Lewis Hamilton is at risk of facing a sanction from the FIA due to missing Friday’s prize-giving gala.
The British driver, as well as his team principal, did not attend the FIA event as a protest to the controversial ending to the 2021 season, in which Max Verstappen was crowned champion.
The Abu Dhabi race finish saw F1 race director Michael Masi allow the lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to overtake a late Safety Car, which was then instantly told to go into the pitlane for a green-flag restart.
Mercedes claimed the use of the regulations in the situation was unfair and incorrect, giving the Dutch driver an advantage. The Silver Arrows protested Masi’s decisions, but the FIA dismissed it.
Because of this, the Mercedes driver did not attend the prize-giving event. However, article 6.6 of the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations states “the drivers finishing first, second and third in the championship must be present at the annual FIA prizegiving ceremony.”
The newly-elected FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem says he understands Hamilton’s frustration, but he must respect the rules.
“As a driver I feel emotional,” said Ben Sulayem. “But at the end of the day rules are rules. So we are going to look into there, decide the rules there to be employed, was he in breach, I have to look into it.”
“[Rules] are made by humans, they can improve and change by humans. Rules are there to be improved. I know that Lewis is really sad about what happened. In one word I would say he is broken.
“But, if there was any breach, I cannot – just a few hours now I’ve been president – just start giving answers without going back to the facts.”