Why the FIA Formula 1 safety car review is a complete joke

19-01-2022 09:00

Last month’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was a farcical end to a thrilling title battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. The latter was crowned victorious, and Hamilton and Mercedes conceeded defeat, but they still await the report from the FIA review into the incident. We won’t dwell on the race too much, but rather I’ll be focusing on why the review and the timing of it is a complete and utter joke, and why I think fans are starting to see through it.

So what exactly is the review about?

Well it is basically going to look into the use of the safety car and how it is deployed and withdrawn. The inquiry will be led by FIA secretary general for motorsport Peter Bayer. The inquiry was confirmed in the days following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, however, the first meeting with Toto Wolff only took place the other week.

On 19 January, which is just a few days away as of recording, Bayer will chair a meeting of the FIA's sporting advisory committee, on which sit the sporting directors of all the F1 teams, to discuss the use of the safety car. Similar discussions will then be held with all the drivers which Hamilton is expected to take part in. Topics discussed in these meetings are likely to vary from the deployment of the safety car in Abu Dhabi to the consistency of how rules were applied across the board last season.

Bayer will then present his findings to the F1 Commision in February before the report is published on March 18th, which is the day before the season starts in Bahrain! Now you can probably tell from my voice that it doesn’t sit right with me. First of all why can’t this be published as soon as it’s been presented the new FIA president Ben Sulayem, what are we waiting for? The FIA could be hoping it all blows over, but much like a certain party, this isn’t going anywhere. Mercedes and Hamilton in particular want clarity. Why oh why do the FIA think it is appropriate to announce it the day before the season opener? In my opinion there’s two reasons they’ve decided on this date and unfortunately they’re both quite synical. 

Why is it going to take so long?

First of all is Netflix. Drive to Survive is booming around the world, I personally hate the series, I don’t find it interesting and I think the novelty has worn off. I think much like the decision that’s caused this situation, it’s done to give Netflix a reason to keep signing on, keep producing series of Drive to Survive. The more drama and controversey the sport is throwing up, the more reason for them to keep producing it. Lando Norris said after the race in Abu Dhabi that it was “made for TV” and so is this, in my opinion. The biggest season opener in history with a monumental decision announced 24 hours prior, what more do the cameras need. 

The other reason is that they’re hoping it all blows over. They’re probably thinking if we leave it a couple of months and announce it on the eve of the first race, it will just get buried amongst everything else that is going on that weekend, new season, new rules, but no chance this will rumble on for a long time.

Stay or go

I can’t see a way where Hamilton stays whilst Michael Masi is in charge. Do F1 say goodbye to Michael Masi, or do they let the sport’s most succesful driver walk away?

There’s loads of other problems that this causes. How can the changes be implemented 48 hours before a race, especially with a whole new set of regulations anyway.

To sum it all up I think the whole thing is a shambles, I’m very synical about it but it’s an embarassing situation and one I hope is resolved sooner rather than later because I am sick of hearing about it. 

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