A late crash by Nicholas Latifi ended Hamilton’s chances of a record-breaking eighth world championship at Yas Marina. While Hamilton and Verstappen were set to be released with one lap remaining, a number of lapped cars between the title rivals appeared to give Hamilton an easy way to win the race.
Masi, on the other hand, controversially ordered the lapped drivers through, a command that was made even more problematic by the fact that it was only followed by those between the championship contenders, not the entire field. Verstappen initiated an overtake on Hamilton on the penultimate lap on fresher tires to win his first drivers’ title.
Mercedes appeared to be on the verge of filing an official appeal following the race, but they eventually canceled their plans before the FIA’s prize-giving ceremony. The team agreed to dismiss their appeal on the condition that Masi would be fired before the 2022 season, according to a BBC Sport source.
According to Sky Sports, the inquiry into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will only take three weeks.
“Work only began in earnest on it on Monday,” Sky Sports Craig Slater said.
“That is to say, this FIA commission started to interview those involved.
“Presumably Hamilton, Verstappen, the team bosses involved, the other drivers who were involved in this ‘unlapping yourself behind the safety car’ saga, or not involved in it as the case may be.”
“Remember, one of the controversies was that five cars, the ones between Hamilton and Verstappen, unlapped themselves behind the safety car, but others did not,” he continued.
“So this is going to go on. The FIA have told me that they will not be dragging this out, the investigation will be thorough, objective and transparent.”
“This should be done by February 3, at which point the FIA have a motorsport council meeting, and they expect to announce those findings by then.”
Meanwhile, Hamilton’s F1 future is still up in the air as Mercedes manager Toto Wolff refused to rule out his retirement following the team’s defeat in Abu Dhabi.