Toto Wolff didn’t seem very happy with the disqualification of Lewis Hamilton in F1 Sao Paulo GP as Christian Horner and Max Verstappen add on.
The already intense fight between Mercedes and Red Bull added further drama over the F1 Sao Paulo GP weekend. The former already were reeling with a five-place penalty for Hamilton and to add to their misery, he was disqualified from Friday qualifying.
It was due to the DRS infringement of 0.2mm as per Wolff, who was surprised with the FIA’s decision for no tolerance towards their issues which they felt manifested during the course of qualifying and that they were not given any time to rectify even.
While fans and alike linked it to Verstappen’s touch in parc ferme but the FIA ruled out any issue on that, although, they did fined him for break of Sporting Regulations. The hefty penalty came towards Hamilton which meant, he had to recover in sprint qualifying.
The luck part was that he got double chance to improve his position as under normal conditions, he was then to start from the back in the main race rather than sprint qualifying. He did come through to be fifth and will now start 10th.
Hamilton didn’t speak much on the disqualification after he already answered by a charge through the field on Saturday. Wolff didn’t go down without sharing his opinion as Horner added about the larger complaint of bending flexi-wings on the Mercedes.
They already had this discussion pre-qualifying which is what Verstappen was looking at in parc ferme. Horner reckons this is not the end of the subject and it is same as how Mercedes chased them earlier in the season by getting to the FIA.
DQ decision –
Wolff: “I don’t want to pick out any individuals, because everybody tries to do the best possible job in their role, but something went against the modus operandi in these last 24 hours. It was either under pressure from other stakeholders, or just different, and if the modus operandi is different now, you maybe need to look at others also with a more strict eye and severe eye. I can tell you that, in the next few races, we’re going to look at every single race part and race tape that’s going to fall off a car and ask questions. I think in a way there was a gentleman’s agreement, if such a thing as a gentlemen’s agreement exists in F1 because there ain’t no gentlemen, but it doesn’t exist any more. You can have no millimetre of leniency of fixing things on a car. If it’s broken, it’s broken, you can’t touch it. And this is how it’s going to go this year.”
By how much they got DQ’ed –
Wolff: “I think how the process went from telling us, discovering that we’ve marginally failed the test – we’re speaking 0.2 of a millimetre – to not allowing this to be fixed like the normal protocol would be, but rather it being reported to the stewards, the bullet was out of the gun and I think that put the stewards in a very difficult situation to come up with the right judgement.”
Red Bull change in past –
Wolff: “We’ve seen it with the Red Bull last weekend. We have had many bargeboards, or bib failures, that were being put back because the FIA has our CAD drawings, they have the wings. We wanted to leave the wing with them so they can cut it in to 1000 pieces. We weren’t allowed to look at the wing because it was simply damaged through the qualifying session and none of these arguments counted. To be fair the stewards did the job and we failed the one test and their arguement needs to be respected and this is why we decided not to appeal the decision, simply because of the philosophical reasons that the steward decided, you have to take it to the chin and it goes both ways. In the past, sometimes there was a common sense buffer that didn’t exist yesterday or today. But it’s all to the dot within the regulation. So you need to respect that.”
Surprise with the decision –
Wolff: “Until late this afternoon we believed that it was okay because the wing was damaged. One side was okay, the middle was okay, the right was not okay. That means we actually had a performance disadvantage. And we thought that, in consideration of all these aspects, the FIA would say there was damage and therefore, we weren’t in breach of the regulations. They also said there was nothing that happened with intent from our side. Our crew member came back and said ‘something’s broken’ because of the odd behaviour of the rear wing. We were reading ‘disqualified’ which honestly I couldn’t believe. I thought that Ron Meadows was taking a joke when I saw the WhatsApp. So strange things happen but you have to take it on the chin. The last 60 minutes of motor racing form Valtteri and from Lewis just brought all the enjoyment back with all the frustrations that happened before.”
No appeal and haven’t got the part –
Wolff: “We would have liked to show the weaknesses of the arguments or the system. We didn’t because we didn’t want to lose all points for today and tomorrow in case of a failed appeal, and it would drag the whole decision a few weeks out. We need to do the racing on the track and if we lose, then we lose. And if we win, then we win. Also, we haven’t got the wing back. The wing stays with FIA all weekend, and we couldn’t evaluate what the damage was beyond the visual look that our number one mechanic Nathan had whilst the test was being performed. He came back and said something’s broken because of the odd behaviour of the rear wing.”
“It was definitely tough. While the team were working away, delegating with the stewards, I was just trying to focus on my work with my engineers and keeping the morale with my mechanics high and just focusing on the job at hand and not thinking about it. Of course, just before I heard about the result, it was devastating. But you can’t let that hold you back, keep your head down, I’ve got to keep going. And so I quickly reset, got my mind focused on doing what I could do you know, and just given it my everything.”
Keeping a close eye –
Horner: “We saw it yesterday, that it’s just phenomenal, especially with the size of rear wing that they have on the car. It’s something that we’ve got to try and focus on with our own performance. I think obviously, it’s something that is enabling the car to do that kind of speeds. Something must happen, because physics wouldn’t allow, the kind of horsepower delta that you would need to achieve that would be pretty significant. We’re obviously trying to understand what it is and, and go from there.”
Meeting with FIA –
Horner: It’s something that we’ve seen for a little while, but it’s down to the FIA to police. The rules are quite concise, they’re ever more constrictive. So it’s something that we’re going to keep an eye on because, particularly with Lewis today, you saw that was just a different league. I think he was 27 km/h faster than the Lando when he passed him, which is another formula. But it’s a great drive from him. I think I said before the race that this track, you can really overtake at. That’s F1, isn’t it? I mean, our rear wing, obviously a technical directive came out that changed the testing procedure on that and the wing was revised accordingly. Maybe we need another change to the tests. There’s a bunch of clever engineers. That’s Formula 1, that’s what the business is all about.”
“I was clearly looking at the wing. Yeah, you can see on the video what I did exactly. I was just looking at how much their rear wing was flexing, at that point. There had been talks and of course there are things to still look into because, as I said, at a certain speed it seems like the wing is flexing and of course we had, at the beginning of the season, we had to all change the rear wings a bit because of the back-off but it seems like something is still backing off over there so that’s why I went and had a look. It had nothing to do with the DRS, what they were looking at.”
Here’s the reason why Lewis Hamilton was disqualified
Here’s Max Verstappen getting fined for touching rear wing of Lewis Hamilton
Here’s Christian Horner on Toto Wolff