Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff will not attend the FIA’s prize-giving ceremony in Paris on Thursday evening, Wolff has confirmed.
The decision not to attend comes in the wake of Mercedes’ decision not to appeal the result of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which saw Max Verstappen take the title victory from Hamilton in controversial circumstances on the final lap of the race.
Under Article 6.6 of Formula One’s sporting regulations, the top three drivers in the championship are required to attend the ceremony to pick up trophies, but following the events of the last few days Hamilton, who finished second, has decided not to attend.
Wolff was invited to Paris to pick up the constructors’ trophy, which Mercedes won for the eighth year in a row, but also decided not to attend.
“No, both of us won’t be there. And I won’t be there because of my loyalty to Lewis and because of my own personal integrity,” Wolff told reporters on Thursday.
“But we will be represented as a team by James Allison, who will be taking the trophy on behalf of all the people in Brackley and Brixworth who should celebrate our eighth consecutive world championship title. Who deserve to be celebrated, because it’s a fantastic achievement that we are very proud of.
“And in a way I’m trying to compartmentalise the anger on the outcome of the Formula 1 Drivers’ World Championship and on the other side the pride and the joy of having achieved something unprecedented. That needs to be celebrated.”
In a statement on Thursday morning, Mercedes confirmed it would withdraw its intention to appeal the result of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix but that it plans to hold the FIA accountable for the events in Abu Dhabi. The FIA said on Wednesday it would investigate the final laps as part of a “clarification exercise”, which Mercedes and other F1 teams will be a part of.
Mercedes was furious at how the race finished, after FIA race director Michael Masi appeared to ignore certain parts of the sporting regulations in order to ensure the title battle was decided by one final lap of racing after several laps behind the safety car.
The hasty restart, which saw only the cars between Hamilton and Verstappen unlap themselves, gave Verstappen the opportunity to pass Hamilton on the final lap, helping him secure the championship with a race victory.
Hamilton’s Mercedes team protested the race results after the chequered flag, with a focus on the articles of the sporting regulations that had been ignored to get racing back underway for one final lap.