EXCLUSIVE: Mercedes knew they were 'never going to win' Max appeal

EXCLUSIVE: Mercedes knew they were 'never going to win' Max appeal

A member of the Mercedes Formula 1 team has told Beat Sport that the team knew they would never win an appeal against Max Verstappen's title.

Charlie Eastwood also revealed that a team meeting, called by Principal Toto Wolff - on Wednesday night - still saw the team undecided over whether to go ahead with the appeal or not.

Belfast-born Eastwood had been working with the Silver Arrows as a simulator driver, providing key support in car development across the season, including at last week's controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

He told SportsBeat Xtra this week that the end of the race - which saw only the lapped cars between Verstappen and seven-time winner Lewis Hamilton unlap themselves, allowing the Dutchman to win his first-ever World Championship title - was wrong.


"A very frustrating end to the Championship, really, because it shouldn't have ended like that.

"You hate to see it decided in the stewards' office, which it was really, when they made the call they knew who was going to win the race because there was a four second delta between a new soft and an old hard tyre.

"I have a mixed view on it. I think Max deserved to win the Championship because he had 10 wins, eight second places, and the most podiums of anyone in the F1 season, and was phenomenal throughout the year.

"But he made a mistake off the line, Lewis controlled the race, so really Lewis did the better job on the day to win the Championship, and it was taken away from him."


Eastwood was at the team headquarters in Brackley throughout the week following the race, and was able to give a unique insight into the chain of events at the 2021 Constructors Championship winners, as they debated whether to launch an appeal to the race result.

"In complete honesty, Mercedes had no idea if they were going to take on the appeal or not all, every day it was changing.

"Toto did an internal meeting on Wednesday evening to outline to everybody the current scenario, and at that point it was still undecided.

"On the appeals wasn't Max's or Red Bulls' fault that the Safety Car came in and that only half the grid were let through, and they just capitalised. Mercedes didn't want to take that away from them....


"...and they knew they'd never win the appeal. So it was more a case of should we set a president of what should be happening going forward in the sport."

Wolff told media that seven-time champion Hamilton may 'never recover' from the ending of this year's title battle, and that he may not return to the sport next year to the sport.

"I haven't spoken to anyone within Mercedes on that" said Eastwood, who joined the team at the beginning of the year.

"He has dedicated so much to trying to win this Championship, especially being on the back foot in the latter half of the year. He left no stone unturned, he was super super strict with COVID protocols, didn't do anything through the year, didn't risk meeting anyone.

"Everyone's been flying direct from Brasil to Doha in the last few races. He chose to fly back to his home in Monaco and then fly back to England to do a half-day on the sim, before flying back to Monaco, staying the night, and flying onto the other side of the world.

"That was the level he was going to, which takes a toll, and to get it taken away with one lap to go is bitter.

"I really hope he doesn't retire, and I think his race pace has never been better, so hopefully we'll get to see another spectacle of that next year."

You can hear our full interview with Charlie on this week's SportsBeat Xtra.