FIA hits back today after Verstappen and Hamilton’s controversial finish and self-imposed isolation in protest – The crazy end to the season for Formula One driver Max Verstappen is still the talk of the town a month later (12th December) with his remarkable taking of the Championship away from Lewis Hamilton.
The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) has announced the start of a “detailed analysis” of the various events that took place during the last Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi, but it certainly appears that their response to Mercedes sulking is a slow and somewhat procrastinating fashion, no doubt in response to Mercedes demands for reform but ‘no show’ at the FIA prize-giving insulting the newly elected ‘Sultan’ the FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem.
But yet, it was an ‘injustice’ that continued to frustrate Mercedes and Toto Wolff, the boss of the German team and together with Lewis Hamilton, they were waiting for a thorough investigation by the FIA into the events that led to the British driver’s crashing out of the Championship hunt at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on 12th December.
A safety car with five laps to go changed everything: Verstappen changed tyres, while Hamilton did not. After some delay by race management to ensure trackside marshal safety, the GP restarted for one lap, during which the 24-year-old Dutchman took a definitive lead.
A magnanimous Lewis Hamilton was quick to accept his defeat after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, appearing to show fair play to new champion Max Verstappen.
But he would not have digested the events that precipitated the loss of his world crown so well in the following weeks, with an insulting refusal to attend the FIA prize giving ceremony along with a lack of response to the FIA ‘Mo’s attempts to communicate with the British driver.
And on Thursday, he was (partly) heard. The FIA issued a statement saying that the new boss of the body will carefully study what happened in the United Arab Emirates.
“Following the decision of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris on 15th December 2021, the FIA, under the leadership of Mohammed Ben Sulayem has begun a detailed analysis of the events related to the last Grand Prix of the season, Abu-Dhabi.”
The use of the safety car after the accident of driver Nicholas Latifi had also caused debate. The FIA therefore announced a discussion with the teams and drivers. The result of the investigation will not be known immediately, much to the dismay of Toto Wolff, who wanted a rapid response: the decision will be made on 18th March, the day of the first free practice sessions for the Bahrain Grand Prix (race on 20th March), leaving such a decision to the very last possible moment before the 2022 season starts.