Stroll adamant F1 ‘can’t make up rules’ during races

Michelle Foster
Lance Stroll walks away from his crash. Hungary, August 2021.

Lance Stroll walks away from the scene of a crash at the start of the Hungarian Grand Prix. August, 2021.

Formula 1 cannot make up rules as it goes along, with Lance Stroll saying the decision-making in Abu Dhabi was “ridiculous”.

As Formula 1 prepares for the 2022 season, the end of the 2021 championship remains one of the hot topics of conversation as everyone still has their own opinion on matters.

FIA race director Michael Masi courted controversy at the Yas Marina circuit where he allowed only the cars between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen to unlap themselves after a late Safety Car, setting up a one-lap shootout.

The end result was Verstappen securing his maiden World title and Hamilton lost his opportunity to bag a record-breaking eighth crown.

As for Stroll, he was denied an opportunity to fight for a points finish as he was one of the three drivers who were not allowed to unlap themselves.

He feels Formula 1 prioritises the show over the rules.

“My opinion is it was ridiculous we didn’t go back racing the way we should have gone back racing,” he told the media, including PlanetF1, at the launch of the AMR22.

“You can’t change the rules halfway through or towards the end of a race, tell half the cars they can overtake.

“Unfortunately, I was part of the group of the other half who couldn’t overtake, so my soft tyres with the opportunity to pass, to do something, not necessarily but whatever.

“It’s never been done before and I think it’s important we keep rules consistent.

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

“I understand 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 maybe cars didn’t pass soon enough when the Safety Car came out, or the backmarkers weren’t allowed to pass the Safety Car soon enough, then the consequences were we wouldn’t get a whole lap of racing and that’s how it is.

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

“It’s important those things are set in stone.”

Asked if he had spoken with the FIA, he said: “There have been talks, but everyone disappears after Abu Dhabi so I’m sure we’ll touch on it some more – drivers, the FIA and Formula 1 – at the first race.”

Put to him that his team-mate Sebastian Vettel had said Formula 1 should focus on the racing, not the “show”, Stroll says he agrees.

“I think consistency in our sport is not our strongest point. I think Abu Dhabi was just not right, you can’t…the rules are the rules.

“When there is a Safety Car, lapped cars get to overtake the Safety Car and then we go racing. There’s nothing that says half the cars can overtake and half the cars have to stay behind and then we’ll go racing.


“Those things can’t be modified during a race just to put on a show, so I fully agree with Seb’s comments.

“Not going to get into further details but that was an example of more consistency. The rules are the rules – you can’t change or modify the rules for entertainment, it has to be sport first.”


PlanetF1 Verdict


Stroll thought Abu Dhabi climax was “ridiculous”

Lance Stroll thought the race management in the closing stages of the Abu Dhabi finale was ridiculous.