Safety Car, Diriyah E-Prix, Race 2, Saudi Arabia, 2022

‘No reason’ not to extend races under late Safety Cars – Di Grassi

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In the round-up: Venturi Formula E driver Lucas di Grassi says the series’s new time extension rules need “fine tuning”.

In brief

Formula E time extension rule needs “fine tuning” – Di Grassi

Lucas di Grassi believes that all Formula E races with late Safety Cars should have their race time extended to enable a green flag finish.

The second round of the Formula E season in Diriyah ended under Safety Car after Alexander Sims’s crashed Mahindra was not recovered in time for racing to resume. While a new rule for this season does allow for race control to extend the race duration, it is prohibited in the final five minutes.

Di Grassi believes the five minute threshold should be lifted. “I think the rule is good, but it needs to be fine tuned,” he explained.

“I don’t think there is any reason for the last five minutes not to have the extension. It’s just a matter of calculating how much you need to extend the race. So nobody runs out of energy and nobody keeps the same amount of energy because it’s easy to calculate. And then you can extend, if needed.

Asked whether world championship series such as Formula E should ever allowed to finish under Safety Car conditions, Di Grassi says it should not be a requirement.

“I don’t think finishing under Safety Car [should be] if it’s considered a world championship or not – I don’t think that’s the metric,” Di Grassi said.

“Because F1 also finishes under a Safety Car. It happens sometimes… or one lap to go with half a rule for half the cars and for other cars another rule. But anyway, I think that the rule can be fine tuned so that they can use these extra ten minutes in a better way.”

Quotes: Hazel Southwell

David wins first Formula Regional Asia race at Dubai

Hadrien David won the first of three races for this weekend in the Formula Regional Asian Championship at the Dubai Autodrome.

The 3Y Technology driver took the chequered flag ahead of Pepe Marti in second and Sebastian Montoya completing the podium after the race finished under Safety Car following an accident involving Masters class driver Thomas Ludi.

Red Bull junior Jak Crawford finished fourth, with fellow Red Bull driver Isack Hadjar fifth. Ferrari academy driver Arthur Leclerc finished in ninth, while Mercedes junior Paul Aron finished out of the points in 15th.

Montoya leads the championship, with two further races taking place today.

Verstappen “would’ve been world champion” even if Mercedes won appeal – Bayer

FIA secretary general for sport, Peter Bayer, suggested that Max Verstappen would have have been declared as world champion even if Mercedes had chosen to appeal the results of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and been successful.

In an interview with Austrian outlet Vorarlberger Nachrichten, Bayer expressed his view that even if the results of the race had been nullified, Verstappen would still be declared champion due to winning the points tiebreaker over Lewis Hamilton.

“I think the judges would have said it’s different in the regulations, he decided that way, so we could just void the result,” Bayer is quoted as saying. “But even then – if it were canceled – Max Verstappen would have been world champion.”

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Comment of the day

With the news that Le Mans and Daytona will name chicanes on their respective circuits after the other, @fer-no65 realises something about the symbolism of it all…

Somehow naming chicanes doesn’t feel right I mean both were put in place to slow cars down… There’s nothing “Le Mans” or “Daytona” about it… Would’ve been better to choose a faster corner or straight, don’t you think?
@fer-no65

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Sridhar Gopalkrishnan!

On this day in motorsport

Giancarlo Fisichella, Jordan 197, Magny-Cours, France, 1997
Giancarlo Fisichella, Jordan 197, Magny-Cours, France, 1997

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  • 46 comments on “‘No reason’ not to extend races under late Safety Cars – Di Grassi”

    1. I can’t believe there was a chance to declare the race as null just because of one action from the race director. This would mean Sainz loses his podium and I am not sure if there was another battle in the drivers or constructors championship that was decided in Abu Dhabi, and that those results would have changed had we annulled the race. I don’t remember anymore, but weren’t Alpine and Alpha Tauri still fighting for their spot in the constructors? I know Mercedes and Red Bull were still fighting, but having the Saudi Arabia GP results would not have changed any order. I think Mclaren-Ferrari battle was already finished, but what about the others?

