Mercedes chief Toto Wolff has held private talks with new FIA President Mohammed bin Sulayem to discuss the controversial end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in December, and the post of race director Michael Massey.
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Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff and FIA President Mohamed bin Sulayem met behind the scenes to discuss the controversy that continues to mar the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
In what was billed as the most anticipated race in history, Sir Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen reached the Yas Marina dead level with points in their battle for the drivers world title.
Just five laps ago, it was Hamilton who led by 11sec and looked destined to take the checkered flag – and win an unprecedented eighth championship – before Williams driver Nicholas Latifi’s crash set off a chaotic chain of events.
A safety car was deployed and it looked like the race would end this way, only for FIA Racing Director Michael Massey to speed up the procedure in an effort to secure a final lap of the race – which culminated in Verstappen overhauling Hamilton in a dramatic finish.
Mercedes launched a protest but this was denied, and then despite a notice of intent to appeal, reluctantly opted against the action.
However, they did so on the basis that the FIA subsequently pledged to conduct a full investigation into the procedure, and that investigation is underway with a view to finalizing it at the FIA’s World Motorsports Council meeting on March 18, two days before the inaugural race in Bahrain. .
The result is believed to be crucial to Hamilton’s future, and according to daily Mail Wolff has now met with Slim, who took over from Jean Todt just five days after the end of the season, for private talks in Geneva.
It was reported that no definitive agreement had been reached between the pair, but details of the meeting were kept confidential – in stark contrast to the FIA’s public promise to be open and transparent in their investigation. Much discussion reportedly surrounded the future of race director Massey.
Mercedes and Hamilton have reportedly asked Massey to be fired so the seven-time world champion can continue in the sport – the Australian has so far withstood several calls from fans to retire.
Respected in the immediate aftermath of the controversy, Hamilton, 37, congratulated Verstappen on his title win, but has since kept a vow of silence.
He and Wolff boycotted the FIA awards ceremony in Paris, with the Austrian telling reporters that the British driver was “disappointed” by what had happened.