Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff did not hold back on the debacle which saw Lewis Hamilton lose the world drivers’ championship in excruciating circumstances at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.robbed Lewis Hamilton of a deserved world championship,” seethed Wolff yesterday. “Robbing him in the last lap of the race is unacceptable.”
Yet, despite Wolff and Mercedes’s palpable disgust at the injustice they believe their driver was dealt at the hands of race control on Sunday in the handling of the final safety car restart, the team decided against exercising their right under the sporting regulations to appeal the result of the race in the FIA’s International Court of Appeal (ICA).
Why were Mercedes unwilling to pursue a clear course of action to achieve sporting justice? Particularly as choosing not to dispute the events of the final five laps of last weekend’s race confirmed Hamilton’s year-long rival, Max Verstappen, as world champion.
The possibility of losing appears not to have been a concern. Wolff was adamant that, if the matter went to a civil court case and not simply a sporting one, the law would be on their side.
“We believe we had a very strong case,” Wolff explained. “If you look at it from the legal side, if it would have been judged in a regular court, it is almost guaranteed that we would have won.”
So what factors may have influenced the team’s decision to drop plans to take the matter to the ICA?
FIA’s appeal system offered no route to justice
Maybe the most telling reason behind Mercedes’ hesitancy to take the matter further can be seen in Wolff’s doubts over the FIA’s appeal structure itself.
Unlike the vast majority of disputes commonly brought to the ICA – against penalties imposed by stewards for technical or sporting reasons – Mercedes were not seeking to contest the actions of a rival, but an FIA representative. Wolff made it clear he doubted whether the court would rule against the actions of the race director.
“The problem with the ICA is the way it’s structured,” explained Wolff. “The FIA can’t really mark their own homework. There’s a difference between being right and obtaining justice.”
Moreover, even if Mercedes won, Wolff wasn’t convinced they would gain restitution for the lost championship through the court.
“I don’t think that, at the moment, we are set up in terms of our governance to end up in a situation that would have given us a remedy that would have reinstalled the result that was taken away from Lewis before the last lap of the race,” said Wolff. “And that’s why, heavy hearted, we have decided not to appeal because we wouldn’t have gotten the result back.”
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Of all the members of the Mercedes team, none had as much of a right to feel aggrieved by what took place last Sunday as Lewis Hamilton. Having been passed by Verstappen on the final lap with his fresh soft tyres after leading him throughout the entire race, Hamilton saw his hopes of an unprecedented eighth world title crumble over those final five kilometres.
Having sportingly congratulated his rival and attended the podium presentation, Hamilton promptly left the circuit and, at time of writing, has made no public statement on the race beyond on a few gracious words in parc ferme after the chequered flag.
Wolff says that throughout Mercedes’s response to the finish of the race, they have acted with their driver’s consent and cooperation.
“Every step of the way it was joint decisions,” Wolff said. “We decided together with Lewis to protest, to launch the appeal and to withdraw the appeal. As you can imagine, not only for him but also for us as a team, it was terrible to be confronted with a decision that decided the outcome of the world championship.”
As one of the most successful and celebrated racers in the history of Formula 1, Wolff knows Hamilton would prefer for the title to be won on the track.
“Nobody of us, neither him or us, want to win a world championship in the courtroom,” Wolff says. “But, on the other side, we were deeply wronged on Sunday, and it wasn’t just a case of a bad call, it was freestyle reading of the rules and it left Lewis like a sitting duck.”
Wolff said Hamilton’s strong sense of values and beliefs – both in racing and in wider societal issues – makes the decision not to challenge the result especially difficult to accept.
“It was tremendously hard for him and for us as a team to withdraw the appeal because we were wronged,” continued Wolff.
“We deeply believe that in Formula 1 – the pinnacle of motor racing, one of the most important sports in the world – justice is being done. So my soul and my heart cries with every bone that this should have been judged in the right way. A legal situation would have given us [as being] right. But there’s a difference between being right and obtaining justice.”
After a career in F1 spanning over 15 years where Hamilton has not spent a day free of scrutiny from media and fans alike, there is perhaps no one more acutely aware of the intense spotlight an appeal would place him and his team under. Until he publicly shares his thoughts on the contentious end to this year’s championship, this seems to have been just as much a driver decision as it was a team one.
