FIA president jokes Wolff and Horner ‘were close’ during meeting because it was Valentine’s Day

The FIA are investigating the contentious closing events of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Newly appointed FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem says that Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff and Red Bull’s Christian Horner got on just fine during a meeting of the F1 Commission earlier this week.

Team bosses met to discuss the controversial end to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in 2021, in which race director Michael Masi allowed a limited number of lapped runners to pass the Safety Car ahead of the final lap of the race.

Max Verstappen was therefore able to pass the 37-year-old on the last lap to seal his maiden world title.

It was preceded by some curious messages between Masi and the Red Bull team, with Horner telling him that only “one racing lap” was necessary – referring to clearing lapped runners with so little time remaining in the grand prix.

Wolff exclaimed to the Australian that the finish to what had been an exceptional championship battle was “so not right.”

The governing body later launched an investigation into the late events at the Yas Marina Circuit, and ben Sulayem held a meeting with the team principals to go over what they had found so far and the next steps they will take.

McLaren boss defends Michael Masi amid criticism.v1

All of this controversy was preceded by more than a handful of animosity between Horner and Wolff throughout 2021, but ben Sulayem revealed that he pair behaved themselves on Monday.

“They were in line. I think it’s because of Valentine’s Day,” he joked in an interview with Sky Sports.

“They were close to each other and they were in a good mood, so that was good. I expected more entertainment but it was good to see the harmony between them.

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“We agreed on certain things and the analysis is still going on.”

“But it will come soon… it was a good discussion there. So we will see.”

The 14-time East Rally champion was elected to replace Jean Todt, who had served his maximum term of 12 years, at the end of 2021.

He acknowledges that he has a responsibility to retain the integrity of the FIA throughout the investigation, and insists that this is exactly what he will do.

“Information will be announced, but definitely as I said, the integrity of the FIA will always be intact. I am elected to do that but also have fair motorsport, as that’s my duty,” he explained.

“So it was a very good meeting. We can only go forward. This is important for the FIA, for the integrity of the FIA and for the sport. So we can only improve the future.”

The FIA will conclude their investigation on 18 March – two days before the beginning of the new season in Bahrain.