Rosberg calls for clarification after Hamilton-Verstappen controversy

Nico Rosberg would like to see better stewarding in Formula 1 following several controversial moments during the 2021 season.

Max Verstappen leads the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.v1

2016 Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg has said that he believes new FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem must implement changes to make for cleaner racing in 2022.

Sir Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen were involved in multiple contentious moment on track throughout 2021, with the stewards and race director Michael Masi seeming to lose control of several grand prix.

Most notable were races in Silverstone, Monza, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.

The pair made significant contact with each other in three of those five races. In Sao Paulo, Verstappen forced Hamilton off the circuit as he defended his position, much to the ire of Mercedes.

Masi opted not to penalise Verstappen for this, and a mess was made of a further incident in Jeddah, as the title rivals collided when the Dutchman attempted to allow the Briton through following an incident at Turn 1 – only to receive a penalty for it anyway.

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton race in the 2021 season finale.v1

Ben Sulayem has taken over from Jean Todt, with the former Ferrari team principal having served his maximum term of 12 years as the head of F1’s governing body.

READ: Wolff suggests Hamilton ‘lost faith’ in Formula 1 after Abu Dhabi controversy

Rosberg, who beat Hamilton to the title in 2016, affirms that change is needed.

“Big respect to Jean for his career, of course. But now with a new person, there’s an opportunity. The sport needs to make progress,” he told Sky Sports.

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The championship-winning Extreme E Rosberg X Racing boss also cited the season-ending 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in which there was contact through Turn 6 when Verstappen forced Hamilton off the circuit.

“It starts even with all the overtaking, the wheel-to-wheel action. Let’s not forget that in the [Abu Dhabi] race, Max Verstappen passed Lewis [on lap 1] and kind of pushed him off a little bit. Lewis stayed flat out, cut the corner and came out in front again.

“Even that, all of us experts said Lewis should let Max by here, but they didn’t ask him to.”

The German therefore maintains that change is necessary if racing is to improve next year: “The FIA needs to tighten all that up so that we don’t have all these discussions.”

READ: Hamilton taking ‘social media break’ after Abu Dhabi controversy

The 36-year-old believes that the rules need to be simplified in order to eliminate discussions of stewarding competency and consistency after every race.

“It would be better for the sport if it was much easier to understand. Also in wheel-to-wheel racing; who is now right and wrong, what needs to be done.

“A quick decision is made, and we go on. We need to get rid of all of these discussions, that’s important,” the 2016 F1 world champion concluded.

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