FIA serves points deduction warning ahead of F1 title decider

FIA race director Michael Masi has issued a reminder to Formula 1 title rivals Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton that points could be deducted at this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. 
FIA serves points deduction warning ahead of F1 title decider

Verstappen and Hamilton enter the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix tied on 269.5 points, setting up a winner-takes-all showdown to decide the 2021 F1 world champion. 

In his pre-event notes, Masi has reminded drivers that “any infringement of the principles of fairness in competition, behaviour in an unsportsmanlike manner or attempt to influence the result of a competition in a way that is contrary to sporting ethics” could be punished. 

Article 12.4.5 states: “For all the FIA Championships, cups, challenges, trophies or series, the stewards may also decide to impose the following penalties: Suspension for one or more Competitions, withdrawal of points for the Championship, cup, challenge, trophy, series.”

However, a championship points deduction would only be issued in "exceptional circumstances". 

Due to holding a tie-break advantage by virtue of winning one more race than Hamilton, Verstappen would be crowned world champion in any scenario that the pair ended the season level on points, including a race-ending collision. 

That means that even an in-race penalty would not prevent Verstappen from winning the title if he was found to be at fault for causing a crash with Hamilton. 

Verstappen and Hamilton have previously crashed at Silverstone and Monza, while last weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix featured several controversial clashes that saw the Red Bull driver pick up two time penalties. 

The incidents have raised the prospect of the world championship potentially being decided in contentious circumstances. 

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