motorsport A hold up in the FIAs Abu Dhabi GP inquiry could discourage Lewis Hamilton from returning to Formula 1 Mercedes


With just over a month until pre-season testing begins, it is still unclear whether seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton will compete in 2022 after last season’s controversial conclusion.

It is understood that a concrete decision surrounding Hamilton’s future in the sport will not be made until the findings of the FIA’s inquiry into the events at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix are heard.

Hamilton lost a record-breaking eighth world championship to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on the final lap of the season-ending race after confusion surrounding the correct and consistent application of safety car procedures in the final moments.

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Mercedes initially appealed against the result, but later withdrew their case after the FIA pledged an investigation.

“With 69 days to go until the first Grand Prix in Bahrain, it is still unclear whether Lewis Hamilton will be on the grid,” Sky Sports News’ Craig Slater said.

“In terms of Hamilton coming back to Formula 1, having the appetite to do so and getting over the ‘disillusionment’ that his team boss Toto Wolff said he felt after Abu Dhabi, the onus is on the FIA to deliver on the pledge they made before Christmas to investigate the happenings on that final lap and to come up with some findings.

“It is understood that Mercedes want to see something tangible. It’s been put to me like this: the longer this drags on then the worse the Lewis Hamilton situation is, and that is from a senior source.”

The FIA has so far provided no information surrounding the timing of the inquiry’s findings or what matters it will seek to address.

However, upon announcing the inquiry on December 15, the FIA said it would be finished in time for “any identified meaningful feedback and conclusions to be made before the beginning of the 2022 season”.

Winter testing begins on February 23, with the first race of the season, the Bahrain Grand Prix, scheduled for March 18-20.

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