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19th Mar 2022

‘Human error’ judged as cause of for controversial Formula One finish

Callum Boyle

Formula One

The Abu Dhabi report was released on Saturday

The FIA have confirmed that the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix’s title controversy was caused by “human error” after Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton to the drivers’ championship title.

Verstappen looked like he would not get the chance to tangle with Hamilton in the closing stages, after a yellow flag crash, but an in-race decision saw them restart and have a one-lap sprint to the finish line, which the Dutch driver took.

‘The results are valid, final and cannot now be changed’

In the report published on Saturday, they also defended race director Michael Masi and insisted that he acted in “good faith” and that all results from the race will remain “valid.” It said:

“The race director called the safety car back into the pit lane without it having completed an additional lap as required by the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations.

“The process of identifying lapped cars has up until now been a manual one and human error lead to the fact that not all cars were allowed to unlap themselves.”

Despite acknowledging the fact that regulations had not been followed appropriately, the FIA confirmed that the results would stand.

The report found, ‘That the race director was acting in good faith and to the best of his knowledge given the difficult circumstances, particularly acknowledging the significant time constraints for decisions to be made and the immense pressure being applied by the teams.

“The results of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the FIA Formula One World Championship are valid, final and cannot now be changed.

“In accordance with the rules, Mercedes made a protest to the stewards after the race, seeking to change the race classification. The stewards dismissed the protest and Mercedes then had an opportunity to appeal that decision to the FIA International Court of Appeal, but did not do so. There are no other available mechanisms in the rules for amending the race classification.”

Drivers are currently preparing for the first race of the season at the Bahrain Grand Prix, which takes place on Sunday.