      Declaring the race as null would have been alright for the top 2, but what about the other battles… if there were cause I no longer remember?

      1. @krichelle Removing all last race points wouldn’t have made any difference for any WCC positions, which are more relevant than driver ones. The eventual final order was already in place pre-event.

        1. I see I see. Nice.

          1. Probably they should have just annulled the race to save a bit of face. The FIA really have got themselves into a hole with this.

    2. Agree with Scott Dixon. I know different promoters have their own agendas, but historically American domestic racing has always had the best drivers straddling Open Wheel and Sports Cars, so they really should do all they can to avoid conflicts. And in my mind everyone should avoid Le Man’s conflicts!

      Likewise agree with COTD.

      1. +1

    3. It’s annoying seeing Bayer bring up something that was discussed here in the very hours after the race. In fact, the FIA appeal judges had full power to alter the race result, the race result didn’t in fact, have to be voided entirely.

      Mercedes didn’t want to appeal because as they said, the FIA can’t judge it’s own homework. It’s appearing that they were 100% correct, now coming up with false-hoods to justify why the result was fine and wouldn’t have been changed anyway.

      1. From the FIA Judicial and Disciplinary Rules

        Article 10.10 – Decision of the ICA
        10.10.1 The ICA has all the decision-making powers of the authority that took the contested decision.
        10.10.2 In addition, the ICA may admit or dismiss the appeal, in whole or in part, and may decide to confirm, waive, mitigate or increase the penalty inflicted. It may annul or amend the results of a competition, but it is not empowered to order any competition to be re-run.

        1. Imagine if they awarded half points for racing zero laps at Spa and no points for an entire race at Abu Dhabi.

        2. You missed the bit where it says

          “Chapter 4 Preamble
          The ICA’s is entrusted with resolving the disputes brought before it by applying and interpreting the
          present rules, with the aim of enforcing the Statutes and Regulations of the FIA, including the International Sporting Code.”

          17.9 … “Decisions shall be reasoned and state the names of the
          members who took part in the deliberation. Decisions
          are delivered in French and English. In case of any
          difference of interpretation, the French version takes
          precedence.”

          So you need a decision that has been reasoned within the Statues and Regulations of the FIA. They can’t just make up the results as they see fit, the ICA still has a duty to act within the regulations, however they interpret them.

          As there are no mechanisms within the Statutes and Regulations of the FIA, including the International Sporting Code that allow for points to be distributed for Lap 57 instead of Lap 58 as there are for accident chequered flags and suspended races, then Merc would never have been able to get the change in result that meant Lewis was champion, unless the iCA contravene 17.9 and preamble. bayer is correct in his statement.

          1. I can just see it now – the English decision being full of doublespeak and rhetoric with the French version being simply a Gallic Shrug.

          2. In what would would it be unreasonable to count the end of the race before the erroneous final lap? How would that go against the FIA statutes and regulations or the ISC?

            In fact in the statutes there is a whole section on ethics and how it’s the FIA’s role to protect the sporting integrity of motorsports.

            1. There’s no mechanism within the Sporting Regulations that would allow a ‘race’ to have happened, so you can’t declare lap 57 as a result (and thus points be awarded). The event would under 305km and as it wasn’t suspended, you can’t award points.

              Secondly, the precedent it would set would be monumentally unreasonable. In effect you’d be setting a precedent that green flag laps that were run entirely in safe conditions, can be retrospectively entirely voided, due to RD error. That means that any race where a RD error happens, any resulting laps can be voided. If this error happened on Lap 10, do all following lap need to be voided as they were not run in ‘legal’ conditions. This simply was not ever a consideration for the FIA and would not be inline with the standards set out in the FIA Judicial and Disciplinary Rules

              So in my opinion what you’re suggesting (that an appeal win and result change is somehow possible) would not be congruent with an organisation trying to uphold sporting integrity nor adhering to the FIA Judicial and Disciplinary Rules

            2. There’s no mechanism within the Sporting Regulations that would allow a ‘race’ to have happened, so you can’t declare lap 57 as a result (and thus points be awarded).

