FIA sets out next steps and plans for Abu Dhabi F1 investigation

The FIA confirmed in the days following Max Verstappen’s last-lap title win over Lewis Hamilton that it would be launching a full investigation into the race restart, which was subject to protests by Mercedes.

Mercedes opted to end its pursuit of action after the FIA announced its plans to analyse what happened in Abu Dhabi, but said it would “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”.

The FIA had not issued any updates or communications on the review since then, but in a statement issued on Thursday, it confirmed that investigation was now fully underway, and outlined what the next steps would be.

Newly-appointed FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem is set to consult both teams and F1 drivers as part of the analysis of what happened in Abu Dhabi, including a focus on the usage of the safety car, which will be discussed at next week’s Sporting Advisory Committee.

Talks with teams will cover “various issues, including this one” before a “share discussion with all F1 drivers” at the next stage of the investigation.

The subsequent result of the analysis following these talks will be presented to the F1 Commission in February, before the final decisions are then announced at the World Motor Sport Council meeting in March – just two days before the start of the new season.

FIA secretary general for sport, Peter Bayer, has been asked by Ben Sulayem to present proposals to review and “optimise the organisation of the FIA F1 structure for the 2022 season”.

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The news comes at a time when Hamilton is understood to be considering his future due to the fashion of his defeat in Abu Dhabi. He said over the radio after the race that it had been “manipulated”, and has not spoken publicly since his brief post-race interview in parc ferme.

Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff said last month that both he and Hamilton were “disillusioned”, and that he hoped it would not prompt the seven-time world champion to walk away. 

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 2nd position, congratulates Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, in Parc Ferme

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 2nd position, congratulates Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, in Parc Ferme

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

FIA statement in full

“Following the decision to 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 FIA statement reads.

“The FIA president launch a consultation with all F1 teams on various issues, including this one.

“On January 19, an item on the agenda of the Sporting Advisory Committee will be dedicated to the use of the Safety Car.

“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.

“FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has asked Secretary General Sport and recently-appointed Single-Seater Director Peter Bayer for proposals to review and optimise the organisation of the FIA F1 structure for the 2022 season.”

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