Formula 1

F1 2021: Masi on turn four controversy: Drivers could run wide, but not to overtake

The debate is rumbling on after Max Verstappen had to give back the position when he overtook Lewis Hamilton at turn four of the Bahrain International Circuit, ultimately finishing behind the Englishman in second place.

Red Bull told their driver to give up the position because the Dutchman had overtaken while running wide off the track and, now, the FIA race director Michael Masi has insisted that this seemed clear to him.

“If an overtake takes place with a car off track and gains an advantage, a lasting advantage, I will go on the radio and suggest to the team that they immediately relinquish that position, and that was made very clear,” he said.

Red Bull were actually given an instruction immediately by myself that I suggested they relinquish that position as listed in the sporting regulations, which they did.

“It wasn’t for exceeding track limits. It was for gaining a lasting advantage by overtaking another car off the race track.”


Masi also dismissed the notion that the guidance on running off track did not change over the race weekend.

“With regard to tolerance given with people running outside of the track limits during the race, it was mentioned very clearly in the drivers’ meeting and the notes that it would not be monitored with regard to setting the lap time so to speak,” he continued.

“But it will always be monitored in according with the sporting regulations that a lasting advantage overall must not be gained.

“Nothing changed at all during the race. We had two people that were looking in that area at every car at every lap and pretty much every car bar one was doing the right thing within what we expected in a general sequence. There was the occasional car that had a bit of a moment or went out there, but it wasn’t a constant thing.”

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