Mercedes have announced the withdrawal of their appeal against a controversial climax to the 2021 F1 season in Abu Dhabi.
Lewis Hamilton was set for a record eighth crown after dominating the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix until the Safety Car was deployed on Lap 53, following a crash at Turn 14 for Williams’ Nicholas Latifi.
Controversy however soon followed as Hamilton stayed out but Red Bull’s Max Verstappen pitted for softs, which left five lapped cars between the two title contenders as Race Director – Michael Masi decided that lapped cars won’t be allowed to unlap themselves.
Lap 57 of the 58-lap race however saw Masi only permit the five lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to unlap themselves, just as the Safety Car period was ending that same lap which provoked fury across the paddock except at Red Bull.
Verstappen consequently proceeded to pass Hamilton at Turn Five on the final lap to snatch victory and his maiden F1 title, as Masi proceeded to crassly remark “Toto it’s called a motor race” to Mercedes’ Team Principal – Toto Wolff whilst Hamilton described the result as “manipulated”.
Mercedes immediately launched two post-race protests concerning Articles 48.12 and 48.8, which stewards chose to reject, leading the eight-time constructor champions to engage with their lawyers and lodged an intention to appeal which has now been dropped.
Explaining why they chose to protest the result, Mercedes said that ‘the Safety Car regulations were applied in a new way that affected the race result,’ after Hamilton had dominated the race until that Safety Car period.
Mercedes also cited ‘sporting fairness’ as part of their decision to lodge an appeal but have since engaged in ‘constructive discussion’ with officials across FIA and F1 in order ‘to create clarity for the future’ so that all teams know the rules and enforcement manner under which they race.
The team have also shown support for a new FIA commission which involving all ten teams will ‘thoroughly analyse’ the events of Abu Dhabi to ensure increased ‘robustness of rules, governance, and decision making in Formula 1.’
Mercedes though had a message for fans who undoubtedly would of wanted the appeal to go ahead of the sake of the sport’s integrity, as they vowed to ensure that the FIA are held ‘accountable’ for this process in the interest of all teams and fans.
Acknowledging Max Verstappen, Mercedes praised him with ‘sincere respect’ for his achievements this season in playing his part to create an ‘epic’ title, but iterated that they can’t wait to be ‘taking the fight to you on the track next season.’
Mercedes also addressed Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and all team members in their statement concerning the withdrawal of their appeal.
Hamilton was praised for delivering a ‘flawless’ and ‘faultless’ performance on and off track, whilst Bottas was applauded for his ‘remarkable contribution’ across five seasons with the team as he prepares to join Alfa Romeo next season.
Every member of Mercedes from the trackside crew to those based back at the factory were praised for helping to write ‘an historic chapter’ in the team’s history with their eighth consecutive constructors’ title which was hailed as ‘awesome.’
Team Statement – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix pic.twitter.com/tgrBjrNkcz
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) December 16, 2021