The FIA's investigation into the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has been published, revealing the key facets of the controversial events that directly impacted the outcome of the Drivers' World Championship. The report has outlined the scenarios and situations that led to the circumstances as they played out, and has also made a series of recommendations aimed at ensuring similar situations can never arise again. The recommendations are explained below, and have been presented by FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem to both the F1 Commission and the World Motor Sport Council.
A Virtual Race Control has been created
As previously announced by Ben Sulayem, the key recommendation made by the investigative panel was to create a Virtual Race Control Room. This has been implemented, with the technology similar to football's Virtual Assistance Referee (VAR). It will be set up at each Grand Prix, positioned in an FIA office as a backup away from the circuit. In real-time, the software will help to apply the Sporting Regulations using the most modern technology.
The Race Director can't be disturbed
Another recommendation, also implemented, is the prevention of team bosses talking directly to the FIA's Race Director. For 2022, the roles will be held by Eduardo Freitas and Niels Wittich, but neither will be disturbed by a team boss at a critical moment. The appointment of a new Race Director was also a key recommendation in the report. "Direct radio communications during the race, currently broadcast live by all TVs, should be removed in order to protect the Race Director from any pressure and allow him to take decisions peacefully," was the recommendation. "It will still be possible to ask questions to the Race Director, according to a well‐defined and non‐intrusive process." The other recommendation was to re-evaluate the Safety Car unlapping procedures – an area that has been clarified in the 2022 Sporting Regulations.
What recommendations are yet to be implemented?
"Many improvements, such as recruitments and the division of the Race Director's many roles and tasks, have already been made," continued the report. "Furthermore, the role of Executive Director of the FIA Single-Seater department was created within the FIA in December 2021, which Peter Bayer holds in addition to his role as Secretary-General for Sport." There are still some recommendations yet to be finalised, although processes to act upon them have begun. "A new F1 Sporting Director will be recruited," the report added. "And an additional senior regulatory legal counsel will be recruited to strengthen the legal support during the F1 competitions (regardless of the time difference), and especially during the weekend and on F1 sporting matters."