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FiA Blames Human Error For 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Fiasco


Nearly 100 days later and not surprisingly, the FiA – Formula One’s governing body – made the predictable announcement that “human error” was to blame for the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix fiasco where then-race director Michael Masi went rogue with his interpretation and mis-application of rules that gave Red Bull’s Max Verstappen a distinct advantage in the last laps of the race and effectively prevented Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton from claiming his eighth Formula 1 world title.

The FIA spoke out of both sides of their mouth in the report saying that Masi had acted in “good faith” during the controversial finale but also acting to have Masi removed from his post and F1 race control restructured.

With the issuance of the report, the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix results and associated F1 World Championship points are now considered “valid and final” – though toting a gigantic asterisk for much of the world – with Verstappen as the so-called world champion.

The report listed several “errors” by Masi following a late-race crash by Williams’ Nicholas Latifi. A safety car was released to slow the field and let the track be cleared by marshals then Masi’s “errors” ensued but the two most glaring ones were noted:

The race director “called the safety car back into the pit lane without it having completed an additional lap as required by the Formula 1 sporting regulations”.

“Human error” led to the fact that not all cars were allowed to un-lap themselves.

In addition to Masi’s sacking, the FiA has now confirmed that some changes will be made to avoid the same errors happening again:

The establishment of a remote operations center at the FiA headquarters in Geneva to assist race control, similar to football’s video assistant referee (VAR).

An extended team in race control to run trackside operations.

A new race-management team of two race directors – Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas – acting alternately and assisted by former deputy race director Herbie Blash, who had retired in 2016, to assist in race control as permanent senior adviser.

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