F1 race director followed the rules at Monza, unlike Abu Dhabi

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is delighted the FIA ​​correctly followed its safety car rules at the end of the Italian Grand Prix, following the controversial conclusion of last year’s world championship.

Lewis Hamilton lost the 2021 Drivers’ Championship when he was overtaken by Max Verstappen on the final lap of the season. Verstappen managed to make the pass after FIA F1 race director Michael Masi staged a last-lap restart in violation of the rules.

Masi, who lost his job due to the controversy, has been accused by some of breaking the rules to stage the restart to create a more dramatic ending.

Today’s race at Monza ended behind the safety car as an operation to move Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren took longer than expected. Wolff praised race director Niels Wittich for following the rules correctly and finishing the race behind the safety car.

“I’m really happy to see that there is a race director and colleagues who are enforcing the rules against the pressure from the media and the pressure from the fans and everyone else to break the rules,” he said. . “At least Abu Dhabi, in that sense, has given the FIA ​​more solid confidence to enforce the regulations.”

Wolff said there was no doubt that the FIA ​​safety car procedure had been followed correctly. “It’s very clear,” he said. “There are rules and they are written down. And from my point of view, whether I am Abu Dhabi, traumatized or not, these rules were followed to the letter today.

“There was a car on the track, there were marshals and a crane there. That’s why they didn’t let anyone overtake. And then there was not enough time to restart the race once all the cars had caught up.

Start of the race, Monza, 2022
Gallery: The 2022 Italian Grand Prix in pictures

However, Wolff said he would not be against changing the rules to give the race director more flexibility to avoid concluding Grands Prix behind the safety car.

“If someone is not happy with the rules and you want to have a big show and two laps of racing and mayhem, I’m absolutely in,” he said. “But they have to change the regulations. So I don’t think we should complain about everything that happened because those are the rules.

Wolff thinks it would not be difficult to change the rules in this way. “I think we have to say ‘do we want a race to end under the green?’ And then reverse engineer from there.

“So you can say ‘five or ten laps to go, if we have a safety car let’s flag it and make sure we race to the end’. If it’s in the regulations, great. But I think there are much smarter people, the sporting directors, who would have ideas.”

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