Mercedes has officially confirmed they will no longer be pursuing their appeal of the controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix finish.
Thursday December 16 was effectively ‘Deadline Day’ for Mercedes to officially launch their appeal of Max Verstappen’s controversial, title-clinching win at the Yas Marina circuit after initially stating their intent to lodge an appeal against the two rejected protests submitted in the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s race.
With the end of the 96-hour window to appeal approaching, on Thursday morning in the UK, Mercedes released a statement officially declaring they will not be pursuing the case any further through the courts.
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‘We left Abu Dhabi in disbelief of what we had just witnessed. Of course, it’s part of the game to lose a race, but it’s something different when you lose faith in racing,’ a Mercedes team statement read on Thursday.
‘Together with Lewis, we have deliberated carefully over how to respond to the events at the Formula 1 season finale.
‘We have always been guided by our love of this sport and we believe that every competition should be won on merit. In the race on Sunday many felt, us included, that the way things unfolded was not right.
‘The reason we protested the race result on Sunday was because the Safety Car regulations were applied in a new way that affected the race result, after Lewis had been in a commanding lead and on course to win the World Championship.
‘We appealed in the interest of sporting fairness, and we have since been in a constructive dialogue with the FIA and Formula 1 to create clarity for the future, so that all competitors know the rules under which they are racing, and how they will be enforced.’
The result of that constructive dialogue started to become clear on Wednesday evening when the FIA released their own statement on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, promising a full, inclusive investigation into the last-lap controversy.
That promise and an agreement on clear and transparent rules on racing in future was referenced and welcomed by the Mercedes team.
The statement continued: ‘Thus, we welcome the decision by the FIA to install a commission to thoroughly analyse what happened in Abu Dhabi and to improve the robustness of rules, governance and decision making in Formula 1.
‘We also welcome that they have invited the teams and drivers to take part.
‘The Mercedes-AMG Petronas team will actively work with this commission to build a better Formula 1 – for every team and every fan who loves this sport as much as we do. We will hold the FIA accountable for this process and we hereby withdraw our appeal.’
Mercedes also placed on record their congratulations for the now confirmed World Champion: Max Verstappen.
The Silver Arrows said: ‘To Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing: we would like to express our sincere respect for your achievements this season. You made this Formula 1 Championship title fight truly epic. Max, we congratulate you and your entire team. We look forward to taking the fight to you on the track next season.
‘And lastly, even though this Drivers’ Championship did not end the way we hoped, we could not be prouder of our team.’