f1 cars at the starting grid in abu dhabi

Racers and racing fans have been waiting months for this moment. During the final laps of the final race of the 2021 Formula One racing season, controversy erupted. An investigation ensued, and finally, on the night before the 2022 season began, the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile- FIA- has finally released its Abu Dhabi GP 2021 Official Report

But what exactly happened there? Who was involved? Who was at fault? What are the consequences? Let's get into the details that all racing fans have been anxious to learn.

What Happened

At the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, driver Nicholas Latifi hit a wall and a safety car was deployed. This car clears the road of debris and makes sure the driver and wreck move safely from the race. 

But the safety car has also been a source of distraction and lost time for many drivers so focused on the road. There are certain rules around how drivers must behave when the safety car is out. This one was on the track for nearly 10 minutes

This caused great confusion among teams and resulted in a decision by then-race director Michael Masi to allow some drivers to "unlap themselves," essentially catch up, but not all. By skill or by luck, Max Verstappen ended up taking the world championship. 

Just 40 minutes after the race ended, Mercedes filed a protest for their 2nd place driver Lewis Hamilton. They argued that the call made by Masi went against FIA regulations. Officials rejected the appeal but launched an investigation into the matter shortly thereafter. 

max verstappen and red bull team mate

Results of the Abu Dhabi GP 2021 Official Report

The investigation took a little over three months and came out mere hours before the first day of the 2022 racing season. Investigators reviewed footage, radio communications, discussions with officials and drivers, the decisions made by Masi, and analysed the rule in question. 

While they ultimately determined that "human error" was at fault, Masi had already stepped down as race director. FIA says he acted in good faith, meaning he applied the rules to the best of his knowledge, but they have decided to change the wording of these rules.

Mercedes argued that Masi made an opposite decision regarding a nearly identical race matter that took place the year before. This caused FIA to review the rule and change one critical word

In 2021, the regulation regarding lapping after a safety car situation read that "any cars that have been lapped by the leader will be required to pass the cars on the lead lap and the safety car." By changing the word "any" to "all," they avoid any discrepancy as to which drivers get to make up this lost time. 

This seems like good protection for drivers going forward, but there is one unfortunate result of this drama. Lewis Hamilton may be considering leaving Formula 1. 

What's in Store for 2022

Hopefully, Hamilton stays in the race. If all goes well, the implementation of these new Formula 1 rules will prevent this from happening again.

The Abu Dhabi GP 2021 Official Report provided the closure everyone needed. Undoubtedly, this will be another exciting year.

You don't want to miss a single moment of what goes down at the 2022 Grad Prix. The first race is in Monaco starting May 27th, and since you need to be there, book your trip right now. 

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