Brundle suspects FIA fears legal action over UAE findings

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen start final lap. FIA F1 Abu Dhabi December 2021

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and the Red Bull of Max Verstappen start the final lap of the 2021 season. Abu Dhabi December 2021

Ahead of Saturday’s FIA meeting into the Abu Dhabi finale, Martin Brundle suspects Formula 1 fears “legal ramifications” when all is revealed.

The FIA’s World Motor Sport Council will meet on Saturday to formally discuss the findings from the investigation into last year’s season finale.

Then FIA race director Michael Masi courted controversy when he allowed only the cars between championship rivals Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen to unlap themselves, setting up a last lap shoot-out.

Verstappen passed Hamilton to secure the win and the World title with Mercedes furious.

Masi has since lost his job while the FIA have taken steps to clarify the Safety Car rules which now state that “all” lapped cars must pass the race leader.

But what the FIA have not done in the midst of all of this is take a stand by declaring outright whether the rules were broken by Masi, or not.

Former F1 driver Brundle thinks that’s because there are concerns about legal action if they say what Masi did contravened the regulations.

“I think there’s fear in the paddock among some people with a vested interest,” he told Sky Sports F1.

“They don’t want it to be seen that a mistake was made, therefore there’s any type of question mark over Verstappen’s World Championship. That’s inevitable in some quarters.

“But I suspect it’s more about any kind of legal ramifications, I don’t know, so I’m suspecting, with Michael Masi or something like that.”

Lewis Hamilton applauds race winner and World Champion Max Verstappen. December Abu Dhabi 2021

There has been some speculation that the FIA won’t ultimately reveal their full report to the public.

F1 chief Stefano Domenicali says he’ll push for that so that Formula 1 can “move forward” from Abu Dhabi.

“In the next days, the FIA will formally discuss that at the World Motor Sport Council, because I think what we need to avoid is a personal discussion,” he told Sky Sports.

“We are all human beings, you may say that you are performing well as a driver, as a team, as a referee, but this is not relevant to the credibility of the sport, if the sport will take all the lessons in order to improve that.

“The credibility is passing through this kind of action, and this is what we’re expecting the FIA to take on board in their preparation of next year.

“I will attend the World Council, and we will see. That is the aim, to have a step forward to move forward from Abu Dhabi.

“We are already in Bahrain. So there is no need to talk about a different approach other than to say what we learned as regulator from that last race.”

Suggested to him that some fans will always feel that the race was fixed, Domenicali insisted that was not the case.

“I have not for a single second in my mind thought that was something built on purpose,” he said. “As a sportsman, if I thought that was the case, I would not be there.

“And I can guarantee that from Formula 1’s perspective, that is not the case.

 

“We had last week a meeting with all the promoters, almost all of where we’re going are sold out, that means Formula 1 is not that problem and it means the trust is there.”

 

PlanetF1 Verdict

 

Brundle suspects FIA fears legal action over UAE

Martin Brundle believes that the FIA fears legal action over Abu Dhabi.