Site logo

Domenicali insists that "trust is still there" despite Abu Dhabi

NEWS STORY
17/03/2022

Ahead of the official FIA report into the events of Abu Dhabi, F1 boss, Stefano Domenicali believes the sport will be able to move forward.

With almost perfect timing, the FIA's three-month long investigation into what happened on the night of 12 December will be made public at Saturday's meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Bahrain.

While some might say (former race director) Michael Masi has already paid the price, F1 boss, Stefano Domenicali believes that rather than focus on individuals it is vital the sport prove that lessons have been learned and that it is able to move on.

"In the next days, the FIA will formally discuss that at the World Motor Sport Council, because I think what we need to avoid is a personal discussion," Domenicali tells Martin Brundle in an interview with Sky Sports.

"We are all human beings," he continues, "you may say that you are performing well as a driver, as a team, as a referee, but this is not relevant to the credibility of the sport, if the sport will take all the lessons in order to improve that.

"The credibility is passing through this kind of action, and this is what we're expecting the FIA to take on board in their preparation of next year.

"I will attend the World Council on Saturday, and we will see. That is the aim, to have a step forward to move forward from Abu Dhabi."

When it is suggested that many fans still regard the Abu Dhabi race as being "fixed", a view that many readers of Pitpass still hold, Domenicali replies: "I have not for a single second in my mind thought that was something built on purpose. As a sportsman, if I thought that was the case, I would not be there.

"And I can guarantee that from Formula 1's perspective, that is not the case," he insists.

"We had last week a meeting with all the promoters, almost all of where we're going are sold out, that means Formula 1 is not that problem and it means the trust is there."

Masi has been dropped ahead of the new season, his role as race director now shared by Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas, with assistance for the pair coming from veteran F1 official Herbie Blash, not to mention a new state-of-the-art VAR-style control room.

"We are already in Bahrain. So there is no need to talk about a different approach other than to say what we learned as regulator from that last race,” says Domenicali.

"The race direction has to be an entity organised in a proper way," he continues, "but the race director is a man, or a woman, or a person, who has to take the right decision. And he can take the right decision if he's well supported, if he has all the tools that are available for him to make this judgement.

"You don't have the time to make a committee, you need to make sure all what you have around you is enabling you to take the right decision."

In all honesty, this still appears to be focussed on Michael Masi. While we need to know why the Australian made the call that he made - which was entirely at odds with some of his previous decisions - we must know whether he was 100 percent responsible for the decision behind the call or whether, as we suspect, he was following orders and in which case whose orders he was following.

It is all very well for Mr Domenicali to say the trust remains and that it is time to move on, for as boss of F1 he has a vested interest.

No matter which team or driver you support, the only true winner that night was the media in term of viewers stats for broadcasters and readers stats for websites and publications, all of which subsequently healthily impacted F1 in terms of the balance sheet.

With every day that passes the teams announce new sponsors, McLaren bringing Google on board only yesterday, thereby proving that all publicity is good publicity.

However, despite Domenicali's assurances what will really prove telling in the weeks and months ahead is whether the sport can win back those fans lost last December, those fans not easily won over by flashy videos over a pulsating rock soundtrack, those fans that feel the sport has lost/sold its soul to Netflix in the like as it chases ratings and profit over honesty and sportsmanship.

LATEST NEWS

more news >

RELATED ARTICLES

LATEST IMAGES

galleries >

  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images

POST A COMMENT

or Register for a Pitpass ID to have your say

Please note that all posts are reactively moderated and must adhere to the site's posting rules and etiquette.

Post your comment

READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Defiant, 22/03/2022 4:53

"@kenji, I really do wish it had been tested in court. The sceptic in me is thinking that if Mercedes had gone forward with the official FIA route, it'd have become a kangaroo court with nothing but a desperate attempt to protect itself. Maybe Merc thought the same? Just another unfounded thought that it may be.

My analogy with the dealer was referring to the fact that the service manager had refused to investigate anything at all until there was an outside pressure from my review. Then only after a GM stepped in (not an outside source I grant you), something happened.
I felt that the issue was actually taken seriously and more importantly they shared the evidence openly with transparency. That then gave me the confidence to apologise and move on.

