F1 news: Lewis Hamilton could be punished for failing to attend Paris gala, says Mohammed Ben Sulayem

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F1 news: Lewis Hamilton could be punished for failing to attend Paris gala, says Mohammed Ben Sulayem
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  • Lewis Hamilton
    Lewis Hamilton
    British racing driver
  • Max Verstappen
    Max Verstappen
    Dutch-Belgian racing driver
  • Mohammed bin Sulayem
    President of FIA and retired rally driver

Sir Lewis Hamilton could be punished for missing F1’s end-of-season gala in Paris.

The Mercedes driver, who was knighted earlier this week, did not attend after Max Verstappen pipped him to the world title in the most controversial of fashion at the Abu Dhabi Grand Pix.

Mohammed Ben Sulayem told reporters he would devote all the time needed to Formula One, whose season ended in uproar in Abu Dhabi last Sunday after a change to the safety car procedure led to Red Bull’s Verstappen taking the title on the last lap.

The 60-year-old replaced Jean Todt at the helm after winning an election with 61.62% of the vote.

FIA race director Michael Masi has been at the centre of the controversy, with Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff saying the Australian had ‘robbed’ Hamilton of a record eighth championship.

The governing body has agreed to clarify rules and review the decision-making process.

Hamilton, the sport’s most successful driver of all time and badly affected by the outcome after leading until seven corners from the end, did not attend Thursday night’s gala awards ceremony-- a requirement for the championship’s top three.

"If there is any breach, there is no forgiveness on this," said Ben Sulayem, while also recognising that rules could always be improved and saying he wanted to make a fresh start.

"We have to improve in every aspect," he said.

"We will look into the rules and make sure that any situation like this that occurs in the future we will have an instant solution for it," he added

Asked about the FIA’s confidence in Masi, he said he would "look into every single matter that can improve the FIA or there is an issue about it" but needed to fully inform himself first.

Additional reporting from Reuters

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