FIA insists 'no decision' yet in Abu Dhabi review

Safety Car, Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Mercedes AMG F1 12.12.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 22, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina
© XPB 

The FIA has taken to social media to insist that no final decisions have yet been reached in its in-depth review into the controversial events that took place in the final race of the 2021 season.

“At this stage, no decision has been taken on the outcome of the detailed analysis currently underway into the events of the last Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix," the governing body posted.

There has been fierce criticism of the way that race control handled a late restart following a crash for Williams' Nicholas Latifi which resulted in a one-lap sprint to decide the title between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

Many disgruntled fans and experts say that Michael Masi's decisions favoured Verstappen and left Hamilton a sitting duck unable to defend his lead on older tyres, handing Verstappen the victory.

Mercedes protested the result after the chequered flag but lost. However the team decided not to proceed with a formal appeal that could have left the outcome of the championship in doubt for weeks.

Instead, the FIA promised to conduct a detailed review and analysis of what happened on the night, and what changes need to be made for the future.

This week, a report from the BBC carried comments from the FIA's newly appointed head of single seaters Peter Bayer suggesting that "there is a possibility there could be a new race director".

That immediately sparked speculation that Masi might end up being the 'scapegoat' taking the blame for the situation and being forced out of the role that he's held since 2019 when his predecessor Charlie Whiting passed away suddenly.

But others have interpreted the comments as being suggestive of the role of race director itself being overhauled, with the current incumbent having a number of different roles including safety and technical delegate competing for his time.

“The various tasks of the race director, who is also sports director, safety and course delegate, will be divided up," Bayer reportedly told Austrian journalist Gerhard Kuntschick for newspaper Vorarlberger Nachrichten.

And now the FIA itself has made it clear that no decisions have been reached yet.

“As previously announced, the findings of this detailed analysis will be presented at the F1 Commission meeting in London on 14th February," the post on Twitter stated.

It added that this would follow "after an open discussion with all F1 drivers and then finally have to be approved at the World Motor Sport Council meeting on 18th March in Bahrain."

The report is the first big test for Mohammed Ben Sulayem, who has taken over as FIA president from Jean Todt.

It's been reported that Hamilton is waiting to see the outcome of the process before deciding whether he will return to the cockpit in 2022 in a second bid to claim what would be a record eighth world title.

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