… Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, The Aftermath, 16th Dec 2021 …
Statement of the FIA World Motor Sport Council
On Sunday, another FIA F1 World Championship season of competitive excellence has concluded, and the credit goes to the participating drivers and teams. The FIA congratulates all of them for their performances in this year. It was a hard fight, and the best competition was displayed at each Grand Prix.
The world watched every race with great anticipation, knowing that in the end, there could only be one winner. In this respect, many praised Max Verstappen for his victory, and Lewis Hamilton for his remarkable performance and sportsmanship after the closing event of the season.
The 2021 FIA Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, has prompted a large number of reactions from the F1 community and from motor sport in general, as well as in the public.
The FIA’s primary responsibility at any event is to ensure the safety of everyone involved and the integrity of the sport.
The circumstances surrounding the use of the Safety Car following the incident of driver Nicholas Latifi, and the related communications between the FIA Race Direction team and the Formula 1 teams, have notably generated significant misunderstanding and reactions from Formula 1 teams, drivers and fans, an argument that is currently tarnishing the image of the Championship and the due celebration of the first Drivers’ World Championship title won by Max Verstappen and the eighth consecutive Constructors’ World Championship title won by Mercedes.
Following the presentation of a report regarding the sequence of events that took place following the incident on Lap 53 of the Grand Prix and in a constant drive for improvement, the FIA President proposed to the World Motor Sport Council that a detailed analysis and clarification exercise for the future with all relevant parties will now take place.
This matter will be discussed and addressed with all the teams and drivers to draw any lessons from this situation and clarity to be provided to the participants, media, and fans about the current regulations to preserve the competitive nature of our sport while ensuring the safety of the drivers and officials. It is not only Formula 1 that may benefit from this analysis, but also more generally all the other FIA circuit championships.
Following that presentation and an extensive discussion, the World Council has decided to unanimously support the President’s proposal.
The FIA will therefore do its utmost to have this in motion within the Formula 1 governance and will propose to the Formula 1 Commission to give a clear mandate for study and proposal to the Sporting Advisory Committee, with the support of Formula 1 drivers, so that any identified meaningful feedback and conclusions be made before the beginning of the 2022 season.
Statement from Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team
We left Abu Dhabi in disbelief of what we had just witnessed. Of course, it’s part of the game to lose a race, but it’s something different when you lose faith in racing.
Together with Lewis, we have deliberated carefully over how to respond to the events at the Formula 1 season finale. We have always been guided by our love of this sport and we believe that every competition should be won on merit. In the race on Sunday many felt, us included, that the way things unfolded was not right.
The reason we protested the race result on Sunday was because the Safety Car regulations were applied in a new way that affected the race result, after Lewis had been in a commanding lead and on course to win the World Championship.
We appealed in the interest of sporting fairness, and we have since been in a constructive dialogue with the FIA and Formula 1 to create clarity for the future, so that all competitors know the rules under which they are racing, and how they will be enforced. Thus, we welcome the decision by the FIA to install a commission to thoroughly analyse what happened in Abu Dhabi and to improve the robustness of rules, governance and decision making in Formula 1. We also welcome that they have invited the teams and drivers to take part.
The Mercedes-AMG Petronas team will actively work with this commission to build a better Formula 1 – for every team and every fan who loves this sport as much as we do. We will hold the FIA accountable for this process and we hereby withdraw our appeal.
To Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing: we would like to express our sincere respect for your achievements this season. You made this Formula 1 Championship title fight truly epic.
Max, we congratulate you and your entire team. We look forward to taking the fight to you on the track next season.
And lastly, even though this Drivers’ Championship did not end the way we hoped, we could not be prouder of our team.
Lewis, you are the greatest racer in the history of Formula 1 and you drove your heart out for every lap of this incredible season. You’re a flawless sportsman on and off the track and you delivered a faultless performance. As a pure competitor and as a role model for millions around the world, we salute you.
Valtteri, you have been such an important part of this team, delivering five Constructors’ Championships in five seasons. Thank you for your remarkable contribution to our motorsport history. Kiitos, Valtteri.
Finally, to every one of the skilled and passionate women and men of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team in Brackley and High Performance Powertrains in Brixworth: you’ve written an historic chapter in the Silver Arrow story by winning the eighth Constructors’ Championship – in a row. This is an unprecedented achievement. In simple words: it’s awesome. You are awesome.
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