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Placating the team’s partners?
It was not simply Mercedes and Hamilton who missed out on the world championship in large part due to the irregular actions of race control, but Mercedes’ shareholders, partners and sponsors too.
Having the ability to proudly display your logo on the overalls of the world champion is a major draw for marketing departments the world over. And for Mercedes, the expected additional financial boost from satisfying championship clauses would not be at all unwelcome.
Wolff indicated the teams’ backers had no qualms about the case going legal. “I’m so proud of the support that our sponsors and partners have given us over the last few days,” he said. “They’ve been with us all the way along.
“The message that I have received personally from sponsors, from fans, from very credible people made me very happy.”
Perhaps recognising the complexity of the situation the team has faced, it seems that Mercedes’ partners are sympathetic to their plight and backed the team’s choice.
“The sponsors have trusted us to come up with a decision in relation to the appeal and would have gone with us all the way,” Wolff insisted.
Time for change?
As egregious as the events at the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix may have been, it was far from the only controversial impact of race control or the stewards had on the outcome of the season. But it may well prove to be the one that prompts actual change.
In walking away from an appeal, Mercedes welcomed a proposal by outgoing FIA president, Jean Todt, to hold a “detailed analysis and clarification exercise” into the incident. The team vowed to “hold the FIA accountable for this process.”
“There is a lesson to be learned,” said Wolff. “How can we make sure that, going forward, in situations like that the right decisions are being taken, the verdict from the stewards corresponds to the regulations and judgement in the courts – whether it is the ICA or the CAS [Court of Arbitration for Sport], which is not currently part of the legislations – can be judged in a way that is fair and neutral to every participant.”
With a newly-elected FIA president, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, promising structural change within the organisation, Todt’s promises must now be delivered by his successor.
“Now I think we have the right tools in hand to make sure that the decision-making going forward is better,” said Wolff. “We will be holding the FIA and the decision makers accountable for making the sport more robust and the decision-making more robust and more consistent.”
It’s possible that the consequence of Mercedes not bringing their appeal to the ICA could be real and substantial change in stewarding or race direction in the sport heading to next season. That would be a welcome outcome after a contentious end to the 2021 campaign which even the FIA admitted ultimately “tarnished” the world championship.
2021 F1 season
- I spoke up for Hamilton because he speaks up for others says fan behind Abu Dhabi petition
- Red Bull Racing spent £230m during Verstappen’s title-winning 2021 campaign
- ‘I can’t box?’: Hamilton and Verstappen’s 2021 Abu Dhabi GP radio transcript
- Abu Dhabi’s legacy one year on: How the controversial 2021 finale changed F1
- The case for changing F1’s penalty points system as Gasly nears ban
126 comments on “Why Mercedes believe they would have won an appeal but still lost the title”
17th December 2021, 18:05
Don’t all professional sports have a similar legal structure that makes it very difficult to call the officiating into question? Isn’t that why it is extremely difficult to pursue cases of actual corruption?
17th December 2021, 18:53
@x1znet Yes they all do to an extent. I think that’s part of the reason the Court of Arbitration for Sport was set up, so that governing body commisions weren’t ruling on governing body actions. However, as it stands, the FIA is not party to CAS (except for doping, as they are a member of WADA, which does fall under CAS’ jurisdiction), as the CAS Constitution makes it clear that they only have jurisdiction if it’s explicitly mentioned in a sport’s charter.
I hope the FIA do sign up to CAS in response to this. As much as I’d hate another level of proceedings for a protest or appeal to go through, if it stops the governing body presiding over a case they’re involved in (as claiments or defence) then I believe thay would be a positive outcome.
Andy Bunting (@wildbiker)
18th December 2021, 10:03
18th December 2021, 14:53
As both a lawyer and a motorsport fan, I would hesitate to refer anything to the CAS until they reform their own procedures and institute much needed transparency. Play the Game has a great report on the composition and operation of the CAS and it is far from being a beacon of transparency and justice.
