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12th October 2022 - By: Jake Lambert

Max Verstappen becomes 2022 World Champion in controversial Japanese GP

After missing out on the title in Singapore, Verstappen and Red Bull fans were hoping that Max would have both his hands firmly on the trophy this weekend.

The first two laps are filled with action, in the very wet conditions, the drivers begin to struggle and Ferrari driver, Carlos Sainz spins off the track. The FIA make a quick decision to red flag the race and drivers head into the pits.  Before all the drivers reach the pit lane, a recovery vehicle is seen on the track.

Alpha Tauri driver, Pierre Gasly was visibly unhappy with the decision to allow the recovery vehicle onto the track before all the drivers had reached the pit lane. In his post-race interview, he raises concern about how a small decision like this could end up with lives lost. The drivers are all passionate about the cause, as it closely resembles the incident that happened in 2014, where Jules Bianchi sadly lost his life due to a collision with a recovery vehicle. Other drivers such as Lando Norris, Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc all spoke on the subject, with agreement that it should never be seen in Formula 1 or any other motorsport division again.

With the track cleared and drivers back out on the track, it was time for Max Verstappen to battle for his World Championship title. The final laps saw Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez fighting for the second step on the podium. If Sergio could pass Charles in the final few minutes Max would win the championship 4 races early.  However, before the race had even finished, there was speculation whether full points would be awarded due to the race being cut short.

The chequered flag saw Max Verstappen cross the line; leading Charles Leclerc closely followed by Sergio Perez. This meant that Max had not won the championship. It was later announced during the post-race interviews that Charles Leclerc had received a five second time penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage. The confusion continued as it was still unclear whether the drivers had been awarded full points. A decision was made by the FIA that confirmed full points, making Max 2022 World Champion.

Fans and drivers combined both left confused and opinionated about the events that occurred. Although any Verstappen fan will be happy with the outcome of the race, it was an anticlimactic end to the championship fight. Discussions have spread online and the incident with the recovery vehicle is trending, highlighting the need for driver safety.  They risk their lives every race weekend, and all drivers strongly feel that safety should be the FIA’s main concern.

With fans being so passionate about motorsport events, as well as other sports events, it is vital that teams and organisations keep their fans engaged and in the loop. At Nifty, we have the expert knowledge on what fans want, their expectations and can help you communicate with them effectively. If you would like any support, please visit us at http://niftycomms.com/ or email us hello@niftycomms.com.