Mercedes boss hopes ‘robbed’ Lewis Hamilton will continue racing
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The debate continues to rage over the legitimacy of Max Verstappen’s first ever World Drivers’ Championship after a brutal win over Lewis Hamilton in Abu Dhabi in December – none more so than Toto Wolff. And the Mercedes chief has given his thoughts on FIA race director Michael Masi once more.
Wolff was incensed when a decision to let the cars in between Hamilton and Verstappen unlap themselves was sanctioned on the final lap of the Abu Dhabi race.
It allowed Verstappen to waltz home to claim victory as he had fresher, newer tyres.
Many have criticised Masi for the incident, but Wolff only wants the consistency of decisions to be fixed and defended the under-fire official – hinting that he does not want him to be fired.
“It’s a bigger problem, my values are simply not compatible with the decisions that were made,” said Wolff, as quoted by the Spanish branch of Motorsport.com.
“It is not just about replacing the race director. The whole decision-making system must be improved.
“It’s one thing to drive hard and have different points of view between drivers and teams, that’s normal.
“But inconsistent decisions inevitably lead to controversy, much of it totally unnecessary.”
The Austrian added that inconsistencies in the implementation of rules were frustrating despite Mercedes sometimes benefitting from those decisions.
However, Wolff believes the call in Abu Dhabi showed way too much of a showbiz characteristic.
“But this last decision had the biggest impact, and from a sports perspective, it was catastrophic because it decided the World Championship,” Wolff continued.
Some believe the safety car was issued to ‘spice up the action’.
Wolff refutes this, although he believes Masi was perhaps pressured into stopping the race fizzling out via race car.
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“I would never say something like that, because in the end we provide entertainment, but that entertainment has to follow the sport and not the other way around,” added Wolff.
“Stefano [Domenicali, F1 CEO] is a real racing man and would not be interested in intervening in the races for the entertainment factor.
“I can’t judge the pressure the race director is under at the time, but the rules are the rules.”
The new season gets underway in Bahrain on March 20.
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