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FIA rule Masi "acted in good faith" but there was "human error" in controversial Abu Dhabi GP

FIA rule Masi "acted in good faith" but there was "human error" in controversial Abu Dhabi GP

FIA rule Masi "acted in good faith" but there was "human error" in controversial Abu Dhabi GP

FIA rule Masi "acted in good faith" but there was "human error" in controversial Abu Dhabi GP

The FIA has determined former race director Michael Masi "acted in good faith" throughout the controversial ending to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Motorsport's world governing body has also determined there was "human error" with regards to Masi's failure in not allowing all cars to unlap themselves towards the end of the race following the intervention of the safety car.

The FIA has made clear, however, the classification of the race and the championship is "valid, final and cannot be changed".

The comments come following the findings long promised by the FIA into the race at the Yas Marina Circuit which resulted in Max Verstappen becoming champion with a final-lap pass on Lewis Hamilton.

That only materialised, however, after Williams driver Nicholas Latifi had crashed with five laps remaining, resulting in the safety car and the contentious decisions made by Masi who paid the price by being removed from his position.

In his place have come two new race directors in Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas, supported by Herbie Blash and a newly created virtual race control room.

Following a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council on Saturday, the findings of a report commissioned into the events of the race have now been released.

It states the following key points:

* The safety car procedure was a central topic of discussion during the detailed analysis and clarification exercise, stemming from the application of this procedure at the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP, pursuant to Articles 48.12 and 48.13 of the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations.

* The race director 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).

* It was apparent from the analysis that there could be different interpretations of Article 48.12 and Article 48.13 of the Formula 1 sporting regulations, and that this likely contributed to the applied procedure.

* It was also considered that the decisions regarding the safety car at the end of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix likely took into account previous discussions that made clear the Formula 1 stakeholders [FIA, Formula 1, teams and drivers] prefer to end races under green-flag racing conditions, rather than behind a safety car, when safe to do so.

* In combination with the objective to finish under green-flag racing conditions applied throughout the 2021 season, 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.

*In accordance with the rules, Mercedes made a protest to the stewards after the race, seeking to change the race classification. The stewards dismissed the protest and Mercedes then had an opportunity to appeal that decision to the FIA International Court of Appeal, but did not do so. There are no other available mechanisms in the rules for amending the race classification.

* The process of identifying lapped cars has up until now been a manual one and human error led to the fact that not all cars were allowed to un-lap themselves.

*Due to the fact that manual interventions generally carry a higher risk of human error, software has been developed that will, from now on, automate the communication of the list of cars that must un-lap themselves.

*In addition, the 2022 Formula 1 sporting regulations have been recently updated to clarify that “all” and not “any” cars must be permitted to un-lap themselves.

* This process of identifying lapped 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 FIA Remote Operations Centre, the integration of a new and extended team to run trackside operations as well as a review of the interactions between teams and race control during track running.

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