Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2021

F1 must be able to correct consequences of mistakes in race management – Seidl

2022 F1 season

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Formula 1 must accept the possibility mistakes can happen in the running of races and be prepared to correct them, McLaren’s team’s principal Andreas Seidl has said.

Speaking at the launch of the team’s new car for the 2022 F1 season, Seidl addressed the long-running row over the conclusion of last year’s championship in Abu Dhabi two months ago. The F1 Commission will be briefed next week on the outcome of the FIA’s inquiry over the handling of the race, and the disputed last-lap restart following which Max Verstappen overtook Lewis Hamilton to win the race and the world championship.

“It’s clear that what happened in Abu Dhabi was very controversial and was not good for the sport,” Seidl acknowledged. “And because of the analysis that are ongoing I don’t want to go too much into the detail of judging what happened there exactly.

“It’s important now to wait for Monday and then hopefully we can close this topic with a good analysis from the FIA’s side and have good steps in place also have how we can improve for the future.”

FIA F1 race director Michael Masi became a focus of criticism after the race for arranging the restart earlier than the rules appeared to allow, and doing so after only allowing a portion of the lapped drivers to un-lap themselves, in a departure from past practice. Seidl said those involved in the sport need to accept officials are as capable of making mistakes as competitors.

“The beauty of this sport is that it is also, not just on the teams side, but also on the FIA’s side when it comes to the execution of races, a human sport. That we shouldn’t forget.

“I think it’s also important to mention whatever we put in place we’re as guilty as well as the FIA in terms of how the regulations are at the moment, because we were part of creating these regulations.”

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Therefore Seidl believes F1 needs to look at ways it can correct the consequences of errors in the management of races.

“We need to accept mistakes can happen, on the team’s side but also on the FIA’s side. So these things can happen again, for example.

“For me it’s very important as well that we also discuss a racing mechanism where you have, let’s say that we’re in a position that if mistakes happen, where should you raise your hand and admit them and have a mechanism in place in order to correct those mistakes also, or correct the consequences that such mistakes or controversies could have. That is as important as trying to avoid similar controversies in the first place.”

Seidl pointed out the Abu Dhabi row was only the last in a series of disputes over the enforcement of the rules during 2021.

“If you look at the entire season last year a lot of controversial things happened which were not good for the sport. So we need to invest time and energy on the teams’ side together with the FIA to make sure we understand what happened throughout the season and see how we can help by making the regulations, for example, less complex.

“By giving more support to the race director. More support also to the stewards to avoid these controversies, to avoid also these things happening. By making it also easier in terms of policing or the application of rules.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 31 comments on “F1 must be able to correct consequences of mistakes in race management – Seidl”

    1. I like how Seidl made this completely not about the person, but instead about the process, also mentioned that teams, ie. McLaren included had a role to play.

      And then goes to a quite strong implicit blame to the FIA who, unlike most teams who are punished on track when they don’t self-correct and thus had to learn to admit to faults even if only internally, have proven quite reluctant to admit fault even though they as the arbiter, should ideally be the most open about it. Seems consistent with Browns earlier start of the year address and also quite a smart way to go.

      1. @bosyber Indeed. Focusing on the big picture rather than a single individual & even sharing blame between FIA & teams was a wise move.

      2. @bosyber Definitely one of the fairest assessments of this mess I’ve heard so far.

        1. I’m still waiting for someone in and around F1 to face the fact that it was not a ‘mistake’ of any kind @keithcollantine. His first decision was correct from every point of view, so why did he change it, four whole minutes later?

          The outcome has been great for F1 after all. Financially.

        2. Indeed. I ask though. What is the mistake Seidl thinks can be corrected? Is the mistake of initially not allowing lapped cars to unlap or the mistake of going back on that call in the way they did? I agree with everything he says but I don’t think you can have a mechanism to correct mistakes like Abu Dhabi, that is naive, that had to be called right there at that moment.

          1. The mechanism is to write rules and stick to them. The rules are not infallible and will always be open to interpretation. The problem is consistency. And the FiA that do a lot about that, which is the primary failures of 2021. No consistency is how they applied the rules because there’s always “the show” to put on.

      3. We need to accept mistakes can happen, on the team’s side but also on the FIA’s side. So these things can happen again,

        .

        The FIA must accept also that it makes mistakes and have always got things wrong every now and then.

      4. Yeah, it is quite interesting. I think it is a positive focus. One that I can get onboard with.

        This also explains why Danielle and Lando expressed belief that Masi should be given the chance to keep his job, for it is irrelevant whether or not his actions were misguided or deliberate, the bigger organization (FIA) should be reproachable and should fix events like AD.

    2. You can’t just undo choices that were made, in sports or anywhere else in life, because any alternative choice can result in unexpected consequences.

      For me, the fundamental issue is more that inconsistent decisions are made very often and often not due to a lack of information, but apparently because of the mood at that moment of the people involved.

      1. Well I guess you can.
        If the FIA can disqualify a winning car for a micro meter infringement, why can’t the mistake of the stewards be overturned if the steward’s action results in a change of finishing position.

        1. But in this case it was not the stewards decision that resulted in changed positions. They only created a race situation

          1. the situation created was invalid. So, in the events of race it is void.

          2. I think if they wanted to they could end the race at the point the race director made a mistake.
            They also control the appeals process.

            1. Honestly I believe that would be the best recourse in this situation. If they admit the mistake that is. Unfortunately, due to no fault of his own, that would mean Max would have to hand the title to Hamilton. But if we’re dialling back on mistakes made, what about Spa! That “race” afforded points to drivers for following the SC for the entirety, apparently so the FIA could keep the ticket money.