              Now you’re talking about different things. The “Statutes and Regulations of the FIA” are not the F1 sporting regulations, they are different things. The appeal court would not have to enforce the F1 sporting regulations, that makes no sense and would actually argue in my favour as those are what were clearly not followed.

              That means that any race where a RD error happens, any resulting laps can be voided.

              This is where our opinions differ I guess as I see that as entirely reasonable precedent. If the RD makes a mistake so bad where only half the field is allowed to unlap under safety car, for the sporting integrity of the race, I’d be entirely fine with having the race result from that point, even if it is only 10 laps on. Those mistakes should simply never happen.

              This isn’t some club level racing, there are billions of dollars at play here.

            3. The FIA Statues documents stats “2.6 Exercising jurisdiction pursuant to disputes of a sporting nature and any disputes which might arise between its Members, or in relation to any of its Members having contravened the obligations laid down by the Statutes, the International Sporting Code and the Regulations.”

              The F1 Sporting Code is an FIA Regulatory document. It’s not possible for the ICA to act outside of the F1 Sporting Code in a fashion you present without breaching core tenets protecting sporting integrity laid out in the FIA’s own documents.

              On your second point, the problem with this argument is assuming that mistakes should never happen. Well, unfortunately, they do. If you think governing bodies should have absolute power to amend results if there’s procedural errors, then you make the sport unviable. When mistakes happen, regulations get updates and clarified. That’s how things are tuned up over time. There’s a sanctity to clean green flag racing that simply can’t be broken otherwise the sport can’t function.

              Also, you say this isn’t ‘club racing’ billions of dollars are at play is not a fair one. Some invest a higher percentage of their wealth into their racing than anyone in F1 does into racing F1 (I’d probably say most do, if not all in fact). So in terms of regulatory importance, F1 is no more important than someone who races Caterhams at the weekend.

            4. I wasn’t saying the regulations were less important at club racing, but at F1’s level that the standard of officiating should be infallible with regards to upholding the regulations. You can disagree if you like but I don’t find that unreasonable.

              And I’d agree on further review that the F1 sporting regulations are what is referenced in the judicial and disciplinary rules, therefore it’s even more in Mercedes favour that is what the appeal court should have upheld.

              I’m not seeing anything that counters the explicit permission given in 10.10.2 to amend results after all this back and forth. That line is there for a reason.

              Just because a decision has to be reasoned doesn’t mean there needs to be a specific reference to the circumstance in the regulations. It would not make sense to have rules about what happens when the regulations aren’t followed in the regulations, because they should be followed.

            5. @skipgamer

              and I believe drivers should simply never make mistakes, therefore in the event any driver drives off track or crashes, the result should be from that moment. It is stupid that one person might affect the race in such a manner.

              Same for pit stops. Any pit stop longer than 2.5 seconds should immediately invalidate the remainder of the race for all persons.

              Also Pirelli. If, at any time, any driver suffers a puncture for any reason, the race result should thus be taken from that moment.

      2. I would have thought the Brazil 2003 result would have set the precedent.
        After Alonso crashed into the remains of Weber’s accident the race was stopped and the result decided on the positions at the end of the lap completed 2 laps before the accident.
        Also remembered because they first awarded the win to Kimi at the end of lap 53, but then a review found Fisichella had started lap 56 and therefore it was the end of lap 54 that was the end of the race. Which then meant Fisi won because he overtook Kimi on that lap.

