until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Marko: Mercedes made a mistake and must accept defeat

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
3 min read

Red Bull is “really disappointed” with Mercedes trying to challenge the outcome of the 2021 Formula 1 world championship, says Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko – who believes Mercedes’ own “mistake” played a part in the outcome.

Mercedes had two protests dismissed in the immediate aftermath of the Yas Marina showdown, and is currently deciding whether it will proceed with an appeal into one of these dismissals.

Its driver Lewis Hamilton had looked en route to an eighth F1 title for most of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but was left a sitting duck when race direction made a late decision to wave through the lapped cars between Hamilton (on old hard tyres) and a soft-shod Max Verstappen and withdrew the safety car for one final racing lap.

While Mercedes has been challenging the result on the grounds that the regulations were not followed in how the restart panned out, Marko believes Red Bull’s rival needs to accept its own share of responsibility for the defeat.

“I can understand that they are unhappy,” Marko said in an appearance on BBC Radio 5 Live.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Race Day Abu Dhabi, Uae

“But what I don’t understand is, they had the possibility also to go to the pits but they didn’t. So it was I would say a mistake.

“And in the end to influence Michael Masi, the race director, not to give a safety car, that’s not in their competence.”

Marko’s latter remark appears to relate to a situation earlier in the race, in which Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff had implored race control not to turn a virtual safety car period into a full-on safety car after Antonio Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo parked in a runoff area.

Wolff, however, was also communicating with Masi extensively during the conclusion of the grand prix.

Mercedes did not take advantage of the late safety car, caused by Nicholas Latifi crashing, to swap Hamilton onto fresh tyres because it was wary of conceding track position to Verstappen, which would’ve been catastrophic in case the race then went on not to restart.

Red Bull and Verstappen, for their part, had virtually nothing to lose by pitting as they already saw Hamilton stay out on track further up the road.

A Hamilton pitstop would’ve probably set up a role reversal of the final lap if it were officiated the same way, with Hamilton then likely to make quick work of Verstappen had the latter stayed out.

However, it is also accurate to say that Mercedes’ decision – which would’ve been based on the limited amount of laps remaining – was clearly not an unfounded one given Hamilton would’ve taken the race win after a final lap under the safety car if this particular restart didn’t deviate from the article of the F1 rulebook that governs them.

“We were really disappointed to see that they showed up with a barrister, one of the highest-paid barristers was brought from England, to show up to the last race,” Marko continued, echoing Red Bull team boss Christian Horner’s initial dissatisfaction with the post-race proceedings and the presence of legal counsel Paul Harris.

Dec 12 : Abu Dhabi Grand Prix review

“We take the best paid engineers to the race to get out the maximum out of the car. The way they reacted after the race, is for us, not really understandable.

“They believed one lap before that they will be champions. But if you lose, you have to accept it – or at least that’s our approach to the sport.”

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • More Networks