The F1 Exhibition in Madrid has caused a stir on the internet due to the availability of a mug featuring the infamous “No Michael No” quote from Toto Wolff, the team principal of Mercedes. This phrase originated from the team radio conversation between Wolff and former race director Michael Masi during the controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2021, which saw Max Verstappen overtake Lewis Hamilton on the final lap, ultimately costing Hamilton a record-breaking eighth championship.
The fact this is in the gift shop here at the F1 Exhibition 😂 pic.twitter.com/zxNFLmrX51— Katy Fairman (@katyfairman) March 23, 2023
The exhibition “promises an immersive show with a host of artifacts and contributions from legendary teams, experts and personalities,” according to the event’s official description. The merchandise item has garnered attention before the exhibition opened. As the exhibition’s doors opened on March 23 for a preview before its formal general opening day on March 24, the mug has already drawn a lot of attention from the audience.
Controversy around the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix of 2021 has been a topic of controversy due to the events that occurred during the race’s final lap. Lewis Hamilton, who was leading the race, was overtaken by Max Verstappen, which ultimately cost Hamilton his chance at securing his eighth championship title. The controversy arises from the circumstances surrounding Verstappen’s overtake.
Prior to the race’s final lap, a safety car was deployed following a crash. This allowed the backmarkers to unlap themselves and return to the same lap as the race leaders. However, the safety car remained on the track until the final lap of the race, which created an unusual situation. The leaders, Hamilton and Verstappen, were not able to pit for fresh tires or fuel, as the pit lane was closed while the safety car was still out.
1️⃣7️⃣ podiums in one season 🏆 A record-equalling achievement for @Max33Verstappen in Jeddah 🔢 pic.twitter.com/WkU818ztvW— Oracle Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) December 7, 2021
On the final lap, the safety car finally left the track, and the race resumed. However, Hamilton’s tires had been worn down due to the lengthy safety car period, and Verstappen was able to take advantage of this by overtaking him on the final lap of the race. This overtake caused controversy because it was unclear whether Verstappen had broken any rules or not.
Furthermore, during the race, there was a team radio exchange between Toto Wolff, the team principal of Mercedes, and Michael Masi, the race director. Wolff was heard saying, “No Michael, no,” which has since become a famous quote. This exchange was seen by some as evidence of favoritism towards Red Bull, and Verstappen’s team, and raised questions about the integrity of the race.
Overall, the controversial events of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix of 2021 have led to ongoing debates about the fairness of the race and have sparked discussions about the need for clearer rules and regulations in Formula 1.
Fans react to the infamous cup design
Here are a few examples of how the fans reacted to this:
Since they don’t want to move on, making cups with the “no Michael no” radio message, I think that’s an invitation for us to not move on either.— Ikaris (@Eternal11th) March 24, 2023
SO HERE’S YOUR REMINDER THAT LEWIS HAMILTON WAS DELIBERATELY ROBBED OF A TITLE, THE PERSON WHO GOT IT DID NOT DESERVE IT.
Despite the poems you spew— Samuel Longden (@LongdenSamuel) February 26, 2022
It’s simple, we all know it’s true
That no matter the hate
And fans getting irate
Lewis still didn’t get number 8#nomichaelno #MV1 #motorracing
Did not expect this from you.— shilpi tewari (@shilpitewari) March 24, 2023
Which part of this is funny?
A pained cry for not breaking the rules by the authorities in order to rob someone of an historical moment they deserved..
Did u see a mug showing horner manipulating Masi for one single race lap.
The outrage was not limited to Red Bull and Mercedes fans over the outcome of the race and the credibility of the F1 rules and regulations altogether. All in all, it seems like fans are more inclined in supporting Toto Wolff and Mercedes, but many have supported Max Verstappen saying it is the FIA who was at fault and the driver could have won despite the safety car issue.