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Lawyer believes Abu Dhabi result could be overturned

NEWS STORY
14/12/2021

Just 24 hours after a controversial Abu Dhabi Grands Prix, there is talk on social media that Mercedes will not proceed with its appeal of the stewards decision to protest the events during the safety car period.

Duncan Bagshaw, a partner at the law firm Howard Kennedy, who specialises in international arbitration and litigation, believes that Mercedes has no choice but to challenge the stewards decision.

"There was a challenge to the FIA last night which was resolved very quickly," he tells Pitpass. "The FIA, marking its own homework, perhaps unsurprisingly said that they stood by the decision of the race director Michael Masi.

"Mercedes do have a case," he continues, "and I think it is quite likely they will take it to a court of arbitration because so much turns on the outcome of these races they may feel they really have no choice.

"This decision was by the race director himself applying a rule under the regulations which is, I would say, very clear and quite explicit about what has to happen in this situation.

"Everybody wanted to see that race finish in racing conditions but the rule makes it very clear that any cars that have been lapped by the leader have to be allowed to pass the leading cars and the safety car before the race is restarted and he did not allow that to happen.

"It's very important for Mercedes to give the message that racing is the most important thing to this sport and that they respect the outcome of the race on the track but they must also accept the fact that commercially this is a sport that revolves around money. They have obligations to Lewis Hamilton, their team, their sponsors and many other people, it may be not so much they want to challenge this decision, that they want this season to be decided before a committee of arbitrators but simply that they don't have any choice."

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1. Posted by Stitch431, 14/12/2021 16:21

"@Egalitarian This is what Ecclestone said:

Former Formula 1 leader Bernie Ecclestone can only laugh about this. At Sky Sports, the Briton speaks clear words about Hamilton: "That he was robbed is really complete nonsense."

Ecclestone thinks Hamilton also got away well in Abu Dhabi. He refers to a moment in the early stages of the race: "In the first lap, he went off the track and drove back onto the track at full speed. Verstappen stayed on the track and really didn't do anything wrong."

Hamilton did not have to give back the position and Verstappen did not come close to his British rival at that stage of the race. Ecclestone, therefore, believes that Hamilton and co should keep quiet: "Lewis was not penalized for it so he should not complain too much. These kinds of things always happen in sports. We should not blame the race director because he did exactly the same. what he had to do." "

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2. Posted by Chester, 14/12/2021 12:58

"Lawyers? We've had enough for this year. "

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3. Posted by Editor, 14/12/2021 7:13

"@ TokyoAussie

Re: "I don't know how much pressure he was under to stage a finale for TV..."

I think you've answered your own question."

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4. Posted by Egalitarian, 14/12/2021 6:54

"When you think about champions like Mika Hakkinen, who championed the sport. He was someone you could look up to and say, 'yes, he raced fairly and well within all of the rules'. I stopped barracking for drivers on 1 May 1994, but for me, Senna's 1990 title is tainted, as are Schumacher's 1994 title, Prost's 1989 championship, and Vettel's 2010 title. But you can't say that of Mansell's, Piquet's, Andretti's, Stewart's, Fittipaldi's, Button's, Hill's (both), Jacques' etc.
If you are happy to see your driver someone consistently turn across someone (a la Prost) or push driver's wide, a la Schumacher, then good luck to you. Maybe when you're 70 years old and you look back at this, integrity will kick in and you'll say - yeah that was awful behaviour way back then. And I couldn't give a toss how patronising that sounds (and arrogant too?). Bernie may have been a prat at times, but at least he had some respect for the traditions and the sport itself. Liberty has done nothing but create a circus and this is the nonsense we get - barracking for your guy, instead of the right guy and polarising the F1 fans. It ain't F1 like it used to be, or perhaps that's best written as should be. Reading comments on here is liking barracking for some idiot on Big Brother so contrived is all this nonsense. Thanks Liberty, you turned what was once great into a farce. "

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5. Posted by Stitch431, 14/12/2021 5:09

"Wait, I hear Janis singing: "Oh Lord never buy me a Mercedes Benz. They are sore losers, not like real men - Never want one on my driveway, or as a taxi again""

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6. Posted by Simon in Adelaide, 14/12/2021 3:19

"When Latifi crashed Mercedes were in a no-win situation as Max was going to do whatever Lewis did not. Either Max was going to be in the lead on hard tyres that were only 11 laps old and Lewis was going to be 6 cars behind on newer tyres (he did not have any new ones left) and if the race finished behind the safety car then Max wins; the other option we know and if the race finished behind the safety car then Lewis wins.

Finishing a race behind a safety car is never ideal.

Latifi's car was cleared out of the way and there was an opportunity for Masi to finish the race with 1 racing lap between Lewis and Max and he took it.

It was not contrived, it was not engineered to make Max win, it was to allow the race to finish under race conditions.

Be honest, if Lewis had won would there really be this much outpouring of disdain for Masi's actions? Probably not.

Over a season generally what goes around, come around. Both Lewis and Max have had decisions go against them but that is sport. Be it rugby, cricket or football the referee or umpire will be fallible, it is part of being human, no matter what the sport "we woz robbed" is often heard and will undoubtedly be heard in the future.

