The FIA have concluded that the controversy over the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 season finale in 2021 was down to ‘human error’ but that the results are ‘valid’.
Race director Michael Masi recently left his role following the investigation, which allowed Red Bull’s Max Verstappen the chance to attack Lewis Hamilton with a lap remaining.
The FIA noted that Masi had not taken heed of the regulations regarding the late presence of the safety car, saying he had, "called the safety car back into the pit lane without it having completed an additional lap as required by the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations (Article 48.12)."
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"The process of identifying lapped cars has up until now been a manual one and human error lead to the fact that not all cars were allowed to un-lap themselves," the FIA added.
That allowed him to win the Grand Prix and secure enough points to win his first world championship, and denied Hamilton the chance to win a record-breaking eighth.
It appeared following the race conclusion that Masi had incorrectly interpreted the regulations regarding a safety car restart, and there were accusations from fans that the decision had been taken to artificially create a more dramatic ending to the season.
However the report, released on Saturday, said that Masi had acted in ‘good faith’ when making his decisions.

Will the result be overturned?

Despite the report coming to the conclusion that the decision was taken in error, the results - and therefore the championship standings from last season - will be upheld.

Michael Masi

Image credit: Getty Images

The statement added: "The report finds that the race director was acting in good faith and to the best of his knowledge given the difficult circumstances, particularly acknowledging the significant time constraints for decisions to be made and the immense pressure being applied by the teams.
The results of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the FIA Formula One World Championship are valid, final and cannot now be changed.

What are the changes to be made?

  • Information and communication on which cars need to un-lap themselves will be handled by computer
  • A VAR-like remote operations centre at FIA headquarters in Geneva will be established
  • Direct communication between race director and teams is to be ended
  • Un-lapping procedures to be further reviewed
  • Two race directors - Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas - will alternate, and will be assisted by Herbie Blash, a former deputy race director
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