Mercedes withdraws Abu Dhabi Grand Prix F1 appeal

The Mercedes Formula 1 team has announced that it has withdrawn its appeal of the stewards' verdict following the title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton (G BR) Mercedes AMG F1 W12 leads at the start of the race.
Lewis Hamilton (G BR) Mercedes AMG F1 W12 leads at the start of the race.

The 2021 constructors’ champions lodged its intention to appeal the FIA’s decision to reject its protest over the final race result in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

It initially lodged two separate protests following the grand prix which saw Max Verstappen overtake Lewis Hamilton on the final lap, benefitting 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, Mercedes soon confirmed that it had “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 cars to unlap themselves. 

Verstappen had four cars between him and Hamilton, meaning had Masi not allowed the four cars between them to overtake, the Mercedes driver would have likely won the title.

The point of contention is that Masi's decision to only allow a handful of cars to unlap themselves contravenes the sporting regulations, leading to Mercedes’ uproar.

Ahead of the FIA’s end of year prize gala on Thursday, Mercedes released a statement confirming that it would be withdrawing its appeal.

“We left Abu Dhabi in disbelief of what we had just witnessed, the statement read. “Of course, it's part of the game to lose a race, but it's something different when you lose faith in racing.

“Together with Lewis, we have deliberated carefully over how to respond to the events at the Formula 1 season finale. We have always been guided by our love of this sport and we believe that every competition should be won on merit. In the race on Sunday many felt, us included, that the way things unfolded was not right.

“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, after Lewis had been in a commanding lead and on course to win the World Championship.

“We appealed in the interest of sporting fairness, and we have since been in a constructive dialogue with the FIA and Formula 1 to create clarity for the future, so that all competitors know the rules under which they are racing, and how they will be enforced. 

“Thus, we welcome the decision by the FIA to install a commission to thoroughly analyse what happened in Abu Dhabi and to improve the robustness of rules, governance and decision making in Formula 1. We also welcome that they have invited the teams and drivers to take part.

“The Mercedes-AMG Petronas team will actively work with this commission to build a better Formula 1 - for every team and every fan who loves this sport as much as we do. We will hold the FIA accountable for this process and we hereby withdraw our appeal.”

Mercedes later congratulated Verstappen on his maiden F1 title, while it praised Hamilton for his “faultless” display.

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