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Masi confused by drivers' confusion

NEWS STORY
23/11/2021

Michael Masi dismisses drivers' claims of confusion over what is allowed in ‘side-by-side' racing and what isn't, insisting that each case is judged on merit.

In the wake of the decision not to investigate the incident on Lap 48 of the Brazilian Grand Prix, and the subsequent denial of Mercedes request to have a right of review, many drivers expressed their unease.

At the drivers' briefing in Qatar on Friday, much of the meeting was devoted to the Interlagos incident, as drivers argued that failure to act on it set a worrying precedent, whilst others pointed out that similar incidents that had resulted in penalties.

Indeed, following the briefing the general consensus appeared to be, 'if he (Verstappen) can do it and get away with it so can I'.

Asked what counts as hard and fair racing, and what, on the other hand, deserves to be penalised, Lewis Hamilton appeared to sum up the mood of his colleagues.

"It's not clear," he said, "every driver, except for Max, was asking just for clarity, most drivers were asking for clarity, but it wasn't very clear.

"So, it's still not clear what the limits of the track are," he added. "It's clearly not the white line anymore, when overtaking but... yeah, we just go for it.

"We just ask for consistency," he added. "So, if it's the same as the last race then it should be the same for all of us in those scenarios and it's fine."

However, Michael Masi disagrees.

"I think it's been made clear to them what is expected," said the Australian. "The other part is, some of them may agree, some of them disagree, and that's always, with each and every one of them, they have agreed and disagreed all the way through.

"So we've given them some overall guidance," he continued, "but also been very clear on the fact that each and every case will be judged on its merits."

In the wake of the Sao Paulo incident, while revealing that the original decision not to act had been taken without all the relevant onboard footage, Masi admitted that the stewards are doing their best to adopt a 'let them race' attitude after being accused of over zealousness in the past.

"You judge the incident on its merits, and you have a look at all of it," he said. "Let's not forget, we have the overall 'let them race' principles, and looking at it all, with all of the angles that we had available, it was that philosophy was adopted.

"They're give or take about side-on-side, so I think that for the benefit of everyone, it was the 'let them race' and we let them race."

Asked if this meant the stewards are taking a more "more relaxed" approach to such decisions, he said: "I wouldn't call it more relaxed, it's looking at each and every incident on its merits, as we have done with each and every one.

"We've got a panel of independent stewards," he continued, "contrary to what many people think, I'm not the one sitting there as judge and jury.

"We have a look, we have a panel of stewards that review each and every incident, and then as we saw last weekend, they determine if it's worthy of an investigation.

"If they do, it gets investigated and then determine if there's a breach or no breach."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by kenji, 25/11/2021 11:15

"Some selective memory here. In 2018 Verstappen was 'thought' to have caused eight incidents of which he was only penalised on three occasions...all this was on Charlie Whitings watch so there is history. Like when Verstappen first started with Red Bull in 2016 his straight line weaving was legendary and he received next to no penalties and guess who's watch that was on.... I may be wrong here but let's be open about it. Verstappen got away with all kinds of on track/competitor abuse but was never seriously sanctioned. You reap what you sow, as the saying goes."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by TokyoAussie, 25/11/2021 3:23

"I generally feel Michael Masi is doing a fair job, but if the drivers say that they are confused, then they are confused."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by Wokingchap, 24/11/2021 17:02

"@Editor.... I agree with your Liberty, Todt and Domenicali comments wholeheartedly, but find it difficult to believe (imo) that is the only reason for so many bad decisions, or lack of them, taken by him over the last few seasons....consistency and not investigating being probably the most important recently."

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4. Posted by Editor, 24/11/2021 13:58

"@ Wokingchap

To be fair to Michael Masi these issues wouldn't have had happened under Charlie Whiting, Herbie Blash, Max Mosley or Bernie... what we have now is Liberty Media and others exerting pressure in order to create a show.

Jean Todt has been an ineffectual FIA president and the two prospective candidates are little better.

Even Domenicali is proving to be – like Brawn – nothing more than a mouthpiece."

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5. Posted by Wokingchap, 24/11/2021 13:50

"I've said it before....imo, mr.Masi must go. There were never all these problems when dear Charlie Whiting was at the helm. God knows what he would have thought. Rip "

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6. Posted by Defiant, 24/11/2021 4:28

"More hype and poison to create drama. Since Liberty have had the rights it has got so much worse and its done it an astonishing rate. Masi being confused doesnt surprise me, if he thinks he can defend the refusal of the right to review, he's clearly not as bright as he should be for a job like his.
If they'd done the review and explained the decision clearly, the drivers wouldn't still be asking the same questions, and us fans wouldn't be disillusioned by this drive to survive hype nonsense."

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7. Posted by Mad Matt, 23/11/2021 15:53

"@jcr As far as I know he only gets access in the days following the race. I think it's because he does it for the F1 TV web site which I believe is owned by FOM. His Youtube videos are basically highlights/tasters of what's published on the F1 TV site.

I would hope that the stewards have more timely access :-)"

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8. Posted by jcr, 23/11/2021 14:34

"Mad Matt
If Palmer had access to this material ?? How come the stewards did not,"

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9. Posted by Mad Matt, 23/11/2021 13:48

"This much I agree with 100%:
"#4. I personally believe most of these situation lie at the door of the FIA.
If the stopped sanctioning circuits with 200mt run off areas, it would,nt happen
Sainz said this week; a sand tap or wall would solve the problem straight away."

@jcr I said Jolyon Palmer had access to the traces when he does his analysis in the days after the race... that's true, he sometimes shows us the output in the videos. I've seen him use throttle and speed traces.... although that's not relevant here as we're talking about stewards' decisions so it only matters if they've got access and actually use them :-)

"

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10. Posted by jcr, 23/11/2021 12:25

"Various issues have been brought to light by this incident

#1. Contrary to TV pundits telling us Stewards had more information than US.
One person this week claiming Snr Palmer, had all the Telemetry traces ect,
We now know they have the same view as us at the time and in replays,

#2. Now we get into comparing each incident on its own merits.
This can not be possible, unless we have the same set of camera angles for each incident
If Max,s Forward facing camera had been available, Live ??
Would the decision have been different, in the heat of battle ??

#3. Again (IMO) it is impossible to compare situations, if you have different people judging
Is it not time for a permanent panel of stewards, same as Scrutineers, Doctore Ect.

#4. I personally believe most of these situation lie at the door of the FIA.
If the stopped sanctioning circuits with 200mt run off areas, it would,nt happen
Sainz said this week; a sand tap or wall would solve the problem straight away."

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11. Posted by Mad Matt, 23/11/2021 11:35

"I understand that each case is judged on its merits but there still appears to be inconsistency and Michael 's comments don't clear this up at all.

The rules should be clear and each incident should be judged according to those rules. I agree that there's an argument for only punishing clear breaches of the rules or "let them race" .

However I can't see how that works for the incident between Max and Lewis. The rules say that racing must happen on the track, previous stewards decisions have said you can't push the guy on the outside wide. Here Max went very, very wide, it wasn't a question of a few cm, it was tens of meters. So he defended his lead by going off the track which, deliberate or not, forced a competitor off the track too. I can't see that any of this is in a grey area, it's not like he only went a little bit wide or that Lewis wasn't quite along side.

As others have said, it also doesn't make sense if we look at other decisions this year..... and I think that's why the drivers are saying they don't know what's allowed any more....."

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