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  1. #1
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    Was order to unlap legally within the regulations?

    The regulation for the 2021 season can be found here https://www.fia.com/sites/default/fi...2020-12-16.pdf This version appears to be a draft version but the wording still holds. The final version can be downloaded from here

    There are two areas where the decision of the Race Control would be called into question, namely; section 48.12 and section 48.13. I shall try to explain.

    section 48.12 states:

    48.12 If the clerk of the course considers it safe to do so, and the message "LAPPED CARS MAY NOW OVERTAKE" has been sent to all Competitors via the official messaging system, any cars that have been lapped by the leader will be required to pass the cars on the lead lap and the safety car.
    This will only apply to cars that were lapped at the time they crossed the Line at the end of the lap during which they crossed the first Safety Car line for the second time after the safety car was deployed.
    Having overtaken the cars on the lead lap and the safety car these cars should then proceed around the track at an appropriate speed, without overtaking, and make every effort to take up position at the back of the line of cars behind the safety car. Whilst they are overtaking, and in order to ensure this may be carried out safely, the cars on the lead lap must always stay on the racing line unless deviating from it is unavoidable. Unless the clerk of the course considers the presence of the safety car is still necessary, once the last lapped car has passed the leader the safety car will return to the pits at the end of the following lap.
    If the clerk of the course considers track conditions are unsuitable for overtaking the message "OVERTAKING WILL NOT BE PERMITTED" will be sent to all Competitors via the official messaging system.

    And section 48.13 states :-

    48.13 When the clerk of the course decides it is safe to call in the safety car the message "SAFETY CAR IN THIS LAP" will be sent to all Competitors via the official messaging system and the car's orange lights will be extinguished. This will be the signal to the Competitors and drivers that it will be entering the pit lane at the end of that lap.
    At this point the first car in line behind the safety car may dictate the pace and, if necessary, fall more than ten car lengths behind it.
    In order to avoid the likelihood of accidents before the safety car returns to the pits, from the point at which the lights on the car are turned out drivers must proceed at a pace which involves no erratic acceleration or braking nor any other manoeuvre which is likely to endanger other drivers or impede the restart.
    As the safety car is approaching the pit entry the SC boards will be withdrawn and, other than on the last lap of the sprint qualifying session or the race, as the leader approaches the Line the yellow flags will be withdrawn and a green flag and/or green light panel will be displayed at the Line.


    The Mercedes Case:-

    1. The instructions by the Race Control for only the first five cars to overtake contravenes section 48.12. In particular the highlighted area above.

    2. If the lap after the Safety Car has entered the pits is the last lap of the race, YELLOW FLAG condition continues to apply. The Yellow flag can only be withdrawn if it is not the last lap of the race. THIS IS INCORRECT. The highlighted part of section 48.13 only applies if the lap the safety car pulled into the pit was the actual last lap. Not the lap before the last lap. So no foul here.

    There are suggestions by some that section 48.13 overrides section 48.12. This is very incorrect as well. There is direct or implicit wording that expressly changes the procedure in section 48.12 by 48.13. They each deal with very different contexts of things that should happen during the process of the safety car withdrawal. Most importantly, 48.13 only applies after the procedures of 48.12 has occurred. It would be fanciful to assume the rules that happen after overrides the rules that happen before. In simple terms, Race Control is required to follow 48.12 before the safety car is called in. 48.13 is what happens after the procedures of 48.12 has been completed.

    So there are lots of people out there with microphones with very little idea of what they are talking about.

    In bullet point one, this goes to evidence that Race Control manipulated the race to produce the outcome that transpired.

    Masi is so incompetent he did not realize these simple rules in the regulations. I think he is toast.

    There is a very good chance that Race Control's misapplication of the rules may result in Verstappen being stripped of the driver's title. Which would be very unfortunate if that happens.
    Last edited by Nitrodaze; 13th December 2021 at 17:50.
    Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.
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    “any cars that have been lapped by the leader will be required to pass the cars on the lead lap and the Safety Car”.

    It seems clear that "any" in this case implies "all" , and all must pass before the race can be resumed .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bagwan View Post
    “any cars that have been lapped by the leader will be required to pass the cars on the lead lap and the Safety Car”.

    It seems clear that "any" in this case implies "all" , and all must pass before the race can be resumed .
    The key is "the message "LAPPED CARS MAY NOW OVERTAKE" has been sent to all Competitors". Which mean the message should be sent to every team and car. The consequence of that is "any car" equates to "all cars" that have been previously lapped.
    Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.
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    I don't see a way out of this one for the Stewards. The procedure was not correctly followed and I can't see any argument that can alter that position. Masi's decision was outside the rules and gifted the championship to Max. The more I think about it the more ridiculous it becomes. They either revert the finishing order to the safety car finish or I think Mercedes would be well within their rights to say if this is the way things are going to be we're out of here and give them the two fingers. What happened today is a disaster for the sport. Masi cannot be allowed to remain race director regardless. If he doesn't know these basic procedures and cannot follow them he doesn't belong in that position.

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    Looks like they rejected the second appeal as well. I don't think this is the end of this.

  6. Likes: N. Jones (12th December 2021),truefan72 (12th December 2021)
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    Senior Member F1nKS's Avatar
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    What is the real intent of the rule - to get those drivers out of the way for those who are racing for the finish.

    Masi made the decision that would allow the race to actually finish as a race. It was bad luck for Mercedes, but this is on Mercedes because they made bad strategy choices and it bit them.

    I was actually surprised Masi didn't red flag the race at the crash.

