Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have both had their final race of the 2021 F1 season come under great scrutiny thanks to its controversial ending. And now, it’s safe to say that the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has had quite the effect on the sport as not only has Michael Masi lost his position as race director, but teams and drivers are now talking about the accountability of the decisions made during racing.
Masi was replaced by two new directors who will also have support from a senior advisor, but F1 fans, drivers, and teams, are asking for greater consistency between the choices made during each race.
7-time world champion Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes gave his views on the bias between stewards in an interview with Autosport.
“We need to make sure we get non-biased stewards too,” Hamilton told the outlet“
Racing drivers, some are very, very good friends with certain individuals. Some travel with certain individuals, and tend to take more of a keen liking to some of them.
“I just think [we need] people who have no bias and are super central when it comes to making decisions.”
Fernando Alonso confirmed Hamilton’s suspicions last year during the Russian Grand Prix, as he revealed he thought there were “different rules for different people”. He also noted that nationality plays a part in these decisions, too.
Masi was keen to bat this down quickly, explaining that the “rules are applied equally for everyone”.
“I want to see more women in the stewards’ room.
“I don’t think we have many, I think last year it was maybe one or two. And I think it would be awesome for them to have a male and female as the two race directors.
“I think that’s a great way of promoting diversity too.”
Of course, the battle between Mercedes and Red Bull, specifically between Hamilton and Max Verstappen, caused a ripple in F1 and forced drivers and teams to discuss how rules are applied to racing. Sergio Perez, teammate to Verstappen and driver of Red Bull, said that having this uncertainty was “a bit in the nature of the sport”. But he agrees that consistency is a must.
“It’s not like football where everything is a lot clearer,” Perez told the press.
“Here, every incident is very different and it’s very hard for the stewards to make decisions.
“But as long as we can have consistency within the stewards to have them more consistently in the races, the same people.
“We also have to support the new race director that comes in. It always takes time. It’s in the nature of our sport. It’s always a debate, it’s not as straightforward as other sports.”
Daniel Ricciardo of McLaren also weighed in:
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“Probably amongst all of us drivers, we’re probably in line with what we think is the way to go racing, but there will still be a bit of a difference and what’s forcing and what’s not.
“So even between us, it’s not always that straightforward. Not an easy job, but if there is some level of consistency.
“That’s all we can ask, and then we know a little bit better what’s right from wrong.”