Masi exonerated as “teams applied the pressure to avoid finishing under the Safety Car at all costs” – The wailing and gnashing of teeth from certain quarters of the Formula 1 paddock over decisions made during the final F1 race of the season has been relentless and filed thousands of column inches.
Lawyered up and ready for action, Wolff and Mercedes Benz stormed into the Formula One stewards office at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix post race to demand a reversal of the race result and to see their man Lewis crowned as champion.
The British media and certain pundits alike have cried, ‘Hamilton was robbed’ and called into question the integrity and competence of Michael Masi, the FIA F1 race director.
Yet as is always the case in Formula 1, you need to look behind the tabloid-esque headlines and the second class punters who merely want to frame themselves to the fore.
Today Zak Brown published his thoughts on the year ahead and how F1 should continue the process of change. McLaren.com
In a wide ranging post, the McLaren chief looks to the future and how the past and present has influenced the decision making in Formula 1.
Zak addresses the issue of F1 governance and regulation creation and provides an interesting view on how things used to be done, why they changed and calls for the new FIA president to shift back towards a more “directive” form of leadership
“Previous [FIA] administrations pursued a mainly autocratic style of governance, so to point the sport in the right direction it was necessary to take a more consultative approach with teams and stakeholders. But now the sport has been successfully reset, moving forward there is a need to shift back to stronger, more directive leadership and governance at the top of the sport.”
As TJ13 has asserted time and again, the teams have too much power and the more powerful teams exert the most influence on the direction of F1. Mercedes Benz AMG F1 given it’s engine supply has by default had the most influence.
Zak Brown observes it is the teams exploitation of the sporting regulations that has led to ever shifting sands of policing and places a great deal of responsibility for inconsistency in this area at their door.
“I have said before that the teams have too much power and it needs to be reduced. We have a significant role in the drafting of the regulations,” says the Mclaren boss, “and governance of Formula 1 and that influence is not always driven by what is best overall for the sport.”
Clearly Ferrari have utilised their history in F1 to at times muscle in on the FIA delegates proposals; particularly the ones that don’t suit them.
When Red Bull were top dogs, they refused to countenance any kind of budget cap, though since Mercedes financial and performance dominance have unsurprisingly changed their tune.
Then their Mercedes F1 and Toto Wolff who have sought to retain their competitive advantage year on year by either threatening to withdraw from the sport along with their engines or coerced their power unit customers to vote along the lines the Stuttgart owned team desired.
“But at times it has seemed the sport is governed by certain teams. Let us not forget that we, the teams, have contributed to the inconsistencies in the policing of the regulations as much as anyone,” adds Brown.
One of the most telling comments from Brown demonstrates the who-ha from F1 pundits and particularly Toto Wolff over the manner of the removal of the safety car in Abu Dhabi is farcical and hypocritical at best.
Down right disingenuous and dishonest could be an alternative view.
Zak reveals, “It is the teams who applied the pressure to avoid finishing races under a Safety Car at all costs.”
Which is something the fans generally hate.
Whether the new protocol used by Race Director in the season finale is the way to go in the future, is still up for debate. However, the ridiculous nonsense blaming Masi for fixing the result or applying an ‘illegal’ decision in light of Browns revelations is clearly now put to bed.
As TJ13 has asserted throughout the winter, it is most likely Masi will be there again in his current role for the 2022 season. The caveat to this would be unless he has had enough of the “pantomime” acting from certain team principals.
The McLaren supremo is scathing in his conclusion. “It is the teams who voted for many of the regulations they have complained about. It is the teams who have been using the broadcasting of radio messages to the race director to try to influence penalties and race outcomes.”
He singles out the relative new kid on the F1 block – Toto Wolff – for particular attention next. In a clear reference to the radio broadcasts made at the conclusion of the Abu Dhabi GP Brown describes the Mercedes boss as “an over-excited team principal plays to the gallery and pressurises race officials. This has not been edifying for F1. At times it’s felt like a pantomime audition rather than the pinnacle of a global sport.”
It is time the teams and their senior management stopped playing games with our sport and accept that the referees decision is final – whether it be technical or sporting – and do so without whining, casting aspersions on the officials integrity and spinning their hard luck stories to the gullible F1 circus media.
And it’s time the F1 media stopped treating these actors as though they were royalty and behaving in an unedifying obsequious manner, fawning over their every word, just so they are not spurned from a post raced interview by the likes of Toto Wolff and Mattia Binotto who have previous form in this kind of petulant behaviour.
Finally, kudos to Zak Brown, who has not been universally liked by McLaren fans, for speaking out, setting the record straight and calling for a better future for F1.