FIA to conduct ‘detailed analysis’ of Abu Dhabi GP closing laps

Charles Coates/Motorsport Images

FIA to conduct ‘detailed analysis’ of Abu Dhabi GP closing laps

Formula 1

FIA to conduct ‘detailed analysis’ of Abu Dhabi GP closing laps


The FIA will conduct “a detailed analysis and clarification exercise for the future” in response to the backlash over the closing laps of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen became world champion after overtaking Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the race, but Mercedes was left angered by FIA race director Michael Masi’s decision to reverse a call that no lapped cars would be allowed to overtake the safety car. Masi subsequently told just those cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to pass the safety car and then immediately withdrew it to allow a green flag finish, prompting widespread criticism of the way the situation was handled.

At a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris prior to the end-of-season Prize Giving Gala and presidential election, a report was delivered to the WMSC and will now lead to a more detailed look at what happened.

“The FIA’s primary responsibility at any event is to ensure the safety of everyone involved and the integrity of the sport,” an FIA statement read.

“The circumstances surrounding the use of the Safety Car following the incident of driver Nicholas Latifi, and the related communications between the FIA Race Direction team and the Formula 1 teams, have notably generated significant misunderstanding and reactions from Formula 1 teams, drivers and fans, an argument that is currently tarnishing the image of the Championship and the due celebration of the first Drivers’ World Championship title won by Max Verstappen and the eighth consecutive Constructors’ World Championship title won by Mercedes.

“Following the presentation of a report regarding the sequence of events that took place following the incident on Lap 53 of the Grand Prix and in a constant drive for improvement, the FIA President proposed to the World Motor Sport Council that a detailed analysis and clarification exercise for the future with all relevant parties will now take place.

“This matter will be discussed and addressed with all the teams and drivers to draw any lessons from this situation and clarity to be provided to the participants, media, and fans about the current regulations to preserve the competitive nature of our sport while ensuring the safety of the drivers and officials. It is not only Formula 1 that may benefit from this analysis, but also more generally all the other FIA circuit championships.”

With the proposal approved, the FIA also says it wants to ensure any significant changes are made in time for the new season next year.

“The FIA will therefore do its utmost to have this in motion within the Formula 1 governance and will propose to the Formula 1 Commission to give a clear mandate for study and proposal to the Sporting Advisory Committee, with the support of Formula 1 drivers, so that any identified meaningful feedback and conclusions be made before the beginning of the 2022 season.”