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Formula 1 – dirty final: Experts demand FIA statement

The tough title fight between Max Verstappen (24) and Lewis Hamilton (36) keeps Formula 1 in suspense before the season finale in Abu Dhabi. But while the two rivals demonstrate their strength to each other every time they meet, the highest control body, of all things, shows weakness in the crucial phase of the World Cup: The FIA ​​has not covered itself with fame for weeks. Instead of exuding calm and authority, the race management recently even negotiated in public with the angry teams about possible penalties.

Above all, the stewards are repeatedly criticized for the lack of consistency in their decisions. The sometimes completely out of control Saudi Arabia GP shows impressively how the FIA ​​recently failed to set a precedent – and how this hesitant behavior is falling on its feet.

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Because: After the controversial race in Jeddah, world championship leader Verstappen frankly admits that his driving style was based on the recently failed guidelines on duel behavior. “It was still okay in Brazil and now I’m suddenly getting a penalty for it,” the Dutchman scoffs at his five-second penalty for shortening turn one in a duel with Hamilton.

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton in a duel.

Flashback: Even three weeks ago in Sao Paulo, Verstappen and Hamilton fought wheel to wheel, the Briton was actually already over there too. With an extremely late braking maneuver on the inner lane, however, the Red Bull driver was able to maintain his position, although he went off the track and also pushed Hamilton out. A copy of the incident occurred on Sunday in Jeddah.

“Of course Lewis had the surplus, a bit like in Brazil, and of course I braked late and as a result went a little off the line. Then I got a cross, so I went a long way. But he also missed the curve. So I don’t think it’s fair that I get a penalty for that, “explains Verstappen. Although Hamilton only missed the corner to avoid a collision with the Red Bull – when it comes to penalties, Verstappen hits a sore point.

In the aftermath of the Brazilian GP, ​​after Verstappen had not been punished, various driver colleagues, such as Ferrari star Charles Leclerc, spoke up and complained about the lack of clarity on the part of the FIA: “If that is allowed, I will change my driving style (to the harder pace; d.Red.). Then overtaking maneuvers on the outside lane will be difficult in the future. “
Due to the lack of power from the rulers to date, more than a few experts in the paddock fear that the next and decisive crash of the title rivals will take place on Sunday at the big showdown in Abu Dhabi. Two men who should know are Jacques Villeneuve (50) and Damon Hill (61): Both were involved in the last two crashes in the Formula 1 season finals that were decisive for the World Cup, each against Michael Schumacher.

“It wasn’t Formula 1, it was rental karting: It was just all wrong,” said Villeneuve in relation to the most recent events in Jeddah. “Max drives off the track and gains an advantage. On the other hand, his front wheels were in front of Lewis’ rear wheels. The rules say you have to leave room, which Lewis didn’t. Max probably wouldn’t have gotten the curve like that either, but which rule do you follow now? ”Asks the Canadian.

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For him, neither of the Formula 1 giants are innocent lambs: “Everyone plays these little tricks. Only when Lewis does that does he do it in such a way that there is always a doubt as to whether it was on purpose. It was the same against Nico Rosberg. If Rosberg did the same, he’d be caught and it looked filthy. If Lewis did it, it wasn’t on purpose, and therefore clean. He’s the master at it, he’s really good at it. “

What Villeneuve does not like, besides the driving standards, is the disrespectful treatment of the protagonists with the FIA: “If you look at the team bosses: everyone is screaming and exerting pressure, even on the marshals. It has become really ridiculous. ”According to the Canadian, the race management has to touch their own nose for their lost authority:“ A deal is being made (on the starting grid before the restart; d. Ed.)? I have never heard of it. That’s not in the rules and I really didn’t understand. “

Villeneuve was the victim of an attack by Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher in the infamous season finale in Jerez in 1997. The German deliberately rammed the Canadian in the Williams, but was eliminated. Villeneuve continued and became world champion. Another ex-champion uses this example as an opportunity to call for the FIA ​​to intervene before the final on Sunday in Abu Dhabi: “There is the precedent of 1997 when Schumacher was stripped of all points,” explains Damon Hill.

Will there be another crash in the final between Verstappen and Hamilton?

“In the event that we have such a situation again (with a collision; d. Ed.), I think the FIA ​​should let the teams and drivers know in advance what they will do then,” demands Hill deterrent Brite had also collided with Schumacher in the 1994 season finale in Adelaide, but, unlike Villeneuve, could not continue three years later and therefore lost the title by one point to the German (at that time still in the Benetton).

Hill makes no secret of the fact that Verstappen reminds him of Schumacher: “There are some people who drive without compromise and I think Max is one of them. He always pushes everything to the limit, “explains the 1996 world champion.” Max is very skilled, brilliant and exciting. But I think Lewis is very careful now – he’s not intimidated, but definitely suspicious of Max. And rightly so. ”

Verstappen and Hamilton go into the final with equal points, but the Dutchman has one more victory: If both crash and get no points, Verstappen is world champion for the first time.

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