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FIA told to answer two questions as Lewis Hamilton's F1 future still up in the air

Daily Express logo Daily Express 24/01/2022 Fraser Watson

The FIA have been urged to answer two key questions as the fallout from the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix continues. The race at the Yas Marina Circuit, which saw Max Verstappen crowned F1 champion following the controversial late safety car procedure that scuppered Lewis Hamilton's lead, is now the subject of an enquiry with Mercedes in particular awaiting the outcome.

The furore surrounds race director Michael Masi initially ordering that no lapped cars would be able to overtake the safety vehicle, which was deployed after Williams driver Nicholas Latifi crashed with five laps to go.

However, under pressure from Red Bull boss Christian Horner, Masi then changed his mind, but only allowed the cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to surge past the FIA car to ensure a final lap showdown.

It meant the Dutchman began the final lap right on the tail of his rival, and on fresher tyres, was able to take the lead and then the chequered flag to claim his maiden championship in dramatic fashion.

However, Masi has since been accused of altering the rules simply to manufacture a grandstand finish, and has faced calls from F1 fans and pundits to resign. Indeed, Hamilton's future is reported to revolve around the position of the Australian when the current investigation concludes.

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Lewis Hamilton's future remains in the balance. © GETTY Lewis Hamilton's future remains in the balance.

Now Indian driver Karun Chandhok, who last competed in Formula E and also drove in the GP2 series, has called on the FIA to clarify the key issues in question from the race in Abu Dhabi.

"I think they need to demonstrate to Lewis that Abu Dhabi wasn't some form of pre-meditated plan to rob him of the title," he was quoted as saying in the Daily Telegraph.

"It's frustrating they have taken so long and also been silent. It should be simple - there was a four-minute window between when the first instruction that 'no lapped cars will be let passed' and when the select five cars were let through.

"What were the conversations that Masi had at that time and what led him to make those decisions?"

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Chandhok also added that Hamilton's form on the track remains as strong as ever, and doesn't think the delay to commit to the 2022 campaign is down to any self-doubts from the seven-time world champion.

However, despite the saga, he still thinks the British driver will line up in Bahrain for the season opener on March 20.

"But do I think he's actually going to quit? No. I'm sure he's still very upset - understandably so. But ultimately Lewis loves driving race cars and winning. He's still at the peak of his ability and earning power."

Mercedes are due to launch their 2022 car on February 18, which will provide a strong indication as to whether or not Hamilton, 37, is carrying on. Hamilton is still chasing an eighth title. © GETTY Hamilton is still chasing an eighth title.

All teams have had to undergo an overhaul with new technical regulations coming into the sport for this campaign, designed to make racing more competitive.

The new regulations could threaten the dominance that both Verstappen and Hamilton enjoyed over the rest of the field in 2021.

The propsect of that challenge, as well as the desire to win an unprecedented eighth world crown, could yet prove crucial factors in Hamilton's final decision.

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