New FIA boss for Formula 1, Peter Bayer says Max Verstappen would have been the new world champion if Mercedes had gone to the Court of Appeals and received the annulment of the Abu Dhabi race results. The main rivals in last year's title fight: Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton had the same number of points, with the Dutch driver having one more win, which allowed him a seemingly slightly lighter weekend.
The two drivers were again in the first starting line, which promised an interesting race. Hamilton had a better start and immediately overtook the Verstappen. The Dutchman soon retaliated and was briefly in the lead. At that moment, there was another wheel-to-wheel fight where the Briton had to be off the track.
He continued, cut the corner, and came back to the lead. The judges said that they would not investigate such a move because they stated that he lost enough time by passing off the track if he would return the position to his rival.
The driver of the Mercedes soon separates and creates a clear advantage. Hamilton had the title in his hand until the release of the safety car (Latifi caused the incident). Then things turn around. Verstappen seizes the opportunity and changes the tires, and Hamilton stays on the track.
The Red Bull driver returned behind Hamilton, but only after the second decision made by Massi. In addition to him, several other drivers made an independent distribution of positions. There is a withdrawal of the SC, and Verstappen takes advantage of fresh tires and wins the race, the restart was one - the last lap.
After the race, Mercedes immediately protested against the result of the race in which he demanded annulment because the director of the race brought the rules around the safety car on his own. The protests of the German team were soon rejected by the judges.
However, Mercedes has announced its intention to appeal. A few days later, Mercedes withdrew the appeal after assuring that the FIA would investigate the situation and take appropriate action.
One of the reasons why Mercedes decided not to complain is the fact that they believed that the race results would not be annulled, even if they won.
The new FIA chief for Formula 1, Peter Bayer, who is investigating a race in Abu Dhabi in which Masi failed to enforce two rules, says Mercedes went to the Court of Appeals and got the race annulled, Verstappen would be champion again.
"If the Mercedes protest went to the Court of Appeals, after the judges rejected them, what would have happened?" Bayer told Austrian journalist Gerhard Kuntschick when asked what would have happened if Mercedes had gone to court.
"I think the judges would say: It's different in the rules, he (Masi) decided so, so we could only annul the result." "But even then - if he had been annulled - Max Verstappen would have been the world champion (because even though they were tied in points before Abu Dhabi, he had one victory more than Lewis)," he added.
"The situation was far from perfect and that is why we are working on it. It’s also about respecting the race director. My job is to look ahead, how we can improve things, "concluded Peter Bayer.