Heading into the Formula One season finale at Abu Dhabi, Championship contenders Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton are tied in points. If both drivers race, it’s likely that whoever finishes higher will take the Championship. But if neither driver finishes the race, Verstappen wins thanks to the fact that he has one more win than Hamilton. We’ve all been thinking it, so I’m just going to ask outright: Should Verstappen just crash into Hamilton and take the Championship?
Look: It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened. In 1990, Ayrton Senna — undoubtedly a fan-favorite driver — intentionally took out Alain Prost to ensure that he would win the Championship. Senna denied it at the time but fully admitted to it later.
When the clip of that race in 1990 was shown to the modern grid, Verstappen asked, “I mean, why not?”
And I’m asking this genuinely: Why not?
People have been talking so much about this that Red Bull boss Christian Horner has had to come forward to say that his driver absolutely will not resort to crash tactics.
I’ve grown a bit jaded with F1 this season. My colleague Owen Bellwood and I had a chat earlier today about how the series has turned into something of a farce thanks to truly horrifying officiating decisions across the board. I mean, think about it: Verstappen was essentially handed a win this year at the Belgian Grand Prix, a race-not-race of 8.7 mere miles, all of which were run behind a safety car.
If that absolute sham of an event counts as a win for Verstappen — the one win that would decide a Championship in his favor if the drivers end the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in a tie — then an intentional first-lap crash would be the perfect end to a season of questionable calls and ridiculous behavior.
Is it any way to win a Championship? Yes and no. Yes because Senna has shown us that, if you make it look like an accident, you can get away with it. Yes because this is racing and just about anything goes. No because championship contenders have been excluded from the battle for making contact before. No because it’s a finish that would be decided on a technicality, not on the race track— but again, this season has shown that the decisions made in the stewarding room are just as, if not more, important than on-track moves.
At this point, I’d almost welcome it just to get the whole ordeal over with. Maybe we could get a new driver on podium. Maybe we could get a first-time race winner. Anything to distract from this absolute shambles of a Championship.