Nairobi, Kenya, December 16 | Mercedes have today announced that they won’t be pursuing an appeal over the race stewards’ dismissal of their protest at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last Sunday, which saw Red Bull driver Max Verstappen crowned champion. In the aftermath of the race at Yas Marina, Mercedes lodged two protests against the outcome of the race – which Lewis Hamilton led the majority of, before Verstappen passed him on the final lap, having changed tyres under the Safety Car. Those protests related first to Verstappen allegedly passing Hamilton under the Safety Car, and second to the decision to allow five lapped cars to unlap themselves behind the Safety Car immediately before racing resumed for the final lap of the race.
The stewards would later dismiss Mercedes’ protests, with the team announcing in the aftermath that they had lodged a notice of intention to appeal the decision – giving Mercedes 96 hours to weigh up whether or not to lodge their grounds for appeal. The team announced this afternoon in a statement posted on their Twitter that they won’t be pursuing the matter further.
“We hereby withdraw our appeal, together with Lewis, we have deliberated carefully over how to respond to the events at the Formula 1 season finale. 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,” said Mercedes.
Lewis and Mercedes both offered their congratulations to Verstappen and Red Bull and welcomed the decision by the FIA to install a commission to thoroughly analyze what happened in Sunday’s Abu Dhabi game and to improve the robustness of rules, governance, and decision making in Formula 1.
“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,” said the team.