Although I do stand behind my opinion on Masi being removed, and I've covered why, many times before. I still think he applied rules incorrectly on a whim at best. I do however agree that it shouldn't look like the FIA caved and have it come down to Toto's whinging. They need to own their mistakes but still need to be the authority. His removal should have happened AFTER the results where released even if just for show"

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

2. Posted by kenji, 21/03/2022 6:59

"@ Defiant...thanks for the alternate viewpoint, I appreciate that. Taking your points of view [ 1 ] without hard evidence to prove Masi's being either complicit/wrong headed and removing him is more in line with a 'kangaroo court' or either themselves [ FIA ] being complicit in a 'rumoured 'confidential deal with Mercedes. As I have said many times, if the case against Masi was so overwhelming then it should've been tested in court then we'd get a definitive result where the repercussions could aired and any alternate arrangements could be implemented.

[ 2 ] Your analogy with personal car damage has left me rather perplexed. To cut through the detail...didn't the alleged offender [ Dealer ] do his own investigation into the problem? You didn't say that an outside body analysed the CCTV. Likewise the FIA did it's own analysis just like the dealer. The fact is, IMO, that a lot of people still cannot accept the decision and look for something that , to date, isn't there. You only have to read some of the comments on this site and some are quite vituperative especially towards Masi who by all accounts is a very fair and decent chap. As it stands I still believe in fairness and that Masi should've been able to continue albeit with two alternating assistants and the wise council of Blash as well. Once again, IMO, the FIA have given the impression, to me at least, that Mercedes/Hamilton have exerted undue pressure for his removal and the FIA have caved. ....The reason I say this is supported by Wolffs publically stated comment 'I will never ever speak to Masi again'. Now I may be delusional/away with the fairies and more than a few people would agree with that assessment but until we get anything to seriously alter my opinion I will maintain my opposition to the outcome. Hope you enjoyed Bahrain...great to get the season up and running. "

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

3. Posted by Defiant, 20/03/2022 21:09

"You're very correct in that my gut feeling has no basis in law, and that its a very good thing I'd add.

Masi's name being dragged through the mud is a direct response to his decision making on multiple occasions and especially the night in question.
So protecting him when he was either complicit in twisting rules or again assuming my gut is wrong, has very poor decision making skills, wouldn't be my choice for a way forward.
I'm happy he's been removed but I'm not convinced that this alternating 2 RD's is the best way forward either. I'd have preferred a team of 3 that revolves on a race by race basis with 2 on at any event, with video surveillance and audio recordings.

It is time for the racing to move on obviously, but I'm afraid I don't agree with ignoring what happened completely.
The competitors and fans alike deserve a truthful, open, and detailed account of what happened. The fact that they investigated themselves does nothing but add fuel to the fire.

Just to add an anecdote from my own life, I found one of my previous cars had damage on it right after service, I asked the service manager to review the video surveillance on arrival and leaving but he refused. I left a scathing review online regarding the situation. A week later after had been pressured to check he contacted me and I went in to review the footage that he'd previously refused point blank to check. Thankfully, in the video footage you could barely just make out that my car arrived with the damage, so although frustrated that my car had damage, I now had proof that it was not the dealership that had done it. I made an addendum to my review to show that they had since proved to me that I was wrong in my assumption and I publicly apologised for assuming the worst, and it's still up to this day.
My long winded implication is, that If the FIA had nothing to hide, they'd never had investigated themselves, someone independent should have done it. Then maybe I'd have that smoking gun, or a reason to publicly apologise again.

I think ClarkwasGod probably hit the nail on the head with his thoughts, but we'll never know, or at least at no time soon.

"

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

4. Posted by kenji, 19/03/2022 1:29

"@Defiant....Interesting post. Masi's name has been trashed by many people and his reputation has suffered as a consequence. That alone calls for some response and I'm afraid that 'gut feeling' has no legal standing. The final quote was not made, I believe, by Domenicali. It's one thing to believe that fixing results by implementing an action in conflict with certain previous interpretations of the rules of engagement, vis a vis 'lapped cars but when there is no evidence to support that claim surely the 'Race Director' should be protected until proof is provided. I'm afraid that this issue will drag on and on ad infinitum....maybe it's time to move on but that will be most difficult to do as the media will string it out ...... At long last we are into a new season and that is great.

@ Spindoctor...either way 'something dodgy happened' and the inference is ?



"

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

5. Posted by Spindoctor, 18/03/2022 20:04

"A "conspiracy" may be too strong. A conjunction of interests might be a better way of putting it. Either way, something dodgy happened & we don't know why."

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

6. Posted by ClarkwasGod, 18/03/2022 19:25

"I don't believe it was ever a conspiracy - that would have had to have been something premeditated akin to "Crashgate".

However, I am certain that when Latifi had his accident, someone (not in a team) realised this was an "opportunity".......and the rest, as they say.......and you can do a lot in 4 minutes, apart from boil an egg."

