Johnny Herbert has “paid the price” for “telling the truth” about the controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, according to TV presenter and F1 fan Nick Knowles.
Herbert has been dropped as a pundit by Sky Sports ahead of the new F1 season after more than a decade with the broadcaster, a decision which has received a mixed reaction from fans of the sport.
A Sky spokesperson said: “Johnny has been an integral part of our Formula 1 team since the very first season on Sky Sports in 2012. We will miss his humour and big personality and thank him for his energy and enthusiasm over the last 11 years. Everyone wishes him all the best for the future.”
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Fellow pundit Paul di Resta has also been let go with the pair not expecting to be replaced. While some fans have welcomed the move, others have bemoaned the loss of their favourite pundit in Herbert.
Some unhappy fans have even suggested Herbert has been let go because of his criticism of the handling of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which saw Max Verstappen snatch the title from Lewis Hamilton in controversial fashion.
They include DIY SOS frontman Knowles, who regularly airs his views on F1 on social media. Following confirmation of Herbert’s exit from Sky, the 60-year-old tweeted: “So @johnnyherbertf1 has finally paid the price for being the only one to tell the truth about 2021 WDC fiasco in Abu Dhabi; from the moment it happened he refused to toe the @F1 @fia @SkySportsF1 line. Thank you for putting fans first Johnny & being their voice in the pit lane.”
Herbert’s stance on Abu Dhabi 2021, which saw race director Michael Masi's botched handling of a safety car period effectively hand Verstappen the title, has been clear ever since.
Speaking to The Times in December 2021, he said: “For me, they got it wrong, and it’s very simple. In the past, when the safety car is going to come in, all the lapped cars have been allowed to pass, not just a couple.
“I suppose it was all a rush to try and make this a one-lap race. But it was wrong and unfair because Lewis did absolutely nothing wrong whatsoever.
“Red Bull had to try and play, going in to the pits for fresh tyres. But for the FIA, and especially Michael [Masi], to muck it up so badly, just put a bad taste in your mouth once the chequered flag had gone.”
Do you agree with Nick Knowles? Have your say in the comments section below
Knowles’ post received plenty of support from F1 fans, with one replying: “I echo EVERYTHING you've just said.”
Another added: “Wouldn't surprise me if that's the case. I will really miss Johnny's commentary. A really humble man for somebody who has achieved so much in racing.”
A third fan said: “Absolutely everybody else at sky sat on the fence Johnny was the only one who called it as it was and kept to it.”
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