A sympathetic Helmut Marko has praised Mercedes for their “great gesture” in not taking their 2021 title fight into the courtroom.
Mercedes spent the first few days after the extremely controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix deliberating whether to take their protest case to the International Court of Appeal, following a sudden decision by Race Control to allow only the lapped cars between race leader Lewis Hamilton and title rival Max Verstappen to un-lap themselves.
As a result, this created a one-lap showdown for the title at the Yas Marina circuit, but it was one that left Hamilton, who had dominated the race up until that point, severely disadvantaged given Verstappen used the Safety Car period following Nicholas Latifi’s crash to pit for fresh tyres. Hamilton stayed out.
Mercedes immediately lodged two protests in the aftermath of the dramatic twist but both were rejected by the FIA. A few hours later, the Silver Arrows stated their intention to appeal the decision and thus created a 96-hour window to officially declare their status.
On ‘Deadline Day’, Mercedes announced they were withdrawing the appeal and Verstappen was united with his World Championship title later that day at the FIA Prize Giving Gala – an event both Toto Wolff and Lewis Hamilton refused to attend.
Mercedes and Red Bull have traded plenty of insults over the course of the 2021 campaign, but Marko has showed some compassion for their rivals and understands their frustration in how the season finale concluded.
However, he was still keen to mention that Red Bull have suffered their own misfortune throughout the year.
“I’m just saying that Mercedes made a great gesture to drop the appeal,” Marko said in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Hamilton was undoubtedly unlucky in Abu Dhabi, but we were unlucky in Silverstone, Budapest and Baku. These are the races.
“I understand their displeasure.
“Now it is up to the FIA, to the new president to work on a system that will help Michael Masi because he cannot do everything on his own.”
Those calls for reform have been widespread following the conclusion of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with GPDA chairman Alex Wurz telling PlanetF1 that a “fair playground” is now imperative for the sport in the years to come.