Although there probably isn’t a moment in sports history that was talked about more than the final laps of Abu Dhabi 2021, I think there is something untold. It is not that I want to stir anything at this stage. The best would be, that there was closure for all, especially as on social media, the whole situation keeps being used by individuals to annoy the other drivers fanbase. I have no illusion it will stop soon.
At F1cover.nl, we have discussed it a lot too, so let’s first share our point of view. We are convinced, also due to other decisions in 2021, Masi was impartial towards whoever would win the race and therefore the championship. Actually, who would in his right mind want to influence the outcome of something so good and big as the 2021 F1 season? So, we see a clear distinction between the decision to not end the race under the safetycar and to change the result of the race. This probably needs a bit more explanation. I genuinely think that Masi wanted to do the right thing, which for him was to end the GP racing, without thinking about the possible consequence of that decision. He may have approached it as if there was nothing depending on it and just do what he and the team principals had decided, to try not to end the race under the safetycar. So, it’s not like I think, Masi didn’t know what could happen, it was just not his first thought. And, it is only in hindsight, we all know the byproduct of his decision to not end the race under the safetycar. It was not that clear when Lewis and Max were side by side. At least, we still thought it was terribly exciting having to watch the last lap. It was not a foregone conclusion that Max would have a possibility to overtake Lewis, and as it had happened, the overtake, the MB engine proofed so strong that without DRS and on older tyres, Lewis almost got back.
But, as I said, there seems to be a part of this that isn’t told. Everybody heard all that was said between Masi, Horner (“we only need one racing lap”), Wheatley and Wolff (“Michael, this is so not right”). And also between Max (“typical decision, I’m not surprised”) and Lambiase and Lewis (“will he be right behind me…..on new tyres?”) and Bono (“he will be”).
But, what was the other communication Masi had? Who told him the track was clear? Whenever Masi was on camera, there were at least two other people in the room with him. What did they say? Who are they? Did they want to go racing too and is Masi protecting them from getting death threats too? Or did they suggest otherwise? And have to hold silence now? Would Masi not want backup on a decision to only let the lapped cars in between Lewis and Max pass the safetycar?
At F1cover.nl, we think this part of the story is still not clear. Should it stay that way? Should discussions, if there were any, stay behind closed doors, while other discussions were not? What do you think? Let it go, as it wouldn’t change things anyway?