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Why F1 still feels the effects of Abu Dhabi controversy one year on

Why F1 still feels the effects of Abu Dhabi controversy one year on

Why F1 still feels the effects of Abu Dhabi controversy one year on

Why F1 still feels the effects of Abu Dhabi controversy one year on

A year on from arguably the most controversial ending to an F1 season and it remains difficult to say the sport has moved on.

Whilst those involved on both sides of the drama have preached that it is time to leave the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in the past, F1 has continued to suffer from the after-effects of what transpired.

Max Verstappen, who won out on the day, has faced ridicule over whether his maiden championship is merited - a disgraceful showing from any follower of F1 in the wake of the Dutchman's 10 wins across the season to get him to that point.

For Lewis Hamilton, the scars run much deeper given Mercedes' struggles in the past 12 months, unable to fight back and claim the unprecedented eighth title he openly feels was manipulated away from his grasp.

But the biggest issues remaining from the unpleasant ending are pointed at the FIA.

READ MORE...Hamilton Verstappen Abu Dhabi controversy to haunt Mercedes "forever" - Wolff

FIA trust broken

Mohammed Ben Sulayem took over the presidency at the governing body from Jean Todt in the aftermath of the race at Yas Marina, with a baptism of fire as a deep inquest took place.

The resultant report was on the weak side from the FIA, with information that was obvious to many regurgitated within the findings.

Michael Masi was seemingly cleared of wrongdoing in the report with numerous external factors blamed for the furore, yet the Australian was singled out and removed from post ahead of the season, a contradiction of stance.

Two race directors were drafted in, with Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas taking control on an alternating basis.

This brought a horrendous inconsistency from race to race, leaving drivers, teams and fans alike confused over a number of issues during events.

There were also bizarre scenarios playing out, including two at Monaco that completely undermined Freitas' position. The confusion over when the race would start was laughable as teams arrived, left and then returned to the grid with the equipment needed for pre-race procedures.

There was also the case of the 'copy-and-paste' race directors' notes that weekend, highlighted by the conflict between notes and regulations over Sergio Perez crossing the pit exit line during the grand prix.

With other minor grievances for almost every team and driver as the FIA attempted to regain control of its ship across the season.

This culminated in a widescale inquest after the Japanese Grand Prix tractor controversy and the reversal back to a single race director in Wittich.

As a result of recent problems, trust in the FIA to govern the sport has been severely dented.

Decisions reflect the bickering seen on a football pitch whenever the referee blows his whistle. A penalty is hardly ever taken without discontent or bemusement from either a driver, a team or those watching at home.

The fact of the matter is this trust has to be rebuilt in order to stop the constant looking back to Abu Dhabi. That race is held as a trump card in any pub argument regarding FIA decision-making even now.

Only a year in, and with huge issues like budget cap breaches and 2026 power unit regulations in the background, the rebuilding of trust may be Ben Sulayem's greatest challenge as president.

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