The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) has come under severe scrutiny following the outcome of the F1 2021 World Championship race last Sunday.
The Abu-Dhabi track saw controversy following race director Michael Masi‘s decision which led Max Verstappen to victory over Lewis Hamilton, who has been labelled as ‘comfortably ahead’ prior to a crash further back that halted the race.
The Guardian has reported that for four hours after the flag went down, ‘wrangling’ in the stewards room on the winner was still taking place, as fans were left with a ‘dissatisfying’ and ‘confusing’ conclusion that had not been seen before.
Furthermore, after the crash towards the back, it has been claimed that Masi was keen to have the race begin again with at least one lap to finish under racing conditions. Perhaps for a more ‘exciting’ finish, it has been suggested that this consequented in an alteration of F1 regulations.
The ongoing protests and anger among certain fans may continue, but The Guardian believes that this will not change the result. It has also been suggested elsewhere that Masi has been involved in other ‘contentious’ moments in F1 recently.
Mercedes has had two appeals rejected by the FIA regarding that only the cars between Hamilton and Verstappen unlapped themselves, but the company is planning to produce another. Masi’s ‘overriding authority’ over the safety car use has also been cited in rejecting the appeal.
Appealing under Article 15 of the Sporting Code and Article 10 of the Judicial and Disciplinary rules, a Twitter update showing documents behind the rejection shortly followed Mercedes initial post after the race which read: “There are no words.”
Moreover, the decision also affected betting markets, with Flutter Entertainment‘s Paddy Power revealing that it would still pay out on bets placed on both Verstappen and Hamilton to win the Abu Dhabi GP, as well as the F1 Drivers Championship.
In being crowned the winner of this year’s competition, Verstappen stated: “Finally a bit of luck, for me. In saying that I also want to say a big thank you to Checo, I mean he was driving his heart out as well today. It was great teamwork and he is an amazing team-mate.”
On the final lap decision, he added: “Well, everything was clear so why would you then run another lap behind the safety car? It’s just when everything is clear you have to release the track so I think that’s a fair point from the race direction. Of course, now it worked for me but it can also work against me, I know that.”