A 'senior source' has alleged that Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes dropped their appeal against the result of the F1 world title because Michael Masi said he would leave his position as FIA race director.
Hamilton lost the 2021 championship to Red Bull's Max Verstappen after an almighty cock-up involving FIA race director Michael Masi.
During the safety car period towards the end of the season-ending race in Abu Dhabi, Masi failed to apply the rules correctly, and only some of the lapped cars were allowed to overtake.
That allowed Verstappen, on much fresher tyres, to pull up behind Hamilton and overtake him on the final lap to clinch the race win and with it a maiden world championship crown.
An initial appeal by Mercedes against the result of the race was rejected by stewards later that night. The Silver Arrows then gave notice of their intention to appeal that decision.
But Toto Wolff and co. opted against another appeal after talks with the FIA "to create clarity for the future", a Mercedes statement read.
There have been question marks hanging over Masi's future ever since the Abu Dhabi controversy, which itself came at the end of a season in which the application of the sport's rules faced scrutiny on several occasions.
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According to the BBC, a 'senior source' has alleged that Mercedes only dropped their appeal against the result of the season-ending race after agreeing a deal with the FIA.
The deal, which Mercedes deny, would have seen Masi and FIA head of single-seater technical matters Nikolas Tombazis, depart from their positions ahead of the 2022 season.
As it stands, both men remain in their respective jobs. As does Hamilton, although the Briton is currently "disillusioned" according to Wolff.
"As a racer, his heart will say: 'I need to continue' because he's at the peak of his game," Wolff said.
"But we have to overcome the pain that was caused upon him. I am in a daily dialogue with him. But there is not a lot to talk (about) at the moment. Each of us copes in their own way with the feelings we have at the moment.
"I just need to do the utmost I can to help him to overcome the feelings that he has in order for him to return strong with a love of the sport and trust in the decision-making of the sport next year.
"And we wish very much that this would be the case."
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