        1. That race was suspended. For shortened races you need a suspension to activities the regulations that allows points to be awarded. Abu Dhabi was never suspended. Points can’t be awarded for lap 57 as it’s not a complete race distance either (305km). The FIA would need to amended the results of lap 58 to be able to award points. This in my view would mean the ICA would not be acting with ” the aim of enforcing the Statutes and Regulations of the FIA, including the International Sporting Code” (Chapter 4 preamble – FIA Judicial and Disciplinary Rules) and would have a decision that isn’t “reasoned” (17.9 FIA Judicial and Disciplinary Rules)

      3. @skipgamer That’s actually some admission from Bayer, clearing thinking FIA’s own ‘review’ shortly after the race would be overturned under independent arbitration:

        I think the judges would have said it’s different in the regulations, he decided that way, so we could just void the result,

        He’s missing the point that even if annulling the race meant no difference to the WDC winner and WCC order, it would at least be official recognition that the race was rendered invalid by Masi’s descision. That matters too moving forward.

        1. I was surprised to see it. Can’t wait for the official result of the investigation. Wish that article wasn’t behind a paywall to get the full context. I’m surprised there’s even any media being done, although doesn’t look good for Masi with everything said so far.

        2. @david-br Exactly. This would have been the diplomatic way forward – you placate those with the weird obsession with whoever we thing is the world champion at the finish line remains so, no matter what, while admitting that the race was not run according to F1 regulations.

          But nope – the FIA can brook no criticism.

          .

    4. Bayer expressed his view that even if the results of the race had been nullified, Verstappen would still be declared champion due to winning the points tiebreaker over Lewis Hamilton.

      Because of a ‘none race’ win.

      1. If the farcical race of 3 laps behind the safety car called SPA had been voided then Lewis Hamilton would’ve been leading going into the final race.
        So a voided last race would have made Lewis Hamilton Champion for the 8th time.
        Thats 2 races that Masi gifted Verstappen which resulted in a “Gifted Championship” at the expense of Hamilton.

        1. @Lucky Milo, He would’ve equally led going into the final race had Max got a fairer post-race time penalty in the penultimate round, but yes, I agree about the farcical Belgian GP.
          That race should’ve immediately been a non-points one

          1. With a different points situation after Spa then the two drivers wouldn’t have raced in exactly the same manner. Butterfly effect and all that. Had Spa been cancelled it’s just as conceivable Max could have gone into Abu Dhabi already crowned as championship.

            1. @Alan Dove True, butterfly effect & all.

            2. I find it interesting that very few people talk about the butterfly effect when talking about all the points Max ostensibly lost due to bad luck and therefore how he could have wrapped up the championship with races to spare.

    5. 1997, when cars looked good.

      1. The cars were starting to look less good in the late 90’s, but the livery artwork that Jordan were using was pretty cool.

      2. @peartree Controversial opinion, but I don’t particularly like the look of the cars from the mid-90s. All the cars from about 1995-1997 look a bit too ‘boxy’ and geometric for my liking (and the 1994 Benetton for that matter), I much prefer the smoother looking ones from the earlier 90s (Jordan 191 yes please)

    6. Looking at the precedent set by the 2018 Canadian Grand Prix, when an official made a mistake and waved the chequered flag 2 laps earlier than should have been the case, the final result was classified from one lap earlier than the lap on which the mistake was made.
      At the time, the explanation was that if an illegal command is issued by a race official or by race control, the fallback is to revert to the running order of the lap prior to the command being issued.
      Why wouldn’t they do this with Abu Dhabi, rather than voiding the race?

      1. Why wouldn’t they do this with Abu Dhabi, rather than voiding the race?

        Because they’re clutching at straws for how Verstappen could possibly be considered a legitimate champion.

      2. @NeverElectric Because of what’s mentioned in the regulations about this move.

      3. I think the difference is in Canada in 2018 a chequered flag was shown, albeit early. There is procedure for what happens if it’s shown early, and if it’s shown late (in which case standings are taken from the end of the lap when the flag should have been shown I believe).

        The regulations say there are two end of race signals: the chequered flag (along with the scenarios and procedures described above), and a red flag (where the race is not restarted obviously). There are clear procedures on what happens in pretty much all eventualities (I think, but you can never know with the FIA) regarding the end of the race.

