Max Verstappen received his first Formula 1 championship in gorgeous trend on Sunday, snatching the title from his rival Lewis Hamilton on the ultimate lap of the season after a hotly debated resolution by race officers to restart the race after a late crash. Mercedes has protested the choice.

The end capped a day of high-stakes racing, and ended a final-day duel for the world title by which Hamilton had led many of the race.

“It’s just insane,” Verstappen mentioned, including, “When you stand here and they tell you you’re the world champion, it’s just incredible.”

The resolution by race officers to restart racing for one last lap after a crash by Nicholas Latifi with 5 laps remaining turned the tables on the end. Moments earlier, the crash had appeared at hand Hamilton the title, since there was so little time left within the race. Verstappen had just lately made a pit cease for brand spanking new tires, a last-gap try and catch Hamilton.

But after initially signaling the race would creep to its end behind a security automobile, race officers cleaned up the particles on the observe and cleared the slower vehicles from between Hamilton, within the lead, and Verstappen, in second. Verstappen and his Red Bull crew, couldn’t imagine their luck; Hamilton, and Mercedes, have been crushed.

“It’s motor racing,” the aggravated voice of the race director informed Mercedes crew leaders once they complained, however by then the choice had been made. The occasion would end, it had been determined, with the vehicles racing, not in a parade to the road.

It didn’t take lengthy for Verstappen to grab on his opening, and he quickly handed Hamilton for the lead. Hamilton, who had been hoping to assert his file eighth world title, breaking a tie with Michael Schumacher, merely didn’t have sufficient time to seize the lead again.

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ended a singular Formula 1 season. While the pandemic compelled the cancellation of many longtime races, the game scrambled so as to add new ones. When the checkered flag went down on Sunday, it closed Formula 1’s longest season.

Events deliberate in China, Canada, Singapore, Japan and Australia have been canceled, however races have been added in Portugal, Turkey and Qatar, which hosted its first Grand Prix in November.

“We were able to bring home a calendar that will take us to 22 races this year, showing how strong the system is and how good the relationships are that we have around the world,” mentioned Stefano Domenicali, the chief government of Formula 1.

The file calendar, up from 21 races in 2019, was constructive information for Formula 1 because it tried to recuperate from the impression of Covid-19. Revenue jumped, rising 12 p.c within the third quarter, in contrast with the identical interval final 12 months, however the longer season has additionally taken a toll on groups. The Haas crew mentioned employees had stop due to the added workload and fixed journey.

Günther Steiner, crew principal of Haas, mentioned a handful of his employees members have been leaving to seek out jobs exterior Formula 1, partly due to the rising calendar.

“A few people just don’t want to do the 23-race schedule next year,” he mentioned, including that one engineer had simply began a household and deliberate to go away. “In general, I would say we have got a little bit more turnover than the years before, but not a lot.”

It will not be about to get simpler. The calendar will develop once more in 2022 due to the addition of the Miami Grand Prix. Twenty-three races are scheduled from March 20 to Nov. 20. About a month has been minimize from the season to keep away from a conflict with the FIFA World Cup. To accommodate that compressed schedule, races will probably be held on back-to again Sundays 11 occasions, up from eight this season, giving groups much less time to relaxation. Twice there will probably be occasions on three straight weekends.

Andreas Seidl, crew principal of McLaren, mentioned holding extra races in a shorter season would “make it even more intense between the first and the last race.”

“But it is positive seeing how big the interest is in the different countries,” he mentioned. “We as a team are highly interested in the commercial growth of Formula 1.”

Still, senior officers are aware of the schedule’s price to crew personnel, together with the drivers.

Lando Norris of McLaren mentioned it was changing into “harder” to seek out time to relaxation and recuperate between races as extra Grands Prix are added. He referred to as the quantity of journey “one of the toughest things.”

“It does take a toll on you,” he mentioned. “We’re directly at work less than the mechanics and the engineers. But our side of the job is a lot more physical, and it’s still mentally draining, how much you’ve got to focus, how much time and effort you put into thinking about all these things and trying to improve and so on.”

Sebastian Vettel of Aston Martin warned that Formula 1 “mustn’t neglect that we are a group of people and human beings traveling around the world.”

“If we have 52 weekends in a year, we do 23 of those as races and [there are] a couple of months in a year that we can’t hold races in most places around the world [because of the weather], it obviously gives you a very intense season,” he mentioned.

“The objective should be [that] we have a sustainable way to run our season, not only for our environment, but also looking at the human resource.”

Teams are taking steps to ease the burden. Many permit individuals to overlook some races to remain more energizing over the season. Some groups provide monetary incentives for working extra races and e book extra snug resorts on the finish of an extended journey.

The growth may not cease at 23 races. Qatar and China have contracts to every host a race beginning in 2023, which might create a 25-race schedule, the restrict underneath Formula 1’s rules.

Franz Tost, the crew principal of AlphaTauri, feared that the saturation of races may be an excessive amount of for followers.

“I think Formula 1 will lose a little bit [of] the premium market, because if every weekend there is a race, people will lose interest,” he mentioned.

“This is what worries me more: not because of the workload, it’s because people get overloaded with races.”

Frédéric Vasseur, the crew principal of Alfa Romeo, mentioned a possible 25-race calendar must be thought of “a positive first, because it means that Formula 1 is doing well and perception of F1 is improving.”

“We have to take care that the fans won’t lose the motivation,” he mentioned. “That is important. But for the team, I don’t think it will be a mega issue.”

Kimi Raikkonen of Alfa Romeo will retire from Formula 1 this weekend, ending a 20-year profession. When he made his debut in 2001, the calendar had solely 17 races, the vast majority of which have been in Europe. He didn’t end Sunday’s race.

Raikkonen, 42, mentioned the rising calendar was not a think about his resolution to retire. But he did urge warning over the impression it might have on these working in Formula 1.

“They are doing long days, especially if there are issues with the cars,” he mentioned. At the race in Mexico, he mentioned, “they worked overnight. It’s hard for them.”

“The problem will burn out a lot of people,” Raikkonen mentioned, “and it’s not going to be good for anybody.”

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