Ex-Ferrari team manager accuses FIA of cheating Lewis Hamilton out of 2021 title

The 2023 Dutch GP was stopped in the closing laps due to heavy rain, before it resumed with everyone on the same compound.

Ex-Ferrari and Williams team manager Peter Windsor believes the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix should’ve been red-flagged when Nicholas Latifi crashed with a handful of laps remaining.

Latifi crashed in the closing laps at the Yas Marina Circuit, when Lewis Hamilton was on the brink of an unprecedented eighth world title.

Instead, a rule break by former race director Michael Masi saw a one-lap sprint take place, with Max Verstappen having overtaken Hamilton on the final lap to claim his first Formula 1 title.

Verstappen overtook Hamilton with ease as he pitted for a set of Soft tyres as soon as the Safety Car was released, whilst the Mercedes driver was on very old Hard tyres.

Want to work in Formula 1? Browse the latest F1 job vacancies

Despite this, Verstappen probably wouldn’t have overtaken Hamilton, had Masi only allowed the drivers between the two title protagonists to un-lap themselves.

In Windsor’s eyes, the race should’ve been stopped when it was realised that it would take longer than expected to clear Latifi’s crashed Williams, allowing everyone to put on a set of Soft tyres.

He thinks that what happened last weekend at the Dutch Grand Prix, is effectively what should’ve happened in the 2021 finale, with the race having been stopped with eight laps remaining last Sunday, following torrential rain.

When the race resumed, only the Intermediates were allowed to be used.

Article continues below

In other words, Windsor thinks the 2021 finale should’ve been stopped and then eventually restarted with everybody on the same compound, to make for a fair finish.

“They were very, very closely matched,” Windsor said in a YouTube stream, when asked how close Red Bull and Mercedes were in 2021.

“The Mercedes was usually a bit quicker in a straight line, but it was close. It was very close. I think we saw Mercedes definitely with a very competitive car in the last few races.

“I still say that race of Lewis’s at Abu Dhabi was one of the best races he ever drove and, considering the state of the Championship, it was a really impressive performance from Mercedes as well, I think, to do as well as they did.

“I was just thinking actually, to go on about it again, when the whole red flag thing came out at Zandvoort and they all stopped and then they told everybody what tyres to be on, why didn’t they do that at Abu Dhabi?

READ: Helmut Marko’s latest comments indicate Sergio Perez will be fired

“If they’re going to stop the race, why didn’t they do that? Everybody must be on a new set of soft tyres, one-lap sprint to the finish – that would’ve been OK.

“But to allow pit stops and then have the race start when it shouldn’t have? It still sticks in the gullet, that one.

“Nothing to do with Max deserving it or not, I just think it was an insanely bad decision at the wrong time.”