F1 needs to ‘close the topic’ of Abu Dhabi in crunch meeting

The FIA is set to present the findings of its investigation into the handling of the contentious Safety Car period at the 2021 season finale to the teams in a meeting of the F1 Commission on Monday. The proposals will then by rubber-stamped by the FIA World Motor Sport Council on March 18, two days before the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

Race director Michael Masi failed to implement the rules correctly during the late Safety Car period and his decision-making ultimately altered the outcome of the world championship, enabling Max Verstappen to overtake long-time race leader Lewis Hamilton in a last-lap shoot-out.  

Seidl wants a detailed and comprehensive outcome from the FIA in Monday’s meeting so that F1 can finally move on from the controversy of Yas Marina. 

“It is clear what happened in Abu Dhabi was very controversial and was not good for the sport,” Seidl told media including Crash.net ahead of McLaren’s launch of its 2022 car. 

“Because of the analysis that is ongoing and this still being an open case, I don’t want to go too much into detail in 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, with some good steps of how we can improve for the future.” 

Seidl emphasised that Abu Dhabi was just one of several controversial decisions made by the officials during the 2021 season. 

“If you look at the whole season last year, a lot of controversial things happened, which overall were not good for the sport,” he added. 

“We need to invest time and energy on the team 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 less complex, by giving more support to the race director, and by giving more support also to the stewards to avoid these controversies, to avoid also mistakes from happening, by simply making it easier in terms of policing or the application of rules.” 

And Seidl thinks the FIA needs to put a system in place in order to make it easier to correct such controversies when mistakes happen in the future. 

“The beauty of the sport, not just on the team side but also the FIA side when it comes to the execution of races, is that it is a human sport,” he explained. 

“So we need to accept mistakes can happen on the team side, but also on the FIA side – and mistakes can happen again. 

“For me it is very important that we also discuss that if you are in the position that mistakes happen, you actually raise your hand and admit them, and have a mechanism in place in order to correct the consequences of such mistakes, or correct the controversies you could have. 

“That is as important as trying to avoid similar controversies in the first place.


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