way can be gauged by the fact Masi is no longer in the position and numerous innovations are being introduced to ensure future race directors approach the rules less creatively.

Indeed, Horner’s words come remarkably close to echoing Wolff’s view that a “freestyle [approach to] the interpretation of the regulations” had become the norm under Masi.

Horner justified his view by claiming that “leaving two lapped cars at the back of the field was the only variance with what’s been normal practice otherwise.” There was in fact a third car which was not allowed to follow the others in rejoining the lead lap, and Masi also did not adhere to the rules regarding the timing of the restart, by bringing the Safety Car in a lap early.

This detail matters because the tactical choices made by both teams were informed by their understanding of how the rules are applied. This includes, as Masi himself previously acknowledged, the requirement to allow all cars to unlap themselves, not just some of them.

For Horner, Masi’s exit came about not as a consequence of failing to apply the rules correctly, but because “a lot of pressure was put by one of our competitors on the FIA.” He dialled the rhetoric up higher in another interview.

Red Bull’s situation is clear: They can’t acknowledge any wrongdoing on Masi’s part because doing so would be tantamount to admitting Verstappen’s title is tainted. Defending Masi and defending Verstappen are one and the same.

In the meantime it remains to be seen whether the FIA will reveal anything of its investigation into the affair, as Hamilton urged them too. All of which tends to the view that we’ve not heard the final word on Abu Dhabi yet.

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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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177 comments on “So much for Abu Dhabi being “done and dusted””

  1. For me the ending was perfect, because it had the desired outcome and added to that an exciting finish. So what was for me the desired outcome? Hamilton losing out and Verstappen winning it in a tainted fashion. Having said that, from a statistical point of view Hamilton achieved something unique, he is the first driver to enter the final round of the championship with a mathematical chance of winning it and lose for a record 3rd time in the same circuit. That track of course is Yas Marina and happened in 2010,2016,2021. Alonso lost 2 championships in Interlagos for reference (2007-2012).

    1. If we add Interlagos 2007 Hamilton has now lost 4 titles in the final race of the season which maybe also a record, Schumacher lost 3 (1997,1998,2006) Alonso also 3 (2007,2010,2012)

    2. That’s interesting. Has he won any at the last race besides 2008?

  2. It was apparent all winter -on this site too- and during the press conferences in the Barcelona test -don’t call it a test- that the media isn’t going to stop asking people about this until they have a new thing to write articles about.

    If you really want this to be over. It’s entirely up to you, as the media, to drop it.

    1. But it isn’t over. I, for one, am still waiting in the (now very unlikely) hope that they actually fix (or officially and publicly clarify) the rules so the race director isn’t allowed to make stuff up at will in future and return it to a sport rather than a made for TV gameshow, and I am glad that the media hasn’t dropped it as only pressure will force the FIA to do so. They have a week before I cancel my Sky Sports subscription…

      1. @drmouse If you think rules can predict every situation and what to do about it, … Dream on.
        PS F1 isn’t sport for a loooong time. I would argue it never was.

        1. @denis1304

          The rules don’t have to predict every situation. As long as the race director has the power to change things for safety reasons, to stop a dangerous situation developing, or where there isn’t a rule to cover a situation, then it’s fine. If there is a rule to cover it (as there was in AD) and it would not be dangerous to do so (again, as in AD), then the written rules and procedures should be followed. Otherwise, why bother having rules in the first place?

          1. Why do you think the sporting regs are worded the way they are, @drmouse.?

            That’s right ;) To allow for flexibility in application, whenever and wherever the FIA want it.

          2. If that is and remains the case, it isn’t a sporting competition, just a made for TV gameshow, and I’m out.

          3. Not a “gameshow” – F1 is “made for TV sporting-style competitive entertainment” @drmouse.

            Bernie started the process of turning F1 into a money-making machine almost 50 years ago… What you are witnessing is just the natural evolution of it.

          4. I am sorry, but to interpret the rules in the way Masi did and claim that they were followed requires a very odd twisting of the English language. It is like Trumps “Alternative Facts” claim… I mean it does not make sense on any level…

            Horner just refuses to admit that Verstappen won due to a very dodgy decision because to do anything other than that would be to admit that Hamilton should be the world champion…

            However the best thing for him to do would be to shut his out of control mouth for a while.

          5. The light bulb, radio and television didn’t make sense when they were first introduced to the world either, Lee1.
            It was just that it was the first time the world had seen them.

            Nothing to be scared of. We all accept new things as the norm over time.

          6. Not sure what you said makes sense either. We are not talking about new discoveries… We are talking about the English Language…

            I for one do not want to live in a world where “Alternative Facts” are actually generally accepted as a thing.

          7. There was no alternative fact, just an alternative interpretation.
            What do you think lawyers do?
            What do you think the race stewards are for?

          8. Noframingplease (@)
            8th March 2022, 18:12

            @Lee1 aren’t that same dodgy decisions and rules the reason that Lewis had the chance for the title in the last race? Of course you wil not agree with that cuze all Lewis fans are suddenly the biggest followers and experts of ‘the rules’. I never heard them complain when ‘their boy’ crossed 29 times the track limit (and had an advantage). When rules for testing rearwings where changed during the season, when pitstoprules are changed for the benefit of MB….. etc etc. No according to many ‘fans’ here, the biggest mistake was that Masi didn’t follow the rules especially in the last race. Well, I can assure you that during the 2021 season those same ‘mistakes’ of Masi gave Lewis the change to come back. And than we don’t even start about the moaning and whining of Lewis during the first half of the season about that suspicious Honda engine. No, when MB has suddenly a magnificent straightline speed since brasil we talk about the best race of lewis. Does that sound logic for you? For me not

          9. @nofanboysplease

            You are going completely off on a ill conceived rant. There has been zero evidence that the FIA found anything untoward with the rear wing of the Merc apart from one occasion where it was clearly broken… The test they perform on the cars change mid season all the time and always have there was nothing different last season. Hamilton did indeed go off track a number of times at one race (I can’t remember which one). However the drivers were told they could before the race and a number of them including Hamilton actually sought clarification on that before the race started. Many other drivers also left the track at that particular corner many times. Merc did indeed moan a lot about Red Bull but then Red Bull moaned a lot about Mercedes too, again that is nothing new and happens all the time. Remember when Ferrari got McLaren disqualified for being a couple of millimetres too wide back in the 1970s? There are however multiple occasions where both Max and Hamilton got lucky that is F1 and indeed sport in general. The issue however is not that Max got lucky in the last race but that the Rules that have been very clearly understood and consistently implemented over many years were totally ignored. Then we get all manner of excuses from the FIA as to why it was somehow okay for that to happen. We still have no idea what the result of the FIA investigation is. Masi was clearly the sacrificial lamb to cover for the FIAs failings. This whole “Let them race” thing is a ludicrous smoke and mirrors exercise. I pretty much guarantee that no team meant that term to be used to totally rip up the rule book at random!