18th December 2021, 7:12
Again, mercedes feel injustice because many cars didn’t get to unlap? Does mercedes actually realise that they want to win the title because race direction failed to fill out all the beaurocracy? The call was not unjust, it was almost unjust as Toto almost made race direction make the wrong call.
19th December 2021, 12:19
Mercedes didn’t pit because finishing under safety car was by far the most likely outcome with not enough laps left to clear the track, let lapped cars through & for the safety car to complete another lap – y’know, like they do every other time, in line with the rulebook.
Masi searched high and low for a solution to ‘Let Them Race ™’ and came up with leaving the lapped cars in the queue. RBR got on the blower to explain that as the rights holder to ‘Let Them Race ™’, as usual, they’d decide what it meant.
Just comes in here: Masi just expedited the invented mechanism as directed.
18th December 2021, 8:48
Any case of corruption can be taken to a normal court (as a criminal offence).
But private matters (how to interpret the rules, who should have won, etc) are best covered within the sport itself. It’s only sports after all. The rules themselves are already somewhat advantageous to one party versus another in most sports.
PS there is one other way for Mercedes to take this to court. They have a commercial contract with Liberty and the could try to claim breach of contract there. But even though I do not have that contract, I do not see an opening there; they did not even miss out on commercial payments AFAIK. And for sure there is a condition in there that the FIA decisions and rankings are final.
18th December 2021, 12:19
Let’s consider statutes of limitations for civil court, global court shopping, etc.
The last lap at Abu Dhabi wouldn’t be the only trial. No reason there couldn’t be dozens for this season that could impact the championship, including ones brought by back markers. Maybe some prior year championships could be overturned at civil trial. Wouldn’t surprise me if a venue exists with no statute of limitation and Fangio’s descendants could be sucked in. What if Merc filed an Abu Dhabi last lap case in one country and Ferrari in another and there were conflicting rulings?
Let’s see how stupid we can be as a sport or as a business.
17th December 2021, 18:05
Well that pushes me a step down on the pessimism front. I’m still not expecting anything to improve, but I have a smidge more hope.
If we had something more positive from the FIA and it’s representatives, something which didn’t sound like they were closing ranks (which it all has so far too me), I could see myself ending up optimistic.
You Go Chavez
17th December 2021, 18:30
The discussion in this article and if this is what Toto and MB are saying, i can totally understand.
I came to the same conclusions that they may win an appeal but the remedy would not give the desired outcome.
I also imagine that Lewis would have felt awkward if somehow the decision could be reversed and he was awarded the win and the championship, that is a great credit to him. But I bet you whilst his detractors will harp on about Mercedes, supposedly poor, strategy and Silverstone few of them will acknowledge how he has conducted himself over this matter.
It is similar to when Luis Suarez denied a certain goal that would have given Ghana a place in the world cup semi finals. However what Masi did was far far worse as Suarez was punished by a red card and it was accepted that what he did was wrong. But after Asamoah Gyan missed the penalty that was it, there was no more time in the game and eventually Uruguay went through.
Sorry I got distracted there. The issue with this scandal is what Masi did is irreversible and far reaching, in fact it’s impact will last forever !
I am also still of the opinion at court or an appeal Mercedes could have sought to have the last lap, 58, annulled on the basis that it was not under proper racing conditions, maybe call it a Winnie Harlow factor:)
I don’t want to be too critical or appear as if I dislike him but surely this is another layer to Max Verstappen not having any issue of winning all costs. But on the other hand, I would never expect him or anyone to pull up park there car under such a situation so I guess he was left with very few choices.
I also need to go back to how a few seasons ago we discussed Masi on this forum and the consensus then was he wasn’t a good RD. Since then I was thinking maybe we had been too harsh, however it seems we were right. He is not consistent and makes awful decisions; I am thinking about black and white flags to Leclerc, deploying safety cars and red flags at the wrong time.
17th December 2021, 20:42
I can definitely be impressed about the reaction hamilton had to this issue and still point out there’s been cases like silverstone, baku or hungary where verstappen lost more points through bad luck (or in silverstone arguably taking too much risk, but he wasn’t deemed at fault) than hamilton this last race, the 2 are not mutually exclusive.
17th December 2021, 21:34
one of the few reasonable and calm comments in this direction.
