Kravitz: SC rule change hasn’t put to bed Abu Dhabi questions

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton behind the Safety Car during the Abu Dhabi GP. Yas Marina December 2021.

Lewis Hamilton leads the train behind the Safety Car during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Yas Marina December 2021.

Ted Kravitz feels the FIA have avoided condemning what happened in Abu Dhabi as that would “influence the legitimacy” of Max Verstappen’s championship.

Verstappen won the 2021 World title with a last-lap-of-the-season pass on Lewis Hamilton but that was only after then FIA race director Michael Masi made that possible.

The Australian made the unprecedented call to allow five of the eight lapped cars to unlap themselves, only those standing in the way of a Verstappen attack on Hamilton.

With the path cleared and the race resuming with one lap remaining, the Dutchman attacked at Turn 5, taking the lead, the race win and the World title.

Hamilton and Mercedes were furious with new FIA president Mohammed bin Sulayem announcing that the decision-making during the grand prix would be investigated.

The FIA said at the time: “The outcome of the detailed analysis will be presented to the F1 Commission in February and final decisions will be announced at the World Motor Sport Council in Bahrain on 18 March.”

However, some of those decisions have already been announced.

Masi has lost his job as FIA race director, replacing by a rotating system of two races directors – Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas, while the FIA have also set up a Virtual Race Control Room to help them in their decision-making.

They have also tweaked the Safety Car rule to read that “all cars that have been lapped by the leader will be required to pass the cars on the lead lap and the Safety Car”, it previously say “any”.

What the FIA have not done, at least not yet, is stated in simple terms whether what happened in Abu Dhabi was right or wrong.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and the Red Bull of Max Verstappen start the final lap of the 2021 season. Abu Dhabi December 2021

“It is a strange thing,” Kravitz told Sky Sports, “in the midst of what happened in Abu Dhabi the new incoming president Mohammed bin Sulayem said we will gather together all the information to learn what happened, we’ll hear from the drivers, we’ll hear from the teams involved, we’ll hear from Michael Masi the race director… and did they ever say they’ll make the report public?

“No they didn’t. They said they’d put a report together. Does that report consist in a form they can make public. What would they say?

“We already have all the facts in front of us it would seem. Mercedes believe the rules were not correctly applied, their own rules, the FIA’s rules, were not correctly applied.

“The FIA say okay one rule wasn’t correctly applied, but it covers itself with the race director can more or less do whatever he wants with the Safety Car.

“So they can’t come out and say it was not correctly applied because that would influence the legitimacy of the championship and they don’t want to do that, they can’t do that.

“What they can do is come out and say it wasn’t optimal and this is what we are going to do to change it. The small change to the sporting regulations isn’t coming out and putting to bed all the questions from Abu Dhabi in any way.”


Hamilton is hoping that the FIA does release its full report and that “everyone” gets to see it.

“I’m excited to see the results from that report,” he said. “I think hopefully everyone will get to see it, and to have perhaps a better understanding of everything.

“I think ultimately, like everything, it’s down to understanding where we’ve been, so we can move forwards in a positive light.”


PlanetF1 Verdict


SC tweak hasn’t put to bed Abu Dhabi questions

Ted Kravitz feels that the questions surrounding Abu Dhabi haven't been put to bed with the new rule changes.