Formula 1

The FIA will make a Decision on the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix by March 18

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Hamilton ahead of Verstappen at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - Credit: LAT Images

The fallout from the end of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is still nothing short of spectacular a month on. Social media (especially Twitter) has been full of posts and discussions calling for serious action to be taken, including the sacking of race director Michael Masi. It was known that the FIA would launch a full investigation into what happened on that fateful Sunday and, on January 13, a statement was released that outlined the details of what’s going to happen with that.

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,” the statement read. “The FIA President launched a consultation with all F1 teams on various issues, including this one.

On January 18, an item on the agenda of the Sporting Advisory Committee will be dedicated to the use of the Safety Car,” the statement 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.”

The choice to make the final decisions on March 18 is something that’s caused a lot of polarised opinions, as it’s on the same weekend as the season opener in Bahrain. This has led some to believe that the FIA may be making the final decisions this late on purpose to antagonise Sir Lewis Hamilton (who has been reported to not want to make a decision on his F1 future until the report is published) and the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team by extension.

Interestingly, the statement also says that Mohammed Ben Sulayemhas 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.” What these proposals are specifically aren’t known, but it wouldn’t be impossible to suggest that it could include elements built into the organization of Formula 1’s hierarchy to make sure that what happened in Abu Dhabi doesn’t happen again. With rumours popping up that Michael Masi’s job may not be completely secure for the 2022 season and beyond (with one potential candidate to replace him interestingly being Marcin Budkowski), it does make you think a little bit about what exactly has been proposed in the month following the end of the 2021 season…

Whatever happens in the months to come, the build-up to the 2022 Formula 1 season is going to be one that’s still overshadowed by the sport’s biggest controversy since Crashgate. The events of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix aren’t going to go away quickly from everyone’s minds. Fans, drivers, teams and officials alike will definitely be taking a very close look at how the FIA reacts to things this year.

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