Formula 1 Racing

F1 needs to “fix” racing rules to avoid “another 2021”, says McLaren

F1 needs to “fix” racing rules to avoid “another 2021”, says McLaren

Formula 1 should seek to “fix” clear flaws with the racing rules that emerged from the Austrian Grand Prix, reckons McLaren boss Andrea Stella.

He thinks such action is essential if F1 is to deliver a good spectacle on track rather than the kind of controversies that famously marred the 2021 title battle between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

Stella saw his driver Lando Norris eliminated from the Austrian GP after a late-race collision with Verstappen, who the Briton had been battling with for several laps.

But their clash on lap 64, which Verstappen was given a 10-second penalty for, was not the only aspect of the race that has left McLaren feeling things needed to be handled better by the F1’s governing body.

He believes that the FIA should have been tougher on Verstappen’s moving under braking earlier in the race, that common sense should have been applied for Norris getting a track limits penalty after running wide following a failed overtake, and that Verstappen’s punishment for the coming together did not fit the crime as he still came away from the race with his championship lead extended.

Stella believes there are enough grounds from the incidents for F1 to conduct a deep-dive into the issues at play, and work out ways to avoid such battles in the future ending in more crashes.

“This race has given us a lot of good information to fix some of the aspects which are needed to go racing in a way that we can enjoy this kind of battle until the chequered flag,” explained Stella.

“For me it’s a big shame that we didn’t see the last six or seven laps, because they would have been quite entertaining.

“They were not entertaining because simply the rules were not enforced. It would have been enough to give Max the warning [for moving under braking], like a black and white flag – so don’t do it again. And he would have been much more prudent in closing the door on Lando.

“Then, when it comes to track limits – I think if the track limit is because you’re trying to overtake somebody and you lock a little bit – then I’m wondering what kind of racing are we going to have if this is enforced in this way?

“Drivers will not even attempt to overtake, because ‘oh, it will cost me one of the three strikes I have available’.

“This one I think can be easily resolved. We are not upset about this, we think it is wrong but it’s important that it’s addressed for the future, because we want to see a…

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