Jean Todt says Max Verstappen was “really lucky on the last lap”

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FIA president Jean Todt again said the ending of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was down to luck, leaving doubt over whether the FIA intends to seriously investigate the situation.

The ending of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is still a subject of controversy. Mercedes has decided to withdraw their appeal over what happened, but there’s no doubt that FIA race director Michael Masi didn’t follow FIA’s rules and protocols in the final laps, which basically handed the world title to Max Verstappen.

A day before Mercedes announced they will drop their appeal, the FIA came out with a statement saying they will perform a “detailed analysis and clarification exercise” over the events.

Well, at the the FIA Prize-Giving Gala, FIA president Jean Todt seemed to be pretty sure that these event were down to just ‘luck’.

“I think [Verstappen] gets what he deserves, he made a great season,” Todt said at the event.

“I mean it’s human. You focus on the last lap. It is true he was really lucky on the last lap. But you should see the whole season.

“Was he lucky in Silverstone? Was he lucky in Azerbaijan? Was he lucky in Budapest? He was not.”

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Todt also took a few moments to praise Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes, but he did not fail to mention the “best car”.

“He has been an amazing combination. Probably [the] best car, and best team and he never does a mistake. This time simply [Verstappen] won 10 grands prix and we should find that remarkable.”

The statement that Verstappen won 10 grands prix in 2021, which is two more than Hamilton, is technically correct, but certainly not without its own controversies.

One of those two wins is a win at the 2021 Belgian Grand Prix, that lasted for a few laps under the Safety Car, and drivers were awarded half points, in what is to this day a controversial decision. The other win is the one from Abu Dhabi, which is now the subject of FIA’s own “detailed analysis and clarification exercise”.

Todt then turned to that very “exercise” and admitted the FIA did have its faults in 2021.

“Are we perfect? We’re not perfect. And incidentally, that’s why I’ve suggested to have a full review to see what needs to be improved, in light of what has happened. But not only for this race, what has happened over the year.

“Should we refuse if we can improve? We should not. We need to be perfectionists, and, in a way, F1 is the result of perfection.

“You know, a great driver is not enough. A great car is not enough. So all has to be combined to be successful,” the Frenchman concluded.

So, Todt here made sure to mention that it is not only Abu Dhabi that will be reviewed, but also other races. This was not written in the FIA’s statement, and appears to be one more attempt to sweep the whole situation under the rug.

This leaves serious doubt if the FIA can be trusted to impartially review what had happened and come out with credible findings, explanations and solutions for the future.

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