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F1 news LIVE: Mercedes withdraw appeal over Max Verstappen’s title win

F1 news LIVE: Mercedes withdraw appeal over Max Verstappen’s title win
Max Verstappen won the F1 title in a thrilling yet controversial finish at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Red Bull Believe Verstappen Can Get Even Better

Mercedes have decided to drop their appeal against Max Verstappen’s Formula 1 title win. Sunday’s season-ending race in Abu Dhabi saw Red Bull’s Verstappen claim victory and the title after the deployment of a late safety car led to the Dutchman being placed right behind Mercedes rival Lewis Hamilton, who he then overtook on the final lap.

The team said they had made the decision following “constructive dialogue” with governing body FIA with regard to establishing clarity for future scenarios. Mercedes said in a statement: “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.”

Mercedes had an immediate double appeal dismissed by the stewards on the day, then lodged an intention to appeal against that decision which they were required to trigger by Thursday evening, but they have chosen not to take the matter forward.

Follow all the latest news and updates from Formula 1 below.

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‘We won title on track,’ Verstappen insists

Max Verstappen wasn’t concerned about any Mercedes protest having won the F1 title “on the track”.

The 24-year-old has been revelling in the success of his maiden F1 world title, clinched from Lewis Hamilton on Sunday in controversial circumstances, and he is scheduled to collect the championship trophy at the FIA award gala in Paris tonight.

The trophy presentation is set to take place at 7pm GMT.

Verstappen said: “I’m fine, I don’t even think about it too much, because I do feel like the world champion, and it doesn’t matter what they try to do.

“We won it on track, we won it when there was a green light and we passed them on track, and they will never be able to take that away from me anyway.”

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Ben Burrows16 December 2021 12:11
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FIA acknowledge ‘significant misunderstanding’

The FIA have acknowledged the “significant misunderstanding” caused by the dramatic and controversial ending to the Formula 1 season.

The conclusion has come in for heavy criticism from those within the sport and beyond with the governing body admitting the whole saga had “tarnished” F1.

“The FIA’s primary responsibility at any event is to ensure the safety of everyone involved and the integrity of the sport,” read a statement.

“The circumstances surrounding the use of the Safety Car following the incident of driver Nicholas Latifi, and the related communications between the FIA Race Direction team and the Formula 1 teams, have notably generated significant misunderstanding and reactions from Formula 1 teams, drivers and fans, an argument that is currently tarnishing the image of the Championship and the due celebration of the first Drivers’ World Championship title won by Max Verstappen and the eighth consecutive Constructors’ World Championship title won by Mercedes.

“Following the presentation of a report regarding the sequence of events that took place following the incident on Lap 53 of the Grand Prix and in a constant drive for improvement, the FIA President proposed to the World Motor Sport Council that a detailed analysis and clarification exercise for the future with all relevant parties will now take place.

“This matter will be discussed and addressed with all the teams and drivers to draw any lessons from this situation and clarity to be provided to the participants, media, and fans about the current regulations to preserve the competitive nature of our sport while ensuring the safety of the drivers and officials.

“It is not only Formula 1 that may benefit from this analysis, but also more generally all the other FIA circuit championships.”

Ben Burrows16 December 2021 11:48
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Mercedes congratulate Verstappen and Red Bull

Mercedes have also congratulated Verstappen and Red Bull on their title win.

“To Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing: we would like to express our sincere respect for your achievements this season,” the team added.

“You made this Formula One 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.”

Ben Burrows16 December 2021 11:27
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Perez’s tactics in season finale criticised by former F1 driver

Sergio Perez has been accused of showing “zero sportsmanship” in the Formula 1 season finale in Abu Dhabi.

The Mexican held up Lewis Hamilton during part of Sunday’s grand prix, helping Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen to eventually claim the race win and his first F1 title.

Verstappen became champion in a controversial last-lap finish after a safety car departed the track, with the FIA essentially allowing the Dutch-Belgian a straight shootout with defending title holder Hamilton – who had led for the majority of the race after overtaking Verstappen with a fine start.

While Verstappen credited Perez for playing a vital role in the 24-year-old’s victory, former F1 driver Sebastien Bourdais was far from impressed by the Mexican’s tactics.

“I thought you loved racing, that was BS,” tweeted the ex-Toro Rosso driver, replying to F1 journalist Will Buxton.

