FIA Investigation Key To Hamilton’s F1 Future
Lewis Hamilton’s future remains unclear with the seven-time world champion remaining off the grid for the time being after a bitter ending to the 2021 season for the Briton and Mercedes as Max Verstappen snatched the title from their grasp in a thrilling final lap in Abu Dhabi.
There is plenty of speculation and news surrounding the new season with new rules and regulations introduced to bring greater variety, while the manner of the finale last season has ensured discussions remain ongoing between Mercedes, Toto Wolff and the FIA, with Michael Masi’s decisions and performance scrutinised further. There is even a two-month wait for the results of the FIA’s inquiry into the highly controversial ending to the race, with Formula One’s governing body confirming their findings will be released on the eve of the opening weekend of the 2022 F1 season.
Away from Hamilton and Mercedes, there is a shuffle on the grid with plenty of drivers out of contract and more speculation surrounding who will emerge as part of a fresh-look team for the 2022 campaign. Sergio Perez did wonders for Verstappen’s title hopes with a fine drive in Abu Dhabi, but his future remains unclear with Red Bull. Elsewhere Carlos Sainz at Ferrari, Fernando Alonso at Alpine, Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda at AlphaTauri, Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin, Nicholas Latifi at Williams, Alex Albon at Williams, Guanyu Zhou at Alfa Romeo and Mick Schumacher at Haas all need to extend their contracts or secure a seat elsewhere.
Mercedes will need the FIA to mend their relationship with race director Michael Masi after withdrawing their appeals of the result in Abu Dhabi on the condition that the FIA would analyse the closing stages of the race, in order to “improve the robustness of the rules, governance and decision-making in Formula One”.
Meanwhile newly-elected FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has been in touch with Hamilton as the governing body looks to regain the seven-time champion’s trust in the sport, but the results of the inquiry are said to be crucial in whether they are successful. Follow all the latest F1 news below:
FIA outlines details on Abu Dhabi Grand Prix inquiry
The FIA have outlined the process and next steps for the inquiry into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
They plan to discuss the deployment of the Safety Car, which ultimately led to Max Verstappen passing Lewis Hamilton to become world champion.
It has been reported that Hamilton is waiting on the results of the inquiry before deciding whether to return to the sport in 2022.
The FIA say the results will be published on 18 March.
Jack Rathborn14 January 2022 14:15
Sergio Perez backed over Lewis Hamilton’s ‘dangerous driving’ claim
Red Bull driver programme boss Helmut Marko has defended Sergio Perez by claiming his driving tactics in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix were “very fair” despite objection from Lewis Hamilton.
“He slowed down Hamilton by eight seconds in two laps, but in a very fair way,” Marko told ServusTV after Hamilton’s “dangerous” accusation.
“Of course he said ‘dangerous driving’ again, we know that.
“He is incredibly loyal and a team player. Of course, we have discussed certain scenarios with him and he then delivers them – and without grumbling or any rebellion or questioning.”
Jack Rathborn14 January 2022 14:00
F1 racing can be “very lonely”
Daniel Ricciardo has discussed the impact of being away from friends and family whilst travelling the world during the F1 season.
Speaking to Autosport.com, Ricciardo said: “But as you know, you guys would feel it, we travel so much that you do miss loved ones. So having that kind of times 10 is tricky.
“I wouldn’t say it affects me in the act of driving,” Ricciardo said. “But particularly when maybe it doesn’t go well, then it definitely has an effect because all you want is some of that support and family love. And also when it doesn’t go well, you can also feel very lonely.”
Thomas Schlachter14 January 2022 13:48
Whether Lewis Hamilton will return to Formula 1 is still unclear, and his Mercedes Boss has weighed in on the conversation.
Toto Wolff said: “It would be an indictment for the whole of Formula 1 if the best driver decided to quit because of outrageous decisions,” in an interview with Krone.
“I really hope we will see him again. He is the most important part of our sport,”
Wolff has always remained confident that Lewis Hamilton will feature next season and, if he does, the Brit will be fighting for a record eighth world championship.
Thomas Schlachter14 January 2022 13:27
Alpine looking for 2024 championship?
Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi says Alpine will be looking to compete for wins and titles by the end of 2024.
Speaking to Motorsport-Total.com, Rossi said: “Formula 1 is about winning until the end of the next regulatory period.
“We want to win races and possibly the championship. And that’s until the end of 2024 or 2025, depending on when the regulatory period ends.”
The Alpine CEO has taken inspiration from other teams who have competed for championships in recent years.
“We saw at Mercedes and Red Bull that it took them a good four or five years to create the team they wanted. So that’s the timeline we’re on.”
Thomas Schlachter14 January 2022 13:14
New Team Principal at Aston Martin
Aston Martin have a new man in charge.
Mike Krack, former BMW motorsport head, has been announced as the new Team Principal taking over from Otmar Szafnauer.
“It is a thrill and an honour to have been appointed to the position of Team Principal of Aston Martin,” said Krack.
“Aston Martin is one of the greatest automotive brands in the world, and to have been asked to play a leading role in delivering the on-track Formula One success that such an illustrious name so richly deserves is a challenge that I plan to embrace with energy and enthusiasm.”
Thomas Schlachter14 January 2022 12:55
George Russell “has more to learn.”
Williams’ head of vehicle performance has said: “There is no doubt [George Russell] still has more to learn.”
When speaking to Motorsport.com Dave Robson went on to say that this is “because working at Mercedes is a different story than with us”
However, Robson backs the 23-year-old for great success with his new team.
“His work ethic and the way he brings the team together, along with his skills and his confidence in making decisions, those are the real key factors.”
Russell will be racing alongside fellow Brit Lewis Hamilton, if the 7-time winner returns to action.
Thomas Schlachter14 January 2022 12:35
Damon Hill went on to speak about the decisions that race director Michael Masi made at the conclusion of the race, again on Sky Sports.
“I think in some sense it was [the race] manipulated because I think that race director Michael Masi was under pressure to allow this exciting, thrilling race to happen between the two drivers.”
Hill believes that Masi, “caved into pressure,” when managing the conclusion and allowed the straight shootout between Verstappen and Hamilton to take place as a result.
Thomas Schlachter14 January 2022 12:14
Damon Hill has his say on F1 finale
Damon Hill has also spoken on Sky Sports about the F1 season’s conclusion and like many he wasn’t happy with how it ended.
Hill said that: “Ultimately the Lewis Hamilton fans feel very aggrieved. The way the decision went disadvantaged them and they felt robbed.”
Hill continued to say that the entire way the season ended was, “unsatisfactory.”
“But was it a satisfactory way of deciding a championship? You’d have to say it was unsatisfactory and I think it might even have been unfair.”
Thomas Schlachter14 January 2022 12:00
A “fresh start” for F1?
Michael Masi’s position as race director has become “untenable,” and there could be changes made ahead of the upcoming F1 season.
Sky Sports’ Craig Slater has said: “There’s no question about it. Masi is under pressure”
“Is it the case now that his position is untenable? Would announcing his departure from the role of race director, perhaps, by the FIA at least signal a fresh start in that sense?”
The situation has now become a “headache” for the sport of Formula 1 and the debate is set to continue.
Thomas Schlachter14 January 2022 11:45