18th December 2021, 9:16
Yep. I do think Max and Hamilton has similar numbers of both lenient and harsh decisions, but it’s likely Max was unluckier in terms of points lost. That doesn’t mean you can’t have different opinions on the Masi incident, or how something else has behaved. It isn’t all or nothing.
18th December 2021, 0:53
Yes, detractors will harp on as way of pulling at any straws they can find. Pulling at fragile, feeble straws when the most egregious decision by an FIA sporting official in history hit everybody like a tonne of bricks.
18th December 2021, 11:42
@You Go Chavez
Do keep in mind that the first instance of unfair officiating of the season went against Max, when Hamilton was allowed to drive outside the track for half the race, with it immediately being disallowed when Max started doing the same.
The consequence of poor officiating like this is that’s it’s easy for drivers to feel hard done by and to feel that they have to make up for the unfairness by doing things that might be considered unfair if the refereeing was just.
18th December 2021, 18:37
That was I thought at the time. If the decision was to finish the race under safety car conditions we would all be citing the L1 incident to be judged unfairly, and it would have been Horner up in arms for a double fault from the stewards. Perhaps even pointing out it was a Mercedes car that bought out the SC, though that would be a stretch given how far in the lead Hamilton was.
Going forward I would favour an call for all lapped cars to move behind those on the lead lap if less than an agreed percentage of the race remains eg 10%. Also to move the timing line such during quali cars can finish their lap and enter the pits directly, Indycar style.
Fer no.65 (@fer-no65)
17th December 2021, 18:32
What I was thinking this morning, listening to the various podcasts discussing this matter, is that big guns like Mercedes, who have such a wide array of interests (F1 is just a game for them), are not guys that take this matters lightly. What does the future hold for them? they’ve won everything already and were robbed of this title, frankly. Had they lost it properly, sure, they’d swallow it and try to regain it, but like this? who knows how long they’ll be around now? It’s not a matter of being sore losers, it’s a matter of pride…
You can blame teams and drivers for using their influence to bend the rules their way. It’s been done forever, it’s not a new thing. But to have the FIA freestyling the interpretation of the rules (good choice of word, there, Toto) on the fly, is a different game altogether.
I think Lewis will stay for next year. I don’t see him stepping down, it’s not like him at all. He’ll seek redemption, for sure. But Mercedes? I say a couple of years more, at best, and they are GONE! And it’s something no one is talking about… forget Lewis, how are the bosses at Stuttgart gonna respond?
José Lopes da Silva
17th December 2021, 19:01
Formula One is a closed franchise and Mercedes a leading stakeholder of it. There’s a reason no one is talking about that, and it’s the same they’re not proceeding with appeals. As you say, “big guns like Mercedes, who have such a wide array of interests (…), are not guys that take this matters lightly”. But F1 is not a game for them. Big guns don’t play games.
17th December 2021, 19:13
I’ve made the same point Jose, you’re not alone, and it’s absolutely correct. The humorous thing about this is some F1 fans are talking about ‘sporting integrity’ being damaged when F1’s franchise model looks more like the much maligned and failed ‘Super League’ which nearly had fans rioting in the UK.
Merc couldn’t win an appeal, and all it would have done anyway is damaged their own investment.
17th December 2021, 19:27
O please let them leave FFS. Toto/MGP have too much power anyways. I really dislike the grasp Toto is having on the customer teams and drivers he is managing.
We want a level playing field, starts with showing them the way out.
17th December 2021, 18:39
I don’t understand Toto’s complaint that this is a scenario where the FIA, rather than a rival, are being challenged.
That’s surely always the case if you are appealing the decision of an official, whether steward or otherwise, who is after all FIA appointed.
17th December 2021, 21:01
OMG the entitlement!
They think it’s it was already their title (before finishing it) and want to dismiss the last lap.
If the wanted justice and not “justice”, they would be looking not to “reinstate” a victory that they actually never achieved, but to discuss an opportunity for the drivers to somehow settle it –as improbable/impossible that situation would be to set up.
Also this bite is interesting:
““Every step of the way it was joint decisions,” Wolff said. “We decided together with Lewis to protest, to launch the appeal and to withdraw the appeal.”
