Mercedes F1 team withdraws Abu Dhabi GP appeal

The Mercedes Formula 1 team has withdrawn its appeal over the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix result ahead of the official FIA Prize Gala in Paris.

Mercedes F1 team withdraws Abu Dhabi GP appeal
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In a short statement issued on Thursday, the team said it welcomed a move by the FIA to investigate the events from last weekend so no longer felt it needed to push on with its action.

Mercedes had been left angry about the way in which F1 race director Michael Masi had selectively chosen some backmarkers be allowed to unlap themselves and had rushed the safety car restart.

The team claimed that, had Masi followed the rules explicitly, then the GP would have finished under the safety car and Lewis Hamilton would have been champion.

Mercedes duly protested the result, but its case was rejected by the FIA stewards, who reckoned there had been no rules breach. They claimed that separate regulations gave Masi total authority to do as he pleased with the safety car.

After lodging a notification of its intent to appeal, Mercedes had until Thursday evening to decide whether or not to push on with the case.

But with the FIA having announced on Wednesday evening that it was launching a probe into the events of the Yas Marina circuit, Mercedes felt that it better it focus on improving the rules than batting to change the result.

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In a statement presented as a letter to fans, Mercedes made clear it was hard to comprehend the circumstances of what happened in the closing stages of the race on Sunday.

"We left Abu Dhabi in disbelief of what we had just witnessed. Of course, it's part of the game to lose a race, but it's something different when you lose faith in racing," it said.

"Together with Lewis, we have deliberated carefully over how to respond to the events at the Formula 1 season finale.

"We have always been guided by our love of this sport and we believe that every competition should be won on merit. In the race on Sunday many felt, us included, that the way things unfolded was not right."

Mercedes went on to explain that it will hold the FIA to account over its probe that will look into events and make improvements to its rule book and procedures for the future.

"The Mercedes-AMG Petronas team will actively work with this commission to build a better Formula 1 - for every team and every fan who loves this sport as much as we do," it added: "We will hold the FIA accountable for this process and we hereby withdraw our appeal."

The full letter from Mercedes

Dear Formula 1 community and fans,

We left Abu Dhabi in disbelief of what we had just witnessed. Of course, it's part of the game to lose a race, but it's something different when you lose faith in racing.

Together with Lewis, we have deliberated carefully over how to respond to the events at the Formula 1 season finale. We have always been guided by our love of this sport and we believe that every competition should be won on merit. In the race on Sunday many felt, us included, that the way things unfolded was not right.

The reason we protested the race result on Sunday was because the Safety Car regulations were applied in a new way that affected the race result, after Lewis had been in a commanding lead and on course to win the World Championship.

We appealed in the interest of sporting fairness, and we have since been in a constructive dialogue with the FIA and Formula 1 to create clarity for the future, so that all competitors know the rules under which they are racing, and how they will be enforced. Thus, we welcome the decision by the FIA to install a commission to thoroughly analyse what happened in Abu Dhabi and to improve the robustness of rules, governance and decision making in Formula 1. We also welcome that they have invited the teams and drivers to take part.

The Mercedes-AMG Petronas team will actively work with this commission to build a better Formula 1 - for every team and every fan who loves this sport as much as we do. We will hold the FIA accountable for this process and we hereby withdraw our appeal.

To Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing: we would like to express our sincere respect for your achievements this season. You made this Formula 1 Championship title fight truly epic. Max, we congratulate you and your entire team. We look forward to taking the fight to you on the track next season.

And lastly, even though this Drivers' Championship did not end the way we hoped, we could not be prouder of our team.

Lewis, you are the greatest racer in the history of Formula 1 and you drove your heart out for every lap of this incredible season. You're a flawless sportsman on and off the track and you delivered a faultless performance. As a pure competitor and as a role model for millions around the world, we salute you.

Valtteri, you have been such an important part of this team, delivering five Constructors' Championships in five seasons. Thank you for your remarkable contribution to our motorsport history. Kiitos, Valtteri.

Finally, to every one of the skilled and passionate women and men of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team in Brackley and High Performance Powertrains in Brixworth: you've written an historic chapter in the Silver Arrow story by winning the eighth Constructors' Championship - in a row. This is an unprecedented achievement. In simple words: it's awesome. You are awesome.

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