Mercedes have broken their silence after confirming that they are withdrawing their appeal against the result of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The team initially lodged two protests with the stewards, with both being dismissed in the hours following the end of the title-deciding race.
They indicated an intention to appeal the protest regarding the race classification due to how the Safety Car withdrawal was handled, because there is a rule which states that the Safety Car should not have pitted on the same lap when cars unlap themselves, and not all cars were able to gain a lap back.
However, Mercedes have since confirmed in a statement that they will not be going ahead with the appeal, meaning that Max Verstappen is confirmed as World Champion following his victory over Lewis Hamilton.
Reasons behind protest
The team have explained why they chose to protest, and have suggested that the decision to withdraw the appeal was made in conjunction with Hamilton.
"We left Abu Dhabi in disbelief of what we had just witnessed," the statement reads. "Of course, it's part of the game to lose a race, but it's something different when you lose faith in racing.
"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."
Mercedes say that they have engaged in a "constructive dialogue" with Formula 1 and the FIA to "create clarity for the future" regarding the rules, and they have welcomed the FIA's decision to investigate what happened in Abu Dhabi.
"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," the team said.
"We will hold the FIA accountable for this process and we hereby withdraw our appeal."
Taking the fight to Verstappen
Mercedes have also congratulated Verstappen and Red Bull on their title success, and vowed to take the fight to the Dutchman again in 2022.
"To Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing: we would like to express our sincere respect for your achievements this season," the statement continues.
"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."
There were further words of praise for Hamilton, as well as the departing Valtteri Bottas and every member of the team following their eighth Constructors' Championship victory.
"Lewis, you are the greatest racer in the history of Formula 1 and you drove your heart out for every lap of this incredible season," added the statement. "You're a flawless sportsman on and off the track and you delivered a faultless performance.
"As a pure competitor and as a role model for millions around the world, we salute you.
"Valtteri, you have been such an important part of this team, delivering five Constructors' Championships in five seasons. Thank you for your remarkable contribution to our motorsport history. Kiitos, Valtteri.
"Finally, to every one of the skilled and passionate women and men of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team in Brackley and High Performance Powertrains in Brixworth: you've written an historic chapter in the Silver Arrow story by winning the eighth Constructors' Championship - in a row.
"This is an unprecedented achievement. In simple words: it's awesome. You are awesome."
While the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship is over, the drama isn't ending as Mercedes have threatened protest of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix result...