So his good sporting behaviour was all for appearances –TV, social media, etc ?
Is Sore Lew the two-face cysophant that many people have said he is since he first arrived?
17th December 2021, 22:31
I remember Canada 2019 in that incident that led Seb to getting his 5 second penalty. Lewis complained in the car to the team yet supported Seb (in front of the cameras of course) during his post race antics.
Red Andy (@red-andy)
17th December 2021, 18:39
Most sports recognise that officials are acting “in the moment” and often under intense pressure. Coupled with the difficulty of “undoing” a contentious decision, this is why field-of-play decisions are generally allowed to stand even if wrong.
One recent situation that I think is analogous to Abu Dhabi is the 2019 Cricket World Cup final. In the final over of England’s innings, runs were scored in unusual circumstances (the ball was deflected off a player’s bat as he ran between the wickets) and the umpire awarded six runs when – on a strict reading of the rules – he should only have awarded five. If the error had not been made, England would not only have had one fewer run, but a different batsman would have faced the last two balls of the innings. Because of these counterfactuals it was not possible to “reconstruct” how the innings might have ended – you couldn’t just deduct one run from England’s total as the last two balls were influenced by what had gone before. This is basically the same reason why you couldn’t just transpose the lap 57 classification onto the final lap at Abu Dhabi – it’s impossible to know how the race would have ended if the safety car restart had been handled in a different way.
I still don’t think there was much wrong with what happened at Abu Dhabi – it would have been good if everyone had been able to unlap themselves, but if that meant not restarting at all then I’m glad they did what they did – but I can see why Mercedes were persuaded, even if they thought they had a case, that there was no real remedy for them.
17th December 2021, 18:44
Excellent comment. And a perfect response to all those who are saying that Hamilton should be “awarded” the win.
17th December 2021, 18:51
The picking and choosing of which drivers to let pass is something which should never happen again. There’s just no good reason for it.
But overall not much happened between Hamilton and Verstappen that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. If Masi had acted promptly, told the safety car to slow down a bit, let all the lapped cars through in one swoop, then it’d have been a total non-issue.
Some would still have complained that the safety car should go around and around until the end, but as the stewards explained there is no need for that – and the teams all agree that racing should always be the main aim of the event, not counting down laps behind the safety car. Or as Toto Wolff said in Abu Dhabi: “No safety car please”.
18th December 2021, 11:50
The reason surely was that this was the real fight of the race, with most on the stake for the top 2, so Masi chose to create a situation for the top 2 that you would have had if there were enough laps left to handle things normally.
Or a lot. According to the rules, the car could have slowed to a crawl.
You Go Chavez
17th December 2021, 18:55
Not analogous at all.
Whilst we don’t know how the race would have ended if they had restarted the race with cars not unlapping themselves the other option would have meant finishing under the safety car, there were not enough laps left for anything else. With a very high balance of probability all cars would have finished as they were.
Or the race could be cut short and base it on positions on lap 57, F1 does have several provisions for this.
At Spa we saw an example of an extremely shortened race and there was a winner there, should we apply this same logic there?
17th December 2021, 18:59
Only if the race is suspended, which the race in Abu Dhabi was not.
There simply isn’t a way in the rules to take away one lap. Never mind that doing so would mean the race no longer reached the required race distance and thus wouldn’t be a valid result, it simply can’t be done.
You Go Chavez
17th December 2021, 19:03
Ask Winnie Harlow
17th December 2021, 19:12
Winnie Harlow waved the chequered flag. The regs specify that the race ends at the lap they pass 305km, or when the chequered flag is shown (in which case it appears results are then taken back one further lap, I don’t know why), whichever was earlier. There was no chequered flag on lap 57, so that couldn’t be classed as the end of the race.
17th December 2021, 19:09
Yep the regulations make it very clear that the 75% rule for full points only applies if the race has been red flagged and not restarted. With no Red Flag, in Abu Dhabi, this rule could not be activated.
