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'Human Error' Blamed For Final Lap Drama At Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Ryan Sidle

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'Human Error' Blamed For Final Lap Drama At Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Featured Image Credit: PA

The FIA, motorsports' governing body, have confirmed that the dramatics on the last lap of the 2021 Formula One season was down to 'human error.'

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By now everyone is aware of what happened in the final lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in December last year, especially with Drive to Survive having come out last week.

Max Verstappen, though a worthy world champion, won the race and the title after race director Michael Masi allowed some cars to unlap themselves behind the safety cars, only those between Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton's Mercedes team had appealed the decision after the race, and Masi has been removed from his position for the 2022 season, and now the FIA's report has given them some closure on the problem.

The report said that Masi had acted in 'good faith,' and also considered that the season's result was 'valid and final,' but also said that the problem was 'human error,' which puts blame at Masi's door.

Verstappen and Hamilton on the Yas Marina circuit. Image: Alamy
Verstappen and Hamilton on the Yas Marina circuit. Image: Alamy

Only the lapped cars between the front runners were allowed to unlap themselves, putting Hamilton and Verstappen side by side as the race got back underway for the final time.

It left Daniel Ricciardo, who finished 10th, directly behind the pair and didn't give Carlo Sainz, third place in his Ferrari, the chance to actually race for the win.

The report explained the decision over which cars unlapped themselves, saying, "The process of identifying lapped cars has up until now been a manual one and human error lead to the fact that not all cars were allowed to un-lap themselves.

"Due to the fact that manual interventions generally carry a higher risk of human error, software has been developed that will, from now on, automate the communication of the list of cars that must un-lap themselves.

"In addition, the 2022 Formula 1 Sporting Regulations have been recently updated to clarify that “all” and not “any” cars must be permitted to un-lap themselves."

Ricciardo was left in third place behind the front runners, despite being 10th in the race. Image: PA Images
Ricciardo was left in third place behind the front runners, despite being 10th in the race. Image: PA Images

Had the rules previously clarified that 'all' cars needed to be allowed to unlap themselves then it would have taken longer and not given time for a final lap of racing.

Rule 48.12, which covers the safety car rules, did also suggest that the timing of the lapped car instructions, which were the ones given wrong by 'human error' would mean the safety car didn't come in at the end of the 58th lap.

Instead it came in at the end of the 57th lap, allowing for the final lap of racing, where Verstappen ended up going past Hamilton and take the chequered flag, to win his first drivers' title.

That however was not mentioned in the report, leaving many on social media still feeling unsatisfied by the findings, that have taken until the first weekend of the new season.

Red Bull are expected to get ahead of Mercedes at the beginning of the season, with the German team's team principal Toto Wolff confirming his team are well behind.

Topics: Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, Red Bull Racing, Mercedes, Formula 1

Ryan Sidle
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