F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali admits Abu Dhabi GP finish was a mistake

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali likens the finish of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to a football “referee that’s making a mistake”, but says it was not done “on purpose to be against someone”.

The controversial finish of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which saw Lewis Hamilton unjustly lose the world championship to Max Verstappen, after race director Michael Masi broke the rules and regulations which govern the use of the Safety Car, still remains a hot topic.

After watching the race, many long-time and casual followers of Formula 1 have said that they will not be watching the sport anymore, even going so far as to call it “fake” or “scripted”.

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali was asked if he thinks the controversy has done damage to the sport’s image.

“In terms of image, it’s like when there is a football World Cup and there is a referee that’s making a mistake and there is a penalty given that is not there, but it’s there,” the Italian told RaceFans.net.

“So I don’t think that is a damage of the reputation, of the solidity of the championship, because that’s something that can happen.

“What I see, to be honest, is that the FIA has taken seriously that fact and they want to change it and to improve the system.

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“But at the end of the day, the performance of all the people involved in F1 has something related to his personal capability or personal skills or personal good decision or personal mistakes, and this is something that will be always in every sport.”

Although Domenicali seems to accept the fact that the rules were not followed, and the that the decisions made in Abu Dhabi were not right, he insists it was a result of a mistake, and not an example of a race being ‘rigged’.

“What I can, because otherwise I wouldn’t be in this position, I never, ever think that someone is doing something on purpose to be against someone.

“This is something that I cannot accept because if I would have a little doubt about it, I wouldn’t be here.

“You can have mistakes, yes, 100%, you can say mistakes, teams or drivers, everyone can do it.

“But I don’t want to judge something that could have been because of a personal vision of something that has happened as a damaged reputation for F1,” Domenicali concluded.

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