FIA needs to give Formula 1 ‘a whole overhaul’

Jon Wilde
Cars pass Safety Car sign during Abu Dhabi GP. Yas Marina December 2021.

Cars pass the Safety Car sign and yellow flag during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Yas Marina December 2021.

BBC Radio 5 Live’s F1 commentators both hope the FIA’s investigation into the events of Abu Dhabi results in beneficial change for the sport.

A “detailed analysis and clarification exercise for the future” due to the “argument that is currently tarnishing the image of the Championship” has been promised after the controversial climax to the 2021 campaign.

Mercedes were hugely aggrieved after decisions made by race director Michael Masi in the decisive moments of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix meant a certain-looking eighth World Championship for Lewis Hamilton turned into a first for Max Verstappen.

Jolyon Palmer and Jack Nicholls are hoping the FIA, now headed by newly-elected president Mohammed bin Sulayem, will use the off-season to come up with new procedures that help to eradicate the chances of similarly unsatisfactory scenarios both during and after races.

Jolyon Palmer at the Malaysian GP. Sepang October 2017.
Jolyon Palmer on the grid at the Malaysian Grand Prix. Sepang October 2017.

“We’ve got to have a shake-up,” said Palmer, who competed in Formula 1 for Renault in the 2016 and 2017 seasons, during the BBC’s Chequered Flag podcast.

“I think Formula 1 is in such a strong position at the end of this season, that’s the irony of it. Formula 1 has had an incredible season, two greats going wheel-to-wheel, many good, fair races, a couple of contentious points. It adds to the drama.

“But the FIA and the governing of these races is where time and time again, there is dissatisfaction.”

Palmer’s colleague on the BBC, Jack Nicholls, says in-race governance needs to be addressed in terms of the decisions made by those responsible for the orchestration of a grand prix while it is in progress.

“There needs to be a whole overhaul at the FIA, I don’t know if that’s race director or stewarding processes,” said Nicholls.

 

In their statement announcing the investigation – which preceded Mercedes declaring they would drop plans to appeal the Abu Dhabi result by only a matter of hours – the FIA said: “The matter will be discussed and addressed with all the teams and drivers to draw any lessons from this situation and clarity to be provided to the participants, media and fans about the current regulations to preserve the competitive nature of our sport, while ensuring the safety of the drivers and officials.

“The FIA will therefore do its utmost to have this in motion within the Formula 1 governance and will propose to the Formula 1 Commission to give a clear mandate for study and proposal to the Sporting Advisory Committee, with the support of Formula 1 drivers, so any identified meaningful feedback and conclusions be made before the beginning of the 2022 season.”

 

PlanetF1 Verdict

FIA needs to give Formula 1 'a whole overhaul'

Jolyon Palmer and Jack Nicholls hope that the investigation into the final race of the season can bring beneficial change to F1.