After months of waiting for the FIA’s report on the end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, it was finally released the day before the opening race of the 2022 F1 season in Bahrain. We’ve now all managed to digest the “detailed analysis” of what caused fans to go crazy across social media, and now Lewis Hamilton himself has reacted to the report.
The issue stemmed from race director Machael Masi allowing only the lapped cars sat between Hamilton and Max Verstappen to overtake while the safety car was on the track. This angered fans as it’s likely that if this didn’t happen, Hamilton would have won the race and ultimately the championship. Instead, Verstappen took the championship instead.
The report claimed that while Masi had been “acting in good faith”, the F1 confirmed that it was “human error” that changed the result of the race. The report also confirmed that, despite this revelation, the outcome of the race was not going to be changed, describing it as “valid” and “final”.
On top of this, the FIA offered no apology or words for Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton. Lewis wasn’t surprised by this: .
“Look, I wasn’t expecting an apology and it is not something I have focused on,” he told Sky Sports.
“We know that is the way it is, and that was probably not going to happen. But at least there is that transparency, and it has been called a human error and that is a positive step. We cannot go back unfortunately and change the past so I just look at what I can do now.”
Toto Wolff was also keen to give his opinion on the report:
“You can read it either way, but, for us, there are the words that say ‘human error’ and the acknowledgement of that is very important and now we close the chapter.
“I have not been thinking about Abu Dhabi since our car was not competitive for this year.
“We need to see a step change. I’m happy that there is more transparency. Dwelling about Abu Dhabi doesn’t make my life any easier at all. The trophy is in somebody else’s cabinet and the chapter is closed. I think the FIA will have learned how things should not be handled.”
The FIA made several changes following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, one of which involves stopping teams from communicating directly with the race director. This would “protect the race director from any pressure”. Michael Masi was also removed from his role and has now been replaced by two new race directors: Niels Wittich who debuted at this year’s Bahrain, and Eduardo Freitas who will be covering this week’s race.
Equally as important is a new regulation which forces all lapped cars to un-lap themselves during the safety car.