Helmut Marko is encouraged by sound bites made by recently elected FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the Red Bull advisor suggesting the backbone of Formula 1 rules should be: Let Them Race!
History has it that Marko’s protege Max Verstappen is World Champion but the season was peppered with controversy as he and Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton slugged it out in an epic 22-round contest.
To crown it all, the finale was a topsy turvy affair, which summed up the season in a historic night few will forget and while Verstappen won the night, it is clear that officiating by the FIA appointed panel, headed by Race Director Michael Masi needs a serious revamp.
Marko is encouraged by Ben Sulayem, who replaced former long-standing FIA President Jean Todt, and told essentially sports: “We have a new FIA President and what I have heard from him so far sounds good.
“He wants to innovate. I think we should consider the motto Niki Lauda came up with: ‘Let them race’. That has to be the starting point.”
Formula 1 regulations need to be more precise
While Mercedes were aggrieved in the manner in which they lost the Drivers’ Title, Red Bull too believe that rules clarity must be a high priority.
Marko continued: “Regulations need to be more precise, but the stewards also need to express themselves more clearly and make better decisions. We need to know that if we do this or that, we will get this or that penalty. Not this one time and that one time again.”
While Masi and his FIA appointed race stewards have been vilified for the Abu Dhabi mayhem, they also came under-fire for other dubious decisions made during the course of a torrid year for the ‘referees’ of the sport.
The Race Director should not have anyone nagging him
While many hankered for the late Charlie Whiting, this was unfair because Masi’s predecessor’s decision-making process was not broadcast live. The fact the team bosses have direct contact with Masi has been counter-productive.
Marko agrees: “The Team Manager should actually take messages from team bosses and pass them on to the Race Director. Because he should be free to decide. Just imagine. Masi sometimes only has seconds, maybe ten or so, to make these decisions.
“The Race Director should not have anyone nagging him. Decisions should be made without anyone being able to influence them.
“Then I believe that all the incidents, which mainly affected us at Red Bull, but also other teams like Mercedes, can be avoided,” Marko added with a clear dig at their rivals, their boss Toto Wolff in particular.