Mercedes have announced they will not proceed with an appeal over the outcome of Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, meaning Max Verstappen’s confirmation as world champion is no longer in jeopardy.Lewis Hamilton to win the race and clinch the title. FIA F1 race director Michael Masi took a contentious decision to remove lapped cars ahead of Verstappen but not behind him, giving the Red Bull driver a clear run at Hamilton on the final lap of the season.
The stewards rejected both Mercedes protests. However the team swiftly gave the FIA notice it intended to appeal one of the rejected protests concerning the handling of the restart. The result of Sunday’s race was therefore listed as being subject to an appeal when they were issued.
Having waited until the final day of the 96-hour window in which it had to make a decision, Mercedes has opted nor to appeal. Verstappen can therefore be confirmed as champion and awarded his trophy in the official FIAprize giving ceremony which is due to take place today.
In a statement announcing its decision not to appeal, Mercedes said it had been left in “disbelief” by the events of last weekend’s race. They believe the Safety Car rules “were applied in a new way that affected the race result”.
The FIA yesterday issued a statement yesterday acknowledging the race had “generated significant misunderstanding and reactions from Formula 1 teams, drivers and fans” and “an argument that is currently tarnishing the image of the championship.” It said it would begin a “detailed analysis and clarification exercise for the future.”
Mercedes said they “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.” It vowed to “hold the FIA accountable for this process.”
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Mercedes statement in full
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.
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