Rights are Given
F1 (Formula1) have just had the most amazingly entertaining season for many years. Maybe the most amazing season in their history. ( I have watched Formula1 since 1961.) And it was finalized in the last lap (58) of the last race in a season of 22 races consisting of 1239 laps. The last race started with Lewis Hamilton (2021 Champion) and Max Verstappen both on EQUAL POINTS (369.5) for the Championship of 2022.
The final race finished with only one lap to run after a safety car session which started on lap 55. The start of this final lap is the subject of a huge amount of discussion and could finish up in a court of law if Mercedes choose to go that way because the race was won on this last lap by Max Verstappen. (Ed: 23/12/21 Mercedes have decided not to persue this option but IMHO their lack of sportsmanship had already been displayed.) His first Championship win for Red Bull Racing.
The ongoing discussions and arguments about this final-lap are based on the interpretation of the F1 rules and regulations and who-did-what-to-whom and when. All of this is an excellent example of the need for the moral code as defined by RESPECT then Responsibility then Rights (This website). This code is established on the KISS principle and explains the consequences of polarization and complexity ( with particular emphasis on racism and TheLaw respectively) and which now needs to be applied to the SPORT of Formula1.
If we apply the KISS principle these are the factors that allow F1 to exists:
1) DRIVER : F1 was accepted by the FIA as a sport which establishes a DRIVER (of the year) who is Champion of the World.
2) CARS: F1 also establishes a Constructors Champion of the World for the Organization who builds the CAR for the DRIVER to win these Championships. These Organizations invest the money, either because they are true-believers in the SPORT (Williams) or for the huge advertising benefit on the world stage.
3) SAFETY: So as to ensure the SAFETY of the DRIVER there are a number of Rules and Regulations (Laws) that have been put in place. These Laws apply to organisers of the events, the constructors of the venues and the Constructors of the Cars. (No Drivers = No F1).
4) LEVEL PLAYING FIELD: To ensure this aspect of the sport many more Rules and Regulations (Laws) have needed to be put in place to ensure that the Championship should not be able to be bought by excessive investment and that more organisations are able to fund the CARS for a team. No Cars would simply mean No F1. And it is the teams like Red Bull, McLaren, Williams and Haas that MAKE F1 A SPORT. F1 is not solely a commercial enterprise which needs to be operated under a set of lawyer manipulated laws.
5) TEAMS: An F1 Team comprises the organization funding the Team, the engineers, the two CARS AND the two DRIVERS. The Team consists of a huge number of people who design, build, maintain, support and manage the CARS and the DRIVERS. The Team should not need to include lawyers.
6) REFEREE: As in every SPORT there has to be a REFEREE and his team who can guide the Teams, the organisations involved and any complex race events (eg accidents) to ensure 3) and 4) above. The scutineering people are part of the referees team.
That is it. There should be no further complexity entering this SPORT. By complexity I mean that there should never, ever be any attempt to re-interpret the Rules and Regulations or to find fault with the REFEREE. A sport is not a democratic body or a business. The business aspects of the sport is confined to the value of advertising in return for sponsoring an F1 Team. The satisfaction of winning and achievement is provided by the fact that F1 is a SPORT.
The REFEREE is the ultimate decision maker. The REFEREE will make all his decisions based on 3.) and 4.) and if any team or any member of a team disagrees with a REFEREE’s decision, because it does not seem to agree with 3.) and/or 4.), then they may (should?) advise the REFEREE AND the Governing Body (FIA) of such in writing. Any such advice will be taken into consideration by the Governing Body in discussion with the REFEREE and will be used to make adjustments to the Rules and Regulations if appropriate.
How does this apply to the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix?
The way that Mercedes have criticised the Stewards and Massi should result in a severe reprimand. IMHO the same as the FAI did to McLaren for causing disrepute to the FAI – was $100 million? And in the case of those supporters who are raving about the Stewards decisions at Abu Dabhi I would refer you to the Stewards decisions mad at Silverstone. If the Stewards were wrong at Abu Dabhi and-changes-need-to-be-made (or even considered) for Abu Dabhi then the same applies to Silverstone. So take away Max’s win in Abu Dabhi and he comes second. Take away 25 points from Lewis because he should have been black flagged and Max is still Champion of the World 2022. You cannot have it both ways !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A very solid example of Referee decisions being accepted as they are intended to be in SPORT.
