Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff missed FIA gala following Abu Dhabi controversy

Mercedes is still hurting by what happened last Sunday at the Abu Dhabi GP, the most exciting and controversial finale in Formula 1 history. 

Despite having withdrawn their appeal to the outcome of the Yas Marina GP this Thursday, at the German team they are still profoundly upset with the management of the final section of the race.

They directly blame the actions taken by race director, Michael Masi, for Lewis Hamilton not winning his eighth World title, just when he was so close to attaining it. 


The first affront came when they announced that they would not be sending their F1 and Formula E Champion cars to official photo sesion and Thursday night’s FIA Prize Giving 2021 Gala in Paris but now they have taken their ‘boycott’ one step further. 

The two biggest names in the Brackley team, the seven-time champion and his team principal, Toto Wolff, have missed the aforementioned annual ceremony. Although their presence was both mandatory and expected, they chose to snub the celebration. 

With this controversial gesture, they wanted to highlight their anger and aggravation with the resolution of a 2021 World Cup. Added to this grievance, of course, will be the natural pain of watching the coronation of their Dutch arch-enemy, Max Verstappen in the flesh. 


Wolff missed the gala to preserve his dignity  

Asked this Thursday about his and Hamilton’s attendance at the event in Paris, Wolff replied that “neither (of us) will be there. I will not be there because of my loyalty to Lewis and my own personal integrity”. True to his word, neither of them attended the ceremony. 

Later on, the Austrian CEO confirmed that Mercedes’ Chief Technical Officer, James Allison, would be there to collect the Constructors’ trophy 2021 on behalf of the team:

“But we will be represented as a team by James Allison, who will be taking the trophy on behalf of all the people in Brackley and Brixworth who should celebrate our eighth consecutive world championship title, who deserve to be celebrated because it’s a fantastic achievement that we are very proud of”. 


Wolff has also revealed he has mixed feelings regarding their eighth Constructors’ crown and the conduct of the FIA in Abu Dhabi: 

“In a way, I’m trying to compartmentalise the anger on the outcome of the F1 driver championship and, on the other side, the pride and the joy of having achieved something unprecedented and that needs to be celebrated”. 


Hamilton breaks F1 regulations 

As for Lewis Hamilton’s absence, it supposes a breach of Formula 1 regulations, which, as it is to be expected, establishes within its article 6.6 that the first three classified drivers are required to attend the awards ceremony. 

It is unknown, however, if his rebellious act will result in any sanction. He, in fact, didn’t attend the press conference after the Abu Dhabi GP nor any other due commitment with the media. 

A controversial final that antagonizes Mercedes  

Mercedes’ indignation was sparked in the final stages of the season’s finale at the Yas Marina Circuit. After Nicholas Latifi’s accident forced the safety car to deploy, several cars were unable to unfold. This was, at least,  the race director’s initial opinion.

Moments later, however, Michael Masi ordered that only the five cars between Lewis Hamilton, first, and Max Verstappen, second, shall regain their real position. 

That decision opened up the track for Verstappen to overtake the Briton in a heart-stopping final lap and become the first Dutch Formula 1 World Champion. 

Images of Lewis Hamilton & Toto Wolff: Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team.


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