Toto Wolff Counters the FIA Over Lewis Hamilton’s Penalty During the Russian GP




Lewis Hamilton’s penalty at the Russian Grand Prix came as a shock to everyone. The timing of it, the severity, and eventually the final standings, the entire affair didn’t sit well with the Briton. Team Principal Toto Wolff was annoyed and had a word with the stewards.

The FIA and the Briton have been at odds since Monza and the decision at Sochi pointed towards something fishy. Toto Wolff and Ron Meadows soon approached the stewards to clarify the penalty.

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Toto Wolff not satisfied with FIA’s reasoning to Hamilton penalty

“Ron [Meadows] and I were the stewards, the verdict was he wasn’t in the right place. There is no mention what the right place is in the director’s note, nor is it in the regulations. So we disagree on that one—we agree to disagree on that one.

Toto also had several doubts about the penalty points applied to Lewis. The Mercedes man dismissed the claims that pointed at Hamilton or the team. His disbelief strongly portrayed in those words.

“The errors always happen together; It’s not a team error, it’s not a Lewis error. And I wouldn’t want to point at anybody, and I’ve never done that.”

Formula One F1 – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – September 27, 2020. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Angela Cullen before the race. Pool via REUTERS/Bryn Lennon

Toto Wolff did not agree to Masi’s note on the regulations. According to him, rules can be interpreted in two ways and that is what may have happened. However, a 10-second penalty was too harsh.

“I’m not happy with the penalty, because it’s far-fetched, but we agree to disagree. I will always respect the stewards in their job, but on that one, we just agree to disagree.

“The race director’s notes say if I’m well-informed, that you must do practice starts after the lights on the right side of the pit lane. And that’s what happened”

The Silver Arrows’ headman clarified that they had abided by the regulations, and for the team to miss such a major detail was impossible.  “The designated place, it says after the lights, at the right side. It does specify that the practice starts, need to be done after the lights on the right side,” said Wolff.

FIA had annoyed Toto earlier. This definitely aggravates situations. Though Masi has been open about any conversation and clarification that the Mercedes may need, Toto knows better. He stated that they will look next time onwards and be extra cautious. The bitterness betwixt FIA and Mercedes keeps getting worse with every race. There is always a need for fair play, and to ensure equal footing. However, bending rules to maintain excitement is childish and immature.

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