‘New’ footage from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has gone viral, and even the FIA is “aware”.
Even though the car ‘unveiled’ yesterday was essentially a mock-up, some of Red Bull’s thunder was taken away by new footage that had appeared overnight on social media.
The footage covers the final moments of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and appears to reveal lobbying from Red Bull that was not known about until now.
As the field continues behind the safety car following Nicholas Latifi’s crash, with Max Verstappen on fresh rubber but separated from race leader Lewis Hamilton by a number of cars the Briton had lapped, the new footage has Red Bull, sporting director, Jonathan Wheatley tell Michael Masi: “Those lapped cars; you don’t need to let them go right the way around and catch up with the back of the pack. You only need to let them go, and then we’ve got a motor race on our hands.”
“Understood,” replies the Australian.
The rest is history.
At race end, a distraught Toto Wolff tells Masi that his decision was “not right”, to which the race director responds: “Toto, it’s called a motor race, OK?”
From the moment it appeared on social media there was understandable uproar, and among the first to voice their outrage was former footballer, turned crisp salesman, turned TV pundit, Gary Lineker who tweeted “smelly” in reaction to the footage.
To be clear the footage is not new, it is understood to form part of the footage released by FOM on 16 December, however Wheatley’s comments appear to have been totally overlooked until now.
The footage was released to social media by software engineer ‘@F1_Jordan’, who has 23.2k followers on Twitter, among them Hamilton and Mercedes.
As the investigation into the events of Abu Dhabi continues, the FIA yesterday revealed that it is “aware” of the ‘new’ coverage.
On the face of it, the footage appears to show Masi capitulating to Red Bull’s sporting director, and the fact that the Australian used Wheatley’s “motor race” comment to justify his actions to Wolff, in the eyes of social media users has only compounded the Australian’s ‘guilt’.
If nothing else, the footage is clear proof that the lobbying of officials must cease.
All else aside, one has to ask why now? Why has it taken almost two months for such incendiary footage to be revealed?
Why is it released on the day of the Red Bull launch, and just days after Lewis Hamilton finally emerged from his self-imposed exile.
And why, as surely anyone who has uploaded official F1 footage to social media will attest, has FOM not exercised its strict copyright control.
Indeed, adding to the feeling that this is just a little too convenient, is the fact that the footage even has an ominous, pulsating, rock soundtrack.
Why, it’s almost as though it was put together by a professional movie company…
One final question.
If the footage is accurate and is clear proof that Masi was ‘following orders’, what happens next? Forget what happens to the Australian, what happens in terms of the 2021 title?
Now that’s a conundrum that would surely make great TV.
Cue ominous, pulsating rock soundtrack.