That’s exactly what Mercedes boss Toto Wolff concluded. “What it says is you can just launch yourself into a corner and drag the other car out of line,” he said after a review of the stewards’ decision was rejected.
Where penalties were imposed by Whiting, he was clear in his explanation. Verstappen did get a time penalty at the 2018 Japanese Grand Prix when he blocked Räikkönen illegally.
“It was quite clearly a penalty because Max went off the track and rejoined the track unsafely,” Whiting assessed after the Suzuka incident.
Drivers might wish for similar clarity from Masi, whose approach has been far more hands-off. The reappearance of the black and white flag for Verstappen in Brazil a similarly non-committal approach last seen during Charles Leclerc’s controversial squeezing out of Hamilton during the 2019 Italian GP at the Della Roggia chicane.
He might have the title battle and theatrics of the race in mind, and insist that the rules are clear, but several drivers on the ’21 grid insist they are not.
Sadly, Masi is unable to seek advice from the master. Whiting suffered a pulmonary embolism in Melbourne, just before the first Grand Prix of the 2019 season, leaving Masi to step into his shoes after just a single season as Whiting’s deputy.
Could Whiting have brought a measure of calm to the on-track title battle, and clarity to the regulations?
It’s impossible to know in such a hard-fought championship fight, but his enormous contribution to the sport, in managing the racing spectacle and leading safety improvements is marked by his nomination to the Motor Sport Hall of Fame.
It’s up to readers to decide whether he should join racing’s legends. Vote below to make your choices.