The last thing any sport needs is the involvement of lawyers and Courts of Arbitration as ultimately it does nothing for the sport except massage the egos of the victors and puts money in the pockets of law firms; F1 has first hand experience of this.

Respecting Mike Lawrence's adage "follow the money", if Lewis were to be awarded the win then nothing changes in the Constructors Championship which is where the teams get their money so in a sport where money matters there is nothing to be gained by Mercedes.

My sons on the UK have a different perspective and when I get there on Thursday I will enjoy a pint with them and a good discussion :)."

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7. Posted by Great_white_shark, 14/12/2021 3:07

"@GordonG47

I don't believe this is truly what you would like to see. People have been complaining about Mercedes domination for years. What do you think would happen if you gave every team a blank canvas? you would have a huge gap in performance. Forget about wheel to wheel racing. Some teams would be miles ahead and others would have gotten it so wrong they might as well race in a lower category. I understand the sentiment and yes, regulations are very restrictive but it wouldn't enhance the show."

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8. Posted by HoosierDaddy, 14/12/2021 2:52

"Methinks everyone being outraged and demanding this and demanding that would never have been as outraged and said those things if this had been the first race of the season and Hungary had been last, both identical other than when in the season. In that case Max would win the championship with the exact same points for him and Lewis but finish far behind in the last race from being crippled by Botas' slamming into cars at the first turn.

Yeah, the rules could be improved and officials can be more consistent but that will always be true, just different degrees.

My point is, anyone more outraged now than if this had been the first race is from love of a particular team/driver rather than the sport."

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9. Posted by alistairmx, 14/12/2021 1:55

"I believe all this could have been avoided if they had Red Flagged and then restarted with a 4 lap sprint."

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10. Posted by TokyoAussie, 14/12/2021 1:06

"I am not in favour of this issue going outside the FIA and into the courts. However, I think Mercedes must pursue a review within the bounds of the FIA at the highest level. Can the result be changed? I doubt it. What would a changed result even look like? But neither can the matter be left alone. Changing the rules on the fly to stage a TV event is not on. Why have regs at all if they can just be changed on a whim.

Thankfully, Mercedes are not in the position of never having won a championship. Imagine if this were Haas or another team on the brink of their first titles. It would be crushingly bad. I hope Mercedes can take the high ground, accept the result, swallow a bit of pride, but still force some change in how races are staged.

I feel Masi has done a reasonable job throughout, but I don't see how he survives this. The situation was handled in the worst possible way. I don't know how much pressure he was under to stage a finale for TV, but I think there is no excuse."

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11. Posted by GordonG47, 14/12/2021 0:30

"Ideally...

1. Mercedes don't appeal, but make it quite clear that they are taking the high moral ground in this. Their media department should be able to make that pretty obvious. If this goes to court, there will be no winner.

2. The team owners (you know, the ones sinking all the money into this sport) demand that the rule book be at least cut in half so there are not so many possible "if's, buts, and maybe's" that can be played with.

3. Massi gets the support of the teams and drivers and is allowed to do his job without everyone bellowing in his ear. I am involved with speedway, and the only radio communications allowed are one way - steward to driver. No teams, no backchat, no nothing. Teams should not need clarification on anything - the rules should be clear cut and require no interpretation.

4. The Stewarding panel is reduced so that we end up with mainly the same stewards for all events. If more than three teams agree that a particular steward is showing bias / incompetence, that steward is removed from the panel - permanently.

• One I would love to see happen but never will - F1 goes to a formula that says here is a set of tyres, here's an empty fuel drum - fill it with whatever you like but you're going to have to run 2 hours / 200 miles, here's a box your car has to fit in, here's a set of safety requirements (impact absorption, wheel tethers etc), the first race is in March 2024, 'race what ya brung'."

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12. Posted by habentsen, 13/12/2021 22:17

"I honestly believe that Merc should follow up on this and take it to court to try to get some consistency into the government of this sport. Obviously, all seasons are different, but I think this season has seen more incosistent decisions from the governing side than usual."

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13. Posted by ronniecabers, 13/12/2021 20:52

"Should Merc take it further ? I think they are going to look like sore losers if they do and achieve nothing , Its not fair on Verstappen to take away the WDC and IF what Hamilton has supposedly said about getting Merc to leave it , then leave it BUT what does need to happen is clarification of what is a rule , what isn't a rule and when can Race Control over rule things. Unfortuately F1 has far too many ' Grey ' areas"

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14. Posted by francisn, 13/12/2021 20:09

"To be honest I still feel sick and angry with what happened yesterday.

I am happy for all the Max fans and Lewis haters but do any of them really feel happy with what happened.

I happen to have been supporting Lewis but if it had been the other way round I would have been equally sick. Charlie Whiting must be turning in his grave. What an absolute shambles. Much as I don't like these things being settled in court I think Mercedes have to proceed if only to bring the FIA to task for some clarity as to how races are run in the future. Currently the rules seem to be made depending on which team boss is louder on the phone."

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15. Posted by Superbird70, 13/12/2021 18:33

"However the legal weasels sort this out I am half expecting Hamilton to hang up his boots, and walk away from F1. He has nothing to prove. He will still be second best to Fangio overall."

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