It is unclear whether Lewis Hamilton will be racing next season
The FIA has outlined the process for their inquiry into the events of last month’s controversial season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton was denied a record eighth world championship title following the withdrawal of a safety car for the final lap, which Mercedes claimed was against the rules.
The Brackley team lodged an unsuccessful protest in the immediate aftermath of the race, but agreed to drop a formal appeal after the FIA agreed to conduct a thorough investigation into what happened.
That inquiry – led by FIA secretary-general for motorsport Peter Bayer, who was recently appointed the executive director of single-seaters – began earlier this week, with the FIA releasing a statement on Thursday in which it added some detail.
Motorsport’s world governing body said the FIA’s sporting advisory committee, which comprises the sporting directors of all the teams as well as FIA representatives, would meet on Jan 19 to “discuss the use of the safety car”. In the days after that, there will be a "shared discussion with all F1 drivers".
An FIA statement added: "The outcome of the detailed analysis will be presented to the F1 Commission in February, and final decisions will be announced at the World Motor Sport Council in Bahrain on 18 March."
In addition, new FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has asked Bayer "for proposals to review and optimise the organisation of the FIA F1 structure for the 2022 season". Race director Michael Masi’s position is under particular scrutiny.
Hamilton, who told his team over the radio that he felt the result of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix had been “manipulated”, has said nothing publicly since the conclusion of the race and his Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff conceded before Christmas that he was not 100 per cent sure the seven-time world champion would return to Formula 1, so “disillusioned” he was by what happened. He will need to make a decision well before the final decisions are announced on March 18. The first pre-season test takes place in Barcelona from Feb 23-25.