After the conclusion of the Abu Dhabi GP, Mercedes lodged two protests to the FIA pertaining to Red Bull and Max Verstappen, and they were as follows:
- Mercedes claimed that Car 33 overtook Car 44 during the Safety Car period at 1832hrs, in
breach of Article 48.8 of the 2021 Formula One Sporting Regulations. (Source)
- Mercedes claimed that there were two breaches of the Sporting Regulations (Article 48.12)
namely that which states “..any cars that have been lapped by the leader will be required to pass
the cars on the lead lap and the safety car” and “…once the last lapped car has passed the leader
the safety car will return to the pits at the end of the following lap.”
Mercedes argued that had this been complied with, Car 44 would have won the race.
They therefore requested the Stewards to amend the Classification under Article 11.9.3.h of the
FIA International Sporting Code. (Source)
Both protests were dismissed quite quickly by the FIA, and Mercedes was left wondering the possible avenues as to how they could get their point across properly to the FIA. They were given 96 hours, or 4 days starting from Sunday evening, which was set to expire at the end of today (Thursday).
However, Mercedes have put out an official statement via their social media handles, and have stated that they will not be looking to pursue the matter in a legal court, as they intended to do.
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. pic.twitter.com/x8Tq4bNhHU
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) December 16, 2021
This decision was taken in light of the FIA deciding to launch a dedicated commission (more about which can be read in detail here), which will do the job of investigating the events which unfolded in the final few laps of the Abu Dhabi GP, which as we saw were managed in quite possibly carried through the worst manner of all.
The decisions taken by race director Michael Masi were just unbelievable, and if you go to F1’s social media pages and see the comments, even Red Bull fans are confused and upset about how the entire situation was handled. I think that gives an answer as to why Michael Masi is subject to so much public ire!
As the FIA calls it, a “detailed analysis and clarification exercise” will take place in which all responsible parties will be present, an idea which the World Motorsport Council wholeheartedly agreed to after deliberation and suggestions of it by the FIA president Jean Todt. Despite all this, the result will stay as it is- Max is still the Driver’s world champion, and Mercedes are the Constructor’s World Champions.
In other news, with Jean Todt retiring there are two new candidates who could take his place– Mohammed Ben Sulayem and Graham Stoker. Whichever one of them is appointed as the FIA president, let’s just hope they can push for consistency and more straightforwardness in the FIA’s decision-making process during the races so we don’t see a repeat of the terrible decision-making by the FIA as we saw at the Saudi or the Abu Dhabi GP’s.