McLaren boss defends FIA, says teams must ‘close loopholes’

Full points were awarded at the Japanese GP last weekend without the teams appearing to know why.

Last weekend’s first Japanese Grand Prix since 2019 was perhaps one of the most confusing and seemingly complicated races in the modern history of Formula 1, with multiple things leaving both fans and the teams completely baffled.

The race at Suzuka was massively impacted by the heavy rain, which resulted in a lengthy red flag interval to allow the worst of the weather to pass the venue.

When racing did eventually resume, only 40 minutes remained on the three-hour timer, meaning it effectively became a sprint race.

Due to the length of the stoppage, only 52-percent of the full race distance was completed, leaving the entire paddock and the fans believing that full points won’t be awarded.

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It was then suddenly announced by the FIA that full points would be awarded, with the race having actually concluded, rather than suspended.

The reasoning behind full points being awarded is arguably still absolutely bizarre, with only 28 laps having been completed.

No one was more confused than race winner Max Verstappen, who was suddenly told he was World Champion again; however, the Dutchman and Red Bull hilariously didn’t believe what they were being told.

He was convinced he needed one more point, which resulted in Red Bull opening the rulebook to see what on earth was going on.

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The celebrations were wild once it was officially confirmed to the Dutch driver and the Austrians, with Verstappen having claimed the title with four races remaining.

This wasn’t the only questionable decision of the race, though, as most expected there to be one more lap than there actually was.

With the race having resorted to the timer, most believed that an additional lap would be completed once the timer hit zero; however, when the timer hit zero it was announced that the lap it hit zero on would be the last.

It was clear that drivers were unaware as a number continued to race past the chequered flag, before being informed by their team that the race had ended.

Interestingly, McLaren boss Andreas Seidl has revealed that the blame can’t all be put on the FIA, as the teams get a chance to check the rulebook before every season, to find any errors.

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“I feel responsible for this as well, because in the end, we do this review each winter and each team has the opportunity to bring up points that are not clear, for example,” Seidl said.

“And I didn’t go into the full details yet with the team, what exactly the loophole was. We understood everything we have defined together with the FIA in Formula 1 – after Spa, it’s only valid if the race doesn’t finish normally and that’s clearly something we have all overlooked is that’s the case.

“Therefore, we are responsible for trying to do a better job over the winter and to close the loopholes if there are any left.”