Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes to learn FIA findings key to Brit's future in less than two weeks

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes are set to discover the verdict of an internal FIA investigation into the controversial 2021 season finale in less than two weeks. With the Brit feeling ‘disillusioned’ after being controversially pipped to the world title by Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi, the findings could prove key to his retirement decision, which remains up in the air. 

At Yas Marina, FIA race director Michael Masi wiped out Hamilton’s lead behind a late safety car by ordering the lapped drivers between the Brit and Verstappen to pass through. 

Spectators were subsequently treated to a hugely dramatic final lap, with Hamilton and Verstappen brought bumper-to-bumper to fight for the championship. 

On fresher tyres, the Dutchman pulled off the overtake to clinch his first world title, sending the Red Bull garage into raptures. 

But once the dust settled, F1 fans were left to question the integrity of Masi’s decision, which almost certainly cost Hamilton an eighth crown. 

READ MORE: F1 2022 car launch dates: Full list including Mercedes, Red Bull and McLaren

Mercedes were set to appeal the race result, before backtracking on their stance amid fears that the sport’s reputation could be ruined. 

Hamilton and Silver Arrows boss Toto Wolff snubbed the FIA’s prize-giving gala soon afterwards, risking punishment in the process. 

Aside from receiving a knighthood, barely anything had been heard from Hamilton since his agonising defeat until he appeared in a Mercedes promotional video earlier this week. 

That sparked hopes that he could return to partner George Russell for the 2022 season, but it is still believed to depend on the outcome of the FIA’s internal investigation into last season’s contentious finale. 

The F1 commission will receive the FIA’s findings on 14 February, and they are expected to be made public in the days following. 

However, the FIA retain the right not to publish the findings, which may serve to sour relations further with the parties disgruntled at the way last season’s title was decided. 

The scheduled date leaves Mercedes with a sharp turnaround time as they are set to launch their new car – ideally with Hamilton involved – on February 18.

Wolff refused to rule out the 37-year-old’s retirement in December, and nothing concrete has emerged to suggest that he will return to avenge Verstappen’s triumph. 

FIA executive director of single-seaters, Peter Bayer, recently admitted that Masi could be axed once the results of the investigation are presented. 

Another possibility is Masi sharing the role with someone else or being given a small team of people with which to share responsibilities. 

Changes are also set to be implemented regarding the way team bosses can communicate with the race director after Wolff and his Red Bull counterpart, Christian Horner, both appeared to pressurise Masi during the closing stages of last season. 

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