What Action Is Mercedes F1 Taking After Getting Their Verstappen-Hamilton Protest Rejected in Abu Dhabi?

Published 12/13/2021, 3:57 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 12, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen before the race Pool via REUTERS/Kamran Jebreili


A season filled with controversy, unfortunately, ended the same way. As Red Bull celebrated their champion, Mercedes contested against it. In what has been a rollercoaster of a season, the drama hasn’t ended yet. With Mercedes fighting against the steward’s final decision, what could be the outcome of the hullabaloo?

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Max Verstappen passed his rival to snatch the championship trophy from him on the last lap of the race. However, on the preceding lap, the two drivers were behind the safety car deployed because of Nicholas Latifi’s crash four laps earlier.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Initially, the order from race control was that the backmarkers wouldn’t be allowed to overtake; soon, this was overturned. Five of the backmarkers between Hamilton and Verstappen could then overtake the safety car. Simultaneously, the safety car period had come to an end – an enormous boost to Verstappen.

As Toto Wolff shared his disapproval on the radio waves, Verstappen overtook Hamilton and went on to claim his first title.

First round of debate in the steward’s room

Mercedes brought in a lawyer and flipped through the rulebook to defend their driver. Having found Article 48.8, and more importantly, Article 48.12 of the regulations breached, Mercedes headed to the steward’s room.

While Red Bull came in where their counter-arguments, they pointed out the other nuances of the code that nullified the rules Mercedes brought up. While the stewards immediately dismissed Article 48.8 (overtaking under Safety Car), Art 48.12 remained a thinking point.

Eventually, the statement released by the FIA read that “Article 15.3 allows the Race Director to control the use of the safety car, which in our determination includes its deployment and withdrawal.” This dismissed Mercedes’ claim of Article 48.12 being breached.

Explaining that the safety car was withdrawn at the appropriate time, the FIA dismissed Mercedes’ appeal. Thus, Max Verstappen left the circuit as the 2021 champion.

What will Mercedes do now?

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

It doesn’t stop there. Mercedes has now decided to protest against the final decision. A statement on the team’s social media read: “We have lodged notice of intention to appeal the decision of the Stewards under Article 15 of the Sporting Code and Article 10 of the Judicial and Disciplinary Rules.”

Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 12, 2021. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during the race REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed.

As Mercedes announced, they would put their case to the FIA court of appeal; following which the team could take its arguments to the Court of Arbitration in Sports. As the higher authority, Verstappen’s crown is still under Mercedes’ threat. As the Silver Arrows mount yet another legal protest, will the title be retracted?

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Although highly unlikely, it wouldn’t reflect well on the sport if it happens. Red Bull and Verstappen gained massively from the messy decisions, but it wasn’t them who pulled the plug. If anything, the FIA  should take the 2021 season as a reference point for better and clearer rules in Formula 1.

Watch this story: From Will Smith to Nicole Kidman: When F1 & Hollywood collide

Enjoyed reading this article? Download our exclusive app to get 24x7 coverage, latest memes and social media banter. Click here to download.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Shreya Sanjeev

771 articles

Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT