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FIA to outlaw in-race lobbying from teams

NEWS STORY
14/12/2021

Ross Brawn has revealed that in the wake of Sunday's Grand Prix, teams will not be allowed to lobby the race director during races from next season.

One of the aspects made available to fans this season in a bid to spice up the action whilst giving 'behind-the-scenes' access, has been to make fans privy to the radio communications between the teams and race control.

In Saudi Arabia we heard the sporting directors from Red Bull and Mercedes effectively bargaining with Michael Masi ahead of the race restart, the FIA's race director agreeing exactly where Max Verstappen would line up on the grid.

However, things were taken to a whole new level on Sunday as we heard Toto Wolff and Christian Horner both making their demands of the race director.

"Why aren't we getting these lapped cars out of the way?" asked Horner during the controversial safety car period.

"Christian, give me a second. Okay. My big one is to get this incident clear," replied Masi.

"Michael, this isn't right!” pleaded Wolff as the race resumed and Max Verstappen was all over Lewis Hamilton.

“No Mikey! No Mikey! That was so not right!" the Austrian added as Verstappen headed off into the distance.

"You need to reinstate the lap before, that's not right," demanded the Mercedes boss.

"Toto, it's called a motor race," replied Masi.

"Sorry?" said a clearly baffled Wolff.

"We went car racing," insisted Masi.

Earlier in the race, indeed following the incident at the start, Horner called on race control demanding that Hamilton hand back the position.

As debate over the race continues, Ross Brawn has revealed that from next season the line of communication between team bosses and race control will be broken.

"We will stop this contact next year," he tells Auto Motor und Sport. 'It's unacceptable that team bosses put Michael under such pressure during the race.

"It's like the coaches negotiating with the referee in football," he added.

"Toto can't demand there shouldn't be a safety car and Christian can't demand the cars have to un-lap," he continued. "That's at the discretion of the race director."

While the news is to be welcomed, surely the announcement of the intended ban should come from the FIA and not Brawn who is an employee of (Liberty Media owned) F1.

Check out our Tuesday gallery from Yas Marina, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by ClarkwasGod, 15/12/2021 15:35

"A clear indication of who is really in charge. Certainly not the FIA"

Rating: Positive (3)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by kenji, 15/12/2021 12:54

"@ Stitch431...The use of such an informal approach seems very odd. I mean 'Mikey, no Mikey' seems to be terribly informal to me under the circumstances and possibly an intimidating approach. Either that or a use of terminology that would lead one to assume a very deep friendship also seems incongruous, given the gravity of situation."

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

3. Posted by kenji, 15/12/2021 10:18

"Trying to reconstruct the 'event' consider this...At the time of the Latifgi crash Hamilton was in front of Verstappen and he had the opportunity to pit for fresh rubber...likewise Verstappen, who did pit. That placed Verstappen further back from Hamilton. Had Hamilton pitted when he had the chance, and pit stop times being equal, then he would still have come out in front of Verstappen. Therefore, irrespective of the 'lapped cars' Hamilton would've been in front of fresher rubber for the final dash to the chequered flag. If that analysis is correct then the final result would've been most likely Hamilton winning. If I've got this wrong I'm sure that there are many willing and ready to correct me, which is fine. If I am right here then the basis for Hamilton's defeat was primarily a bum decision by Mercedes to maintain track position at all costs. An expensive exercise in righteous indignation. "

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

4. Posted by Stitch431, 15/12/2021 8:34

""No Mikey, No Mikey ..." This shows the disrespect Toto displayed to Masi all season. Horner had to fight back in the same way. In the future, they should ban any contact between the race director and the teams in total to prevent this. It makes no difference if they are communicating directly or through one of the team members on the pit wall. Let's get back to racing instead of whining. I cannot explain to my kids why there is still a fuzz so long after the race. The race is over, yes safety cars do make a difference. Lewis got lucky in Monza where he was in a lost position but due to a safety car caused by Valterri and George, he all of a sudden could restart the race from 9th and thus save a podium finish. If this had not happened he would have lost all points in this race. This time Max was on the lucky side. That's F1 racing."

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

5. Posted by C5, 15/12/2021 8:03

"As @Burton said - how is a Liberty employee able to set what the FIA will or will not do? This, not specific rulings or incidents, is the key problem the "sport" is having.

FIA should make and enforce the rules.
Liberty should pay the FIA gor their rights and arrange races acoording to the rules.
Thd teams can show up with legal cars and race within the rules.
Liberty and the teams can shut up or go home in regards to the rules and their enforcement, just as much as FIA can take a hike in regard to, say, which TV station broadcasts the race."

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

6. Posted by Great_white_shark, 15/12/2021 0:34

"@mad matt this is a very good point and I totally forgot about this incident. Hard to argue that "any" doesn't mean "all" when he said himself last year that it means the same thing and Mercedes interpreted the rule correctly. How can Mercedes plan for a strategy when the FIA moves the goalposts without warning to "enhance" the show? Masi is certainly right that we went motor racing but he is wrong to think this is motor racing.

Masi has to step down. He has he has shown the lights are too bright for him and he is not the right man for the job. I don't think any team is going to dispute that. Charlie knew the regulations inside out and he wasn't afraid to make a decision. The teams respected him for being tough but fair. Now it seems some teams are pushing the rules because they see indecisiveness and they might get away with it. It's not working and his leadership is too undermined to continue "

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

7. Posted by ChickenFarmerF1, 14/12/2021 21:29

"Whatever the rules state, it seems that basic fairness should dictate that under the safety car either all cars get to unlap themselves, or none do. Mercedes obviously kept Lewis out on the assumption that it would be one of those two scenarios in which case it was the right strategy call. If no lapped cars were let past Verstappen would have to pass them one by one. Even with them giving way under blue flags it would have taken half a lap to clear them all likely giving Lewis the margin needed to win. If all were allowed to pass then the safety car wouldn't be able to come in until after the checkered flag allowing Lewis to win.

But allowing only the cars between the title protagonists to pass thereby allowing Verstappen to close in and make the pass, which was inevitable given the well known difference in compound and tire age, reeks of intentional manipulation. "

Rating: Positive (3)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

8. Posted by Spindoctor, 14/12/2021 20:20

"A very good thing too.
F1 was getting like the Premiership in UK football, where the competitors all crowd round the Referee to query decisions and\or try to get opponents punished for their own advantage. Neither of these behaviours enhances Sport, the latter being particularly unpleasant.

Now all we need is for the Rules to be substantially simplified...."

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

9. Posted by Burton, 14/12/2021 18:52

"Strong and decisive leadership from Todt once again...This should have been said by the FIA and not a Liberty employee.
Pretty much proves the editor's point in the "Don't blame Masi" article..."

Rating: Positive (4)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

10. Posted by phantom, 14/12/2021 17:53

"I wonder how much soul-searching was required to come this earth-shattering conclusion. I think Brawn is trying (desperately) to pull Masi's (fill in the blank) out of the fire. The exchanges prove Masi couldn't make up his own mind and was swayed by 'lobbying.' Get rid of the guy. Maybe the next one will have bigger (fillin the blank).

For what it's worth, I don't like/follow/cheer for either Whiny or Lewie. I was hoping they'd both run out of gas so Sainz might win."

Rating: Positive (4)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

11. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 14/12/2021 16:35

"Good.
The only communication that the drivers / teams should communicate to race control is track conditions, i.e. too wet, too much debris, safety car too slow.
There is multiple points on tracks that have marshal posts and there is at least one radio per post and the chief marshal can relay information to race control.
As others have posted, it has been very interesting to hear the chatter between race control and the teams this year.
Then again, the race director did not have to even take the call from Red Bull during the safety car period while the track was being cleared."

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12. Posted by Mad Matt, 14/12/2021 15:31

"Probably a good idea but really this is just a distraction from the main issue: the FIA didn't follow their own rules.

As other have pointed out Michael Masi previously said after the 2020 Eifel GP:
“There’s a requirement in the sporting regulations to wave all the lapped cars past,”

FIA: Get your house in order first and then take care of the less important issues like this."

Rating: Positive (7)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

13. Posted by RP, 14/12/2021 15:00

"It was a good thing that fans did get to hear those exchanges to see Masi's indecision for one. He made a decision announced it and then changed it after a phone call. It changed the outcome of the race. If there is really no communication allowed from the teams to the race director that will certainly be an improvement.
The original issue when Hamilton was forced off track and gained an advantage which he supposedly gave back wasn't clear watching the race but I assumed the officials had actual timing information and could see it.
The "decision" after Latifi's accident decided the race. Not right!"

Rating: Positive (6)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

14. Posted by ronniecabers, 14/12/2021 14:11

"At least it sounds like they are learning...this should have happened months ago!"

Rating: Positive (5)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

15. Posted by Roli, 14/12/2021 14:01

"The race director was at fault for allowing this to happen. He is just not for the job"

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

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