Formula 1: Jenson Button on rumours of Lewis Hamilton retiring
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McLaren Chief Executive Zak Brown has piled the pressure on the FIA to complete their investigation into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The debate over what transpired at the Yas Marina has continued to rage on, after Max Verstappen claimed the title in controversial circumstances at the season finale.
Hamilton had gone into the race level on points with his Red Bull rival, but appeared to be cruising to the title with five laps to go as he led by 11 points.
However, then came the crash to Williams driver Nicholas Latifi and the notorious safety car procedure, which saw race director Michael Masi alter his original instructions to drivers in a bid to ensure one final lap of racing.
His actions gifted Verstappen, who was on fresh tyres, the chance to pass Hamilton at the death and take the chequered flag in dramatic circumstances.
Mercedes duly launched two failed protests into the procedure, and before leaving Abu Dhabi, served notice on their intent to appeal.
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However, four days after the race they confirmed they would not be pursuing that course of action, but their anger remained clear with both Hamilton and Toto Wolff boycotting the end of season FIA prize-gala in Paris.
Part of their willingness was back down was the FIA agreeing to hold a thorough investigation into what went on, but that enquiry remains ongoing with no conclusion reached.
And now Brown has grown impatient, calling for the authority to clear things up in time for the new campaign, whoich starts in Bahrain on the weekend of March 18-20.
“It doesn’t take that long to do an investigation,” Brown told Sky Sports News at Sunday night’s Autosport Awards.
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“Let’s get it done, let’s go to the first race of the year talking about the first race of the year – not the last race of last year.”
The manner of the race in Abu Dhabi has seen many critics question the credibility of F1, while Masi has come under pressure to resign having been accused of essentially altering the rules to contrive an exciting finish.
However, Brown argued the sport can bounce back from the controversy.
“It can definitely regain its credibility,” said Brown. “It’s not the first time we’ve had an ump or a referee make a controversial call.
“This one happened to be pretty big. But I think the sport will have learned by it.”
Hamilton was reportedly waiting on the outcome of the investigation before committing to driving in the 2022 campaign.
However, this week he posted his biggest hint yet that he would carry on, taking to Twitter to tell his fans he was ‘back’, having not used the platform since December.
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