Breaking: FIA releases report, claims ‘misunderstanding’ of the regulations led to Abu Dhabi controversy

The FIA have published their report into the controversial events of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The FIA have pinpointed the pressure from teams via radio communication and the convoluted nature of the regulations as possible reasons for the contentious end to the 2021 world championship.

Max Verstappen defeated Sir Lewis Hamilton on the very last lap of the race after now former race director Michael Masi had allowed a limited number of lapped runners to go through past a late Safety Car.

This transpired after Williams’ Nicholas Latifi had collided with the barrier, and the FIA recognised that a brake fire on the car elongated the caution period.

Mercedes dropped an appeal after “incorrectly” claiming that the Dutchman had overtaken the 37-year-old under Safety car conditions ahead of the final lap, and they later promised to hold the FIA “accountable” for the enquiry they have now finished.

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The governing body confirmed that the identification of lapped runners was once a “manual process,” but this has now been changed to an automatic one by virtue of Safety Car protocol now dictating that “all” lapped runners are to be permitted to pass the Safety Car instead of “any.”

This was decided after consultation with the teams, who in general saw it as “desirable” for the race to end under green flag conditions.

The complexity and ambiguity around this rule caused “confusion” within race control and thus the sport will “benefit from clarification” of Safety Car provisions.

Further to this is a contractual situation that leads to short agreements being made with consultants. This has caused a “higher staff turnover and so reduced familiarity with the rules.”

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The report also covered the radio chatter between Masi and the Mercedes and Red Bull teams, and stated that the incessant messages from the two teams was “neither necessary nor helpful” to the 44-year-old’s task, resulting in significant changes to the rules of engagement around contact between the teams and the race director.

New executive director of single-seaters Peter Bayer has confirmed that only one member of each team will be allowed to speak to the new race directors, and that none of these messages will be aired to the public.

Masi has sine been relieved of his duties as race director, and the FIA confirmed in their report that Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas will act as “alternating” race directors this season, also reiterating that they will receive help from Herbie Blash and a virtual control room.

The changes made to the race control structure are in keeping with the FIA’s intentions to make for a more peaceful environment that ensures the ability of the race director to “perform his/her role to the best of his/her ability.”

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The commission, led by new president Mohammed ben Sulayem, found that Verstappen’s success was “valid and final,” and no obvious breach of the sporting regulations was found.