Mercedes Opts Against Appealing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Result

The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team have opted not to appeal the result of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday, thus confirming Max Verstappen as the 2021 World Drivers’ Champion.

The team had indicated an intention to appeal the result of Sunday’s race at the Yas Marina Circuit, feeling that the FIA and race director Michael Masi did not adhere to the rules surrounding the safety car that made Mercedes feel the final result was manipulated.

Initially the lapped cars were not to be let through prior to the final lap restart, meaning there would have been five cars between race leader Lewis Hamilton and his title rival Verstappen, but the decision was reversed just moments before the safety car was withdrawn.

Mercedes protested twice after Verstappen passed Hamilton on that final lap to claim the victory and the championship only for the stewards to throw out both protests, and the team said they would consider an appeal, only to opt against it on Thursday.

The statement says the team will work with the FIA to understand why what happened did happen, with the FIA introducing a commission that will work with the teams and drivers in order to improve the spectacle of Formula 1.

“We left Abu Dhabi in disbelief of what we had just witnessed,” said the statement from Mercedes. “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.”

Mercedes Congratulate Red Bull for 2021 Title Battle

Despite missing out on the Drivers’ title, Mercedes did win their eighth consecutive Constructors’ Championship ahead of Red Bull Racing, and they praised their rivals for their performance in 2021 and are looking forward to fighting them again on track in 2022.

“To Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing: we would like to express our sincere respect for your achievements this season,” continued the statement.  “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.”

Finally, the statement praised the whole Mercedes team, including drivers Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, for their efforts throughout the season, and highlighting how ‘awesome’ it was to win an eighth consecutive Constructors’ Championship.

“And lastly, even though this Drivers’ Championship did not end the way we hoped, we could not be prouder of our team,” they continued. 

“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.”

Credit: Steve Etherington

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