According to Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff, Lewis Hamilton’s disappointment over losing the Formula One world championship at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last year is still “very deep.”
After FIA race director Michael Masi failed to apply the rules appropriately during a late Safety Car period, Hamilton missed out on a record-breaking eighth world title in highly contentious circumstances.
Because of the timing of the restart, Hamilton was exposed to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who pitted under the Safety Car for new tyres and then passed Hamilton on the final lap to win the race and claim his first world title.
The FIA, F1’s governing body, has initiated an inquiry into the events of the season finale in Abu Dhabi, and will make its final findings on the eve of the 2022 season. The conclusion of the FIA’s inquiry, according to reports, will be crucial in determining whether Hamilton will compete again this season.
Since the race on December 12, Hamilton hasn’t said anything publicly about it and hasn’t posted anything on his social media sites.
Hamilton feels “disillusioned” by what happened at Yas Marina, according to Wolff in an interview with German journal Auto Motor und Sport.
“It’s very deep,” Wolff replied when asked how deep the disappointment of the title-decider runs. “Lewis, I and the whole team are disillusioned.
“We love this sport because it’s honest. The stopwatch never lies. But if we break the fundamental principle of fairness and the stopwatch is no longer relevant, then you doubt this sport in that all your work, blood, sweat and tears can be taken away from you.
“It’s going to take a long time to digest. I don’t think we’ll ever get over that, especially Lewis as a driver. At least we can try together with the FIA to do better in the future.”
When speaking to the media a few days after the controversial finale, Wolff stated that Mercedes would keep the FIA account, and he emphasized that when the conclusions are out, he expects to see “actions, not just words.”
“I expect actions and not just words,” he added. “In a sport that’s supposed to be a sport, we can’t freestyle like that with the set of rules.
“Before the start of the new season, there must be clarity about the rules so that every driver, team and fan knows what is allowed and what is not.
“In the end, we provide entertainment, but no decision should break the rules for the sake of the show.”
Hamilton’s approach will not change if he chooses to return, according to Wolff.
“The capacity of Lewis is often wrongly questioned,” he said.
“Even after the events in Abu Dhabi, he immediately congratulated Max. Lewis only wants one thing – fair competition on the track. We will deliver that.
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