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Final decision on Abu Dhabi to be announced in March

NEWS STORY
14/01/2022

The FIA has announced that the findings of its investigation into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will not be made public until the Friday of the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

"Following the decision of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris on 15 December 2021, the FIA administration under the leadership of Mohammed Ben Sulayem, has started the detailed analysis of the events of the last Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix," said the sport's governing body in a brief statement tonight.

"On January 19, an item on the agenda of the Sporting Advisory Committee will be dedicated to the use of the Safety Car," it continued. "The following stage will be a shared discussion with all F1 drivers.

"The outcome of the detailed analysis will be presented to the F1 Commission in February and final decisions will be announced at the World Motor Sport Council in Bahrain on 18 March.

"FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem has asked Secretary General Sport and recently appointed Single-Seater Director Peter Bayer for proposals to review and optimize the organization of the FIA F1 structure for the 2022 season."

The announcement comes at a time when there is a worrying lack of official news on the matter, a situation which has allowed certain sections of the media to 'run riot'.

The fact that the "final decisions" won't be announced until the eve of the season opener, three months after that controversial night in the desert, is hardly likely to go down well with the various entities involved, or indeed the fans.

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1. Posted by TokyoAussie, 18/01/2022 3:09

"The whole point of this investigation is to learn and implement measures to prevent it from happening again. The results of the investigation, and any changes stemming from that investigation, have to be in place before Bahrain. This decision is bonkers on so many levels."

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2. Posted by Stitch431, 15/01/2022 22:08

"Ah, yeah, I forgot to mention the track limits in Bahrein, where Lewis was allowed to gain advantage lap after lap but when Max gained advantage during overtaking he had to give back his position. In my opinion, like in Indy Cars, there should be no track limits. They are professional drivers, let them use the track as they want. They will sort it out. Too much regulation. Simplifying rules is a must, but creating a syllabus with the exact penalty for which type of mistake, which they should be endorsed for every driver regardless of team or status.
As for the "three times at fault, you're out". It is just an example but it would work as in every organization, where a group of people works together, there are rules to be obeyed, and if not they are enforced. Therefore this should also be possible for the stewards. If they do the right thing, they have nothing to fear. I do agree with you that Mercedes has intimidated and misused their power gained by the unhealthy amount of teams they provide with engines. and regarding the number of engines, I agree with you that, either they should give this free again, or they should, as you point out, hand out draconian penalties to enforce it."

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3. Posted by kenji, 15/01/2022 5:30

"@ Stitch431, I agree with much of your post however there are a couple of points there to ponder. There is no doubt that Mercedes got the most out of their attempts to muzzle Red Bull. This I do believe is not simply because they were right in all cases but an example of, to put it bluntly, intimidation. Challenging the FIA against the might of their organisation and the fact that they supply 40% of the grid with engines and other parts in some cases!. This gives them influence in many areas...even the actual racing!. For this very reason it is imperative that more suppliers/competitors enter the series.

To suggest that the FIA have the power to judge 'three strikes and your out' to dismiss any steward just wouldn't work as who would be the judge? That just wouldn't work, IMO, as the more elements introduced into the chain just magnifies the problems. Maybe a further simplification of the rules with less lenience given would work better. As an example, track limits. There is a white line that verifies the edge of the track, put two wheels over the limit anywhere, more than once and get a penalty. Either a time penalty or a 'long lap' as in MotoGP. There must be no deviation other than being forced off and that then falls into another category of crime.

Finally the point re 'the spirit of the rules'. IIRC it was Adrian Newey who stated that there is no such thing! The rules are there to be exploited in every sense and failure to do so will render you non competitive. It is, in his eyes, a binary concept. It's either black or white with nothing in between. Mercedes throwing many new engines into the pool because they could needs to be curbed as this is an unfair competitive advantage. A simple rule with draconian penalties would soon curb this activity rather than rely on anything so nebulous as 'the spirit of the rules'.That just gives the 'immoralistas' more leeway.