            To turn this in to a rant about how Hamilton and Merc are somehow preferred is ignoring the whole point. Every single F1 fan I am friends with, including some who really do not like Hamilton and one that is an ardent Red Bull fan all think the last race was a farce. If you care about F1 or indeed any sport then you want the rules applied correctly, sometimes this is a grey area due to the way the rules are written but in this case the rules were clear and very prescriptive. It is pretty much impossible to interpret them any other way that they are written and this is born out by the consistency in which they are applied numerous times each year!

        2. I have dipped into this situation every few day’s since Abu Dhabi’s farcical completion. At first hoping for a fair resolution, but when we’re told the FIA will investigate and they will give an answer on the 18th March.
          Well to be honest I gave up all faith of a fair outcome.
          It’s the usual behind closed doors deals to make it go away. When I read Toto Wolf and Christian Horner asking to put a line under last season and now focus on 2022.
          As fans and watchers of the sport we are meant to also move on.
          The problem is the majority of fans like myself are upset about the ending and just as upset by the assumed resolution, because F1 was supposed to be the pinical of motor racing, the blue ribboned event much like in athletics we all want to see the 100 meter event.
          But now it’s just a usual “let’s bend the rules for better viewing figures and tension excitement etc, and forget correct procedures, integrity and fairness.
          I am really not as excited or interested in the 2022 season right now F1 has lost it’s shine for me.
          I don’t hold much stock in the FIA’s findings even though confirmation that Michael Masi was wrong when he was removed him from his post.
          In the end they’ve kicked the can so far down the road no one will really care except the people who liked F1 for it doggid adherence to the rules, whether it was for your team / driver or not, it was for the most part fair and understandable.

          1. no one will really care except the people who liked F1 for it doggid adherence to the rules

            I’ve been watching F1 for more than 35 years, Errol, and I don’t remember F1 ever doing everything ‘by the book’ for a whole race, never mind an entire season.
            Sure, it seems a bit more obvious these days, but that’s just the natural evolution of F1, and the world in general now. The teams are asking for it to be the way it is, yet complaining when they get it….

            Once you get over the idea that F1 is a pure sport and accept it as something that ultimately relies on TV and viewership growth for it’s very existence – it all gets a bit easier to take.
            Just be happy that it exists at all if it makes you happy. And if it doesn’t make you happy, what are you doing wasting your time with it?

      2. @drmouse I agree. The FIA needs to deal with the loophole that Masi used, possibly by only allowing a race director overrule on safety grounds or something like that.

        Horner, rather than just being blatantly hypocritical, could just say that Masi didn’t need to be fired, he needed additional support as the structure meant he had too much workload. And that we need to have more clarity on the rules, so this type of argument doesn’t happen again. And for good measure, that we need to have more clarity on track limits and what is allowed in overtaking/defensive moves. I don’t think any of that would suggest Max’s title is tainted.

        But unfortunately, his management style is that Red Bull and their number 1 driver are never to blame for anything and are constantly hard done by, so he will attack and defend on that basis – see “rogue marshal”. Shame he hasn’t extended that courtesy to his number 2 drivers over the years.

        1. Jerzy Kolodziej
          8th March 2022, 10:10

          What loophole? There was no loophole. The regulations were blatantly broken by Masi under the requests of Wheatley and Horner. Hamilton was cheated (defrauded) out of the championship. Mercedes dropped their challenge “for the good of the sport”. Unfortunately, no good has come from that choice. Mercedes should have gone all the way and had the result overturned. Only then would justice and the truth have been served. The conspiracy to gloss it over has been a total failure.

        2. @oweng

          And that we need to have more clarity on the rules, so this type of argument doesn’t happen again. And for good measure, that we need to have more clarity on track limits and what is allowed in overtaking/defensive moves.

          I disagree really. I think that drivers know what is right and wrong (driving standards). They certainly should do by the time that they get to F1. What needs to happen is the abolishing of the 5 and 10 second time penalty. If the MINIMUM penalty for driving infringements is a drive though, you watch them start giving positions back. A driver is always going to risk/choose to try and make up a 5 or 10s penalty on track. It is in their nature.

          1. @asanator I think the “let them race” philosophy has been pushed too far. It has been exploited by overly agressive overtaking or defending, including running people off the track. Drivers will know what is fair and what isn’t, so they should form a drivers overtaking group with current and ex-F1 racers to go through various scenarios and come up with a set of guidelines and appropriate punishments should they not be followed.

            It’s impossible to have set rules covering all scenarios, so there will always be some level of subjectivity from driver stewards, but if a guideline structure could be put in place then there would at least be the chance of some decent consistency.

          2. What needs to happen is the abolishing of the 5 and 10 second time penalty. If the MINIMUM penalty for driving infringements is a drive though, you watch them start giving positions back.

            That would also require the stewards to be willing to apply those penalties. It’s no good removing the more lenient penalties which they are prepared to use often, only for them to decide that more offences should go unpunished and the drivers should be allowed to get away with even more.

        3. There was no loophole!!! The rules are very clear! They were simply not followed.

    2. Indeed.

      There are so many interesting storylines to go into ahead of the new season, we should be focussing on those rather than a petty squabble between “Mr Ginger Spice” and “A Rich Austrian Venture Capitalist”.

  3. “This detail matters because the tactical choices made by both teams were informed by their understanding of how the rules are applied.”

    This is (should be) the core principle of every sport. But then, some powers in F1 would much rather do entertainment than sport.

    1. I disagree. If a race can be restarted safely and fairly it should be restarted as soon as possible. Many of the rules around the safety car restarts should be guidance. The race director should be trusted and experienced enough to be able to run the race properly.

      I also don’t see why teams need to have a prescribed procedure just so that they can make prescribed tactical decisions. The wider the scope of possibilities the better. Such variables often induce a true tactical gamble and that should be welcomed.

      1. Why not make the pit lane speed limit “guidance”, too? I mean, most of the time they could drive faster safely, and it would get them out onto the track racing again quicker.

      2. The “fairly” was violated once he allowed only the cars between the title contenders to unlap themselves. There was a race win at stake, and a championship at stake. That’s the very situation when the race director should remain as neutral as possible, and follow the rules to the letter like a machine. But instead, he handed the win, and the title, on a plate to Max. And Christian Horner had no shame in blaming too much pressure on the race director from the teams. Yet that was exactly how he got the win in Abu Dhabi. I always admired Redbull for their racing mentality. They leave no stones unturned. But in 2021 I frankly lost respect for Christian Horner. The level of hypocrisy displayed was embarrassing.

        1. tbh Christian lost my respect when he blamed Mark Webber for Turkey 2010 despite his wheel being level and therefore driving in a straight line, whereas Seb Vettel was turning slightly into Mark. Either it was a racing incident or Seb was at fault, but not according to Christian Horner. I didn’t think he could get any worse (and having 6 years where Red Bull weren’t in the championship race certainly made me reconsider) but he proved he could last season.

          It certainly put me off buying Red Bull for a long time – to the point that Monster became, and remains, my energy drink of choice.

          1. Did ypu lose respect for Toto Wollf and were you put off the Mercedes brand after he blamed Bottas for the Monaco wheel nut debacle?

