Mercedes confirm final appeal decision after Hamilton vs Verstappen title chaos

Mercedes have released a statement confirming they have withdrawn their appeal against the FIA following the dramatic finale of the F1 season in Abu Dhabi.

Mercedes immediately launched two protests following the Abu Dhabi finale, after Max Verstappen pipped Lewis Hamilton to an unprecedented eighth world title in controversial circumstances.

Hamilton was cruising to another world title, leading his rival by 11 seconds near the end of the race, but a crash by Nicholas Latifi changed the whole landscape.

The safety car was brought onto the track and Verstappen changed his tyres. FIA race director Michael Masi then initially instructed that lapped cars could not overtake the safety vehicle until it left the track, meaning there would not have been time for Verstappen to get behind his rival.

However, under pressure from Red Bull boss Christian Horner, Masi then controversially changed his mind, allowing the cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to unlap themselves before ordering the safety car off the track.

The Dutchman then resumed the race right on Hamilton's tail, and saw off the Brit in a single lap shootout for the title. Mercedes were left seething and after having their two appeals immediately turned down, suggested they would launch a right to appeal by Thursday's deadline.

However, Mercedes – still in 'disbelief' – have ceased their protests, issuing a statement on the matter.

Mercedes said in a statement: "We left Abu Dhabi in disbelief of what we had just witnessed. Of course, it's part of the game to lose a race, but it's something different when you lose faith in racing.

"Together with Lewis, we have deliberated carefully over how to respond to the events at the Formula 1 season finale. We have always been guided by our love of this sport and we believe that every competition should be won on merit. In the race on Sunday many felt, us included, that the way things unfolded was not right.

"The reason we protested the race result on Sunday was because the safety car regulations were applied in a new way that affected the race result, after Lewis had been in a commanding lead and on course to win the world championship.

"We appealed in the interest of sporting fairness, and we have since been in a constructive dialogue with the FIA and Formula 1 to create clarity for the future, so that all competitors know the rules under which they are racing, and how they will be enforced.

"Thus, 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. 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."

After confirming their decision, the F1 constructor giants then went onto congratulate Verstappen for his maiden F1 title win, while also paying tribute to their own seven-time world champion.

"To Max Verstapen and Red Bull Racing: we would like to express our sincere respect for your achievements this season. You made this Formula 1 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.

"And lastly, even though this drivers' championship did not end the way we hoped, we could not be prouder of our team.

"Lewis, you are the greatest racer in the history of Formula 1 and you drove your heart out for every lap of this incredible season. You're a flawless sportsman on and off the track and you delivered a faultless performance. As a pure competitor and as a role model for millions around the world, we salute you.

"Valtteri, you have been such an important part of this team, delivering five constructors' championships in five seasons. Thank you for your remarkable contribution to our motorsport history. Kiitos, Valtteri."

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