F1, Tifosi, up in arms over Monza GP anti-climax

(GMM) The world in Formula 1 is up in arms about the manner in which Sunday’s Italian GP at Monza ended.

Race winner, reigning world champion and runaway championship leader Max Verstappen admitted he didn’t particularly enjoy standing on the famous podium for the first time.

“The atmosphere for me was not amazing,” said the Dutchman after receiving a cavalcade of boos and jeers. “But it is what it is.”

The tifosi descend on the Monza podium

His Red Bull boss Dr Helmut Marko, however, doesn’t think the Tifosi was specifically booing Verstappen.

“The whistling fans behaved honestly,” the Austrian said. “They were indignant because they were unhappy with the management of the race – and they were right.

“We might have been at a disadvantage as Red Bull, but the sport has to be at the forefront.”

Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto agreed: “I think the behavior of our Tifosi was more towards the FIA.”

Mattia Binotto Team Principal of Scuderia Ferrari, during the Italian GP, 8-11 September 2022 at Monza track, Formula 1 World championship 2022.

The Italian was scathing of the governing body’s race director for letting the race finish behind the safety car because of Daniel Ricciardo’s broken-down McLaren.

“The FIA has been caught sleeping. Maybe they are not ready to deal with these situations yet,” Binotto insisted.

“I think there was plenty of time for the FIA to act differently today.”

The situation was basically the inverse of the highly contentious climax to the 2021 world championship in Abu Dhabi, which ultimately cost Michael Masi his job as race director.

Michael Masi gave the fans what they wanted – a race, not a parade to the finish in Abu Dhabi. It was not his fault Mercedes left Hamilton out on worn hard tires that enabled Max Verstappen to blow his doors off on the final, one-lap, of green flag racing. The fans cheered wildly then, and booed wildly on Sunday in Monza. Mercedes blew the strategy in Abu Dhabi and never owned up to their error.

“This is the rule they should have followed then, right?” Lewis Hamilton, whose fans still believe the seven time world champion was robbed of his eighth title, said after Sunday’s race.

“There was only one time in the history of the sport that they didn’t follow the rule.”

Defenders of the ousted Masi’s handling of the Abu Dhabi situation, however, insist that the Australian was simply trying to avoid a Monza-like anti-climax.

“This is exactly what Michael Masi tried to prevent in Abu Dhabi, and he succeeded quite well,” Dutch GP boss Jan Lammers told NOS. “Not everyone was happy back then either, of course.”

Binotto said: “After Abu Dhabi, we had long discussions over how to improve because the aim is to restart the race as soon as possible in a safe manner.”

The FIA immediately responded to the new Monza controversy by insisting that the Ricciardo failure was “not significant enough to require a red flag”.

“The timing of the safety car period within a race has no bearing on this procedure,” a spokesperson added. “Safety during the recovery process is our only priority.”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff agrees that the rules were simply followed correctly on Sunday, meaning that a re-think would involve looking again at the rules.

“It has to start with the question – do we definitely want the race to end under a green flag?” he said.

Ultimately, Verstappen’s fifth win on the trot means his 116 point lead is basically now unassailable.

“Now we only have to win one more time to secure the title,” Marko admitted.

Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB18 leads Pierre Gasly of France driving the (10) Scuderia AlphaTauri AT03 during the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo Nazionale Monza on September 11, 2022 in Monza, Italy. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool