Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll has called on Formula 1 to be more consistent with its rule book in the wake of the controversial finale to the 2021 season.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen secured his first F1 championship following a last lap overtake on Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton last year.
Verstappen’s cause was aided by a Safety Car intervention, and before the race was resumed for the final lap, the lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen were permitted to pass the Safety Car.
However, the lapped cars that were behind the frontrunners, one of which included Stroll, were not given permission to unlap themselves and attempt to rejoin the pack.
At the launch of the AMR22, Stroll voiced his concern over how Race Control handled the restart procedure, stating F1 can’t abandon its own rules.
“It’s ridiculous that we didn’t go back racing in the way that we should have gone back racing,” he said.
“We can’t change the rules halfway through, or at the end of a race, tell half [of] the cars they can overtake.
“Unfortunately I was part of the group of the other half of the cars that couldn’t overtake on brand new Soft tyres with the opportunity to pass and maybe do something.
“It’s just never been done before, and I think it’s important that we keep rules consistent. I understand that it’s great to go racing and everyone wants to see the last lap of the race and the two drivers fighting for the World Championship go head-to-head with one lap to go.
“But we can’t be making up rules at the end of a race like that. It has to be set in stone.
“If there was maybe an error where cars didn’t pass soon enough when the Safety Car came out or back markers weren’t allowed to pass the safety car early enough, and the consequence is we won’t get a whole lap of racing, well then that’s how it is.
“The rules have to be consistent. In Formula 1, we’ve seen some inconsistency in penalties and decision-making, and I think this was just like maybe a little bit too much. It’s important that those things are set in stone.”
Stroll’s team-mate Sebastian Vettel said on Thursday that F1 must ensure that the sport takes priority over the show going forward, a comment that the Canadian agrees with.
“I think that consistency in our sport is not our strongest point,” Stroll commented. “I think Abu Dhabi was just not right.
“The rules are the rules. When there’s a Safety Car, lapped cars get to overtake the Safety Car, and then we go racing.
“There’s nothing that says half the cars can overtake, and half the cars have to stay behind, and then we’ll go racing. Those things can’t be modified during a race, just to put on a show.
“So I do agree with Seb’s comments, absolutely. Definitely, that was an example of just poor consistency.
“The rules are the rules. You can’t be changing, modifying rules for entertainment.
“It has to be sport first, and if there’s something Formula 1 or the FIA maybe did wrong or could have done differently, then that’s something to review in hindsight. But I don’t think it’s right that happened in Abu Dhabi.”
No referee is allowed to make up their own rules on the fly and that’s exactly what Masi did.
I turned off the TV the moment the cars crossed the line and I don’t think I will be tuning in to the F1 races again unless the rules are applied consistently in future. What happened had nothing to do with sport. It was pure Hollywood. I’ve been watching and attending some races since 1952. The end of 2021 was a farce and F1 won’t get my subscription money ever again and I certainly don’t want to waste money travelling to sit in a grandstand and watch a manipulated race result.
Agree wholeheartedly with MG.
I’ve been an avid fan since the 70’s. Never miss a race. I’ve already decided this will be the first year I don’t attend any races since 2002. I’m pretty devastated to be honest. Big money and showtime. That’s all that matters now. Who cares about sport?
I’ve seen some astonishing decisions and behaviour from the people in charge of the sport over the years but this was just far too much.
Oh and I’m a Ferrari fan, I didn’t care who won.
Agree with MG! Mercedes dominated that race and it was arbitrarily taken from them!
The race should have been red flagged giving all teams & drivers the chance to change tyres while the track was cleared before a restart, or it should have been completed. The 3rd alternative was for the race to finish behind the Safety Car. For Michael Masi to do what he did, sends the impression he was corrupted by the spectacle & or under pressure from F1 & Liberty Media to give the sport a 1 lap dash with 1 car on fresh rubber ensuring a new but highly controversial CHUMPION in most people eyes unless they are shareholders in Red Bull or Dutch. F1 & Liberty media are happy that Lewis didn’t win & break another of Schumacher’s records that they thought would never be equalled but was.
As an Aussie this last season has been a disappointment with Danny Ric struggling & Masi’s Corruption of the rules