It has been just over three weeks’ time since Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton saw his eighth championship win slip away as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took the highly controversial 2021 world title at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
In the weeks that followed, tensions have been high, and rumours have been rife around the fate of Hamilton’s career – with some even suggesting he may not return for the 2022 season.
The FIA’s new president, Mohammed bin Sulayem, has since revealed that the British driver is not responding to messages after the governing body threatened to sanction him for not attending the Formula One official prize-giving gala.
“I’ve sent him messages,” Bin Sulayem said.
“I don’t think he’s 100% ready to respond right now. We don’t blame him.
“I understand his position, as a driver, obviously, he is at a different level.”
However, Mr Sulayem went on to say that the rules have to be respected in order to maintain the integrity of the sport.
“But there are also rules,” he said.
“As you read in the press, the new president is going to sanction; of course, they [the media] spice things up a lot with what is important for others
“But for me it’s not particularly related to a certain driver or a certain team. It’s general.
“There are rules we have to respect, and we have to respect the integrity of the FIA. And I can’t judge anyone until I know the exact facts.
“In fact, my first objective is to go through the whole Abu Dhabi file.
“I think of course by not being at the gala, it’s something that Lewis and his team knew. But at the end of the day, we’re human too. There was stress and pressure,” Sulayem concluded.