  4. But if the tables were turned… Mr Horner would be crying “wolf” hehehe

    1. Indeed and Wolff and Hamilton would be defending Masi.

      1. I see you’re from a different world where you saw this outcome. Please do tell us how else does your world differ?

        1. You don’t need to be from a different universe to see the repeating pattern that sportspeople tend to agree with rulings that help them and disagree with rulings that hurt them.

    2. haha…truth!

      You’d be lying if you said otherwise.

    3. the tables were not turned. it’s an irrelevant argument. what happened was obvious. Lewis won. like him or not. he won.

    4. Well.. both Horner and Wolff will sing the tune to a decision that favours them. There’s no doubt about that.

      But in my honest opinion Horner’s hypocrisy and BS is just next level. He didn’t break the rules, but just applied them differently… wow.. what a load of tosh.

  5. Charlie Payne
    8th March 2022, 7:40

    I’d like red bull as an F1 team if it were not for CH.

    Do we really need these types of article anymore? I don’t understand what they add to the value of F1?

    Would be far more insightful if the actual report was published.

  6. Media are disgusting, they say they’re over it and are ready move on, but the media continue to hound. Now somebody goes back to Wolff and asks him for his opinion on Horners comments, rinse repeat ad nauseum, it’s a part of F1 that’s really getting tiring.

    Poor reporting, we already know where everybody stands, this hasn’t highlighted any new comment or opinion or stance or really any news at all.

    1. Media will publish what their readers want to read. You read this, so perhaps it’s you that’s “disgusting”.

      1. @krommenaas – Totally agree. Look at the front page of this site. There are loads of articles about many different subjects and this one (posted less than 2 hours ago) already has more comments than most. Give it until lunchtime and it’ll have more comments than all of the rest.

        1. More comments doesn’t mean good content when you look at what a lot of the comments are saying.

          Sure it’s good for the site in the short term, but articles like this will just turn people away from them long term.

          I keep saying this but I came here from planetF1 for a reason and see this site turning into that more and more every day. It’s just sound bites and picked apart quotes from old interviews.

          And don’t forget the Twitter posts… If I wanted a Twitter aggregator I’d use a Twitter aggregator.

          1. @skipgamer – Yeah don’t get me wrong, it’s not content. I’m the same as you and used this site back when there was a really good community and none of these sorts of articles but from a business point of view, they need to make money and articles like this achieve that.

            This article now has more comments than the one about Mazepin losing his seat and it’s not even 24 hours old yet.

      2. So what’s your answer, comment on nothing you disagree with? Sometimes it’s worth engaging with something you’d disagree with rather than ignoring it.

    2. @skipgamer don’t underestimate CH’s part in this. Lately he’s been giving all manner of interviews to the printed press, been live on LBC and just yesterday on BBC Breakfast. The man is a propaganda machine. He’s aware a public revolt is at his door due to the distasteful way they accepted a supposedly legitimate WDC. Brace yourself for the booing to come.

      1. Strange new world by “jazz”.

        1. Very insightful.

          1. I guess you are serious now and it was a real eye opener for you.

    3. @skipgamer The problem is Horner is clearly the weakest minded of the lot, the easiest to provoke into another round of ‘debate’ on Abu Dhabi. I’ve nothing else to add. On to 2022!

  7. How convenient for the UK press. Dragging it out again while slapping those who the anger was aimed at last season. And also not forgetting to glorify the Sir in the process. What a glorious day.

    1. Ah Mayrton. Your ability somehow to comment on every article with an anti-44 sentiment never ceases to amaze me.

      1. Noframingplease (@)
        8th March 2022, 9:50

        @gardenfella72 It’s not the anti 44 sentiment, it’s the blindness of many fans here for UK (and so worldwide F1 press) press that is far for objective. That’s bot the biggest problem, but as they also have a major influence in worldwide mediacoverage, it is a problem. As long as folks like you don’t understand that british media is very good at framing sudden teams or drivers to the glory of british drivers, it is a problem.

      2. I think in the end it is a cultural thing. I strongly get the feeling (as mentioned before) that in the UK mind games are an allowed addition to sports and people actually get joy from belittling competitors as part of the game. I simply don’t like that as it breathes a certain lack of being able to do it just on merit. That formed my dislike towards Lewis while I actually started as a huge fan (and actually still think I am a huge fans of his on track abilities, off track I wish he would just be as he was during the break; absent). Ever since that tough year with Rosberg he showed his colours and therewith insecurities. No one can deny his awful attitude during that year. Subsequently seeing him handling Max coming into this sport was just beyond childish (not calling him by his name, getting in the ignore modus and so,… reminds me of what older dogs do with puppies when they are jealous.. and then later on creating the ‘he is dangerous’ modus while Lewis himself bumped off Albon twice and Max at Silverstone) and he has continued to do so fuelled by that toxic Mercedes environment. And the UK press is such an easy vehicle for them. They must laugh themselves to sleep every night knowing they own the UK press. So I will stop with this theme and will skip these articles and just accept that some people fell for the Lewis/Mercedes narrative/whining and simply can’t look beyond. Looking fwd to delivering positive feedback on this nice sport from now on. Would have been easier if Lewis, Toto and Christian would have left the sport but hey there are plenty of other characters around to enjoy.

        1. @Mayrton but max IS dangerous and it’s to the FIA’s detriment that they haven’t reined in his on-track antics. His pass-or-crash mentality has no place in motorsport with its inherent dangers.

          The old ‘Lewis did it at Silverstone’ holds no water, I’m afraid. That was a racing incident, as were the brushes with Albon. At least he didn’t go for a non-gap and park his car on somebody’s roll hoop.

          1. Agreed “Max IS dangerous”. Weaving down the straight after turn three in Brazil, then the folllowing divebomb on lap 48, the brake test in Saudi, Rettifilio at Monza, the turn in at Copse (admittedly its 60/40 in VER’s favour), the FP1 incident at Jeddah with Ocon, and apparently a double waved yellow in Quatar doesn’t apply to him. And just to reinforce the above, VER collected seven penalty points last season, the only driver to score more was Tsunoda, and he’s a rookie. In fact the top three penalty points scorers are all RB affiliated drivers.

          2. @jazz Lewis had 7 in 2020 while he didn’t have to fight at all. He must be extra dangerous then

          3. That was a racing incident, as were the brushes with Albon.

            You confused the excellent performed “Hamilton signature move” with a racing incident. That shows the amount of perfection Hamilton gained through the years with his action.

        2. Excellent wording +11

  8. Horner just keeps digging. Verstappen shouldn’t have even been in the race at Abu Dhabi after that brake check. Masi so bent toward Red Bull. Disgusting.

