Ross Brawn has said that Formula 1 will clamp down on mid-race lobbying of the Race Director after events on Sunday afternoon at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
A dramatic final lap saw Max Verstappen take the championship away from Lewis Hamilton after a controversial call over the Safety Car returning to the pits, with Christian Horner asking for exactly that to happen and Toto Wolff getting on the radio to demand the opposite.
Indeed, over the course of this year, we’ve seen just how much chatter Michael Masi receives as Race Director and with so much on the line, at times this season it has rather turned into effectively players hounding the referee on a football pitch.
Sure, it provides great drama for the viewers but it’s adding an unnecessary pressure to a job that already carries enough gravitas, and there’s a case to suggest that Masi may well have been influenced by all the radio messages he was getting – though that’s obviously totally open to debate.
Brawn, though, was not impressed by Wolff and Horner’s antics and has revealed there will be an effort made to stop such action from 2022:
“It is not acceptable that the team bosses put Michael under such pressure during the race,” he said.
“Toto Wolff cannot demand that a safety car should stay out and Christian Horner cannot demand that lapped cars have to go past.
“We will stop this sort of contact next year.”
Masi has taken a hammering at times this season but in fairness to him he’s actually largely done a good job.
Sunday was hugely controversial, though, and it would make sense for him and the Stewards to be able to do their job with less noise in their ears in what is already a pressurised environment.
The teams absolutely should have the right to protest and make their cases but we need a far better structured way of doing it than what we saw on Sunday.