Dec.20 - The first act of the newly-elected FIA president is to warn that Lewis Hamilton faces sanction for boycotting the end-of-season FIA prize gala last week.

In the days before Christmas, and after the ultra-intense 2021 world championship battle, rumours are now swirling about seven time world champion Hamilton being so disillusioned with the outcome that he may suddenly retire.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff hopes not.

"I am optimistic," he told Bild newspaper. "He was absolutely dominant in the last four races.

"That's why I assume that he will drive with us and celebrate more successes with us next year."

Former Mercedes chief Norbert Haug agrees, warning that it would be "fatal for Formula 1" if Hamilton "turns his back" on the sport in the face of arguable injustice.

Fans have noticed that Hamilton, 36, has unfollowed the official F1 Instagram account.

"A lot of damage has been done to the sport," Wolff said, referring to the way the last lap of the Abu Dhabi finale and aftermath were handled by F1 race director Michael Masi and subsequently the stewards.

"It mustn't happen again," he insisted.

Wolff even said he can handle being called a "bad loser" for initially not accepting that Max Verstappen was the rightful world champion.

"As long as the passion for the sport and your own driver comes first, I think that's ok, but the abuse that takes place on social media is anything but acceptable," he told the Dutch publication Formule 1.

"I absolutely respect the opinions and perspectives of the Dutch fans," Wolff added.

Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko accepts that race director Masi had "too much weight on his shoulders" in 2021, but he said the Australian should keep his job while "the system is revised".

"The stewards have made many decisions this year that have upset us and Mercedes," the Austrian noted. "A uniformity of judgments must now be established."

Marko said he also has no hard feelings about Mercedes' post-Abu Dhabi reaction.

"Mercedes made a great gesture by dropping the appeal," he said.

"Hamilton was undoubtedly unlucky in Abu Dhabi, but we were unlucky at Silverstone, Budapest and Baku. That's how racing is," Marko added.

"Now it's up to the new FIA president to work on a system that helps Michael Masi because he cannot do everything alone."

That new FIA president, succeeding Jean Todt, is Mohammed Ben Sulayem - who appears to disagree with his predecessor that F1 should "rise above" the urge to penalise Hamilton for refusing to attending the Paris gala.

"First of all, as a driver, I feel emotional but at the end of the day rules are rules," he said.

"Was he in breach? I have to look into it.

"It's easy to be nice to people, it's cheap to be nice, and also to motivate people, but if there is any breach there is no forgiveness in this," Ben Sulayem warned.

Alex Wurz, the chairman of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, denies that Hamilton or Mercedes have hurt F1's image as a result of their post-season behaviour.

"I don't think the image has suffered - on the contrary," he told Speed Week.

"Formula 1 showed that it is the absolute showdown - that the world championship title in the premier class is like an Olympic gold medal or a world championship in football or a victory in the Tour de France.

"The friction we saw is ok, especially when Lewis and Max shook hands at the end. That was good for the image of Formula 1," Wurz insisted.


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5 F1 Fan comments on “Next moves in current controversy up to new FIA president

  1. susan

    I think what has damaged the sport is the accusations of cheating, demeaning Michael Masi. I didn’t realize that F1 won by mob rule. Fans who are not drivers but seem to know everything. I thought this was a pure sport, man, speed, car. It appears not. Very disappointing. Not sure I will be spending anymore money on attending live races.

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    • shroppyfly

      Susan I can only reference the 1976 British GP where such an equal controversy took place and that time the Fia upheld the protests

      So you see the Fia aren't that bad lol

      Apparently Lewis has been seen in a shopping centre/mall in Stevenage playing Santa in a grotto

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    • G.McDonald

      In a contravesial situation like this there are bound to be suggestions of cheating and so on. That's one of the reasons why they need a good rule book and someone to make fair decisions. The sad thing is they don't seem to have that just now and that fact alone is the main reason the sport is in disrepute. Sure they will make 'changes' but I for one have no faith that they will make enough or the right ones. I stopped watching F1 for about 10 years over something very similar to this and I am now considering if coming back was the wrong decision. I won't be missed, Lewis will, if he goes the sport will be much poorer, regardless of whether you support him or Max, does anyone support any of the rest??

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  2. Joe Curry

    Lewis has every right to boycott an awards ceremony that he was cheated out of accepting the top prize. He knows it, we all know it, so why not accept it and move on.

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    • Don

      Hamilton and Toto proved to be the most arrogant, self centred, unsportsmanlike duo in F1. Instead of being true men like Anthony Hamilton who hugged his son and spoke into his ear, to do the right thing by your supporters. Turn around, get out there and shake Verstaphen’s hand etc. without that instruction, Hamilton was headed into the garage and was probably going to join Toto in his office. They both deserve to be penalised for breaking the rules, and it is time the FIA stop treating Hamilton differently from other drivers. They don’t publish the points he gets on his license for breaching regs, or forcing people off the track etc. Yet, he usually has the most penalty points of any driver. What does this say about his true driving style? Who me? I’m innocent……..

      Reply

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