    3. The mistake of annoucing lapped cars were not going to be allowed to unlap was a time sensitive mistake, Masi clearly failed to correct that mistake properly. I ask Seidl how can you correct something that is time sensitive. I’m sorry Seidl you can’t correct mistakes without creating more mistakes.

      1. There was to time sensitivity, the original decision to follow the rules was not time sensitive. It was in fact the correct decision to make. The time sensitivity came when the desision to not follow the rules in order to put on a show. For whatever reason Masi chose not to end the race under the safety car as it should have ended had they followed the rules.

        The two decisions on the table that would have been within the regulations were Red Flag the event, (this was the only time sensitive one) or finish under the SC. Both of those outcomes would have benefited Mercedes/Hamilton. Masi alone or with pressure from Liberty, or the FiA or both, chose to create a third option. There was no time sensitive nothing in that.

        1. There was no rule to end the race under a sc.
          It was the brake fire that took some extra time but at that moment the strategy was already chosen.
          Lewis lost on track, not because the decision. It only created a race situation.

          1. LOL rationalize away. 1*

          2. There was no rule to end the race under a sc.

            The extent to which you go is incredible. First, there’s no need for such a rule in the first place. Second, there were many races that ended with the safety car, and nothing wrong happened.

            1. Yet you feel the need to pull Erik up on his nonsense. Why do people bite to Erik? His sole intention on this site is to wind people up. Have people not understood this yet?

        2. For whatever reason Masi chose not to end the race under the safety car as it should have ended had they followed the rules.

          The reason Masi originally left the lapped cars in place was to make sure he could end the race under green. It was never going to end under the SC.

          This is because the rules require an extra SC lap if lapped cars are released, and Masi knew this. It’s his specialist subject. He knew that with a messy crash on Lap 52 of 58 he might not have that extra lap to play with.

          Perhaps also he’s a sporting person who felt that Hamilton having had a 15s lead deserved better than to have Verstappen set up for an easy win. Or both. And perhaps also he was counting on 5 lapped cars to make it more of an exciting finish.

          So Masi was perfect, initially. Ethical, correct, well-informed, aware, everything. He had no motive at all for suddenly bringing an obvious nightmare down on his own head.

          1. You’re correct. That was indeed the third option, I forgot and Masi’s first choice. Not a common choice but a choice that would also have been within the regulations.

            1. Thanks, yes and everyone is supposed to forget. Imo Masi was the good guy and he was set up. None of the media dares to mention this pretty obvious truth – that he changed his mind from the perfect, legal, drama-friendly decision to the one that we saw.

              Even this latest mysterious re-release of the radio is probably intended to move the focus onto Red Bull as the active force, causing stress, confusion and ‘a mistake’, and away from the strong likelihood that simply his bosses intervened; with the stewards also of course.

          2. Wouldn’t have been an exciting finish with 5 lapped cars inbetween, it was barely possible to pass hamilton as it is, if you didn’t notice how he almost overtook verstappen again.

            1. Rubbish. Hamilton put up a fight, making a lunge to try to take the place back, but it was going to take a miracle for Verstappen not to win as things were. He had an entire lap on brand new softs to do so. It was as close to inevitable as makes no difference, and trying to say that a desperate lunge means it was “barely possible to pass Hamilton” is beyond ridiculous.

            2. We’d have had possibly the greatest, boldest overtaker there has ever been, on fresh Softs, getting past 5 backmarkers on old tyres with blue flags, no reason to resist and knowing he was coming. He’d have been past them all by turn 5. Or worst case, Turn 6 with a tow.

              Then he’d have been 3-4s behind, chasing.

              That’s far more drama than simply deciding exactly where to pass Hamilton, with not only far more grip and traction but a higher top speed too. But after Turn 9 he couldn’t have actually got past, that was the problem.

              F1 tried this drama argument at the time but it didn’t fly. That’s why they’ve gone for the radio/stress/mistake version, that they’ve got their passholders pushing. Even Brundle has been chanting the green flag finish fakery, knowing it’s false. The ongoing dishonesty, through the whole of F1, is worse than the original event.

    4. I understand that changing the race results after a long period of time could things even more. I’m not necessarily recommending it in this case…however there is a clear cut path: if Masi had followed the rules, the race would have ended under a safety car. That’s a very clear cut result. No guessing or what-if scenarios re: who would have been faster, etc. And that would be completely fair. The drivers would have been in their respective positions before the safety based on their performance in the race to that point. Ending on the safety car is the decision and that would been made *in any other race*. Making an exception in the last race for entertainment considerations goes against the primary premise of F1: ALL RACES ARE OF EQUAL IMPORTANCE re: rules. etc. Violating that should NEVER be unacceptable!

    5. The thing is, as Toto, Brown and now Seidl are saying, you can’t mark your own homework. Instead of justifying the decision, Masi (FIA) should look whether the decisions made are correct. That’s a small difference, but pivotal to race fairly and be as consistent as possible. So if a mistake is made, it’s ok. But be able to put your hand up and correct it instead of looking for ways to justify it.

      Regarding this decision, it was not by the rules. However, Max did nothing wrong here. So stop the blaming game.

      1. Neither did the leading car and those that were not allowed to unlap.

    6. That is absolute rubbish. Results after the checkered flag should only change if car was illegal or for penalties applied during the race and nothing else.

      1. What about it the team and/or driver were found to have cheated, after the race? The car was legal and no penalty was applied during the race, yet your statement suggests you believe the result should stand.

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