“I can’t begin to understand how Perez can be happy with himself and how people applaud him for what he did.

“Purposely slowing down and using every dirty trick to impede Hamilton. Zero sportsmanship, from the whole team really.”

More from Bourdais here:

Sergio Perez accused of ‘zero sportsmanship’ with Lewis Hamilton in Abu Dhabi GP

The Mexican held up Hamilton to help Red Bull teammate Verstappen secure the win and the title

Alex Pattle16 December 2021 11:22
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Verstappen reveals ‘difference’ between Red Bull and Mercedes

Toto Wolff was left furious afterwards and Verstappen on Wednesday was asked how he felt amid the uncertainty, and whether his relationship with Mercedes and the team’s boss was permanently broken.

“I’m fine, I don’t even think about it too much, because I do feel like the world champion, and it doesn’t matter what they try to do,” he said. “We won it on track, we won it when there was a green light and we passed them on track, and they will never be able to take that away from me anyway.

“About the possible appeal – I’m not busy with that. As a team of course it might be disturbing, but for us we have been really enjoying the last few days.”

Verstappen – who had already revealed Wolff sent him a congratulatory text message after Sunday’s race – then added: “The relationship – I think I can be a forgiving person, but at the moment it’s still all so new… that it’s better not to talk about it too much.

“But I saw Toto in Monaco before Saudi, I had a dinner and he was sitting on the table next to me and we had a chat. He of course goes flat out for his team and I know mine also does everything they can.

“But besides that I do think you should be accepting a loss, it doesn’t matter how much it hurts. I do think there that there’s a bit of a difference between the teams.”

Prior to the Abu Dhabi showdown, Verstappen had said his opinion of Britain’s seven-time champion Hamilton and Mercedes had changed during the course of the season, and “not in a positive way”.

Regarding the current appeal situation, he said on Wednesday: “That’s nothing surprising just because of how the season already panned out up until the last race, so it’s just another bit. My view (of Mercedes) will not change, it’s pretty much the same.”

Ben Burrows16 December 2021 11:04
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Verstappen and Hamilton ‘sometimes hated each other’

Max Verstappen has admitted that he and F1 title rival Lewis Hamilton “sometimes hated each other” during their epic battle this season.

The Dutchman emerged victorious after a rollercoaster season and even more dramatic final race of the season in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Hamilton looked destined for a record-breaking eighth crown before a safety car and a controversial ruling under it saw Verstappen roar back to win on the final lap.

Relations between the two drivers and their teams have been strained to say the least during the year with Verstappen insisting that is all part of the sport.

“You look each other in the eye,” he said. “You don’t say a lot but you do relate a lot and you really appreciate the fight.

“Sometimes we did hate each other, but that’s fine. That’s the competitive spirit of both of us. He is an incredible driver.”

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Ben Burrows16 December 2021 10:44
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Mercedes withdraw their appeal over Verstappen title win

Mercedes had an immediate double appeal dismissed by the stewards, then lodged an intention to appeal against that decision, which they were required to trigger by Thursday evening.

Mercedes added in the statement: “We appealed in the interest of sporting fairness, and we have since been in a constructive dialogue with the FIA and Formula One 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 the rules, governance and decision-making in Formula One.

“We also welcome that they have invited the teams and drivers to take part.”

Ben Burrows16 December 2021 10:37
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Mercedes withdraw their appeal over Verstappen title win

Mercedes said in a statement: “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.”

Ben Burrows16 December 2021 10:36
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Mercedes withdraw their appeal over Verstappen title win

Mercedes have withdrawn their appeal over Max Verstappen’s Formula 1 title win.

Ben Burrows16 December 2021 10:36
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‘Unacceptable team principals can speak to racing director’

Martin Brundle says the FIA is not feared by teams and Mercedes and Red Bull speaking to Michael Masi during the final race shows that.

Christian Horner and Toto Wolff had conversations with Masi around the time he was making a decision on whether to restart the final race after Nicholas Latifi crashed.

“The final few laps in Abu Dhabi, when the world’s eyes were on us in staggering numbers, were not our finest moment and some things have to change this winter. We certainly confused our fans on Sunday,” wrote Brundle in his Sky Sports column.

And he added:“Until this year, any correspondence from the pit wall to Race Control was not broadcast, and it’s totally unacceptable to hear team bosses and team managers even pre-empting situations and lobbying.”

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Ben Burrows16 December 2021 10:25