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

7. Posted by Defiant, 18/03/2022 16:25

"@kenji, I do have a gut feeling that something happening behind the scenes, but like you point out, I have no proof. That doesn't mean my gut feeling is wrong. However I think this IMO is the most pertinent paragraph in the article and deserves to be addressed. Until that has been done conclusively, Stefano is blowing smoke and dreaming.

"In all honesty, this still appears to be focussed on Michael Masi. While we need to know why the Australian made the call that he made - which was entirely at odds with some of his previous decisions - we must know whether he was 100 percent responsible for the decision behind the call or whether, as we suspect, he was following orders and in which case whose orders he was following."
"

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

8. Posted by Spindoctor, 18/03/2022 15:51

"@kenji
The nature of a "conspiracy" is such that it operates in secret & if successful does so without leaving hard evidence. Were there to be a "smoking gun" then it would make life a lot easier for us all, but (& I refer you to my opening sentence) no such evidence (currently) exists. Where a conspiracy ceases to be secret, the consequences for the plotters tend to be unpleasant - just ask Guy Fawkes - assuming you can find a competent medium.

If we put to one side a probably futile search for "evidence" of the conspiracy, then we do still have extremely hard evidence that something was amiss. The result of the Race was affected & completely altered by the decision not to follow laid-down SC procedure & to ensure thereby it ended under a green flag. That much is incontrovertible.

Whatever conclusion you draw from this is, until someone owns up, speculation. It impinges directly on the "Trust" Mr Domenicali is so keen to highlight. The extent to which you entertain Mr D's explanations is a measure both of individual credulity AND the credibility of Formula 1, FIA & the whole "circus".
If I were a competitor who had invested $hundreds of millions in F1 I'm not sure that I'd be reassured. Fine words butter no parsnips, as my Mum used to say...
"

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

9. Posted by Editor, 18/03/2022 14:47 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 18/03/2022 14:52)

"@ Kenji

Yawn

In case you were not aware, from Day 1 - or at least a few hours after the race - I was saying - on the record - "don't blame Masi" - I have always seen it as a case of - if you'll pardon the expression - following orders.

I believe Masi was acting on the orders of someone or some persons much higher up the F1 food chain, but nobody is going to admit to that.

As for the result of the investigation, we are expected to believe the FIA investigated itself without there being any conflict of interest?

I think not."

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

10. Posted by kenji, 18/03/2022 14:37

"@Ed. I may well be in the minority...so what? I have not seen any incontrovertible evidence to support the conspiracy theorists so far. To date it is all supposition and will remain so until something concrete is provided. There exists, or should exist, a presumption of Masi's innocence. Facts are what counts and to date I've not seen anything that would lend credence to a conspiracy. If you want to see race fixing then look no further than everyday F1 races where customer teams bend to the will of their manufacturer/supplier to ensure certain results. I am keeping an open mind on Abu Dhabi and will accept whatever result is recorded according to the provable facts. Even Brundle tonight acknowledged that the accusations re Masi were not credible. Now Brundle is not the final arbiter but I'd be pretty sure he knows which way is up.
"

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

11. Posted by Editor, 18/03/2022 11:33 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 18/03/2022 14:52)

"@ Kenji

"I am surprised that so many people believe that a conspiracy existed?" Which suggests that you are in the minority.

As for "If it can be proved conclusively that Masi was simply following instructions", do you seriously beleive that anyone, ANYONE, far less the FIA or F1 are going to openly ADMIT that an order was given?"

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

12. Posted by kenji, 18/03/2022 11:24

"I am surprised that so many people believe that a conspiracy existed? Where is the evidence to support that theory or is it simply just an untested and unsupported wish ? If it can be proved conclusively that Masi was simply following instructions by a third party then he should be absolved of all blame if that third party was in fact invested with the authority to direct Masi. Hopefully all will be explained but until then....."

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

13. Posted by RRZX-14, 18/03/2022 2:02

"Once trust is lost, it is difficult, if not impossible, for it to be regained. The FIA & FOM lost it well before Abu Dhabi. That race was just the final straw for many fans."

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

14. Posted by Defiant, 18/03/2022 0:44

"I agree with the writer of this article completely.

My own opinion is that Stefano is utterly delusional. Trust is earned and what F1 did that day and every day since is erode what trust it had."

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

15. Posted by Burton, 17/03/2022 17:59 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 18/03/2022 14:52)

"The regulations were at least partially brushed aside in order to finish under green. That is pretty much "something built on purpose", Stefano."

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

Share this page

X

Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2022. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  privacy & security  |  rss  |  terms