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Mercedes second protest dismissed


Mercedes protest relating to a potential breach of the safety car lapped car procedure has been dismissed.

Mercedes claimed that there were two breaches of the Sporting Regulations (Article 48.12) namely that which states "...any cars that have been lapped by the leader will be required to pass the cars on the lead lap and the safety car" and "...once the last lapped car has passed the leader the safety car will return to the pits at the end of the following lap."

Mercedes argued that had this been complied with, Lewis Hamilton would have won the race.

On the other hand, Red Bull argued that:

1. "Any" does not mean "all".

2. The Article 48.13 of the Sporting Regulations states that the message "Safety Car in this lap" is the signal that it will enter the pit lane at the end of that lap.

3. That therefore Article 48.13 "overrides" Article 48.12.

4. That Article 15.3 gives the Race Director "overriding authority" over "the use of the safety car".

5. That even if all cars that had been lapped (8 in total, of which 5 were allowed to overtake the safety car) it would not have changed the outcome of the race.

Mercedes was represented by Ron Meadows, Andrew Shovlin and Paul Harris, the team's legal counsel, while Red Bull was represented by Jonathan Wheatley, Christian Horner and Adrian Newey.

Race Director's Evidence

The Race Director stated that the purpose of Article 48.12 was to remove those lapped cars that would "interfere" in the racing between the leaders and that in his view Article 48.13 was the one that applied in this case.

The Race Director also stated that it had long been agreed by all the Teams that where possible it was highly desirable for the race to end in a "green" condition (i.e. not under a Safety Car).

While the Stewards considered the protest is admissible, having considered the various statements made by the parties they determined the following:

That Article 15.3 allows the Race Director to control the use of the safety car, which in our determination includes its deployment and withdrawal.

That although Article 48.12 may not have been applied fully, in relation to the safety car returning to the pits at the end of the following lap, Article 48.13 overrides that and once the message "Safety Car in this lap" has been displayed, it is mandatory to withdraw the safety car at the end of that lap.

That notwithstanding Mercedes' request that the Stewards remediate the matter by amending the classification to reflect the positions at the end of the penultimate lap, this is a step that the Stewards believe is effectively shortening the race retrospectively, and hence not appropriate.

Accordingly, the protest was dismissed and the protest deposit will not be refunded.

Mercedes subsequently revealed that it will appeal the decision.

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1. Posted by Great_white_shark, 14/12/2021 3:27

"@Stitch you are unbelievable. The rule change clearly favoured Red Bull and they were designed to once again reshuffle the pecking order like in 2017. It took Mercedes some time to truly understand their car and they only unlocked the car's potential late in the season. There was pretty much nothing between the pace of Mercedes and Red Bull. When Lewis wins it's all about the car but when Max wins it was only the driver? Ridiculous. Max had a beast of a car and he said himself he was very pleased with it all season. It wasn't a potato.

Funny you should bring up Silverstone. When Lewis dived on the inside, it was reckless and he should've backed off but in Abu Dhabi when Max tried to dive on the inside, Lewis should have also backed off? It's the same scenario. Also funny how you ignore how the Masi gave Max a win in Spa even though they never raced. You are outraged about the crash in Silverstone but you don't seem to think Max torpedoing Lewis in Italy and parking a car on his head was a big deal, the stewards not investigating Max in Brazil maybe?

There has been right and wrong on both sides. Both sides benefitted from controversial decisions or lost out. Get it out of your head that it's Max against the world. That's nonsensical "

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2. Posted by phantom, 13/12/2021 17:13

"kenji: '... Masi was thrown into this position after Whiting's unexpected sudden demise and I believe that he does it well...'
True, but Masi has been on the job for MORE THEN TWO YEARS, if I remember correctly. March 2019.

Not to sound brutal, but if an 'employee's' performance still stutters after two years on the job, perhaps he should try selling Encyclopaediae door to door. He obviously doesn't have enough confidence in his own abilities to execute the tasks he has inherited."

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3. Posted by phantom, 13/12/2021 4:50

"Mr. Masi doesn't seem to have a clue. He supervised a thrilling two lap race in Belgium, 'negotiates' with rival teams about penalties (I know it's called a 'Concorde' agreement, but really?), and for the first time in my memory (going back to the early 60s), decided to remove ONLY those lapped cars that might interfere with an ending. I don't care about parsing grammar, follow the rule book. I know there is one, they keep changing it.

Sorry, Masi is seriously out of his depth. He might consider becoming a driver and learn what it's like to have an ambivalent incompetent in the tower."

