In the conclusion to the 2021 Formula 1 drivers Championship in Abu Dhabi we saw a dramatic end which left some fans excited and some devastated by the actions taken by the FIA through Michael Masi.
With just five laps remaining and Lewis Hamilton appearing to be comfortably driving to his eighth drivers championship, the Williams of Latifi found himself in the wall resulted in an unavoidable Safety Car.
With nothing to lose Max Verstappen wasted little time in pitting his Red bull for a new set of Soft tyres, the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton opting to stick with track position and stick with the older hard tyres.
Then with what seemed like a age of squabbling and indecisiveness, Masi was overheard changing his mind from not allowing pitted cars to unlap themselves which would have saw Verstappen in 5th and with a world of work to overcome to catch the Mercedes of Hamilton, to deciding to allow the three cars between the two to overtake the safety car leaving Max Verstappen on fresh tyres to pull up behind Hamilton and inevitably overtake the Mercedes taking the Championship out of his hands on the very last lap.
Since these actions many have disputed the decision we’ve all heard the comments “settle it in court” and “it’s racing let them race” we’re not here at Overtime Heroics Motorsport to argue either point but instead to share the statement that has been made by Team Mercedes in their recent press release in the aftermath hopefully giving some clarity going forward.
Dear Formula 1 community and fans,
We left Abu Dhabi in disbelief of what we had just witnessed. 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.
To Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing: we would like to express our sincere respect for your achievements this season. You made this Formula 1 Championship title fight truly epic. Max, we congratulate you and your entire team. We look forward to taking the fight to you on the track next season.
And lastly, even though this Drivers’ Championship did not end the way we hoped, we could not be prouder of our team.
Lewis, you are the greatest racer in the history of Formula 1 and you drove your heart out for every lap of this incredible season. You’re a flawless sportsman on and off the track and you delivered a faultless performance. As a pure competitor and as a role model for millions around the world, we salute you.
Valtteri, you have been such an important part of this team, delivering five Constructors’ Championships in five seasons. Thank you for your remarkable contribution to our motorsport history. Kiitos, Valtteri.
Finally, to every one of the skilled and passionate women and men of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team in Brackley and High Performance Powertrains in Brixworth: you’ve written an historic chapter in the Silver Arrow story by winning the eighth Constructors’ Championship – in a row. This is an unprecedented achievement. In simple words: it’s awesome. You are awesome.
So there you have it F1 fans Mercedes has made their position clear, now let’s hope everyone moves on after this fantastic season as we start preparing for what will no doubt be a exhilarating 2022 season.
Image Credits Embed from Getty Images