    1. Rob (@realnigelmansell)
      8th March 2022, 8:29

      Hamilton ran into him. Also took him out at silverstone ‘we’re only one dnf away.’ Also had the fastest car. And still lost. Abu Dhabi was divine justice and gave us a deserving champion for the first time in years

      1. @realnigelmansell

        Fact: Car 33 braked in a manner which caused a collision with Car 44 in turn 26.
        Offence: Breach of Article 2 (e) Chapter IV Appendix L of the FIA International Sporting Code.

        https://www.fia.com/sites/default/files/decision-document/2021%20Saudi%20Arabian%20Grand%20Prix%20-%20Offence%20-%20Car%2033%20-%20Causing%20a%20collision.pdf

        1. Fact:

          If a car in front of you slows down, you overtake it.

          1. Fact: you know nothing about racecraft, S

            There was a very good reason for not overtaking at that point

          2. Hamilton was safe from being overtaken by Verstappen along the next straight as the rules forbid it, if that’s your ‘reason’ @gardenfella72.
            There was absolutely no good reason for Hamilton to not take the position from Verstappen, whether he knew it was being enforced by Race Control or not. Instead, he tried to play (completely unnecessary) mind games and ended up running straight into his competitor while moving at a dangerously slow speed on a green race track.
            How embarrassing. Irresponsible. Dangerous, even….

        2. Noframingplease (@)
          8th March 2022, 10:00

          @gardenfella72 The funny thing is that we didn’t hear lewis fans in all those years referring at fia rules etc. But since the outcome of the season didn’t suit them they are all experts in FIA rules. Ask Nico Rosberg how Lewis is behaving when the pressure is on. Oh, sorry, those types of interview they do not publish here of course. 29 crossing a track limit? No Lewis fan was complaining. Flappy rearwing of the RB , but was tested officially. No Lewis fan was complaining,… and the list goes on and on.

      2. VER took himself out in Silverstone.

        1. 100% – there was plenty more than a car’s width to his left at Copse.

          1. Sarcasm, nice touch :)

    2. He thinks if he says it enough we’ll all believe him that masi didn’t favour redbull in that final race

  9. This article is the journalistic equivalent of the F1 Sprint races. Nobody asked for it, it doesn’t add anything, and the organisers just try to milk the last drop out of their product ;)

    1. someone or something
      8th March 2022, 9:15

      👍

    2. +1 but still as I’m writing here is 59 other comments. So it really isn’t done as dusted.

      1. But all we see is a deja vu of people digging in their broken records.

    3. This article is a journalistic disgrace. The bias!

      1. 100% agree with you.

        “Red Bull’s situation is clear: They can’t acknowledge any wrongdoing on Masi’s part because doing so would be tantamount to admitting Verstappen’s title is tainted. Defending Masi and defending Verstappen are one and the same.”

        Calling this asswipe journalism is a joke.

  10. Horner’s a shameless, lying hypocrite, it’s hardly surprising he’s gaslighting as much as he is.

  11. This detail matters because the tactical choices made by both teams were informed by their understanding of how the rules are applied.

    Mercedes chose track position, Red Bull chose fresh rubber. That was the extent of the “tactical choices,” and everything was dependent on the timing of the SC coming out, how the teams strategically reacted to it, and how long the incident took to clean up.
    Nothing that Race Control did changed the outcome. It was won and lost on the track, solely by the participants themselves.

    1. Mercedes chose track position, Red Bull chose fresh rubber. That was the extent of the “tactical choices,” and everything was dependent on the timing of the SC coming out, how the teams strategically reacted to it, and how long the incident took to clean up.

      Completely true. I disagree that anything would have been different had the rules been just different enough to (credibly) allow Masi to do this: The chances involved would only have changed very slightly, and pitting Lewis would still have risked Merc looking completely idiotic had the race ended under SC conditions.

      Nothing that Race Control did changed the outcome. It was won and lost on the track, solely by the participants themselves.

      Completely disagree. Had the rules been applied to the letter in the same way as they had in every other safety car for many years, the race would have finished under the safety car and it would have been Lewis’. Even if they had been applied to the letter in a slightly different way, by restarting with lapped cars present, there would have been a good race to the end. Instead, Masi made up a brand new “interpretation” (being very generous) which all but guaranteed a win for Max. If you cannot see how that changed the outcome, you are completely blind or deluded.

    2. It was won (on paper) by a race director braking the rules and gifting the title to VER.

      1. @Roman. Simply not true. You sure aren’t an expert on the rules. And it’s breaking

    3. @S I think that you are being a bit simplistic in your view. Mercedes chose track position expecting that the race would end under the safety car. Red Bull chose new tyres in the hope that there would be one more racing lap. Whatever Masi decided and whatever the final outcome one of the teams/drivers would feel hard done by and the drivers fans would be vocal about something. The bottom line is that a decision was made before the race at the request of the team managers and Masi did his best to apply that decision. It is what it is and it’s time to accept it and move on.

      1. @S I think that you are being a bit simplistic in your view. Mercedes chose track position expecting that the race would end under the safety car. Red Bull chose new tyres in the hope that there would be one more racing lap.

        Yes, I’ve simplified it because that’s what actually happened.
        Whatever Mercedes did, Red Bull were doing the opposite. Only one of them could make the right decision in such circumstances, and it doesn’t matter who it was. They didn’t know who’d cracked it at the time either – but both were already calling it ‘unfair.’

        It is what it is and it’s time to accept it and move on.

        Amen.

        1. The agreement to finish races under green flags is absolutely crucial to this debate, and as I have said before I think it is an utterly ridiculous agreement and its scrapping should have been the first priority after the conclusion of Abu Dhabi. However, at the time, it was in place, but we don’t know how much weight it held. I don’t believe it was ever actually official, so the teams didn’t know how much Masi was going to abide by it. I believe Masi thought the car would have been cleared and the race restarted in time anyway, but perhaps Mercedes believed that that wouldn’t be the case, so they left Hamilton out because they believed the race would finish under safety car and Hamilton would win. However, if Masi wanted to honour the agreement, there were two legal options he could have chosen to do so. The first would be to throw a red flag, in which case there would have been another standing start with Hamilton ahead of Verstappen on the grid, both on new tyres, and the second option would be to restart the race with all lapped cars in play. I would have been unhappy with either option, but it is important to note that in both situations Hamilton would still have the advantage, so Mercedes would have made the right call (although in the latter he would probably have the advantage either way). The only way that Mercedes strategy could backfire would be if there had been time to restart the race, and they were correct that there wasn’t. However, the reason they lost was because the rules were broken to allow for the restart to happen, and I think it is not reasonable for the teams to expect this unofficial agreement to take priorities over the actual rulebook.
          I think in any situation where the rules were applied correctly, leaving Hamilton out would have given him the advantage in that race. Mercedes made absolutely the right strategy, in both the VSC (as Hamilton’s lead was six seconds when Verstappen pitted and twelve when the final safety car came out), and in the final safety car, and their strategy only became wrong because Masi broke the rules. But what is absolutely clear is that the unofficial agreement was the cause of the entire mess and needs to be scrapped immediately.

      2. Mercedes chose track position expecting that the race would end under the safety car.

        Mercedes did so knowing that they had agreed, along with all the other F1 teams, that races should be resumed as soon as possible, especially if it meant the race could finish under green flag conditions.