        I would assume the FIA’s argument would be something along the lines of: if we take the results one lap earlier, then there won’t have been an end of race signal so those results are invalid, or we have to break our own procedures to do so and still award points. And then it becomes the age old question of do two wrongs make a right?

        The FIA have dug themselves into a very deep hole here.

      4. Why wouldn’t they do this with Abu Dhabi, rather than voiding the race?

        Because according to the the stewards there was no ‘illegal command’ issued.

        I also disagree with the inconsistent decision making of Masi. But that doesn’t make it illegal, especially if the stewards reviewed and okayed it, and the competitors decided not to appeal it.

        1. Because according to the the stewards there was no ‘illegal command’ issued.

          Yet the FIA is investigating the events of the final laps of the Abu Dhabi GP: https://www.racefans.net/2022/01/29/no-decision-yet-over-outcome-of-abu-dhabi-restart-investigation-fia/

          I understand that, as RandomMallard said, the FIA have dug themselves into a very deep hole, so they’ll probably never admit “we messed up”. But you don’t investigate something if you’re convinced everything was done correctly.

          1. But you don’t investigate something if you’re convinced everything was done correctly.

            Unless pressured to do so by certain powerful ‘stakeholders’ and the media, of course.
            Also doesn’t automatically mean that they will actually change anything – though they will probably do some minor window dressing just to satisfy a noisy minority.

            That’s how most PR exercises such as this work.

          2. @warheart There is a difference here between the stewards and the FIA here. The stewards are the immediate judges of first instance. The FIA can tell the stewards they were wrong (albeit it that looks unlikely), or launch an investigation into the processes. That doesn’t mean that the stewards didn’t say the call was legal.

          3. But you don’t investigate something if you’re convinced everything was done correctly.

            It’s very normal to investigate things, especially if there was a whole load of confusion; so much so that some protested the original decision (did not agree/understand it).
            It has nothing to do with admitting guilt or not having done things correctly.

    7. FIA secretary general for sport, Peter Bayer, suggested that Max Verstappen would have been declared as world champion even if Mercedes had chosen to appeal the results of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and been successful.

      I believe that is one of the reasons Wolff, Mercedes and INEOS decided not to go through with the appeal. I think Mercedes and INEOS were all for it but Wolff after discussions with the FIA persuaded them to leave it to the FIA to sort.
      The FIA are doing themselves no favours with these statements and the dropping of hints about Masi.before the final report is delivered, very unprofessional!

      1. The FIA are doing themselves no favours with these statements

        I cannot open the article, but it doesn’t look like a statement. It seems to be a ‘what if’ answer to a question.

        And based in the sniper seen here, there is nothing incorrect about the answer: if the race was nullified then Verstappen would also be WDC.

        It seems we only get these headlined mini quotes to maximise the clicks and prologue the broken record discussion (or rather ‘repeating of dug-in position statements’).

    8. Extending a race for extending’s sake would be impractical.
      Races have to end at some point anyway.

      True, which is why they gave up lobbying an appeal, but had Lewis led in points pre-event, I’m sure they would’ve pushed for the last race nullification.

      COTD: I agree. Faster corners & even straights are a better choice for specific naming than chicanes.

      1. @jerejj

        Extending a race for extending’s sake would be impractical

        Nascar.

        OK I guess that actually just proves your point to be honest.

      2. The window for adding a lap for every couple under SC is probably only from about 7 laps to the end (enough time to clean up and resume normally) to about 3 laps to the end (not enough go-juice to manage).
        Race directors are already failing to execute simple rules – sure to come unstuck with a complicated system.
        Better off to just suck up yellow flag finish (I just watched LA celebrate a couple of minutes before the scheduled end of a game, they and the crowd seemed happy) or red flag on the grid, lapped cars at the back, no repairs/free pitstops & then rolling start so the leaders at maintain something substantial from their previous work.

    9. I’m still waiting for the ultimate battle out of all of this: Peter Bayer vs Sue Gray. Battle of the inquiries.

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