In the round-up: The controversial conclusion to the 2021 Formula 1 world championship was not provoked by a desire to create better television, says the producer of Drive to Survive.
‘Masi wasn’t thinking about Netflix’ – producer
Drive to Survive producer James Gay-Rees says there is no connection between the series and the deeply contentious 2021 title-deciding race at Yas Marina. Max Verstappen overtook Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to win the world championship after race director Michael Masi broke the regulations by organising a restart.
Some drivers at the time, such as Lando Norris, claimed Masi ignored the need to let any drivers not on the lead lap to pass by in order to ensure a racing finish to the end. “It was obviously made to be a fight,” said the McLaren driver. “It was for the TV, of course. It was for the result.”
However Gay-Rees disagrees. “I think [Masi] was just under a lot of pressure and got things slightly wrong,” he told The Guardian. “I don’t think he was thinking ‘What does Netflix want?’”
Masi has not explained how the decision was taken. An interview with him last year revealed the former race director signed a non-disclosure agreement with the FIA over the incident which led to him leaving the federation.
Gurney’s Eagle goes under auction
A 1966 Anglo-American Racers Eagle raced by world champion Phil Hill and team founder Dan Gurney will go up for auction early next month with an expected fetching price of between $3-4 million (£2.49-3.32m).
The Eagle mark one chassis number 101, which was displayed at the Donington Grand Prix Collection at Donington Park for nearly four decades, was the first Eagle built by the Anglo-American Racers team, founded by Gurney and which operated from an English base. The car made its debut in the 1966 Belgian Grand Prix, with the team going on to take victory in the following year’s race at Spa-Francorchamps in 1967, the first F1 victory for an American-built car.
The Eagle will be auctioned by Gooding & Company at its Amelia Island Auctions event in Florida on Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd March.
Van Hoepen wins New Zealand Grand Prix
Laurens van Hoepen claimed victory in the New Zealand Grand Prix in dominant fashion, completing a hat trick of pole, fastest lap in the race win.
The 17-year-old started on pole but lost the lead to Louis Foster at the start before moving back ahead of Foster by the end of the opening lap. Van Hoepen went on to beat Foster to the chequered flag by less than a second, with the pair far ahead of third-placed Callum Hedge. It was Van Hoepen’s first win in cars.
Veteran Chris van der Drift finished fourth, while Charlie Wurz reclaimed the lead in the Formula Regional Oceania Championship with seventh place after taking victory in an earlier race.
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