        If Masi had promptly reshuffled the pack, which was very much possible as there was no good reason to wait (as noted by some sarcastic comments from drivers), there could have easily been two, maybe even three racing laps. Masi was rightly criticized for his handling of the unlapping procedure, but if he had done everything right the championship outcome would still be the same given the tyre choices made by Red Bull and Mercedes.

    4. No. Wrong.

      Sure Mercedes had to make a choice between keeping track position versus pitting for new rubber and potentially losing track position to Redbull. You yourself argued that they would just do the reverse of each other. So Mercedes took the safer option of maintaining track position, and counting on an expected safety car procedure to judge the risk of staying out. There is an inherent risk to it, but it is a calculated risk. You calculate a risk based on certain expectations. That all crumbled down when the safety car rules were NOT followed. THAT is the issue. There was a genuine chance that the race would have finished under SC, and Masi removed that possibility entirely, completely tilting the odds towards Max.

      Why would the race director allow only the cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to unlap themselves, if not to allow a “grand finale” between the two title protagonists? He clearly handed the win to Verstappen, in a moment when he should have remained as neutral as possible and followed the rules and procedures to the absolute letter, with absolute impartiality, like a robot. It is part of racing that the race finishes under the safety car. Had that happened, the driver who led the entire race, with quite a healthy margin over his direct competitor, would have rightfully won the race. And consequently the title.

    5. No. Not really. It was not won on the track implies fair and correct application of rules and procedures, so your argument that it was won on the track is 100% invalid. You cannot justify the unjustifiable and expect others not to respond.

      1. Impersonator!
        Surely you could have picked a different pseudonym?

  12. The controversial WDC, that’s what you’ve got forever now. That reason alone was a fair reason to dismiss him. The fact is the first team that started complaining to Masi that race was Red Bull. Its also now a fact that we know the rules were not interpreted correctly. Defending that after you’ve benefitted to the tune of a championship is shameful. I wish Mercedes had sued the FIA to the hilt as although it wouldn’t have given them the WDC, it would have highlighted in law just how bad and unfair Masi’s choices were. Horner and Verstappen would be wise to shut up on the matter now.

    1. Rob (@realnigelmansell)
      8th March 2022, 8:32

      Not disqualifying hamilton for silverstone and punishing max for hamilton ramming him says everything you need to know. Fortunately masi had the courage to end the fix and save the sport’s integrity. I hope redbull continues to push hard to end mercedes’ dirty tricks

      1. Not disqualifying hamilton for silverstone and punishing max for hamilton ramming him

        Quite the reality distortion field, there.

        Hamilton’s move in Silverstone was clearly an error in judgement, he was backing out well before the point of collision, and is clearly not worthy of disqualification. It’s also exactly the same kind of move that Max had made over and over again throughout his career, which has normally only succeeded because the other driver backed off…

        As for “punishing Max for Hamilton ramming him”… Max slammed the brakes on pretty hard when he knew that Hamilton was directly behind him. The data proves it. If you go to a karting track and try that, you’ll be banned pretty quickly. Brake checking/brake testing, which is exactly what that was, are a strict no-no in every form of motorsport from day one.

        1. Rob (@realnigelmansell)
          8th March 2022, 17:03

          He had to let Hamilton past and Hamilton wouldn’t go through, what was he supposed to do? Hamilton had plenty of time and space to pass him. More blame to the rules, they need to decide how to handle giving positions back when DRS is involved. How long can the driver getting a position back be allowed to follow before he gives up the right to take the place back?

        2. @drmouse I wouldn’t bother debating with him, he’ll just try and drag you down to his intellectual level. Take a look at his other posts, kind of gives you an indication if they know anything about the sport or are just a Max fan.

      2. You seem to live in a parallel universe, where everything looks pretty orange…

        1. That’s mclaren.. Try to keep up.

    2. I wish Mercedes had sued the FIA to the hilt

      It would have been amusing to see Mercedes fail so publicly and on such an epic scale, I admit.
      Would have cost them a fortune too – not that money means much to them, as they’ve been buying success for so many years.

      The controversial WDC, that’s what you’ve got forever now

      I don’t see it as controversial. It was a championship season of 22 events, not just 1.
      Mercedes muffed their strategy at the final race and – all things considered – were simply lucky to be fighting for it anyway with the way Hamilton performed at times.

      1. Mercedes muffed their strategy at the final race

        No. Their strategy was solid and they would have won the race if Masi hadn’t have made up new rules on the spot.

        1. No.

          Absolutely YES, @gardenfella72.
          So few acknowledge that the race could have restarted anyway even without any re-interpretation of the rules, depending on the time taken to clean up Latifi’s car.
          Mercedes would still have lost for the exact same reason: their strategy was flawed. Hamilton’s tyres were simply too old.

          1. They were in a no-win situation. Had they pitted and the race ended under SC, they’d have looked stupid and have thrown the race away. It was always going to be tight to get it restarted following the rules. Even had the race restarted, Lewis would have been facing the most aggressive racer on the track when he had very little to lose, with very little delta (Max’s previous tyres were not very old). No matter what Mercedes did, there was a massive chance that they would lose out in that situation.

          2. They were in a no-win situation.

            Not no-win – but the timing of Latifi’s incident certainly went against them, @drmouse. That’s racing, as the old saying goes. Sometimes it’s your day, and sometimes it just isn’t.
            Had Hamilton pitted at the previous opportunity, he would have been in a much better strategic position. They had the car pace over Red Bull to give up track position earlier in the race.
            Just like the season as a whole, the race wasn’t won or lost in just the last lap. It was the culmination of a series of events.

          3. Had Hamilton pitted at the previous opportunity, he would have been in a much better strategic position. They had the car pace over Red Bull to give up track position earlier in the race.

            And they’d have needed to overtake Max on track, when without a SC (which wasn’t a very likely event) they had the win in the bag. All it would take is some “aggressive” racing, and there could well have been a double DNF. Pitting earlier for them would have been a roll of the dice.

            EOD it was really unlucky for Merc that the SC came out when it did. A few laps earlier, and it would have been a no brainer to pit. When it was, there was no good call to make. Every possible decision was a massive gamble. The situation which developed was one where Merc actually made the right gamble, though, until Masi decided to play fast and lose with the rulebook.

          4. No, S, no.

            They followed the correct race strategy, which would have given the win if the rules were followed.

          5. The race could have restarted in such a way, if the accident would have happened one lap earlier or the race would have been one lap longer. In the situation which happened it was not possible in line with the rules.

            Thats why we ended up with an invalid result of the championship. But FIA wanted Max to get the title, and they have it – on paper, but not in the mind of many fans of a fair sport.

          6. And they’d have needed to overtake Max on track, when without a SC (which wasn’t a very likely event) they had the win in the bag.

            You never know when a SC may be necessary. Nobody was expecting Latifi’s, but it happened.
            It’s the strategist’s job not just to look at possibilities and likelihoods, but also to put themselves in the best position for the unexpected. Mercedes were too risk-averse on this occasion. They had the fastest car, so actually had the stronger position with which to take risks, and they needed to – they came in to the final race in the weaker position, championship-wise.

