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Sports Articles: Formula 1: Saudi Arabia Talking Points

Formula 1: Saudi Arabia Talking Points
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Formula 1: Things To Think About After Saudi Arabia

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1. Should it have even been there?

Even putting aside the argument about whether the race should have been held there over human rights objections, there must be questions asked about whether the Saudis were ready to host such a big race. They had really only had practice, qualifying and some support races to prepare the stewards and other personnel there for this event. Judging by the shambles of the stop start stop again race, I do not think they were ready for this kind of big race yet. Either that or they really are deliberately trying to give Verstappen the title this year, as it was clear on first viewing that the barriers would need to be replaced after Schumacher's accident. Instead of getting the red flag straight out, they wasted time with a safety car that was clearly not going to be enough to get the job done. That could have been enough to hand the title to the Red Bull driver if he had not been such an idiot off the restart. And no, I do not believe they did that to try and help Verstappen, just trying to segway into the way Max nearly blew it all with his overly aggressive driving from each restart.


2. What does Max have to do before he realises he is going to badly hurt someone?

How many times is Verstappen going to do things that are clearly dangerous driving before someone takes him aside and explains to him that he could easily end up killing someone like this? Driving people off the road repeatedly on a high speed course like that, and at others this season, and not being held accountable has clearly given him a feeling of invincibility. Everyone knows if you are genuinely letting someone by that you are unable to communicate with directly, you get off the racing line to let them past. Or you signal them which side to pass you with your arm in open top racers. Verstappen did neither. I realise he has a huge following, and money is all that matters to F1, but he is going to cause others to copy him. That is a slippery road to go down in a sport as dangerous as Formula 1. The other drivers clearly see him as a problem, judging by the reaction to him getting away with his actions in Brazil. There was very nearly a drivers' revolt in Qatar over the way that was handled.


3. Clutches

It was interesting to note that no one knew how well the clutches would stand up to all those restarts. Most teams have only homologated their clutches for 3 starts, except for Aston Martin whose clutch is only made to last for 2 starts, so anything could have happened if there had been more restarts. Add that to the heat and making cars repeatedly sit still on the grid while that heat builds up and we could have seen any number of them simply sit there and cook. I am not sure whether it is a good thing or not. It could have created some extra excitement when random cars failed to get away, but it could also have destroyed the race or even the championship battle.


4. Quali

I have heard Verstappen's final lap, when he binned it overdriving near the end to miss out on pole, described as qualifying lap of the season by the commentators. Is it just me who thinks that surely the best qualifying lap of the season is one where the car actually makes it all the way round?


5. What in the actual **** was that?

Can that even be described as a race? It was so stop start and then decided by another silly moment from Verstappen forcing him to hand back the place. Which then led to confusion when he took too long and picked up a 5second penalty so he handed the place back again. It was just a mess. This whole season has been shambolic. The organisation has been terrible, with the joke of the engineered half points result in Spa being a standout, throughout the season. This race just seemed to sum up the messiness that has symbolised 2021 on the track. It is certainly not a race I would want to see again, except maybe a short highlights clip, as there was so little actual on-track racing.


6. Deal or no deal?

I understand Michael Masi was not actually running a game show there, despite his excellent Noel Edmunds impersonation, and was just telling the teams that this was their option unless they wanted the stewards to make a definite call on what would happen. However, could he not have worded it better? To couch that as 'an offer' made it sound like there is shady dealings going on. What is the point in having such a wishy-washy race director? Surely he needs to say: "This is my decision, you either accept it or be disqualified"? I was just surprised Red Bull did not want to send it to the stewards, as so far this season they have given just about every call in their favour. It does feel like there is little point in having a race director, as he is more of just a PA to the stewards. Just a go-between to keep the teams from speaking directly to them and exerting more influence on them.


7. The finish

There was little to really talk about in terms of the race itself. It was basically just a series of short sprints, with little genuine action as the track was not set up to allow cars to really race wheel-to-wheel. The only real excitement generated by actual racing was that sprint to the line which saw Bottas pip Ocon to the final podium place. It must be said though, I was gutted for Ocon as he deserved to hold on. His drive was enough to ensure Red Bull were unable to pit Verstappen for softs to try and pinch the fastest lap at the end as well. Which I personally am glad about as I find that practice really annoying. I do not think the extra point for fastest lap is helping the racing at all. It favours those not in the lead with the possibility of an undeserved point, in my opinion.


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Written by Tris Burke December 06 2021 12:53:13