I do believe that there will be changes made and so long as they are equal for all then that's fine. I just find it hard to justify changes built on what pressure an individual team can impose.

"

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4. Posted by Stitch431, 15/01/2022 1:15

"@RP in my opinion you put way too much emphasis on this one last call against Mercedes, whereas during the season almost all decisions were in favor of them and against Red Bull. The wing saga where even the rules were adapted in-season in favor of Mercedes. The pitstop rules again in favor of Mercedes, The rear wing saga in Brasil, where evidence showed that the wing was not in order but that only in the pre-race Lewis had to start from behind, where he had its advantage already from the Hungarian GP onwards. Remember the fuel saga where cheating was punished way harder? Instead, they (Mercedes) whined about Max touching the rear wing with his fingertip and upon Mercedes pressure, he was ridiculously punished for it where no driver before Max had gotten more than a reprimand for the same thing. The wing rules had changed because they "went against the spirit of the rules". Then they should have done so also with the high number of new engines that Mercedes used, as this was also against the spirit of the rules. Again they did not. As for the stewards, especially Connely has always in every single case ruled against Max and in favor of Lewis, already from the very first moment, Max entered F1. That is why in my opinion no stewards should be on duty that comes from the same country as of one of the main title contenders. And this is also why I believe that FIA internally they should be able to say "three wrong decisions means you are out". And because you cannot always predict who will be the title contender of next year they should be able to change the steward's line-up accordingly.
I do agree with you that, Mercedes in the first place, and secondly also Red Bull communicated way too much with the race director. This does not work. Therefore the teams should not be given the opportunity to do so, not even by email (Toto), and even penalize them (always in the same way regardless of which team it is) if they even try to influence either the stewards or the race director. After all, if a soccer trainer says too much to the referee he is banned and doomed to watch the next couple of matches from the grandstand instead of the dugout.
"

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5. Posted by RP, 14/01/2022 16:40

"The eve of the first race of 2022 is ridiculous for revealing the final analysis of events. As for influence, I think Red Bull and Mercedes have exerted too much influence. Most of the remarks seem critical of Mercedes which is deserved although I seem to recall Red Bull threatening on occasion to quite the sport if they didn't get their way and they were certainly in the middle of this latest embarrassment.
The race director announced a decision as to how things would proceed. That decision seemed subjective as it did not allow the unlapped cars to pass the pace car. Then, after objections from Red Bull, he changed the previously announced decision which handed the championship to Verstappen. When the change was announced, you did not need a lot of experience to see the outcome.
Personally, I think the change was wrong since he had made an announcement. I personally like F1 as, in addition to the drivers, Adrian Newey and company have produced great cars often outperforming the engine. This past year Honda really stepped up with it's engine. Mercedes has had the powertrain to beat until Honda finally broke through. The design diversity (high rake vs low) has allowed for close racing with different philosophies. Still interesting.
The sporting regulations need to be written and clarified. Stewards changing at each race is not a good idea and there certainly seems no question. Cut off phone calls from principals to race directors."

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6. Posted by kenji, 14/01/2022 13:52

"@ Stich431...forgot to mention that I'm about to sell my Audi and that will be last of the the four ringer for me, after six of them! Am looking at a two year old Maserati Ghibli as a replacement. Rather nice set of wheels and a very comfortable freeway cruiser...if this virus ever leaves and lets us wander around for a change."

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7. Posted by kenji, 14/01/2022 13:48

"@ Stitch431...re your last post. I fully agree and have said as much myself within this thread. The 'sport' and the British media have only themselves only itself to blame when they encourage this 'one man one team' cargo cult. Latest is the ridiculous claims being made by the pompous Herbert! Some form of showdown has been brewing for a very long time and thankfully things are coming to a head as a result of a random event. A root and branch clean out will help but it cannot be solely confined to the FIA. Certain teams carry too much influence and that is at the nub of this latest hoo har. I'd be happy to even see Mercedes out of the championship if their participation is only ensured by giving in to coercive demands. Boot them out and bring Maserati back in...real [ historical ] racers and not political hacks looking for a seat at the big table. Who, in Australia, can forget the great Maserati/Ferrari battles of the '50's/'60's especially with Moss and Behra in Maseratis at the 1956 GP held at Albert Park. Alan Jones father Stan Jones was another star. C'mon Maserati come on back and let the three pointed star fade away in the distance along with their whinging and whining team members."

