Moves to ban teams lobbying F1 race control

Christian Horner on the Red Bull pit wall

Changes are set to be made ahead of the 2022 Formula 1 season to prevent team principals from lobbying race control.

A key talking point following the controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was the fact both Mercedes and Red Bull team bosses pleaded their cases directly with race director Michael Masi.

Following the deployment of the Safety Car for Nicholas Latifi’s crashed Williams, Red Bull’s Christian Horner contacted Masi to ask why lapped cars had not been allowed to overtake.

“Christian, just give me a second, okay. My big one is to get this incident clear,” was the Australian’s response.

With that clean up of the stricken car all but complete, the five lapped cars between race leader Lewis Hamilton and second-placed Max Verstappen were instructed to overtake the Safety Car.

Just half a lap later, the race resumed.

As it did so, Mercedes’ Toto Wolff pleaded his case to Masi, stating “this isn’t right,” over the radio.

That was followed by a request to have the race rolled back a lap, which was given little time by the race director.

“Toto, it’s called a motor race,” was the response. “We went car racing.”

While the decision to allow the race to resume in the manner it did is currently the subject of Mercedes’ intent to appeal, F1 motorsport boss Ross Brawn is displeased with the position Masi was put in by Horner and Wolff.

“We will stop this contact next year,” Brawn said, according to Auto Motor und Sport.

“The decision in the last lap is a highlight that cannot be topped. Unfortunately, the protest takes the shine from this final a bit.

“It is not acceptable that the team bosses put Michael under such pressure during the race,” he added.

“Toto Wolff cannot demand that a Safety Car should not come, and Christian Horner cannot demand that the cars have to lap back.

“That is at the discretion of the race director.”

Typically, teams have a nominated individual who represents them on official channels.

Usually, this responsibility falls to the team manager, which in Mercedes’ case is Ron Meadows, and in Red Bull’s is Jonathan Wheatley.

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