Wolff backs calls to BAN team bosses' radio access to race control

Toto Wolff backs calls to BAN team principals like himself having radio access to race control after admitting HIS furious rant at race director Michael Masi ‘overstepped’ the mark during the controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

  • Toto Wolff was left outraged by race director Michael Masi in Abu Dhabi
  • Wolff felt Masi’s decision making left a lot to be desired as Red Bull won the title
  • The Mercedes team boss pleaded with Masi over team radio that ‘this is not right’
  • Masi had allowed five cars to unlap under a safety car, helping Max Verstappen
  • It was a shootout for the title on the final lap and Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has thrown his support behind banning team principals having access to race control during races after he ‘overstepped’ in his furious rant at race director Michael Masi in Abu Dhabi.

Wolff was raging when Masi allowed five cars separating race leader Lewis Hamilton and his title rival Max Verstappen to unlap themselves behind a safety car, before teeing up a last-lap shootout for the title. 

Verstappen, on fresher tyres, had one chance to win his final title and he took it, leaving Wolff and Mercedes enraged.

Toto Wolff supports calls to ban F1’s team principals having direct access to the race director

Race director Michael Masi was put under pressure from team bosses during Abu Dhabi GP

A furious Wolff could be heard yelling to Masi: ‘No, Michael, no, no, Michael, that was so not right.’ 

As part of the transparency for viewers watching the broadcasts, radio communications from the race control channel have been made publicly available.

But Wolff has now echoed calls from Ross Brawn, Formula 1’s managing director of motorsports, for a ban as he feels bosses such as himself have ‘overstepped’ the mark.  

‘I agree with Ross,’ Wolff told Motorsport.com if he shared the same views as Brawn’s. 

Max Verstappen was given a final lap shootout against Lewis Hamilton which enraged Wolff 

 The Red Bull driver passed Hamilton at the Yas Marina circuit to win his maiden title in F1

‘But I equally blame Ross and myself because we have been part of the decision making to broadcast more of the channels for the purpose of transparency and entertainment for the fans.

‘There is so much going on on the intercom that giving fans a little bit of an overview of all the little dramas that happen, like is the car breaking down, are we having some kind of strategy discussions, was meant well. But I think we overshot.’

Wolff’s rival at Red Bull, Christian Horner, was also heard on the channel putting pressure on Masi to remove the safety car and allow for one final lap of racing to decide the championship. 

‘I need to take myself by the nose, and Christian,’ Wolff added. ‘We were given the opportunity to talk to the race director directly, and because we fight so fiercely for the interests of our teams all of us overstepped.’ 

Brawn revealed recently that the sport will stop team principals from being able to speak to the race director during Grands Prix next season. 

‘We will stop this contact next year,’ the Briton told Auto Motor und Sport. 

‘It’s unacceptable that team bosses put Michael under such pressure during the race. It’s like the coaches negotiating with the referee in football.

Ross Brawn says it’s ‘unacceptable’ that team bosses put Masi under such pressure on radio

‘Toto can’t demand there shouldn’t be a Safety Car and Christian can’t demand the cars have to un-lap. That’s at the discretion of the race director.’

Fury reigned in Abu Dhabi when Williams driver Nicholas Latifi crashed with five laps to go, triggering a safety car.

The under-fire Masi changed his mind to allow lapped cars to pass the safety car – meaning Verstappen had a clear run at Hamilton in the final lap and, on much faster fresh tyres, made his move to claim a first F1 title. 

There was also conversations between Masi and Red Bull on the first lap of the race when Verstappen tried to cut in front of Hamilton, only to push the Mercedes driver off the track.

Hamilton then took to the run-off area and emerged back on the track with a healthy advantage over Verstappen. 

Red Bull were adamant that Hamilton should have given the place back to Verstappen, but Masi disagreed and insisted the seven-time world champion had given the advantage back by slowing down. 

Meanwhile, Williams driver Latifi spoke out about the online abuse he has suffered in the wake of Formula One’s controversial season finale.

The Canadian has been subjected to abuse after his crash in Abu Dhabi sparked a controversial end to the title race.

Williams F1 driver Nicholas Latifi has been sent abuse and hate since the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

He wrote: ‘A lot has been made of the situation that came about after my retirement in Abu Dhabi. 


‘I’ve received thousands of messages to my social media accounts – publicly and via DMs. Most have been supportive, but there’s been a lot of hate and abuse, too.

‘Going back to the race weekend, as soon as the checkered flag dropped, I knew how things were likely to play out on social media. 

‘The fact that I felt it would be best if I deleted Instagram and Twitter on my phone for a few days says all we need to know about how cruel the online world can be.

‘The ensuing hate, abuse, and threats on social media were not really a surprise to me as it’s just the stark reality of the world we live in right now.

‘I’m no stranger to being talked about negatively online, I think every sports person who competes on the world stage knows they’re under extreme scrutiny and this comes with the territory sometimes.’

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