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Crunch day for F1 as Abu Dhabi report is presented by FIA

Two months on from the controversial ending to the 2021 championship battle between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, the FIA will present the results of its investigation into the events of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Two months have passed since Max Verstappen won his debut Formula 1 world title in Abu Dhabi. He did this by overtaking Lewis Hamilton on the last lap, after he was able to pit for fresh tyres during a Safety Car situation and close the gap to the Mercedes driver. Race Director Michael Masi then allowed the drivers to race for one more lap, against the odds, causing a lot of controversy in the process. The championship will not be taken away from Verstappen but, because of the controversy, the FIA announced a few days after the race that there would be an investigation into the events. At the beginning of January, the leaders of the FIA - spearheaded by new President Mohammed Ben Sulayem - met to discuss the matter, and in recent weeks everything has been analysed in detail.

FIA results presented to F1 teams

At the end of January, the FIA's Peter Bayer gave an interview in which he said Masi had done a "super job", but that there was "a possibility there could be a new Race Director". Fuel on the fire for much of the media, after which the FIA was forced to issue a statement. In it, they stressed that the analysis was still in full swing and no conclusions had yet been drawn. Meanwhile, this Monday (14 February), the F1 Commission will hold a meeting where they will be presented with the results. In the F1 Commission, all F1 teams sit together and discuss all kinds of matters. Monday's meeting will be largely dedicated to the investigation into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

No decisions made yet

The results of the investigation will be presented today, but it will not immediately lead to new rules or other amendments. Should the FIA wish to make any changes, these will need to be ratified by the World Motor Sport Council, the most senior body of the FIA. This body meets the day before the Bahrain Grand Prix – on Friday 18 March to be precise. If the FIA sticks to the line they have been following for the past two months, the chances are that they will openly communicate what the (main) results of the investigation were, and what changes will result from it.

What can come of it?

The most likely outcome is that the FIA will restructure the race management. Whether Michael Masi stays on or not is unclear, but what does seem apparent is that the role of the Race Director will no longer be exactly the same. The Race Director should have more options at their disposal and be better assisted, many people agree. At the same time, the rules regarding the Safety Car and the workings of the stewards could be looked at more closely. The call for more consistency has been greater than ever in recent months, and actually before that. Perhaps we will know more at the end of the day, but there is also the possibility that the FIA will leave us in suspense until the start of the season. Time will tell.

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