I think there is a potential argument to be made that having one lap less would have still made it a valid race, as 58 laps would be completed, they’re just taking the positions from lap 57. The stewards have the power to “ammend the classification”, the rules go no more specific on it than that. Whether that means they could take results from one lap before and still claim it ran the full distance, I don’t think anybody could knownunless it went to court.. After all, under Red Flag conditions this happens; the race has run until the lap the red flag has shown, but the positions are taken from 2 laps before that. But again, it raises the question of could they apply this procedure outside a red flagged environment, which would be a very on the fence call and would essentially be Merc gambling all or nothing on it working.
17th December 2021, 21:13
Go back to SPA they didn’t get anywhere near 75% of the race completed just 3 laps behind the safety car before the race was red flagged then later declared with half points for the top 10 who just happen to be the top 10 qualifiers in the order they started because it happened behind the safety car.
Biggest winner in SPA, Red Bull & Max Verstappen.
The result in Abu Dhabi was manufactured to give Max the win & deny Lewis his 8th WDC. FFS he was 10 seconds ahead before the accident & Max was never going to catch him let alone pass, it was game over red rover.
18th December 2021, 11:57
Don’t forget that Max earned his pole in Spa on merit. If Lewis had done better there, people would be talking about how he was gifted points at Spa.
Ultimately, cancelling a race has immense financial consequences, so it doesn’t require a conspiracy in favor of a driver for them to go out of their way to make a race count. Don’t forget that Bianchi was killed in part because they didn’t want to cancel the race.
17th December 2021, 19:01
@red-andy I think that’s quite a good analogy that, far from being a cricket fan myself, I hadn’t really considered. However, I disagree with your final paragraph to a certain extent. There was plenty wrong about the final few laps in Abu Dhabi, but none of it directly involved Lewis or Max. I’m not angry or annoyed at who won the title, I would have been fine either way, I’m just incredibly frustrated by how it was won.
17th December 2021, 19:10
Most of the time it is like you said in sports: It is impossible to say how things would’ve gone if this or that hadn’t happen. That is the case in your cricket example also (if I understand it correctly, I don’t actually know what the rules are in cricket).
But Abu Dhabi GP was a rare exception: If Masi had followed the rules after his “any doesn’t mean all” decision, the race would’ve ended behind the safety car. I think it is highly unlikely any of the cars would’ve retired during that one lap behind the safety car, since none of them retired when racing that one lap.
17th December 2021, 19:17
Grosjean crashed under safety car, so there’s you procedent. Cars act differently in varying running conditions too. So what you ‘think’ would happen isn’t what ‘would’ happen. What DID happen though was Max leading the last lap under green racing conditions. There’s no way on earth a court would use a hypothetical order to rearrange and result, over a green flag one that exists. Never gonna happen.
I am not sure what precedent you think you’d create with hypothetical results being made up… but I can tell you it’d not be good for the sport of racing.
17th December 2021, 19:26
I was just commenting on Red Andy’s analogue.
As I said, it is “highly unlikely” the race would’ve ended in any other way than Hamilton being the champion, if Masi had followed the rules after letting (some) unlapped cars to unlap themselves. I didn’t say that it was impossible.
Sure, there is a 0,01 % chance (or something like that) of Hamilton crashing during that one lap behind the SC. And that may be an argument why the result can’t be changed. But let’s not kid ourselves and pretend we can’t know who would’ve (with a 99,99 % chance) won the championship, if Masi had followed the rules.
17th December 2021, 20:14
It’s a pointless argument to have though. Procedural errors happen almost every weekend in motorsport. I just don’t think many people take notice (I do and have complained on SEVERAL occasions of officials breaking regulaiton). But when it happens to them directly suddenly it’s a whole different ball game.
Sure Hamilton probably would have won… but spend 5 minutes in any motorsport paddock in the world and you’ll hear countless tales of “well, I woulda won if…”
18th December 2021, 9:20
But this wasn’t a procedural error. Masi knew the procedure very well and had clearly stated he cannot change them in the past. He chose not to follow them, even though he knew he was required to. It’s very different.
18th December 2021, 12:06
If he actually did understand the rules in and out, including what alternative possibilities there are, he would have done what I suggested, instead of what he did.
Are you seriously going to argue that Masi is highly competent?!
18th December 2021, 19:05
@aapje I’m arguing that he’s run the exact same procedure countless times without fault, and that he’s stated on the record that he must follow that procedure. Given that, it is much more likely that he knew that he was not allowed to do as he did but did it anyway, for whatever reason, than that he just got it wrong this time.
