Chandhok against reversing UAE result after Masi exit

Jon Wilde
Max Verstappen parks his Red Bull in the P1 position after the Abu Dhabi GP. Yas Marina December 2021.

Max Verstappen parks his Red Bull in the P1 position after winning the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Yas Marina December 2021.

Karun Chandhok has rejected any notion that the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix result should be overturned in the wake of Michael Masi being ousted.

The ex-Formula 1 driver thinks Max Verstappen ought to be able to rest easy as World Champion, even though the FIA have all but admitted procedural errors were made that cost Lewis Hamilton the title.

In announcing the “structural changes” promised as a result of the FIA’s investigation into the highly contentious finale in Abu Dhabi, the governing body’s president Mohammed bin Sulayem confirmed Masi would be replaced by a “new race management team” starting with next week’s pre-season unofficial test in Barcelona.

Also, a Virtual Race Control Room will be set up in an FIA office – likened to football’s VAR system – while “unlapping procedures behind the Safety Car will be re-assessed”, that having been a key factor in the Yas Marina controversy.

While nothing was referred to as having been a mistake in Bin Sulayem’s statement, reading between the lines it was obvious the FIA had concluded Masi – who has been offered a “new position” – was at fault.

Therefore, does that mean there are grounds for a new challenge to the result by Mercedes? They had two protests on the day of the race rejected and subsequently dropped plans for a further appeal, in the opinion the process was weighted against them.

Chandhok does not think so, on the basis it cannot be guaranteed Hamilton, on older tyres than Verstappen, would have won the race even if the five lapped cars ordered by Masi to unlap themselves had still been in between them going into the final racing lap.

“I don’t believe the result should be overturned,” said Chandhok during an interview with Sky Sports News.

“I think there are too many variables involved in that process just to clearly say ‘if the lapped cars had been left there, Lewis would have 100% won’.

“I don’t think you can definitively say that. Even Mercedes would definitively not be able to say that. So I don’t think the result can be overturned.”

 

The 38-year-old Indian said based on the data, it is possible that had the lapped cars not been cleared, Hamilton and Verstappen could even have had a drag race along the straight to the chequered flag to decide the race win and the championship.

“I think what they should have done was not allow the lapped cars past and that would have been a fair conclusion,” said Chandhok.

“If he (Verstappen) had the lapped cars in between, he wouldn’t have got past the lapped cars until probably Turn 7 and by that stage Lewis would have gained probably a second and a half.

“They would have ended up at the last corner, when you look at all the numbers and the simulations of the teams, basically alongside each other and it would have been a dramatic finish anyway.”

 

FIA reveal their structural changes

The FIA have revealed Michael Masi will no longer be race director.