Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko shares Formula 1 technical director Ross Brawn’s view that contact between team principals and race director Michael Masi needs to be stopped.
Mercedes and Red Bull were on the radio to Masi on multiple occasions last season, most notably in the final race in Abu Dhabi.
Red Bull’s Jonathan Wheatley and Mercedes’ Toto Wolff were persistent in nagging the Australian to see incidents from their perspective throughout 2021, and there was even a bizarre negotiation between Masi and Red Bull in Saudi Arabia as to the severity of Max Verstappen’s penalty following an incident with Sir Lewis Hamilton.
In Abu Dhabi, both teams hounded Masi on the radio, demanding that he made a favourable decision during the late Safety Car period.
In the end, Masi made the controversial decision to only allow the five lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen through in an attempt to finish the race under green flag conditions.
This allowed Verstappen to controversially pass his rival on the final lap of the 2021 Formula 1 season.
Brawn feels as though much of the negative attention brought upon Masi this season has stemmed from an over-abundance of pressure from team bosses, and has declared that this will be banned next year.
“We will stop this contact [between team principals and Masi] next year,” Brawn told Auto Motor und Sport (AMuS).
The former Mercedes team principal likened the radio lobbying to coaches surrounding the referee during football games.
“It’s unacceptable that team bosses put Michael under such pressure during the race.
“It’s like the coaches negotiating with the referee in football,” he added.
Following a maximum 12 years in charge of the FIA, Jean Todt stepped down as president at the end of 2021, with Mohammed Ben Sulayem elected to replace him.
While it is early days, Dr Marko said he is impressed with his work so far.
“We have a new FIA president, and what I have heard from him so far sounds good,” Marko said in an interview with Servus TV.
The Austrian believes that there is too much steward interference during races and cited his friend, the late Niki Lauda, who always preferred to see drivers fighting hard on track.
“He wants to innovate, and I think we should think about the motto that Niki Lauda came up with: ‘Let them race’. That has to be the starting point,” he explained.
F1 stewards have long been accused of inconsistency, and the 2021 season saw an especially high number of controversial decisions.
Dr Marko calls for clearer guidelines for the stewards to work with, but also affirms that the stewards themselves need to improve.
“There is no consistency to be seen in the decisions and therefore we get the feeling that it all looks random.
“The rules need to be more precise, but the stewards also need to express themselves more clearly and make better decisions,” said the 78-year-old.
Much like in other sports, Dr Marko believes there should be more binary penalties for a certain type of incident.
“We need to know that if we do this or that, we will get this or that penalty. Not this one time and that one time again.”
On the topic of radio lobbying, the Red Bull advisor agrees with Brawn that the communication is not helpful for Masi, who needs to be able to make decisions without biased influence.
“Just imagine. Masi sometimes only has seconds, maybe 10 or so, to make decisions,” added the 78-year-old.
While Verstappen beat Hamilton to the Drivers’ Championship in 2021, Mercedes wrapped up their record-eighth consecutive Constructors’ Championship.
The cars will be radically altered next season, with less aerodynamic parts and 18-inch tyres expected to promote more wheel-to-wheel racing.