The FIA has released an update on its investigation into Formula 1's controversial finale last month in Abu Dhabi.
The sport's governing body confirmed on Thursday that its inquiry into the events that marred the closing stages of F1's title-decider at Yas Marina was now fully underway, and that an agenda of meetings and discussions with all relevant parties had been set.
"Following the decision to the World Motor Sport Council in Paris on 15 December 2021, the FIA administration, under the leadership of Mohammed Ben Sulayem, has started the detailed analysis of the events of the last Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix," read Thursday's statement by the FIA.
"The FIA president launched a consultation with all F1 teams on various issues, including this one.
"On January 19, an item on the agenda of the Sporting Advisory Committee will be dedicated to the use of the Safety Car.
"The following stage will be a shared discussion with all F1 drivers.
"The outcome of the detailed analysis will be presented to the F1 Commission in February and final decisions will be announced at the World Motor Sport Council in Bahrain on 18 March.
"FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has asked Secretary General Sport and recently-appointed Single-Seater Director Peter Bayer for proposals to review and optimise the organisation of the FIA F1 structure for the 2022 season."
The FIA's statement highlights the prominent role logically assumed by president Mohammed Ben Sulayem, hints at possible changes to F1's safety car procedures and alludes to changes to the organization of the FIA F1 structure, which likely implies the demise of race director Michael Masi.
However, while it was believed earlier this week that the FIA would act swiftly and perhaps conclude its investigation in time for next month's February meeting of the World Motor Sport Council, Thursday's statement earmarks March 18 as the date when the findings and decisions related to the FIA's report will be publicly announced by the governing body.
Hamilton, thoroughly "disillusioned" by the events in Abu Dhabi and supported by Mercedes, is believed to be considering walking away from the sport if the FIA fails to act on its report, meaning relieving Masi from his position and undertaking significant changes in the stewards' decision process to instill consistency regarding penalties and sanctions.
But the March 18 target date set by the FIA no longer gives the seven-time world champion, or Mercedes, the luxury of time.
The Briton will need therefore to commit to the 2022 season in the coming weeks without knowing what decisions will be made by the FIA and who will potentially be held accountable.
Is the FIA exploiting a purposefully unhurried tactic to force Hamilton's hand?
Curious minds would like to know...