Mercedes are approaching the situation as a busines backed up by as many lawyers as they think they may need to-win-their-case. Because they had an unfavourable opinion from the REFEREE. What did they loose? The DRIVERS championship. NOTE: They retained the Constructors Championship. BUT Lewis was overpowered by the driving of Max in that final lap (In the same way that Lewis won more than a few previous races that season – new tyres on the final laps!) as a satisfactory conclusion to the 2021 season.
a) Lewis had a far superior car in the Mercedes as he clearly demonstrated by being 13+ seconds ahead by lap 55. And I am sure that he was not stretching the Mercedes in the slightest at that time. He still had power left for emergencies. But not enough.
b) Lewis won a number of the races during this season by being able to pit near the end of the race, fit new tyres and then take over the lead.
c) Lewis gained 25 points in the championship by being able to rebuild his car during the Safety car period as a result of him taking out Max at Silverstone. Whether it was intentional or not is actually immaterial. He should have known better than to attempt a pass under those conditions! (as in fact the stewards noted by giving him a penaly – 5 or 10 seconds I believe it was?)
Ed Note: 19/12 Just read an article by Tremayne on the F1 website where Tremayne is a) suggesting that Hamilton should be sainted for his wonderful sporting attitude etc etc and b) that Hamilton was merely laying down a marker that caused the Silverstone crash with Verstappen. IMHO Hamilton should have been black flagged for creating that accident. Hamilton knew (NOTE: being the best driver in the world!) that; a) that was a very dangerous section of the Silverstone track and b) his specific-driving-action would take Verstappen off the track. (NOTE: In the same way that Hamilton took out Alex Albon when Albon was headed for a podium finish which would have placed a dent in Mercedes points scoring for the Constructors Championship. Not once but TWICE for which he got token 10 sec penalties or similar.). The stewards did find Hamilton at fault in Silverstone to the extent that they penalised him 10 points I think it was. In addition to all of this the Silverstone result clearly demonstrated that Mercedes were more concerned with the win for the Constructors Championship than any concerns for the SPORTING ASPECTS of the Silverstone race by their unseemly (in fact rude!!) partying after the race while Verstappen was in hospital. Once again the advertising benefits (for Mercedes) from the crash far exceeded any sporting considerations.
d) Red Bull had the courage to take a sporting chance on a fresh set of tyres in case Max could gain a tyre advantage on Lewis (note paragraph b.) above). IMHO this fresh set of tyres gave Max a car which was equal to the Mercesdes in a single lap performance. EQUAL peformance. Not a performance advantage. So when Max did manage to pass Lewis it was on the basis of superior (or more agressive?) driving with the cars on an-equal-playing-field basis. Lewis did not manage to overtake Max on the straight. Max had given him every opportunity to do so by passing him relatively early in the lap. Finally look at the Timing Chart for that last lap:
Take note that Max was nearly 3 secs faster than Lewis on that last lap. And the final sector of that lap was the fastest for the race. In the section where the Mercedes had an advantage over the Red Bull on top speed. Max drove a section that was similar to his pole winning performance and beat Lewis for the World Championship.
e) I believe Michael Massi deserves a medal for being able to manage that restart on lap 58 the way that he did. Both Massi and Verstappen were very lucky that the lapped cars were able to scuttle past the Safety Car before the Safety Car had to pit. This was a vivid example of some-you-win-some-you-loose which is always a major factor in the sporting world.
f) Michaels decisions were a perfect example of applying the Rules and Regulations according to intent, that is taking into regard 3.) and 4.) . Michael did state that he made the decisions for the sport. This is the intent of the Law and not the convoluted letter of the Law overlaid by legal jargon and semantics which provide sufficient complexity to be able to twist any decision. A highly skilled (read VERY EXPENSIVE) lawyer is able to renegotiate any situation. After the restart the situation was as 4.) as any human being could possible have made it. The gladiators still had the final battle. And Max won. NB There is NO-ONE that is saying the best man won. This is merely the start of the changing of the guard. Lewis is still on top with 7 Championships to his name but Max was supreme that day. So that topping of Michael Schmachers records by Lewis having 8 wins will have to be earned and not just gained at a later date. Mercedes have won the Constructors Championship for the 8th time IN A ROW. Do they really have to show that they are bad sportsman by trying to bully the FIA into saying that Michael Massi made a mistake when the decisions he made were IN THE INTERESTS OF THE SPORT and not in the interests of the Lewis ego and advertising machine.
What does all this have to do with The rCode – RESPECT then Responsibility then Rights?
The confusion and vitriol (which is EXTREMELY unsportsmanlike!) is the result of two main factors. The brandishing of the Laws to protect their RIGHTS, whether right or wrong, shows that Mercedes do not understand that RIGHTS are GIVEN and cannot be TAKEN. They are trying to claim (TAKE) their rights by means of an FIA Rule that was put in place to serve a completely different purpose than the RIGHT they are trying to claim. In addition all their bluster and carrying on demonstrates GREED. I would have thought that the sport of F1 has given them all they deserved to date. Why the performance about Abu Dhabi? Especially as they will achieve nothing at all even if they “win” their case. Have a listen to Get over it! (by the Eagles.)
Ian Mitchell and Jude