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4. Posted by kenji, 13/12/2021 4:11

"@Stitch431...trying to unravel this latest 'contretemps' is proving to be a very difficult task. No matter how this event is sliced and diced the fact remains that what we are seeing enacted amongst the media and the teams is largely the result of 'bias'. If nothing else is achieved the fact that Mercedes hegemonic [ ? ] sense of entitlement is seriously placed under extreme scrutiny. Surely that has to be good for F1. To suggest that Masi be replaced is nothing more than a extreme reaction IMO and I mean no offence. Masi was thrown into this position after Whiting's unexpected sudden demise and I believe that he does it well...all things considered. We are all biased, consciously and/or unconsciously in one way or another,and I very much doubt that Masi is guilty of the first level but 'unconscious bias is a mental process that is intimately tied to cognitive heuristics'. I really don't like the practice whereby team principals can discuss track actions direct with the race director because that allows elements of intimidation and coercion to be applied no matter how subtle or whatever. Can a football manager call a referee and question his decisions in real time? Hopefully this won't finish up in the courts but I do fear that such is Mercedes level of contempt for the 'ref's call' that's that where it will finish up. Not a good look."

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5. Posted by Stitch431, 12/12/2021 22:31

"Mercedes had the best car but still, they were under pressure from Max all season. They saw this was going in the wrong direction for them when they arrived at Silverstone. Here Lewis torpedoed Max into hospital and the FIA let him get away with it. Then Bottas bowled him off the track in Hungary too. On top of that, they have been playing psycho games, and have been whining ever since. Almost every single FIA decision this year was against Max. Therefore it is only just that on the last call this has changed for the good. Max was the best driver this season and he deserved to win. He did not break under the huge pressure of a team that brought a lawyer to an F1 race instead of focussing on racing itself. I am glad I don't have to explain to my kids why the guy that won after all did not win. This is so outrageous that it hurts. The FIA should look for another race director because a race director is not calling Toto first (like in SPA, and almost every other race) to ask if his ruling will be accepted. A real race director decides impartially and above all, he does not call a steward that is from the same country as one of the contenders. That should not be happening either. I hope Mercedes cares for its brand and sees this kind of behavior, is damaging for their company image. To Toto I want to say: You lost. Now it's time to say congratulations to Max and end this sorry saga. Be a man like Lewis. He did congratulate Max and said: "I'll be back next season". That's what I call a good attitude."

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6. Posted by BillH, 12/12/2021 20:59

"My apologies to The FIA in an earlier post on another pit pass article, I thought any lapped cars meant all lapped cars.

How could I have been so mistaken having only watched every previous safety car situation where every lapped car was let past until that last race?"

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7. Posted by a fan !?, 12/12/2021 20:31

"The inconsistencies need to be stamped out.

Last week cutting a chicane the position needed to be ceded, this week nothing.
A perfectly executed block pass br MV on LH, but now acceptable to drive straight through. Hamilton could have made turn 6. What route would he have taken if not a chicane but a single apex left hander / hairpin - he'd have returned to the track sooner.
He had the pace, and the right tyres to cede the position and use the Merc pace + DRS (which i think needs to be withdrawn from the sport) to pass when available.

I think that when penalties need to be applied it should be a points deduction as opposed to pointless time penalties. Last week: MV a 10 second penalty dropping hime from 2nd to errr 2nd!!!

Also deduct points for 'engine component' changes - this should stop / reduce some of the strategic changes we've seen.

Comms between race stewards / race director need to be one way only, unless invited.

Had LH pitted at either VSC or SC then MV would have stayed out, he'd have given up track position then have been the hunter in the faster car and fresh tyres.
Merc rolled the dice, lost, then called in the lawyers to attend stewards meetings."

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8. Posted by Oldgit, 12/12/2021 20:28

"Mr Messy (Masi) should be charged with "bringing the sport into disrepute" and sacked with prejudice for his Ad Hoc rule changes and disregard of the established standards over the last 3-4 Grand Prix.

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9. Posted by Redphyve, 12/12/2021 19:52


He also said that it should be without the intervention of the stewards.

Yhese mealy-mouthed justifications by the FIA of Masi's actions reflect poorly on the FIA. Neither Max, Lewis, Mercedes or Red Bull did anything wrong. This was the FIA and Masi. None of them can be faulted. Lewis was especially gracious in defeat, he even stayed on the podium to congratulate Max.

Irrespective of how this has turned out, Masi.must resign and the FIA should apologize for this farcical end to a great season."

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10. Posted by Stitch431, 12/12/2021 19:38

"Toto ... Mr. we want to win this on track ... "

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