Currently reading: F1 2021: Mercedes-AMG won't appeal Verstappen's title win
Sir Lewis Hamilton's squad pledges to hold F1 bosses 'accountable' during review over events in Abu Dhabi GP

Max Verstappen has been confirmed as the 2021 Formula 1 World Driver's champion after Mercedes-AMG confirmed it has withdrawn its appeal over the final laps of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Seven-time world champion Sir Lewis Hamilton had dominated the race in his Mercedes, but a late race safety car bunched the field up and allowed Red Bull-Honda's Verstappen to pit for fresh tyres and close in – although with several lapped cars between the two.

FIA race director Michael Masi initially signalled that the race would restart with the lapped cars still in place – but then instructed the cars between Hamilton and Verstapen to unlap themselves, and then restarted the race at the end of that lap.

On fresh tyres, Verstappen overtook Hamilton to win the race and the championship. Mercedes initially appealed the result to the stewards, but that was turned down. The team then said it would appeal further.

The FIA, motorsport's governing body, yesterday announced that it would launch "a detailed analysis and clarification exercise" on the events, which would involve broth the drivers and teams. That was decided after a presentation on the race was made to the FIA World Motor Sport Council.

In a statement, the FIA said the events in Abu Dhabi "have notably generated significant misunderstanding and reactions from Formula 1 teams, drivers and fans, an argument that is currently tarnishing the image of the championship".

It added the clarification exercise would "be discussed and addressed with all the teams and drivers to draw any lessons from this situation and clarity to be provided to the participants, media and fans about the current regulations to preserve the competitive nature of our sport while ensuring the safety of the drivers and officials."

Mercedes had until yesterday evening (Wednesday) to formally lodge its appeal over the stewards' ruling and hadn't made any public comment since then. But it has now decided not to appeal. 

In a statement, the team said: "Together with Lewis, we have deliberated carefully over how to respond to the events at the Formula 1 season finale. We have always been guided by our love of this sport, and we believe that every competition should be won on merit. In the race on Sunday, many felt, us included, that the way things unfolded was not right. "The reason we protested the race result on Sunday was because the safety-car regulations were applied in a new way that affected the race result, after Lewis had been in a commanding lead and on course to win the World Championship.

"We appealed in the interest of sporting fairness, and we have since been in a constructive dialogue with the FIA and Formula 1 to create clarity for the future, so that all competitors know the rules under which they are racing, and how they will be enforced.

Back to top

"Thus we welcome the decision by the FIA to install a commission to thoroughly analyse what happened in Abu Dhabi and to improve the robustness of rules, governance and decision making in Formula 1. We also welcome that they have invited the teams and drivers to take part. "The Mercedes-AMG Petronas team will actively work with this commission to build a better Formula 1 - for every team and every fan who loves this sport as much as we do. We will hold the FIA accountable for this process and we hereby withdraw our appeal."

Mercedes also paid "sincere respect" to Verstappen and Red Bull, saying the pair made the 2021 title fight "truly epic".

It also called Hamilton "the greatest racer in the history of Formula 1", describing him as a "flawless sportsman on and off the track."

And it thanked Valtteri Bottas, who will switch to Alfa Romeo in 2022, for his role in helping to secure the past five constructors' championships.

James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

Join the debate

Add a comment…
Andrew1 16 December 2021
Sore losers. So many ridiculous pro-Hamilton decisions that brought him back into the competition. This should have been over a few races before the final one. Pathetic.
Speedraser 17 December 2021

It's telling that those who think Hamilton was wronged can demonstrate precisely why, based on the actual rules. On the other hand, those who say Verstappen "deserved" to win just say generic things like "so many ridiculous pro-Hamilton decisions" or "just deal with it." Yet the "sore losers" comments are the most telling. Again, just a couple of examples: In Saudi Arabia, Max got two penalties that he deserved (brake-testing at 2.5g - shameful, he got off lightly for it, and if he has to resort to that, then he isn't all that great). Turned out that the penalties made zero difference to the outcome of the race. How did Max act on the podium? He stormed off. How did Lewis act after Masi's reprehensible rule-violating actions that unquestionably cost him victory and the championship? He personally congratulated Max. That you call Lewis a sore loser really says it all.

Bill Lyons 17 December 2021

Just ignore him, he can't help it. He's a Jock. He'll settle down once Scotland go independent.

Peter Cavellini 16 December 2021

Doesn't say much for society when we go on and on about something that actually doesn't matter that much in how we live our lives.

Just Saying 16 December 2021
... Oh the irony Peter!
Just Saying 16 December 2021
Keeping with F1
Has anybody seen the Tiger/Charlie Woods similarity video?
I'd like to see the Michael/Mick Schumacher one!