Max Verstappen Keeps His Championship Title After Mercedes Protests Are Thrown Out – WTF1

Max Verstappen Keeps His Championship Title After Mercedes Protests Are Thrown Out

Hours after the chequered flag was flown, both protests from Mercedes have now been dismissed and Max Verstappen keeps his title as the 2021 F1 World Champion. WHAT A FLIPPIN DRAMA THIS HAS ALL BEEN. 

With Mercedes appeal about Max potentially overtaking Lewis Hamilton being thrown out first, what followed next was about select lapped cars being allowed to pass the safety car in the final moments of the race, which allowed Verstappen to close up to Hamilton and ultimately pass him for the lead of the race on the final lap. 

The Claims of Mercedes:

Mercedes claimed that there were two breaches of the Sporting Regulations (Article 48.12) namely that which states “..any cars that have been lapped by the leader will be required to pass the cars on the lead lap and the safety car” and “…once the last lapped car has passed the leader the safety car will return to the pits at the end of the following lap.

Mercedes argued that had this been complied with, Car 44 would have won the race.

They therefore requested the Stewards to amend the Classification under Article 11.9.3.h of the FIA International Sporting Code.

Red Bull’s Arguments In Defence:

Red Bull argued that:

  1. “Any” does not mean “all”.
  2. The Article 48.13 of the Sporting Regulations states that the message “Safety Car in this lap” is the signal that it will enter the pit lane at the end of that lap.
  3. That therefore Article48.13 “overrides” Article 48.12.
  4. That Article15.3 gives the Race Director“overriding authority”over“the use of the safety car”.
  5. That even if all cars that had been lapped (8 in total, of which 5 were allowed to overtake the safety car) it would not have changed the outcome of the race.

Race Director’s Evidence:

The Race Director stated that the purpose of Article 48.12 was to remove those lapped cars that would “interfere” in the racing between the leaders and that in his view Article 48.13 was the one that applied in this case.

The Race Director also stated that it had long been agreed by all the Teams that where possible it was highly desirable for the race to end in a “green” condition (i.e. not under a Safety Car).

Conclusions Of The Stewards:

The Stewards consider that the protest is admissible.

Having considered the various statements made by the parties the Stewards determine the following:

That Article 15.3 allows the Race Director to control the use of the safety car, which in our determination includes its deployment and withdrawal.

That although Article 48.12 may not have been applied fully, in relation to the safety car returning to the pits at the end of the following lap, Article 48.13 overrides that and once the message “Safety Car in this lap” has been displayed, it is mandatory to withdraw the safety car at the end of that lap.

That notwithstanding Mercedes’ request that the Stewards remediate the matter by amending the classification to reflect the positions at the end of the penultimate lap, this is a step that the Stewards believe is effectively shortening the race retrospectively, and hence not appropriate.

Accordingly, the Protest is dismissed. The Protest Deposit is not refunded.

This article will be updated. 

8 thoughts on “Max Verstappen Keeps His Championship Title After Mercedes Protests Are Thrown Out

  • If masi wanted a good end he would have red flagged to make the championship end with a straight up duel over 3 laps or so. Not the mess he made breaking his own rules.

  • This race ended as an absolute joke. Once again Massi and the FIA purposefully alter results. You can tell when Horner says “we only need one lap” and then Massi tells Toto “it’s moto racing”. HMMMMMMMMMM

  • karthikeya akula says:

    Wonder why he didn’t just red flag. It would have been all even Stevens for the decider. Anyways formula 1 as a sport must be enjoying a new champion.

  • disqus_hGbk8mb3Ac says:

    If the court can’t strip the championship (which I think they should, rules were broken and Max can surely see that) even if Horner was the one doing the cheating rather than Max in the end. Last race we had Deal or No Deal, now we had Horner doing ‘Jedi Jim’ from The Apprentice getting people to change their minds. If the championship can’t go to the contender who drove the better race in a straight shoot out, then they should at least strip the ability to run #1 for 2022.

    Honestly I feel more sorry for Massa (raced cleanly, finished the race in the position he needed to be in to win and couldn’t be blamed for thinking that it was his; never then won) than I would for Max here. This is just another green light to his I pass or we crash attitude. His failed attempt to have Hamilton penalised after running him off isn’t going to teach him now.

    If the roles were reversed I don’t think Lewis would have taken it, the record could never have truly been broken when the rules went with it. I thought Lewis would win until Bottas qualified way back when I switched to Max, now I think we’ve just seen a guy robbed of his final championship when for Max, it was only a matter of time until he won one.

    Red Bull’s point 5 is unlikely and they know it, if Max had won under those circumstances then I wouldn’t be posting here and would accept the result as until the end, he had driven the better season. If Hamilton kept it on the road in Baku Masi’s meddling in Spa, Saudi (he can have this penalty because it does nothing) and Abu Dhabi wouldn’t even have mattered.

    It is mandatory to withdraw the safety car after the message is displayed, is it? Funny, I think it’d have stayed out if someone had dropped it under the safety car (at a minimum) and if Horner had been in Toto’s place, Perez would be parking it or worse to ensure that outcome.

    That was not a race, they left Hamilton a sitting duck when if Masi was concerned about racing he would have red flagged laps earlier. I criticised Merc’s decision to cover Max’s stop rather than having faith in their different strategy, but in the end they knew the rules when they didn’t stop under the SC. Masi either didn’t or didn’t care.

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