“We had the opportunity to speak directly to the race director and because we are fighting so fiercely for the interests of our teams, we have all overstepped,” said the Mercedes team director.
Last update: 12/21/21 12:08 AM
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff agrees with suggestions that bosses of F1 teams should not be able to talk to F1’s clerk over the radio.
Communications between team pit walls and race control have long been commonplace, but only began to be heard over the televised world from mid-season.
Messages broadcast included the more traditional exchanges between the sporting directors and Michael Masi, the race director, but also featured interventions by team managers including Wolff and Christian Horner of Red Bull.
Wolff and Horner’s comments in the middle of the controversial Abu Dhabi GP end to the season have been compared to the F1 equivalent of managers pressuring the referee in football.
F1 Motorsport General Manager Ross Brawn has since suggested in the German press that race communication between team managers and the race director should be stopped, and Wolff said: “I agree. with Ross, but I also blame Ross and myself for being part of the decision to broadcast more channels for transparency and entertainment for the fans.
“There’s so much going on on the intercom that giving fans a little glimpse into all the little dramas that are going on – is the car broken down, are we having some sort of strategy talk? – was well intentioned. but I think we overwhelmed.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner looks back on the events of Abu Dhabi and Max Verstappen’s last F1 title win.
“I have to take myself by the nose. And Christian. We were given the opportunity to speak directly with the race director and because we are fighting so fiercely for the interests of our teams, we have all overstepped.
“It was certainly part of the failures this year which, under pressure from the team managers, did not make life for the race director easier either. So we have to come back.”
Wolff added: “The team managers shouldn’t speak directly to the clerk of the course, it should be the sporting directors.
“I would go even further; I don’t think sporting directors should put pressure on the clerk of the course or exert pressure. They should point the finger at situations that the clerk of the course and his colleagues might not have. not spotted. But no lobbying or pressure. “
Wolff hopes Abu Dhabi will trigger changes in F1
Experience the incredible conclusion of the Abu Dhabi GP from the cars aboard Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton and listen to the team’s radios, including Hamilton saying the race had been “manipulated”.
“The whole decision-making system needs to be improved,” Wolff said as he reflected on the controversial handling of the safety car period in Abu Dhabi and what he believes to have been inconsistent application of the whole rules. throughout the season.
After discussions with Mercedes in the days following the season finale last week, the FIA pledged to conduct a full review of the Abu Dhabi GP and work with the drivers and teams to provide ” clarification… to attendees, media and fans on current regulations. to preserve the competitive nature of our sport while ensuring the safety of pilots and officials “.
Wolff is optimistic the process will result in tangible change from 2022.
“In the age of transparency, such decisions can no longer be made behind the scenes,” he said.
“Why I’m optimistic is that most of the sporting community will share my frustration with the decisions that have been made throughout the year. Everyone who is a runner, you guys, we know what’s going on. ‘happened.
“So nonetheless, I have confidence because we will all be pulling the same rope in the same direction. The teams, and I have had feedback from the teams, and the drivers. I have had assurances of [FIA secretary general of Motor Sport] Peter Bayer and Stefano [Domenicali, F1 president] that in the weeks and months to come, we will close the gaps that have widened more and more in recent years. “
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has said he and seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton are disillusioned and the driver will never recover from what happened on the last lap in Abu Dhabi.
While she still feels a strong sense of injustice about the sequence of events that led Max Verstappen to overtake Lewis Hamilton in the final lap of the season to win the world title, Mercedes chose not to continue by making appeal to the FIA International Tribunal.
Explaining why they made this decision despite the persistent widespread outcry about what happened, Wolff said: “I can understand the frustrations of many and to be honest I have the same. the time in two minds between my point of view and my judgment on the legal situation and my realism as to the outcome of such proceedings.
“There is a difference between being right and upholding justice and I don’t think that at the moment we are set up in terms of governance to find ourselves in a situation which would have given us the remedy and reinstated the result which was taken from Lewis before the last lap of the race.
“That’s why, with a heavy heart, we decided not to appeal because we would not have gotten the result. Now I think we have the right tools in hand to make sure that the decision making is right. future is better.
“We will hold the FIA and decision-makers accountable for making the sport more robust and decision-making more robust and consistent.”