Over two months on from the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, F1 faces a crunch meeting on a crucial day for the world championship and its governing body. 

The fallout of the hugely controversial finale at Yas Marina has continued to rumble in the weeks that have passed since the December 12 race, which is set to be the central topic of Monday’s meeting of the F1 Commission. 

This afternoon, the 10 teams, the FIA and the commercial rights owners F1 will meet in London to discuss the findings of the inquest which will finally be released by the governing body. 

What was the inquest all about? 

The FIA launched a formal inquiry and has been conducting a “detailed analysis and clarification exercise” into the events of last season’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix title decider after admitting the Yas Marina finale was “tarnishing the image” of the sport. 

At the centre of the controversy is FIA race director Michael Masi, whose decision-making during a late Safety Car period altered the outcome of the 2021 world championship. 

Masi implemented the rules over lapped cars and the timing of the ending of the Safety Car incorrectly to effectively set up a one-lap sprint race, thus ensuring the season finale ended under green flag conditions. 

Masi’s contentious call ultimately left long-time race leader Lewis Hamilton at a massive disadvantage to title rival Max Verstappen after the Mercedes driver was unable to pit for new tyres without conceding track position. 

Verstappen, who had stopped for fresh rubber under the Safety Car, overtook Hamilton on the final lap to take what had appeared to be an unlikely victory and subsequently clinch his maiden world championship. 

Mercedes initially stated its intention to appeal the result but decided to withdraw after welcoming the FIA’s vow to launch a probe into what happened. 

Will Masi keep his job?

One of the biggest question marks surrounding Monday’s meeting is what action the FIA will take regarding Masi’s position as race director. 

The Australian has faced intense scrutiny in the wake of the Abu Dhabi GP and his future has been called into question amid speculation he could be sacked. 

Last month, the FIA’s head of single-seaters Peter Bayer admitted publicly for the first time that Masi could be replaced for the 2022 season. The FIA quickly issued a follow-up statement in which it insisted that “no decision” had been taken.

The FIA faces a major credibility test over its image and the dilemma over what to do about Masi presents one of its major conundrums. 

Sacking Masi would be an open admission that mistakes were made in Abu Dhabi, while allowing him to continue as race director is likely to cause some teams and drivers - especially Mercedes and Hamilton - to lose faith in the FIA. 

However, Masi has found support in some quarters, with Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel and McLaren pair Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo all coming to the Australian’s defence and insisting that he deserves to keep his job. 

Regardless of whether Masi continues or not, the FIA is set to create a new race control structure to provide greater support to the race director. 

It is also expected that the FIA will prevent team principals from speaking directly to the race director from 2022 amid concerns over lobbying. 

How will it impact Hamilton?

It is understood that Hamilton is waiting on the outcome of the inquiry before deciding whether he will continue to race in F1 this season. 

The 37-year-old returned to the public eye for the first time in nearly two months on social media in early February, marking his first interaction since qualifying day in Abu Dhabi on December 11. 

Hamilton’s future has been the subject of intense speculation over the winter after his Mercedes boss Toto Wolff described the seven-time world champion as being “disillusioned” with the events of the season finale. 

Based on his recent movements, including returning to Mercedes’ factory, it would appear that Hamilton is preparing for the new season as normal. He is also set to be involved in Mercedes’ launch of its W13 challenger on Friday. 

Although any decisions or changes will not receive final approval from the World Motor Sport Council until March 18 - just two days before the new season begins in Bahrain - some details could emerge as early as today.

Monday’s meeting does not involve the drivers but the FIA is set to hold an “open discussion” with all 20 of them in advance of the new season. 

With the Bahrain Grand Prix fast-approaching, it seems unlikely that Hamilton would quit F1 at this stage. If Hamilton were to walk away, Mercedes would be left with little time to find a replacement.