The FIA is convinced Max Verstappen would still be the 2021 F1 drivers' champion even if Mercedes had pushed ahead with its appeal of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Mercedes had lodged its intent to appeal shortly after its protest of the race result at the Yas Marina Circuit had been rejected by the stewards.
Mercedes felt aggrieved at the decisions made by race director Michael Masi over the closing laps that steered the drivers' title away from Lewis Hamilton and into the hands of Red Bull's Max Verstappen.
In the interests of the sport and hours before the deadline, Mercedes opted not to formally appeal, although team principal Toto Wolff revealed at the time both he and Hamilton had been left "disillusioned" by the whole affair.
Peter Bayer, the FIA secretary-general for motorsport and who is heading up an inquiry into the saga, feels that even if Mercedes had won the appeal, the likely verdict from the judges would still have favoured Verstappen.
Speaking in an interview with Austrian journalist Gerhard Kuntschik, Bayer said: "Had the Mercedes protest gone to the Court of Appeal, after being rejected by the stewards, what would have happened?
"I think the judges would have said 'It's different in the regulations. He [Masi] decided that way, so we could just void the result'.
"But even then, if it were made void, Max would have been world champion."
That is on the basis that going into the race, even though the two drivers were tied on points, Verstappen held sway by virtue of a greater number of race victories.
"The situation was far from perfect and that's why we're working on it," added Bayer, with regard to the inquiry.
"It's also about having respect for the race director. My job is to look ahead and see how can we improve things."