            The situation which developed was one where Merc actually made the right gamble, though, until Masi decided to play fast and lose with the rulebook.

            I still disagree. The outcome was all Mercedes and Red Bull – not FIA.
            The right gamble doesn’t lose – it needs to come to a conclusion before you actually know if it is a winner or a loser. Unless you truly believe the outcome was forced.
            You’ve stated you don’t believe this to be the case, so you are contradicting yourself, @drmouse. Either Merc got it wrong and Red Bull got it right, or the FIA falsified the race result (or attempted to).
            Which is it?

          7. No, S, no. They followed the correct race strategy, which would have given the win if the rules were followed.

            Not necessarily, @gardenfella72.
            As I’ve already explained….

            The race could have restarted in such a way, if the accident would have happened one lap earlier or the race would have been one lap longer.

            Or had Latifi’s incident been cleaned up one lap faster, @Roman….
            Whatever. If you think the championship is invalid, then that’s your fantasy.

          8. The right gamble doesn’t lose – it needs to come to a conclusion before you actually know if it is a winner or a loser. Unless you truly believe the outcome was forced.
            You’ve stated you don’t believe this to be the case, so you are contradicting yourself, @drmouse. Either Merc got it wrong and Red Bull got it right, or the FIA falsified the race result (or attempted to).
            Which is it?

            The decision they took would have won the race and WDC had Masi applied the rules as has been done at every SC since the unlapping rules were brought in. They would have had a reasonable chance if Masi had taken the other written option and restarted without unlapping any cars. So, the 2 precedented and known options available under the written procedures would have made it the right choice, or at least a good one.

            Only Masi “creatively interpreting” the rules* made it a bad choice in that situation, a gamble which had no realistic chance of succeeding. Nobody would have predicted that happening before the race.

            * This is the incredibly generous interpretation of what he did. It is more like he broke the rules and the stewards then scrambled to find a way to legitimise it, finding a ridiculous (and dangerous) new interpretation of the rule book in a vain attempt to stop the whole thing from looking like even more of a farce than it already did.

          9. I’m never going to agree with you on this but the simple fact is the race for a fact was not restarted correctly. You can say all the ifs and buts in the world but the fact is given the circumstances as they were at the time the race couldn’t restart before the chequered flag within the rules once they allowed any lapped cars to pass on the penultimate lap.

            There is very little doubt Mercedes would have won in the court of arbitration but as you rightly said it would cost millions and there would be no mechanism whereby Hamilton could be crowned champion. The only legal recourse would be to void the race which would leave Verstappen champion on countback.

            Verstappen was completely outclassed for the entire last race and gifted the title on the last lap with an horrendous decision made to not follow the rules of the sport. The WDC might not be invalid in the record books but its tainted for all time. You best hope your man can win one on merit before he retires.

          10. The decision they took would have won the race and WDC had Masi applied the rules as has been done at every SC since the unlapping rules were brought in.

            Except for the often neglected possibility that the incident could have been cleared sooner, @drmouse.
            There are plenty of variables here, and they aren’t all Masi.
            It would have made no difference if the lapped cars had remained in place, either.

            Only Masi “creatively interpreting” the rules* made it a bad choice in that situation, a gamble which had no realistic chance of succeeding. Nobody would have predicted that happening before the race.

            Hamilton was on old, worn tyres. Mercedes had already weakened their strategic position long before Latifi hit the wall.
            This whole things is more than just the last half a dozen laps.

            Whatever. I’m tired of this now.
            You have your view, and I have mine. F1 is entertainment more than it is sport and has been for decades, so this is not unforeseen as far as I’m concerned. When the teams are agreeing to prioritise finishing under green, of course it’s going to happen when some people don’t want it to or think it shouldn’t.
            The natural evolution of F1 is playing out – either accept it or turn it off. That’s all you can do that makes any real difference.

  13. Ohh Dear God! Just let it go!

    Racefans, the rest of the media, Netflix who conveniently bring up the same episode 5 months after its done right at the start of the new season! Everyone. Please, let it just go.

    There are only 3 unambiguous takeaways from the whole thing: 1) Masi made mistakes, paid a price. 2) The system was broken, it will get fixed. Let us see. 3) Max is a fully deserved champion irrespective of everything. Lewis congratulated him moments after it was over. Toto also congratulated him once the appeal process was over.

    Red Bull needs to understand that the more they fixate over the Masi sacking, the more they themselves add a * to Max’s title. Look, Masi didn’t do everything against Hamilton. He allowed Lewis to keep position

    1. 3) Max is a fully deserved champion

      No that really isn’t unambiguous. It’s about as ambiguous at it gets, considering how much he was allowed to get away with over the whole season.

      1. considering how much he was allowed to get away with over the whole season.

        It was all pretty equal between Red Bull/Verstappen and Hamilton/Mercedes over the season – even though almost all of those ‘inconsistencies’ were on the stewarding, not Race Direction.

        1. For me the other largest example of poor race direction (as opposed to stewarding) was Spa. They should have just cancelled it rather than calling that farce a “race”.

    2. Red Bull needs to understand that the more they fixate over the Masi sacking, the more they themselves add a * to Max’s title

      Actually Horner was replying to the BBC who put the question to him ‘why did Michael Masi lose his job then?’. Per usual it was the interviewer that was fixated.

      Even in the early 2010’s when Horner was leading the all conquering Red Bull Renault team and I was the frustrated fan [of the then non-woke] Lewis I didn’t find him unpleasant. Similarly, he has accepted playing second fiddle to Mercedes over many years with good grace. He didn’t, like Toto disappear when the chips were down and not grant interviews. Toto has come out of this worst, I have respect for the manner in which Lewis got his head together and accepted what had happened really quickly.

    3. There are only 3 unambiguous takeaways from the whole thing… 2) The system was broken, it will get fixed.

      I’m not convinced about this. The FIA has said plenty about changing the organisational structure and the like, but nothing at all about the newly-precedented absolute power of the race director to throw massive chunks of the rulebook out of the window whenever he feels like it and make up whatever he wants to replace it. It doesn’t seem they are going to fix that, which leaves the system broken and open to abuse.

  14. Like RBR didn’t pressure at all. In the end, Masi’s ousting from the RD position was unsurprising after everything that had happened, already pre-Abu Dhabi GP. Rule freestyling should never occur in the first place, albeit a small precedent for selecting which lapped drivers get to unlap actually exists from before & that’s 2015 Singapore GP where both Manor drivers (Alexander Rossi & Will Stevens) were a lap down, yet only the former got granted unlapping permission, which he eventually didn’t use for a radio comm issue, meaning both remained lapped.
    Two exceptions for merely not getting to unlap also exist with Wehrlein & Kubica from 2017 Singapore & 2019 Brazilian GP, respectively, but what Masi did was wrong nevertheless, especially after his Eifel GP argument.