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8. Posted by Stitch431, 14/01/2022 12:41

"In my opinion, this whole discussion should be seen separate from the fact "if Lewis wants to come and race or not". It cannot be that this one guy hijacks all of F1 to bend over to his will or he won't come and play. That is blackmail in my humble opinion and should have no place in a sport like this. I'm sure that if he doesn't want to come, Mercedes will have plenty of other drivers ready and capable of taking the seat and combat for victory. "

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9. Posted by Stitch431, 14/01/2022 12:31

"I hope they will look at the entire season, and not only to the last decision in the last race (also the beginning was controversial).
I think it is not that difficult:
1. Big cleanup among the stewards and FIA delegates (no stewards from the same country as one of the title contenders, and no FIA delegates from participating teams).
2. Make the rules simpler and clearer.
3. Then make a syllabus where one can read for which offense one imposes which penalty, but especially in which situations one does not impose a penalty under the guise of "let them race".
4. All rules are the same for everyone no matter who it is.
5. FIA internal for the stewards: 3 x wrong decision is out.
6. Last but not least: no communication with any members of any team with the race director or the stewards whatsoever."

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10. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 14/01/2022 9:14

"The only conclusion they will come to is to change the way lapped cars are dealt with before a restart and set in stone how that will be dealt with irrespective of how many laps are left, any other findings would bring the championship result into disrepute.
If the race director and others are moved that to is an admission of fault, again bringing the result into question, by pushing the decision back that puts the ball back clearly into Mr Hamiltons court."

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11. Posted by kenji, 14/01/2022 1:49

"This FIA has risen to the Mercedes challenge and it's almost time to bring this 'will he won't he ' nonsense to some form of conclusion. I look forward to how the Mercedes clique will try to bat this away! Whether or not Hamilton drives in '22 is totally immaterial. There are plenty of top drivers who can race towards an exciting challenge for the title. IMO, F1 would be far better off without him actually. Who needs the constant haranguing about disruptive social issues that have no place in F1 and the fake lip service that has been played around that. The fact that Wolff has gone public with his 'I will hold the FIA accountable' just shows the level of accumulated hubris emanating from this TP!!! My guess is that Hamilton will still front the team and all this 'hoo har' was a carefully orchestrated PR exercise. Then again I may well be totally wrong and if so will immediately offer up a 'mea culpa'. Roll on first '22 testing...."

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12. Posted by Kkiirmki, 13/01/2022 22:52

"If we don't see Hamilton at the first test in late February, then I doubt we'll be seeing him at all then. There's no way he can miss the pre-season testing, with the new 2022 cars, and be ready to race hours before the season gets underway.

"

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13. Posted by Chris Roper, 13/01/2022 20:26

"So their detailed investigation will be an agenda point at a meeting, followed by a quick chat with the drivers? And the results will be released during FP1 at the first race?

Talk about kicking the can down the road and sweeping things under the carpet.

I guess that is the end of the road for Hamilton...
I wouldn't hold it against him if he walks away in disgust and I suspect MB will be re-considering future involvement in a dying sport too.

@Roli - Hamilton is not coming back unless he is happy with the findings, so this will not force him back.
What it will do is mess up the driver line up when MB tries to fill the seat and starts negotiations to poach a driver.
"

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14. Posted by Roli, 13/01/2022 18:19

"You cannot have the FIA investigate itself! If they find Masi guilty, it's tantamount in admitting you were wrong in hiring him to do a job he just cannot do. To hold the results till before the GO assures that Lewis will race. Its pathetic the way they are dealing with this."

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