The results of the FIA investigation into the highly controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which saw Lewis Hamilton lose a record-breaking eighth world title to Max Verstappen last month, will only be announced on the eve of the opening weekend of the 2022 season.
Hamilton has been “disillusioned” with the way the closing stages of the season-winning race have been allowed to play out and it has been reported in recent days that the 36-year-old is awaiting the results of the inquest before deciding whether to do so return to Formula 1 next season.
The Briton has been silent since losing the championship to Verstappen in the last round of the campaign. Mercedes was furious about the decisions of race director Michael Masi, who had some, but not all, overtaken cars rolled out under a late safety car, but withdrew their objections to the result.
They did so on the condition that the FIA would analyze the closing stages of the race in order to “improve the robustness of the regulations, governance and decision-making in Formula 1”.
Newly-elected FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem has reached out to Hamilton to try to regain the seven-time champions’ confidence in the sport, but the results of the investigation are said to be critical to its success.
However, these results will not be announced until the opening day of the F1 calendar and on the same day as the first practice session of the season at the Bahrain Grand Prix on Friday, March 18.
“The result of the detailed analysis will be presented to the F1 Commission in February and the final decisions will be announced on March 18th at the World Motor Sport Council in Bahrain,” said the FIA.
The season opener race will take place this weekend in Bahrain, the first qualifying will take place on Saturday 19 March and the opening race on Sunday 20 March.
In a statement about the process of its review, the FIA said the controversial use of the safety car following the late Nicholas Latifi accident would be discussed at a January 19 Sports Council meeting. They also said they would have talks with all 20 drivers in the coming weeks.