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Mercedes decide not to appeal Verstappen Abu Dhabi victory

Mercedes decide not to appeal Verstappen Abu Dhabi victory

Mercedes decide not to appeal Verstappen Abu Dhabi victory

Mercedes decide not to appeal Verstappen Abu Dhabi victory

Mercedes has decided not to appeal the decision of the Abu Dhabi stewards who had dismissed the team's protest against Max Verstappen's victory in the controversial F1 championship finale.

The Red Bull driver's win ensured he became champion but only after a chaotic and highly contentious end to the race at the Yas Marina Circuit.

After controlling the race from the opening lap, Lewis Hamilton's charge to a record-breaking eighth title unravelled when Williams driver Nicholas Latifi crashed on lap 53, sparking a safety car period.

While the wreckage was cleared, FIA race control first instructed lapped cars would remain behind the safety car, of which there were eight in total, with five sandwiched in between Hamilton and Verstappen.

Race control then reversed its decision, as well as determining the safety car would return to the pits on the same lap, setting up a one-lap showdown between Hamilton on 43-lap old hard tyres, with Verstappen on fresh soft tyres after making a free stop.

Verstappen clinched the race win and his first title with a lunge on Hamilton into turn five to spark wild celebrations at Red Bull.

But they were mooted when Mercedes launched its protest, claiming the decision to restart the race on the same lap as backmarkers were allowed through contravened Article 48.12 of the FIA sporting regulations which states a further lap under safety car conditions is required.

This would have resulted in Hamilton taking his eighth title.

The stewards, however, dismissed the protest, citing Article 15.3 that gives FIA race director Michael Masi "over-riding authority" over "the use of the safety car".

The stewards also cited Article 48.13 which states the message "safety car in this lap" also over-rides Article 48.12.

Despite Mercedes swiftly lodging its intention to appeal, from which moment it had 96 hours to determine whether it would formally appeal, it has now opted in the interests of the sport, it will not drag the matter out any further.

A statemment reads: "We left Abu Dhabi in disbelief of what we had just witnessed. Of course, it's part of the game to lose a race, but it's something different when you lose faith in racing. "Together with Lewis, we have deliberated carefully over how to respond to the events at the Formula 1 season finale.

"We have always been guided by our love of this sport and we believe that every competition should be won on merit. In the race on Sunday many felt, us included, that the way things unfolded was not right. "The reason we protested the race result on Sunday was because the safety car regulations were applied in a new way that affected the race result, after Lewis had been in a commanding lead and on course to win the world championship. "We appealed in the interest of sporting fairness, and we have since been in a constructive dialogue with the FIA and Formula 1 to create clarity for the future, so that all competitors know the rules under which they are racing, and how they will be enforced.

"Thus, we welcome the decision by the FIA to install a commission to thoroughly analyse what happened in Abu Dhabi and to improve the robustness of rules, governance and decision making in Formula 1. We also welcome that they have invited the teams and drivers to take part. "The Mercedes-AMG Petronas team will actively work with this commission to build a better Formula 1 - for every team and every fan who loves this sport as much as we do. We will hold the FIA accountable for this process and we hereby withdraw our appeal. "To Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing: we would like to express our sincere respect for your achievements this season.

"You made this Formula 1 championship title fight truly epic. Max, we congratulate you and your entire team. We look forward to taking the fight to you on the track next season. "And lastly, even though this drivers' championship did not end the way we hoped, we could not be prouder of our team. "Lewis, you are the greatest racer in the history of Formula 1 and you drove your heart out for every lap of this incredible season. You're a flawless sportsman on and off the track and you delivered a faultless performance. As a pure competitor and as a role model for millions around the world, we salute you. "Valtteri, you have been such an important part of this team, delivering five constructors' championships in five seasons. Thank you for your remarkable contribution to our motorsport history. Kiitos, Valtteri. "Finally, to every one of the skilled and passionate women and men of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team in Brackley and High Performance Powertrains in Brixworth: you've written an historic chapter in the Silver Arrow story by winning the eighth constructors' championship - in a row.

"This is an unprecedented achievement. In simple words: it's awesome. You are awesome."

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