Formula 1 | FIA publishes report on Abu Dhabi investigation
The results of the analysis of the 2021 Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix have been presented to the World Motor Sport Council.
A report was presented on this detailed analysis and clarification exercise that was carried out in response to the events that unfolded.
The objective of the detailed analysis and clarification exercise was to identify the lessons that can be learned from the events that took place and to examine how best to clarify the rules and regulations of Formula 1 in order to preserve the competitive nature of the sport while ensuring the safety of drivers and officials.
As part of the exercise, the Formula 1 Sporting Advisory Committee was tasked with reviewing the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations and key stakeholders were interviewed and consulted including teams and drivers, the team race management and FIA staff supporting the race management team. The report presents the findings, conclusions and recommendations arising from the detailed analysis and clarification exercise.
The report (read in full here) focused only on the facts surrounding these events and determined the following key points:
— The safety car procedure was at the center of discussions during the detailed analysis and clarification exercise, resulting from the application of this procedure to the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP, in accordance with articles 48.12 and 48.13 of the Regulations Formula 1 athlete.
— The Clerk of the Course called the safety car back into the pit lane without having completed an extra lap as required by the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations (Article 48.12).
— It emerged from the analysis thatthere could be different interpretations of section 48.12 and section 48.13 of the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations, and that this probably contributed to the procedure applied.
— It was also considered that decisions regarding the safety car at the end of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix were likely to take into account previous discussions which clearly indicated the preference of Formula 1 stakeholders (FIA, Formula 1, teams and drivers) to finish races under the green flag rather than behind a safety car, when it is safe to do so.
— In combination with the green flag goal applied throughout the 2021 season, the report finds that the race director acted in good faith and to the best of its knowledge given the difficult circumstances, in particular acknowledging the significant time constraints for the decisions to be made and the immense pressure exerted by the teams.
— The results of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the FIA Formula 1 World Championship are valid, final and can no longer be changed. In accordance with the regulations, Mercedes made a complaint to the stewards after the race, seeking to change the classification of the race. The stewards rejected the protest and Mercedes then had the opportunity to appeal that decision to the FIA’s International Court of Appeal, but failed to do so. There are no other mechanisms available in the rules to alter race standings.
— The process of identifying late cars has until now been manual and human error led to the fact that not all cars were allowed to split. Because manual interventions generally carry a higher risk of human error, software has been developed that will now automate the communication of the list of cars that need to duplicate. Additionally, the 2022 Formula 1 Sporting Regulations have recently been updated to clarify that all cars must be allowed to split.
— This process for identifying late cars has been reviewed as part of the recommendations previously announced by the FIA President in his statement of 17 February 2022, which also includes the creation of the FIA Remote Operations Centre, the integration of a new expanded team for circuit operations as well as a review of the interactions between teams and race management during track operation.