If there were just one or two random cars missed off the list of those who were to be allowed through, I’d call that a procedural error. I would even count not having another lap as such in that case. But it stretches coincidence too far that it was the cars between Max and Lewis, and only the cars between Max and Lewis, which were allowed past. The chances of that happening by accident are so slim that the only reasonable explanation is that he did so purposefully, completely going against the procedure he knows he is obliged to follow.
18th December 2021, 20:09
Being able to follow merely one course of action that follows the guidelines doesn’t show mastery of the guidelines. A master can skirt the guidelines without going over. I suspect that Masi thought that he was following the guidelines, even though he wasn’t.
You are assuming that Masi actually understands that he can’t merely allow some cars to unlap. I’m not that optimistic about his level of preparation and/or his capabilities.
Note that understanding the he didn’t follow standard procedure is not the same as knowingly breaking the rules.
18th December 2021, 20:15
@aapje his previous statements on the issue completely contradict that
18th December 2021, 20:30
Claiming to have principles that he doesn’t have, just makes him human.
17th December 2021, 19:21
@hotbottoms I believe, although I’m not the biggest cricket fan myself, your understanding of Andy’s comment is correct. However, I think part of the problem is what you say there in the final paragraph. It’s highly unlikely they would have had any change in how it ended, but with different circumstances in play, it would be difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt (which I assume is the legal standard required here, but I’m not sure. It might be “on the balance of probabilities”, in which case it would be easier, but likely still not straightforward, to prove). There are an almost infinite number of possibilities that a court would likely have to consider (not individually obviously) that could have affected it, had different circumstances applied during that final lap.
For the record, I do definitely feel that Hamilton was wronged, and nearly a week on I’m still feeling very uneasy about it. However, from my understanding of legal procedure (and I am completely unqualified in law btw, I’m just interested in things like this and had been long before Abu Dhabi), it would have difficult for Merc to actually get a court on side.
17th December 2021, 19:24
As Alan points out above, it’s almost impossible that a court would side with a hypothetical situation over the outcome that actually occurred.
And it would create bad precedent for the future. Not that this weekend hadn’t done that already; I just hope that the investigation concludes that the end of this race should NEVER be used as precedent under any circumstances.
You Go Chavez
18th December 2021, 7:48
Look at Mercedes complaint they weren’t seeking a hypothetical solution.
What they did ask for is the race to end on lap 57. Based on the fact that there was an illegality beyond that.
That seems reasonable considering the impact affected all cars still in the race.
Lap 58 should not count as part of the gp. if they can persuade a court of this there is no need to apply any hypothetical situation as lap 57 and all the preceding laps were actually played out.
The next test would be whether the race could be considered complete with the exclusion of lap 58. There are numerous examples of this being so and for different reasons.
So then a court has two options accept to rule out that one lap or void the entire race.
18th December 2021, 12:15
@You Go Chavez
Yes, their request is to have an outcome that isn’t according to the rules, instead of another outcome that is not according to the rules. But why would a court favor one illegal outcome over another?
Fact is that the teams strategized for 58 laps, not 57.
The irony here is that you are doing wat Masi did: ‘it’s not exactly according to the rules, but I think that it is fair.’
18th December 2021, 12:02
But the argument is that this call to only let some cars pass was illegal, so you can’t then argue that we should take the result with that happening! That’s just cherry picking to engineer a result: if we allow the illegal call to only let some cars past, but require the extra lap for the safety car, then the race would have finished behind the SC and Lewis would be champion.
But you can’t just cherry pick like that!
17th December 2021, 18:48
If they had appealed to the court, then the whole race would have been reviewed. And I think Ham would have received a 10 sec time penalty for gaining an advantage by going off the track during the first few laps. One cannot cherry pick things to be reviewed once the “cat is out of the bag”.
There was enough apparent favoritism on both sides that this could go on forever. Decided on the track, leave it at that.
I still think Ham should have been given a one race ban for punting Ver off the track at Silverstone. Some of the other, older, drivers, would have died with a 52 g impact. JMHO