    1. Like RBR didn’t pressure at all.

      You’re saying this in every article, @jerejj – but just because one person is doing the wrong thing does
      not
      make it acceptable for someone else to do the wrong thing too. Two negatives do not make a positive here.
      Horner and Wolff tie for the (dis)honour of being the most partisan, unsportsmanlike and generally smarmy people in F1, AFAIC.

    2. All teams, not just Red Bull and Merc, had a direct line to Masi which they used to plead and appeal for certain decisions to be made. This was allowed to them by the race director and FIA.

      None of these team-bosses did anything wrong by doing this and both Wolff and Horner used this direct line during the end phase of Abu Dhabi to get things to go their way. Wolff tried to keep the lapped cars in place and tried to have the race finished under Safety Car. Horner tried to get the lapped cars removed and the race finished without Safety Car, both for obvious reasons of serving their own teams and drivers’ interests. This isn’t wrong. And had the roles been reversed both would have argued the other way around without any problem. Again, they do this for their interests and this is fine, they’re employed precisely for that job.

      What’s wrong here is not that this happened, but that one party tries to accuse the other of foul play for doing the thing they were doing themselves, just because of the end result playing out against them.

      But all in all, as I said in the first comment, it’s the media that keep stoking this fire. They ask Max explicitly to comment on Masi just so they can quote him saying it wasn’t fair to sack a man for weeks. Then they ask Lewis about Max’ comment so they can quote him on how it was totally fair. Then Toto lets slip that Masi was buddies with Red Bull so totally partial, so now they can go back to Horner and have him defend Masi against that as well. And on and on we go.

      Masi got sacked over it. The direct line of communication was severed. And hopefully we’ll get a new controversy in the first race of the season for the media to sink their teeth into, because I’m over this.

  15. “Michael Masi actually didn’t break the rules, he applied them in a way that hadn’t been done previously” reminded me of this https://youtu.be/Ct-lOOUqmyY?t=23

    1. ‘I did not rob the bank, I just withdrew the money perhaps differently than had been done before’. C Horner.

      1. Ahah, that’s very true.

    2. Yep, that’s the way fia rules are worded and the result is known.

  16. ReedBull have a bigger problem.

    Their owner (RedBull drinks)does not seem to be supporting the sanctions regime on Russia for its bloody invasion of Ukraine. Hundreds of other companies have left Russia, form IKEA to car makers. Why hasn’t RedBull? Are they supporting Putin or opposing his blood soaked regime?

    1. Are you working for Russia today with this kind of fake news.
      Stop it, it’s t roll ing

    2. Who drinks vodka without redbull? It is basic human needs.

  17. Michael Masi actually didn’t break the rules, he applied them in a way that hadn’t been done previously,

    Creative application of the rules can be a work of genius or there is just breaking them, Masi chose the latter. Horner should have sidestepped the question but he chose to keep the subject hot. So will he and Marko and Verstappen keep the sniping up or will they finally drop it and concentrate on racing?

    1. If the media keeps asking the same question its unlikely.
      At least Keith sees this as a crusade.

  18. Jerzy Kolodziej
    8th March 2022, 11:12

    The primary reason that the matter is continuing is because Horner and now Verstappen are continuing to try to justify the rules have been broken. Masi deliberately departed from the regulations at the behest of Wheatley and Horner. There was no discretion in these departures as people often try to assert. There is no discretion provided by regulations to depart from the rules governing the use of the safety car in the areas of controversy. The well documented facts are that Horner and Wheatley asked Masi to depart from the regulations and Masi obliged. It is on the face of it conspiracy to defraud. Hamilton was cheated out of the championship.

    In tacit acceptance of the above Masi was fired. Marko, Horner and Verstappen could have let the matter defuse and move on by declining to comment further. Instead they are going out to the media and trying to justify the unjustifiable. Under the circumstances, it is no surprise that the media and the public are not going let it go. As one person commented, it is a like getting away with a bank robbery and trying to say you were withdrawing money in an alternate way. The public and the media will have none of it.

    None of the fallacious arguments put forward try to justify Verstappen’s win have any merit whatsoever. They merely add fuel to the fire. Hamilton and Verstappen did nothing wrong throughout the season beyond pushing to the limit and sometimes beyond. That is the nature of motorsport; it is to be expected and perhaps demanded. They are great racing drivers. Horner, Wheatly and Masi can have no excuses. Their conspiracy to break the regulations was scandalous, untenable and grossly unsporting. They have brought F1 into disrepute and damaged their own reputations permanently. That is their legacy and what they will always be known for. Verstappen would do well to distance himself from these cheats to avoid the filth sticking to him by association.

  19. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
    8th March 2022, 11:34

    To make it seem okay to not fully follow the rules is the worst of everything for all of the teams who then don’t know if some random decision to apply the rules in a different way will affect them. With money on the line every point is crucial and losing even the merest glimmer of a hope to get a point is frustrating bordering on devastating.

  20. No worries, even after Maradona’s “hand of God” we still watch football.

  21. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    8th March 2022, 12:34

    *screams*

  22. I don’t really think any of us can expect the beneficiary of what happened to speak out against it. Is Horner seriously going to go public and say yeah my driver won, but Lewis was robbed?

    Likewise I wouldn’t expect Toto to come out and say that the penalty applied in the British GP was inadequate given Hamilton still took victory despite being found at fault for taking Verstappen out while in the lead of the race

    I’ve honestly no interest in what a clearly biased party would have to say on matters like these because guess what, their real opinion is either biased, or they wouldn’t dare share it. It’s just so sad though that this is the biggest talking point of the best season of F1 I’ve seen

    1. He could say robbed of a race, but it also happened to verstappen before and hence overall hamilton wasn’t robbed of the title, which in the end is what matters.

  23. That’s what happens when the season comes to a controversial end. Nothing interesting has happened for 3 months and it’s going to rumble on and on until there’s something more interesting for everyone to talk about. Once the season finally gets underway we’ll all have something new to argue about.

    1. @jackysteeg Ukraine invasion & consequent implications, sort of, stopped this matter from rumbling on until Horner re-started.

      1. It was not horner who restarted… Until the mostly British press will stop asking these questions it will endure.

  24. Horner, “Michael Masi actually didn’t break the rules, he applied them in a way that hadn’t been done previously,”
    Translation, “He applied them in a way that benefitted Red Bull Racing, and I think that’s fair.”

    1. @chrisr1718

      Replace “applied” with “broke” in your translation and I agree.

  25. What a biased article! Full of opinions from the reporter. Instead of adhering to the facts, he has drawn his own opinion of the comments from the interviewed. Such a poor journalism. You are much better than this, Keith, c’mon!

  26. I wonder, should Mr & Mrs Horner ever separate, if the likely pre-nuptual agreements they have will be interpreted “in a way that hadn’t been done previously”? Should make for quite the legal battle ;-)

    1. 🤣🤣🤣

  27. ‘wholly novel way’

    Wrong. Singapore 2015. Not many headlines about that though hey??