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    I'm still quite stunned by what Masi did today. He effectively gifted Max the championship. If I were Mercedes I would wreck F1 over this if it isn't reversed. Cancel all Netflix deals, pull out of the sport. You can't have an official gifting a championship like that. It's outrageous. At the very minimum Masi cannot ever direct a race again. He's a fool that's in over his head. It's a shame a clown that's in over his head decided the fate of probably the best world championship ever.

  9. Likes: N. Jones (13th December 2021)
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    Senior Member N. Jones's Avatar
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    These comments make me feel even more strongly that Masi is not fit to be race director. His actions these last few GPs have harmed this wonderful season (not dismissing what Red Bull and Mercedes have got up to).
    " Lady - I'm in an awful dilemma.
    Moe - Yeah, I never cared much for these foreign cars either."

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nKS View Post
    What is the real intent of the rule - to get those drivers out of the way for those who are racing for the finish.

    Masi made the decision that would allow the race to actually finish as a race. It was bad luck for Mercedes, but this is on Mercedes because they made bad strategy choices and it bit them.

    I was actually surprised Masi didn't red flag the race at the crash.
    We understand his intention. His job is to implement the 2021 sporting regulations. The question is, did Race Control implement the rules to the expectation of the competitors?

    They have stated that section 15.3 allows them to ignore the wording of section 48.12. And they are relying on 15.3(e). But that section only concerns the power to deploy or withdraw the safety car. All procedures for deploying or withdrawing the safety car is outside the powers in section 15 3(e). We have not heard the last of this. And it could have unexpected consequences if the FIA does not sort this out in a manner that satisfies Mercedes. The steward's review was not very respectful to Mercedes.

    SECTION 15.3


    15.3 The clerk of the course shall work in permanent consultation with the Race Director. The Race Director shall have overriding authority in the following matters and the clerk of the course may give orders in respect of them only with his express agreement:
    a) The control of practice, sprint qualifying session and the race, adherence to the timetable
    and, if he deems it necessary, the making of any proposal to the stewards to modify the timetable in accordance with the Code or Sporting Regulations.
    b) The stopping of any car in accordance with the Code or Sporting Regulations.
    c) The stopping of practice, suspension of a sprint qualifying session or suspension of the race in accordance with the Sporting Regulations if he deems it unsafe to continue and ensuring that the correct restart procedure is carried out.
    d) The starting procedure.
    e) The use of the safety car.


    Section 15.3(e) simply says the Race Director has the power to order the deployment and withdrawal of the safety car at his discretion. By their ruling, they have extended the limits of this power. I think Mercedes would challenge the interpretation of section 15.3(e) to find out if the power intended by section 15.3(e) was correctly understood by Race Control and the Race Director.

    It comes down to whether the FIA would back Masi at the expense of upsetting Mercedes. If they back Masi, then they will be opening a new can of worms by saying the rules are open to interpretation of the Race Director and are only there as a guide. This would be very problematic as it would open up the regulation to various interpretations depending on the politics of the moment.

    If the FIA does not agree with Masi, it is very difficult for Masi to continue to hold that position going forward. As there would be a serious dent in Masi's integrity. He would not be able to command the respect of the paddock as a consequence. Mercedes and most of the grid would not trust Masi after this race weekend anyway.

    I am very certain that if it goes to a judicial court, the wording of the regulations would be taken for its worded meaning. The power to control the use of a car, does not imply changes to the surrounding procedures stipulated in other parts of the regulation that details how to go about effecting the use of the car. Mainly because the section did not expressly say so or clearly allude to it. And there are no precedent to help the courts see any foundation for Race Controls interpretation.

    Hence, 15.3(e) does not give the Race Director carte blanche to do as he pleases with all parts of the regulation with respect to his powers of the use of the safety car. It simply says he can use the safety car at his discretion, but particularly when in his discretion he thinks there is an unsafe situation in the venue or on the track. Sections 48.12 and 48.13 is there to protect the participants and ensure fair competition. And it is outside the discretion of the Race Director. He is obliged to follow it [48.12 and 48.13] to the letter as it is his job to do if he were doing it competently.

    This could turn out to be a very expensive mistake from Masi as it could cost the F1 Management and the FIA very dearly if this ends up in a judicial court. The damages could be quite high indeed if Mercedes and Hamilton were to be successful. Depending on which country the case is brought, it could also trigger criminal investigations and have police authorities nosing through all of the FIA and F1 Management's computers, race transcripts, phone calls, bank accounts and all paper documents. It could disrupt F1 for a couple of seasons at least.

    After the 2021 regulation punished Mercedes severely, for the season to also end in this way, one can see how this would not seat well with Mercedes. I hope it does not result in the beginning of Mercedes' withdrawal from the formula. But if it did, l would not be surprised at all.
    Last edited by Nitrodaze; 13th December 2021 at 18:15.
    Better a witty fool than a foolish wit.
    William Shakespeare

  12. Likes: The Black Knight (13th December 2021)
  13. #10
    Senior Member F1nKS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Black Knight View Post
    I'm still quite stunned by what Masi did today. He effectively gifted Max the championship. If I were Mercedes I would wreck F1 over this if it isn't reversed. Cancel all Netflix deals, pull out of the sport.
    Mercedes Racing is a billion-dollar sports and entertainment franchise. Toto not going to throw his investment away for spite. Nor would I expect Ineos. Now maybe Daimler will get rid of their 1/3 share - but that been the rumor that they wanted out of F1 racing anyway.

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