Aston Martin drivers Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll have called on Formula 1 to focus more on sport and less on entertainment after the controversial end to the season in Abu Dhabi.
Max Verstappen won his first F1 title after overtaking Lewis Hamilton on the last lap at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix following's race director Michael Masi's decision to restart the race rather than finish behind a safety car.
It made for a thrilling -- and TV-friendly -- finish to the season. But Masi has been criticised for making a decision on the fly that went against the usual rules as only some of the lapped cars were allowed to unlap themselves, giving Verstappen a clear run at Hamilton.
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Stroll slammed that decision as "just not right" while Vettel, the four-time F1 champion, said the sporting aspect should be more important than putting on a show.
"It's great racing and everyone wants to see the two drivers in the championship go head-to-head with one lap to go, but you can't be making up rules at the end of the race like that. It has to be set in stone," Stroll said at the launch of Aston Martin's new 2022 car.
"Abu Dhabi was just not right. When there's a safety car, lapped cars get to overtake the safety car and then we go racing. There is nothing that says half the cars can overtake and half stay behind and then we go racing. Those things can't be modified just to put on a show.
"The rules are the rules and you can't be changing the rules for entertainment. It has to be sport first."
Vettel said F1 officials need to clarify the rules ahead of the new season in order to make sure a similar situation doesn't happen again.
"The main thing is going forward is there is clarity in those sorts of situations," Vettel said.
"There are two interests clashing, the sport and the show, and I don't care so much about the show."
The German driver also defended Masi, who took over the role of race director after Charlie Whiting died in 2019. While Mercedes decided not to pursue an appeal of the Abu Dhabi outcome, it is not yet known if Masi will return to the role, with an inquiry into the race ongoing.
"It is not the easiest to be in the shoes of the referee or Michael's shoes but I think he has done a great job, especially filling in after Charlie passed away so suddenly," Vettel said.
"He has been very focused and determined to do a good job. I don't know his future but I hope he sticks around because overall he did a really good job. There is a lot of controversy over the last race but there shouldn't be. Overall he has done a really good job."
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