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FIA aware of new radio messages that raise questions about World Championship title decider

Recently emerged radio messages between Red Bull sporting director Jonathan Wheatley and race director Michael have raised fresh questions about last year's title-decider.

The FIA says it knows about radio messages from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that seem to be further evidence of race director Michael Masi reacting to Red Bull's suggestions as to how to end a safety-car period.

Race director Masi was involved in controversial decisions at the final race of last season, and Masi echoes Red Bull's language in a response he gives to Mercedes.

Formula 1’s governing body said these messages are part of the ongoing investigation.

In the radio messages, Red Bull sporting director Jonathan Wheatley is heard advising Masi on how to deal with lapped cars that are on track between the leaders as he attempts to organise a restart before the laps run out.

Red Bull overtaking Mercedes in F1 World Championship Finals

At the time, Red Bull's Max Verstappen was on new tyres behind Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton on old rubber, which meant that if the race was resumed Verstappen would have a huge advantage and would likely win the race and championship.

The radio transmissions are not new - they were on a video released by Formula 1 on 16 December, four days after the race. However, the one from Wheatley suggesting what Masi should do when restarting the race appears to have missed general circulation in the storm that followed.

It fits an impression of Masi acting in Red Bull's favour during the race and against Mercedes' interests.

Their emergence into the public arena - they were trending on Twitter on Wednesday with the hashtag #F1xed - has come days before the FIA is due to reveal the outcome of its inquiry into Abu Dhabi to a meeting of the F1 Commission next Monday.

It is widely acknowledged within F1 that Masi failed to follow the rules correctly in Abu Dhabi, and that in doing so he had a direct effect on the outcome of the world championship.

The FIA inquiry was set up to analyse how the mistakes at Abu Dhabi were made, and to put in place protocols to try to prevent them happening again.

The FIA has access to all team radio from Abu Dhabi for the inquiry they are conducting into the race.

And the outcome could have significant consequences - Hamilton, who lost the championship in the controversial ending of the race, will not decide whether to return to F1 this year until he has seen the results of the FIA inquiry. (BBC Sport)


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