    I’ve never seen so much sooking on behalf of the most dishonest, emission test cheating, globally corrupt corporation and their spoilt, toxic, shallow man-let driver. You are all crying over the integrity of a sport that has provided 6 titles uncontested to one individual. So sporting…

  28. Wow, 100 comments already. Just read this one and you won’t need to bother with the rest.

    “Max is a paper champion”
    “What about Silverstone?”
    “What about Brazil?”
    “What about Jeddah?”
    “What about Bahrain? Cut the track 29 times and got away with it”
    “I’m so annoyed with this that I’m never going to watch F1 again, as I have been repeatedly posting on every article on this subject since Abu Dhabi”
    “Christian Horner is the worst villain in F1 history”
    “Toto Wolff is the worst villain in F1 history”
    “Any does not mean all”
    “Overriding does not mean overriding”
    And, of course, the classic: “Why are we still talking about this? Stop asking questions, people whose job it is to ask questions!!!1!”

    1. The Dolphins
      8th March 2022, 14:34

      Comment of the Day, easily! Good summary @red-andy

      1. Would have agreed but they missed the race run behind the safety car in the rain.

    2. Interesting one, they indeed come up very often and I think I agree with half or a little more of those.

  29. Love having this same argument over and over again…

    @everyone who thinks Masi wanted VER to win, why didn’t he penalise HAM for the lap 1 turn 6/7 incident? It would have been easy to give a penalty.

    Masi/FIA interpreted the rules for the benefit of the show and the TV. They were not biased against HAM.

    1. I agree. It was for the show, but Masi’s decision only favored VER and was biased against every other driver still in the race.

    2. Agree it wasn’t biased against LH, it was biased in favour of MV.

    3. That wasn’t Masi’s call… Plus why do you think a decision on the last lap had to necessarily have been premeditated by the time of the first lap? There was a lot of time in between.

  30. I don’t think the reporter should have brought up the issue again. But having done so, Horner was only going to answer in one way, He could have tried being more diplomatic and avoided the question but oh no.

    RedBull were pestering Masi just as much as Merc so their position is quite hypocritical. They just happened to the ones who benefited.

    To be frank, I have very little time for Horner. He talks a lot of nonsense and it puts me off Red Bull. I have never been much of a fan mainly owing to the characters who form its management. This is not Max’s fault though.

    Not that Merc and Toto have been much better on some occasions.

  31. Oh my god, not this again!
    Nobody is changing their stance on the matter anymore.
    Sensationalism on this site is getting out of control.

  32. Let’s not forget that Masi might have frozen Mercedes when he announced that cars would not be unlapped. If he announced at that point that cars would be unlapped, Mercedes may have brought HAM in.

    1. Really? You are obviously new to F1.

    2. @jimfromus Merc chose not to pit. You had to pit right away to avoid losing track position.
      Merc planned it that way. We can hear Bono detailling everything to Lewis. At tha moment Merc coersed race direction into announcing that lapped cars would not unlap, which was strange because it was to early to tell besides it is not the norm. RB then complained for a few laps and eventually coerced Masi into correcting the initial call, with a bodged call, everyone knows the rest.

  33. This is far from “done and dusted”. Red Bull are making assertions of bullying, whilst other reports suggest foul-play between Red Bull and Masi through some form of “bromance”. The reality is we will never know what truly went on. I for one will never touch another Red Bull product – they went from hero to zero in their antics and more importantly, post-event behaviour. Why not just admit they got lucky? Looking towards the next season, Verstappen’s aggressive driving style and intent to barge other drivers off the racetrack is going to end up his undoing, with the potential for serious injury or mishap. It will be interesting to see how Red Bull continue to support when that happens. I’m sure they will, much to my disgust.

  34. “Michael Masi actually didn’t break the rules, he applied them in a way that hadn’t been done previously”
    Always nice to hear a native Weasel speak the language.

  35. This is the worst piece of journalistic work you have put out Keith.

  36. Dear Keith Collantine,
    I could barely finish this article, and I have not read the related comments. I just want to say that Racefans should maybe think twice before lowering itself into the muck again, as happened last season, especially towards and after the end of it. There are few sites that are better than yours at what you do (F1fanatic!), but I sometimes worry that articles like this will ultimately alienate your core audience. Maybe concentrate less on the schoolyard politics in the future? Easy clickbait is a sign of degeneration, and I believe that you guys and gals know better. I have seen you do much better! Why cheapen your hard won brand with this kind of content? Quoting pointless backbiting only encourages such bad behavior. Leave that kind of sub-journalism to rags like the BBC. All I ask is for is a more respectable tone, I guess. Doesn’t the sport we love deserve a more respectable tone? Maybe I’m in the minority here to think so, but I hope not. Thanks for all the good stuff that you publish, but this article ain’t it.

    1. I for one have no problem with Keith publishing his opinions on his site – any opinion for that matter. No one is forced to read everything published here and so I don’t understand comments like yours that presume to talk for all. Core audience – are those the ones who’ve made this the most commented on article this week? Personally, there are F1 sites I do not visit at all and all is well. Some people should probably do this too.

      On the specific issue of the content, of course this is an issue that will go on and on. We will be talking about it in 10 years time let alone a few months. I don’t understand the calls to pretend it never happened.

      1. Emma, far be it from me to keep you from enjoying the spectacle of a dead horse being flogged. However, I find it distasteful.

  37. Red Bull’s situation is clear: They can’t acknowledge any wrongdoing on Masi’s part because doing so would be tantamount to admitting Verstappen’s title is tainted. Defending Masi and defending Verstappen are one and the same.

    This. Totally agree. It’s why the 2021 championship, for me, will always have an * against it.

    That’s how I choose to see it.

  38. I’d love to stand in front of Horner and let him know exactly what I think of him!

  39. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    8th March 2022, 23:39

    And the winner for best actor is … drumrolll… Christian Horner.

  40. In the business, this is called “stirring the pot.”

  41. If f1 doesn’t publish the outcome of the investigation then it’s definitely because they fear that the outcomes of the investigation will taint the
    Max as champion.

  42. Horner, the dogwhistler in chief, the DWIC, is an angry man. But I think in his heart of hearts he knows that Hamilton won the race in Abu Dhabi because the last lap clearly broke the rules. And that is a truth that will never change. The FIA rules don’t state that Masi can change the rules. Quite the opposite. Only that the RD is supposed to be the pre-eminent person to uphold them. He had to go. His tenure was laughable. Spa!

    What makes him even angrier is that he also knows that Hamilton is much the better, faster racer than the Braketester who is at best a human Torpedo.

    Hamilton 8 x FIA Rules F1 World Champion.

  43. I never like to say i dislike some1 but i am tending to not like Mr Horner for his unsportsmanlike u gentlemanlile attitude and behavior. I read when lewis won the championship and he was speqling he mumbled under his (horners) breath that Lewis should “shut the #R&? % up”. Where is the grace in losing? He really tries to portray himself as fair honest and honorable but he is none of the above.

  44. “Michael Masi actually didn’t break the rules, he applied them in a way that hadn’t been done previously.”

    Defense lawyers of the world, here is your one trick that judges hate!

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