Lewis Hamilton is set to get answers to his Abu Dhabi complaints today as the pressure on F1 race director Michael Masi continues to build. The Briton missed out on landing a record eighth F1 title in December after the 2021 season ended in controversy. Hamilton produced a series of scintillating displays at the business end of last season to set-up a winner-takes-all decider in the desert.
And the 37-year-old appeared well-placed to win the championship after leading for much of the Abu Dhabi race. But the Grand Prix took a sudden turn after Williams’ Nicholas Latifi crashed into a wall late on, which resulted in a safety car being deployed. Hamilton stayed out on the track during the pause in proceedings to ensure he didn’t relinquish his lead, but his title rival Max Verstappen pitted for fresh tyres.
Masi then made the decision to allow five cars which had become sandwiched between the two protagonists to overtake and move out of the way. And the Australian then gave Verstappen the go-ahead to pull level with Hamilton for a one-lap shootout. The Red Bull driver took advantage of his fresh rubber to storm to victory and claim his first F1 title.
Mercedes were outraged following the events at the season-decider and protested the decision before announcing their intentions to appeal, which they ultimately withdrew. The FIA then agreed to launch an investigation to understand why Masi made the decisions he did at the end of the race. And last week, McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl confirmed that a meeting of the F1 Commission was set to take place today.
“It’s clear what happened in Abu Dhabi was very controversial,” Seidl told the media ahead of Friday’s launch of the MCL36. “It was not good for the sport. “Because of the analysis that is ongoing and this still being an open case, I don’t want to go too much into detail in judging what happened there exactly. “It’s important now to wait for Monday. And then hopefully we can close this topic with a good analysis from the FIA,
with some good steps of how we can improve for the future. “We need to invest time and energy on the team side, together with the FIA, to make sure we understand what happened throughout the season and see how we can help by making the regulations, for example, less complex.” The meeting could provide Hamilton with the answers he has asked for about the 2021 season climax.
And it might also offer more clues about whether Masi is likely to continue in his role this time around. Hamilton was said to be disillusioned with the sport after the events in Abu Dhabi and he is yet to confirm that he intends to return to the track for the 2022 season.