Mercedes lodges intention to appeal FIA decision

The Mercedes Formula 1 team has announced its intention to appeal the FIA's decision to reject its protest over the result of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Mercedes AMG F1
Lewis Hamilton (GBR), Mercedes AMG F1

Mercedes lodged two separate protests following the season finale in Abu Dhabi which saw Max Verstappen overtake Lewis Hamilton on the final lap, benefiting from a controversial Safety Car period.

One was relating to Verstappen overtaking Hamilton under the Safety Car, while the second was how the restart played out and the decisions that were made by the FIA.

The FIA rejected both protests, confirming Verstappen as the 2021 F1 drivers’ champion.

However, shortly afterwards, Mercedes confirmed that it has “lodged our intention to appeal Document 58 / the decision of the stewards to dismiss the team’s protest.”

The point of controversy came when race director Michael Masi only allowed a handful of lapped runners to unlap themselves. 

Verstappen had at least four cars between him and Hamilton, meaning had Masi not allowed the lapped cars to overtake Hamilton and the Safety Car, the Mercedes driver would have likely won the race and thus the championship. 

The point of contention is that Masi's decision to only allow a handful of cars to unlap themselves contravenes the sporting regulations hence why Mercedes protested.

When rejecting Mercedes' protest, the stewards argued that another part of the sporting regulations gives Masi “overriding authority” when deploying the Safety Car and anything related to it. 

Mercedes now has a 96-hour window to decide whether it will proceed with an appeal to the ICA - the FIA International Court of Appeal.

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