Lewis Hamilton will be made to wait until March 18 — two days before the start of the new season in Bahrain — to hear the result of Formula One’s investigation into how he lost the world title in contentious circumstances in Abu Dhabi.
As Sportsmail revealed on Thursday, the future of the world’s most garlanded driver, who missed out on an eighth championship success last month, will be the leading topic of conversation in a meeting today between Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff and the new president of the governing FIA, Mohammed ben Sulayem.
Despite this summit, the FIA issued a statement on Thursday saying it may take longer to resolve the controversy that centres on Red Bull’s Max Verstappen being allowed to pass Hamilton on fresh tyres on the last lap of the concluding race after a change to the usual safety car procedures.
Lewis Hamilton (left) was denied the F1 title when Max Verstappen pipped him to the line in the crucial Abu Dhabi race after a contentious call by F1 race director Michael Masi
As a result, a disillusioned Hamilton, 37, is considering whether or not to see out the final two years of his Mercedes contract, worth close to £70million.
The sport’s commercial rights-holders, Liberty Media, want the FIA to act with far more speed — rather than reach a resolution three months and six days after the debacle.
The FIA said: ‘Following the decision of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris on December 15, 2021, the FIA has started the detailed analysis of the events of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff (left) will speak to new F1 ruler Mohammed Ben Sulayem (right) to discuss the farcical conclusion to last season
‘The FIA president has launched a consultation with the all F1 teams on various issues, including this one.
‘On January 19, an item on the agenda of the Sporting Advisory Committee will be dedicated to the use of the safety car.
‘The following stage will be a shared discussion with all F1 drivers.
‘The outcome of the detailed analysis will be presented to the F1 Commission and the final decision will be announced at the World Motor Council in Bahrain on March 18.’ A chief consideration is the fate of race director Michael Masi.
Mercedes will demand that Masi (above) is sacked over the lapped cars call in Abu Dhabi
Mercedes star Hamilton is likely to carry on but the outcome of this new meeting will be crucial