Formula One: Mercedes drop appeal and congratulate Red Bull's Verstappen

Red Bull's Max Verstappen claimed victory and the world title after the deployment of a late safety car at the season-ending race on Dec 12, 2021. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP, REUTERS) - Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes team on Thursday (Dec 16) announced they were withdrawing their appeal against Max Verstappen's controversial title-winning victory in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The team said they had made the decision following "constructive dialogue" with governing body FIA with regard to establishing clarity for future racing scenarios.

"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," Mercedes said in a statement. "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."

Red Bull's Verstappen claimed victory and the world title after the deployment of a late safety car in Sunday's season-ending race in Abu Dhabi led to the Dutchman being placed right behind Hamilton, whom he then overtook on the final lap when the safety car was withdrawn.

Mercedes had an immediate double appeal dismissed by the stewards, then lodged an intention to appeal against that decision, which they were required to trigger by Thursday evening.

The Silver Arrows added: "To Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing: we would like to express our sincere respect for your achievements this season.

"You made this Formula One championship title fight truly epic. Max, we congratulate you and your entire team. We look forward to taking the fight to you on the track next season."

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