McLaren joins calls for wider review of F1 rules and decisions

Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Mercedes AMG F1 and Max Verstappen (NLD), Red Bull Racing last lap 12.12.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 22, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina
© XPB 

McLaren's CEO Zak Brown has added his voice to the calls for the FIA to undertake a wider review of its current rules and regulations and the decision making process behing them.

It comes after the controversial finish to the 2021 season in which a number of decisions by race control had a major impact on the final race in Abu Dhabi, and on the overall outcome of the drivers championship between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

Mercedes initially protested the result of the race but lost. The team decided against proceeding with an appeal, and were assured that a 'detailed analysis' would be conducted into how the end of the race was handled.

Brown says that this enquiry should be broadened and that there was a need for the FIA to conduct a wider review of the existing rules and their interpretations to make the situation clearer for all involved.

“I think everyone was pretty confused,” Brown told RACER magazine when asked about the situation in Abu Dhabi. "Obviously there were winners and losers in it.

"It seemed to deviate from what’s happened in the past," he said. "If you look to Baku they red-flagged it right away.

"It didn’t really change the outcome for us but I think in the off-season we need to review a lot of our regulations."

“If I pull back, I think there’s too much inconsistency in regulations and how they’re applied and when they’re applied," he continued, saying that driver penalties were another case in point.

Brown used a clash between his own driver Lando Norris and Red Bull's Sergio Perez as an example.

"You look at Lando who doesn’t touch Perez on the first lap in Austria, he tries him round the outside and he gets a five-second penalty and two penalty points," he explained. "Then [in Brazil] you have Max and Lewis who both go off the track and it's ‘Let them race.’

"We all have those stories, and it’s difficult when it’s subjective, but I think we need to take a step back," insisted Brown. “There were enough people disgruntled throughout the year that we need to look at the rules."

Brown added he had sympathy for the officials caught in the middle. "It’s tough being a referee in any sport, because half of the fans are going to agree with your call, half of them aren’t.

"And keep in mind that it’s the teams who make most of these rules, so as [much as] you’ve heard me bang on about [it], I'd to like to see less influence from the teams because we’re the ones who developed half of these rules."

Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren MCL35M. 12.12.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 22, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina

One thing that Brown would definitely like a stop to is the broadcasting over the live TV feed of exchanges between team representatives and race director Michael Masi, with F1 director of motorsport Ross Brawn similarly minded.

“I’m not a fan, especially with it being broadcast which Ross has said is no longer going to happen," Brown said. "You now see some team bosses doing things because the camera is on them.

“You have multiple people at multiple times going to Masi," he continued. "So you get this piling-on effect. You shouldn’t be able to bend the referee’s ear in the way we can, and then you have multiple people bending the referee’s ear.

"Then you add live-on-TV which adds another dimension to it, I don’t think that’s how a sport should be governed," he said. "I think that’s changed people’s behaviour.

"At our team we have one person that talks to the FIA, that’s it," he concluded. "So I’m a supporter of what Ross says, I think that should be behind the scenes."

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