Wolff is optimistic about Formula One’s steps to improve race management

Mercedes team leader Toto Wolf is “optimistic” that new steps taken to improve the management of Formula One racing will be …

Mercedes team leader Toto Wolf is “optimistic” that new steps taken to improve Formula One racing management will be successful, although he remains unhappy with how Lewis Hamilton lost the title last season.

Wolff spoke at the launch of the Mercedes W13 on Friday, the day after Michael Massi was replaced as director of Formula One racing after a late dispute over the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that determined the title in December.

The FIA’s governing body of motorsport made its decision after analyzing the wild-season finale, where Red Bull driver Max Ferstappen won his first world title after overtaking Hamilton in the final lap after a controversial restart of the race.

“Literally half a minute of the decision-making process (we lost the title). But we also have to move away from that, ”Wolf said. “We will not forget this, because it is simply impossible, but we need to look at 2022. I believe that the right steps have been taken, and I am optimistic about the changes that have been implemented.

“The last couple of years we’ve seen a bit of freestyle in the interpretation of the regulations,” he added. “Yes, I’m happy with what has been implemented.”

Structural changes include a new football-style virtual control room, and security vehicle deployment procedures will be reviewed before the first race in Bahrain on March 20th.

Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas will alternately serve as race directors, and Herbie Blasch will assist as a permanent senior advisor.

“Of course, the role of race director is not easy, and now we have two very experienced guys,” said Wolf. “The support structure (is) not only in the race directors’ room, but also in the remote control room, where race directors can count on feedback and input to facilitate their decision-making process.”

But there will be no more direct communication with the director of the race, as in the speedboat in Abu Dhabi, where Wolf and Red Bull team director Christian Horner were able to talk to Massi while he weighed his decision in a TV series that is more like a movie than a sport.

The title of world champion depended on the key decision of Massi, which caused deep confusion and tumultuous coup in some circles – while the FIA ​​said that the image of the sport was damaged.

Hamilton drove comfortably until a safety car came out as a result of the Nicholas Latifi accident, leaving five laps. Ferstappen stopped under the yellow to put a new set of tires, and Massi overturned his decision and allowed the drivers who separated Ferstappen from Hamilton to pass the safety car under the yellow.

At the time, Hamilton complained that it was a “manipulative” result, but Wolff on Friday rejected any offer of obscene play.

“Nothing fixed, I think it was … how right? … Just the circumstances and decisions were unprecedented, and the way they happened – of course, for us – was a shock, “he said. “Three laps before the end we received a message that the cars were not allowed to turn around. Three minutes later, two messages suddenly appear out of nowhere. “

Ferstappen restarted second after Hamilton, and on faster new tires the Dutchman slipped past him in the fifth turn.

That night Mercedes lost both protests over how the race ended and then withdrew its appeal.

Wolff said Mercedes did not require the FIA ​​to leave Massi, amid speculation that Hamilton would have left Formula One if Massi had remained in his role.

“The fact that we reject the appeal (being) due to the fact that someone leaves the FIA ​​is not true, I do not know where it comes from,” – said Wolf. “Last year was a great season, but it created a great polarization with solutions that weren’t always easy to understand.”

Hamilton was utterly upset by how he missed a record eighth Formula One title to get ahead of his friend Michael Schumacher.

He removed himself from his social networks and only recently returned to them. Friday’s launch was the first time Hamilton has publicly spoken out of Abu Dhabi.

“What he did was absolutely right to break out of the Formula One microcosm,” Wolf said. “He’s back in a great mood, he’s positive, determined, and again the adversity that has been thrown at him will make him stronger.”

Hamilton, who has 103 wins and 103 pole positions in F1, will now seek to write more lines in the record books.

Wolff added with a smile, “This is an attack mode.”


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