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No rules on drivers racing one another, insists Wolff

NEWS STORY
30/04/2021

Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff insists that there are no rules preventing George Russell from racing his drivers, the Austrian adamant that there is no collusion.

One of the biggest shocks in the aftermath of the clash involving Valtteri Bottas and George Russell in Imola, was Toto Wolff's claim that the Briton should not have been racing the Mercedes driver in the first place.

The comment didn't go down well with fans - or some team bosses - as it appeared to suggest collusion, in terms of the German team attempting to dictate what other teams and their drivers can do.

Speaking at today's FIA press conference, Wolff was keen to set the record straight.

"There is no confusion on any side, and there are no rules for any of the drivers," he insisted. "It was just us giving feedback.

Referring to subsequent discussions with Russell, he said: "I think I want most of it to stay confidential because I had discussions with both of the drivers.

"Drivers have to go for a gap," he admitted, "and sometimes it's evaluating whether it's taking a risk or not. I guess that a young driver will always go for the possibility and nothing else is expected.

"Then the question is, is there enough reaction time to take to evaluate who is the other car? I think not.

"So in a way, there is never 100% blame on one and zero on the other one. It's probably always much more nuanced and I'm really happy about the conversation we had."

When asked about Russell treating Bottas and Lewis Hamilton and teammates amounted to collusion, Wolff snapped: "I don't know what I should really respond to such a question. I have no response".

At which point Christian Horner offered his two-penn'orth.

"In Red Bull's case, all drivers are Red Bull Racing drivers," said the Briton, "and some are assigned obviously to AlphaTauri.

"But there's no instruction to work effectively as one team," he insisted. "There's a request to respect the fellow members, but that's it, they're free to race and race each other hard as we've seen on numerous occasions, but there's no instruction to collude or anything along those lines."

Check out our Friday gallery from Portimao, here.

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1. Posted by kenji, 01/05/2021 11:56

"@ JCR...I was being polite!!! The more one looks at this the more it takes on greater significance. Wolff spoke to the drivers and wants to keep it private. What on earth is he doing? Russell drives for Williams and yes, he's also a development driver in the Mercedes camp but he should not be sitting down with Wolff/Mercedes and discussing on track race competition. That could possibly be alleged as having some similarities with an act of collusion or coercion, under certain contractual circumstances. Either way it shouldn't be happening IMO.Why would Williams accept interference with driving instructions to one of their drivers? "

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2. Posted by jcr, 01/05/2021 11:30

"Arrogance is his middle name !!
Don remember him saying he would send Hammi or Nico, back to formula renault, after they came together.
But he feels he can talk down to the little guys.
Backtracking is an understatement."

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3. Posted by kenji, 30/04/2021 23:54

"Wolff is backtracking but the cat's out of the bag. "

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