Liverpool VAR controversy reignites tense debate over Abu Dhabi 2021

Jamie Woodhouse
Max Verstappen takes the chequered flag at 2021 Abu Dhabi GP.

Max Verstappen takes the chequered flag to win the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Alpine’s Pierre Gasly can see the parallels between the controversial 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the VAR drama recently suffered by Liverpool in the world of football.

To this day that visit to Yas Marina Circuit in 2021 crops back up in Formula 1 conversations, the decision-making of then race director Michael Masi having had a direct impact on the result of the epic title tussle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

And now, an incident relating to the Video Assistant Referee [VAR] verdict in the Premier League game between Liverpool and Tottenham has been likened to that controversial 2021 title-decider.

Pierre Gasly on Abu Dhabi 2021 thoughts after Liverpool controversy

Liverpool had a goal disallowed for offside in what was ultimately a 2-1 defeat to Tottenham, the call incorrect with the audio having since been released to reveal the debacle behind that error.

For reference, the FIA post-Abu Dhabi would admit that human error played a role in the outcome, though like with this VAR outcome in the Liverpool versus Tottenham game, the result was deemed final.

Put to him by Sky F1 reporter Craig Slater ahead of the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix that people are likening this incident to Abu Dhabi 2021, though “it’s hard to go back and change things”, Gasly replied: “The thing with Liverpool was a bit of a surprise and definitely a talking point for the weekend coming here.

“We had the conversation last night. You know, I was definitely listening to the comments that were made.

“There were definitely some [who] thought about Abu Dhabi 2021. Sometimes things… you know, it’s sport.

“Referees also make mistakes. I must say, it’s tough to swallow when you’re on the wrong side of it.

“It’s sport – even though it shouldn’t happen, sometimes it does.” recommends

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Gasly’s former Red Bull team-mate Verstappen will be hoping for no controversy or obstacles as he sets about securing his third World Championship title in as many years at the Qatar Grand Prix.

The runaway Championship leader knows that a top-six finish in the Qatar sprint is all that is required to secure the crown.

As for Hamilton, he will look to further boost his hopes of claiming the runner-up spot to Verstappen in the standings, his deficit to Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez standing at 33 points ahead of this trip to the Lusail International Circuit.

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