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F1: Mercedes chief set for FIA meeting with questions over Lewis Hamilton’s future

With Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 future hanging in the balance, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff will sit down with the FIA’s newly elected president Mohammed Ben Sulayem to discuss the controversial end to the 2021 season.

Mercedes were the big losers when Michael Masi made the controversial decision to allow five cars to unlap themselves and restart the race on the final lap. This gave Max Verstappen the chance to overtake Hamilton, who until then had held a comfortable 11-second advantage to the Dutchman.

It resulted in Verstappen winning the race, and thus claiming his maiden F1 Drivers’ championship title that left Silver Arrows seething. The Mercedes appeals were dismissed and they later pulled the plug on taking the matter to court against the FIA.

The FIA vowed to set up a commission to look into the events on Dec 12, but have thus far failed to communicate any information to clarify Masi’s actions. According to the Daily Mail, Mercedes are waiting for the FIA to take action against the race director, while Hamilton is said to be waiting to decide if he wants to continue in F1 based on the same outcome.


Toto Wolff is hoping for a clean title fight next weekend
ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/POOL via AFP

Hamilton is contracted to the Mercedes team until the end of the 2023 campaign, but has thus far failed to comment on his future plans with speculations that he could hang up his helmet. Wolff admitted that his driver was disillusioned with the sport, and even FIA president Sulayem confirmed that the British racer had not responded to his messages about driving in 2022.

“No, I don’t think so, they are just rumours,” Sulayem said when asked about the possibility of Hamilton retiring, as quoted by the Daily Express. “Has he declared that he is not going to run? Exactly, no. Lewis is an important part of the sport with his achievements.”

“I sent him messages, yes,” he added. “I think he is not 100% ready yet [to respond] and I understand his position. There are also rules that must be accepted by all drivers. For me there is no particular team or driver above the respect for the integrity of the FIA.”

Mercedes have not drawn up a list of potential replacements for Hamilton, with the reigning Constructors’ champions dropping a number of hints in recent weeks about the Briton remaining on the grid in 2022.

Lewis Hamilton
Back in business: Lewis Hamilton will race in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Giuseppe CACACE/POOL
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