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F1 Abu Dhabi 2021: no way to run a motor race

Bryan Edwards

I'll set out my position in the first line so no one can be in any doubt: Max Verstappen is a deserving world motor racing champion.

But the sport, the drivers and the fans have been done a grave disservice by the Race Director, Michael Masi, who has capped off a season where he has demonstrated that he is unable to make a final decision and that he is easily swayed by the pleas of team principles who have learned that he can be easily bullied.

Footnote: It was Kimi Raikkonen's last race. He retired when the brakes failed and his team said "I think they are working."

It was Russell's last race for Williams before joining Mercedes. He retired with gearbox problems.

It was Bottas' last race for Mercedes before joining Alfa Romeo where, hopefully, the brakes will work. He jumped in the harbour.

It was the last race for Giovenazzi who is going to Formula E. He says he'll be back but in truth Formula E, despite all its annoying gimmicks is far from a graveyard for failed F1 drivers.

Mazzapin didn't race: he tested positive for CoVid-19 on the morning of the race. Cynics might ask if that was strategic in case he brought our a red flag and spoiled the race.

Petronas have run their last race with Mercedes: their first was when Michael Schumacher came out of retirement to join the team when it was bought from Brawn and Button and Barrichello were told they weren't wanted despite Button's still warm championship.

The cars are heading for museums and occasional fun runs - the first generation of the turbo-hybrid era cars has ended. So has the age of bargeboards and several other aerodynamic aids. So have 13 inch wheels - it's 18 inches next year which is going to look like tractor tyres. How the teams work out how to handle four plus inches of extra air under the cars which many have scraping for tarmac remains to be seen.

2021: fantastic season, a worthy champion, an utterly rubbish end to the last race.
2022: those in the know say that they are really looking forward to the new cars.

Me, too.

But please sack Masi.

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