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Formula 1 Bahrain GP

Hamilton had meeting with FIA president amid F1 Abu Dhabi report wait

Lewis Hamilton added to calls Formula 1 should be transparent with the FIA’s findings from the Abu Dhabi season finale investigation after a “good meeting” with President Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG

The FIA’s World Motor Sport Council will meet this week ahead of the F1 2022 season-opener in Bahrain and discuss the findings of the investigation into the handling of last year’s title decider in Abu Dhabi, which saw Max Verstappen defeat Hamilton after a last-lap restart.

Hamilton previously said that he hoped the FIA would release the report in full so that fans could fully understand what happened after race director Michael Masi failed to implement two articles of the sporting regulations.

It remains unclear if the report will be published in full or that only certain elements will emerge, but Hamilton revealed in Bahrain he had met with Ben Sulayem on Thursday.

“I think it’s important as a sport that we are transparent,” Hamilton said.

“I had a good meeting with Mohammed last night, who agreed that’s the direction we should take as a sport.

“[I’m] looking forward to seeing it come out and for people to know that this sport is transparent and we are learning from what’s happened in the past, and we’ll make improvements moving forwards.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13

Photo by: Erik Junius

The FIA announced a number of planned changes for its F1 operations in February, including the appointment of two rotating race directors - Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas - to replace Masi, as well as the introduction of a new virtual race control room likened to VAR in football.

Hamilton said he was yet to have met with Wittich, who will be race director in Bahrain this weekend, as “everything has been flat out”, and did not have any more information about the virtual race control system.

Hamilton added that he expected to receive a fine from the FIA for not attending last year’s end-of-season gala, but they would “work together to make sure the money will be put towards youth from underprivileged backgrounds getting into motorsport engineering”.

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Driver opinion has been split over the ongoing investigation. Red Bull driver Verstappen felt there was no need to release the full report, and had support from Alpine’s Fernando Alonso over the matter.

But George Russell, Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate, thought it was “very important” that the findings were released “as soon as possible”.

“Obviously the events that unfolded in Abu Dhabi were not to the standards that all of us expect, all of us F1 fans, drivers, teams,” Russell said.

”Clarity is needed. And it's important that - the issue that we faced it was in the past, we obviously do need to move on - but it can't just be swept under the carpet.

“So we need to see the outcome."

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