Vettel hopes Masi "sticks around" but calls for F1 rules clarity

Sebastian Vettel hopes under-fire Formula 1 race director Michael Masi “sticks around” but feels the series must offer clarity of the rules amid the fallout from Abu Dhabi.

Vettel hopes Masi "sticks around" but calls for F1 rules clarity

Masi’s future is in doubt as the FIA completes an investigation into the decisions taken in the closing stages of last year’s season finale that ultimately helped decide the world championship.

Max Verstappen overtook Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the race, but Masi failed to implement at least two articles of the sporting regulations when restarting the race following a safety car, including allowing all lapped cars to unlap themselves.

The FIA is understood to be considering a change in the structure of its F1 operations moving forward, ensuring the race director has greater support in the future.

Asked by Autosport for his thoughts on Abu Dhabi and the FIA investigation, Vettel stressed the need to “focus on the sport and not so much on the show” in F1.

“Obviously I was in the race and wondering why we're not released earlier in order to get the race started again, but I guess there's a protocol and rules,” Vettel said.

“I think the main thing is that going forwards there's clarity what's happening in these sort of situations and no questions asked anymore.”

Talking about the balance between the sport and the show, Vettel felt it was a “pity” there had been “clashing” of the interests, and expressed his hope that Masi would continue as race director.

“It’s not the easiest sometimes to be in the shoes of the referee or Michael's shoes, but I think he's done a great job, especially after filling in after Charlie [Whiting] passed away so sudden,” Vettel said.

“He really has been very, very focused and determined to do a good job. So I don't know what's his future, but I hope he sticks around, because I think he overall, he did a very, very good job.

“I think there's a lot of controversy for the last race, but there shouldn't be. If you look at the bigger picture, he's done really well.”

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, Lance Stroll, Aston Martin

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, Lance Stroll, Aston Martin

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Vettel’s Aston Martin team-mate Lance Stroll was one of the drivers prevented from unlapping themselves in Abu Dhabi after race control only instructed those between Verstappen and Hamilton on-track to pass the safety car.

Stroll said he thought it was a “ridiculous” decision when asked for his view on the call by Autosport, and urged greater consistency in the future.

Read Also:

“We can’t change the rules halfway through, or at the end of a race, tell half the cars they can overtake,” Stroll said.

“Unfortunately I was part of the group of the other half of the cars that couldn’t overtake on brand new soft tyres with the opportunity to pass and maybe do something, not necessarily, but whatever.

“It’s just never been done before, and I think it’s important that we keep rules consistent. I understand that it’s great to go racing and everyone wants to see the last lap of the race and the two drivers fighting for the world championship go head-to-head with one lap to go.

“But we can’t be making up rules at the end of a race like that. It has to be set in stone. If there was maybe an error where cars didn’t pass soon enough when the safety car came out or back markers weren’t allowed to pass the safety car early enough, and the consequence is we won’t get a whole lap of racing, well then that’s how it is.

“The rules have to be consistent. In Formula 1, we’ve seen some inconsistency in penalties and decision-making, and I think this was just maybe a little bit too much.”

shares
comments

Related video

The key features of Aston Martin's 2022 F1 car
Previous article

The key features of Aston Martin's 2022 F1 car

Next article

Green: Aston Martin will take “best of all” as new recruits join

Green: Aston Martin will take “best of all” as new recruits join
The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023 Plus

The crucial tech changes F1 teams must adapt to in 2023

Changes to the regulations for season two of Formula 1's ground-effects era aim to smooth out last year’s troubles and shut down loopholes. But what areas have been targeted, and what impact will this have?

Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history? Plus

Are these the 50 quickest drivers in F1 history?

Who are the quickest drivers in Formula 1 history? LUKE SMITH asked a jury of experienced and international panel of experts and F1 insiders. Some of them have worked closely with F1’s fastest-ever drivers – so who better to vote on our all-time top 50? We’re talking all-out speed here rather than size of trophy cabinet, so the results may surprise you…

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2023
One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1 Plus

One easy way the FIA could instantly improve F1

OPINION: During what is traditionally a very quiet time of year in the Formula 1 news cycle, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has been generating headlines. He’s been commenting on massive topics in a championship that loves them, but also addressing necessary smaller changes too. Here we suggest a further refinement that would be a big boon to fans

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
How can McLaren keep hold of Norris? Plus

How can McLaren keep hold of Norris?

Lando Norris is no longer the young cheeky-chappy at McLaren; he’s now the established ace. And F1's big guns will come calling if the team can’t give him a competitive car. Here's what the team needs to do to retain its prize asset

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2023
What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make? Plus

What difference did F1's fastest pitstops of 2022 make?

While a quick pitstop can make all the difference to the outcome of a Formula 1 race, most team managers say consistency is more important than pure speed. MATT KEW analyses the fastest pitstops from last season to see which ones – if any – made a genuine impact

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2023
When F1 ‘holiday’ races kept drivers busy through the winter Plus

When F1 ‘holiday’ races kept drivers busy through the winter

Modern Formula 1 fans have grown accustomed to a lull in racing during winter in the northern hemisphere. But, as MAURICE HAMILTON explains, there was a time when teams headed south of the equator rather than bunkering down in the factory. And why not? There was fun to be had, money to be made and reputations to forge…

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2023
What Porsche social media frenzy says about F1’s manufacturer allure Plus

What Porsche social media frenzy says about F1’s manufacturer allure

Porsche whipped up a frenzy thanks to a cryptic social media post last week and, although it turned out to be a false alarm, it also highlighted why manufacturers remain such an important element in terms of the attraction that they bring to F1. It is little wonder that several other manufacturers are bidding for a slice of the action

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2023
Why the new Williams boss shouldn’t avoid ‘Mercedes B-team’ comparisons Plus

Why the new Williams boss shouldn’t avoid ‘Mercedes B-team’ comparisons

OPINION: Williams has moved to replace the departed Jost Capito by appointing former Mercedes chief strategist James Vowles as its new team principal. But while he has sought to play down the idea of moulding his new squad into a vision of his old one, some overlap is only to be expected and perhaps shouldn't be shied away from

Formula 1
Jan 17, 2023