48 hours have now passed since the Commissioners decided to reject the Mercedes protest against the failure to comply with article 48.12 of the sporting regulation according to which all lapped cars are required to pass the Safety Car, which must then return to the pits in the next session. The Brackley team he officially expressed his intention to appeal against this stance by the Stewards and still has time until 20:00 on Thursday to materialize the protest. Ironically, the grand awards ceremony by the FIA is scheduled for Thursday, a ceremony that would be consumed in uncertainty if Mercedes decided not to leave no stone unturned in the run-up to the world title also in the drivers’ standings.
All the members of Mercedes entered a long press silence on all fronts, including personal social networks. The only ‘clue’ that it is unlikely that the house of the three-pointed star will decide to pull the trigger are the congratulations from Toto Wolff received by Max Verstappen for the title won yesterday morning. Second Nicholas Bamber – lawyer specializing in regulatory and commercial disputes at the renowned Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP – the appeal of Mercedes would have very solid foundations. “The work of Clerk of the Course Michael Masi has been the subject of criticism from pilots, commentators and legal experts – the words of Bamber joined by the British newspaper racefans.net – the thesis according to which article 15.3 on the use of the Safety Car at the discretion of the Clerk of the Course can override the 48.12 it is inconsistent with a global vision of the regulation “.
Indeed, article 1.1.1 of the FIA International Code clearly states that the regulations must be applied “based on the fundamental principles of safety and sporting equity“. The finale of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with only a few cars that were allowed to split – those that stood between Hamilton and Verstappen – and the return of the Safety Car at the end of the lap itself after a few turns with the lights out (the signal given to the drivers on the imminent restart of the race) has very little to do with principles of safety and fairness, given that only Verstappen was able to attack Hamilton, while for example Carlos Sainz, third, did not have the same opportunity. Furthermore, the fact that the regulation must be applied consistently should not be overlooked. As we have already pointed out in this article at the Nurburgring in 2020, Michael Masi had stressed that all the cars had to split under the Safety Car regime, thus leaving little room for the interpretation of the word ‘any’, which according to Red Bull does not mean ‘all’ approximately. the cars that have to split. In light of these evidences, should Mercedes decide to appeal against the Commissioners’ decision, it would be quite complicated for the FIA to defend Michael Masi’s actions.
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