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Wolff and Hamilton to miss FIA prize-giving

NEWS STORY
16/12/2021

While Mercedes has opted to withdraw its appeal of the stewards decision in Abu Dhabi, neither Toto Wolff or Lewis Hamilton will attend tonight's official FIA prize-giving in Paris.

The move can only be seen as a snub in the wake of the controversial decisions last Sunday which effectively resulted in Lewis Hamilton missing out on a record eighth title.

It was noticeable that despite winning both championships, Mercedes opted not to send its F1 or Formula E cars to Paris for pre-gala photographs yesterday, and now it has been confirmed that the German team will be represented tonight by chief technical officer, James Allison.

"Both of us won't be there," said Wolff, according to Motorsport.com. "I won't be there because of my loyalty to Lewis and because of my own personal integrity.

"But we will be represented as a team by James Alison, who will be taking the trophy on behalf of all the people in Brackley and Brixworth who should celebrate our eighth consecutive world championship title, who deserve to be celebrated, because it's a fantastic achievement that we are very proud of.

"Lewis and I are disillusioned at the moment," he admitted, somewhat undeerstandably. "We are not disillusioned with the sport, we love the sport with every bone in our body and we love it because the stopwatch never lies.

"But if we break that fundamental principal of sporting fairness and authenticity of the sport then suddenly the stopwatch doesn't become relevant anymore because we are exposed to random decision-making, that it is clear you may fall out of love with. That you start to question if all the work you have been putting in, all the sweat, tears and blood, can actually be demonstrated in terms of being the best possible performance on track, because it can be taken away randomly.

"In a way I'm trying to compartmentalize the anger on the outcome of the F1 drivers' championship and, on the other side, the pride and the joy of having achieved something unprecedented and that needs to be celebrated," he added.

Hamilton's absence is a breach of Article 6.6 of the Sporting Regulations which state that: "The drivers finishing first, second and third in the Championship must be present at the annual FIA Prize Giving ceremony."

However, imposing some sort of penalty on the seven-time world champion in the wake of last weekend's events might be the final straw for the Briton and him millions of fans.

While Toto Wolff bites his lip in terms of the sorry state of affairs, his wife, former racer and CEO of Venturi Racing in Formula E, has hit out at the integrity of the FIA.

"Going into this final race weekend, I believed both teams and both drivers deserved to win," she writes on Twitter. "It was going to be a spectacle, an historic race that we all hoped would end without controversy. That wasn't to be.

"What happened is still hard to comprehend and still leaves me with a sick feeling. Not the losing - and not Max or Red Bull - they are deserving winners and we always knew it was a strong possibility we may not win - but the way in which Lewis was robbed has left me in utter disbelief.

"The decision of one person within the governing body who applied a rule in a way which has never been done before in F1 single handedly decided the F1 Driver World Championship. Rules are rules, they can't be changed on a whim by one individual at the end of a race.

"Lewis Hamilton, you have shown incredible integrity and dignity in the face of injustice. You are the greatest there has ever been. The outcome of the last laps on Sunday? Those who know, they know, even those who can't quite bring themselves to admit it.

"Congratulations Max and congratulations to each and every member of Mercedes-AMG F1 on your record breaking eighth constructors title - I hope my March of next year there is a governing body with sporting integrity and fairness at its core so I can fall back in love with F1."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by jcr, 17/12/2021 17:51

"Was Bottas EVER a Family member ??
Dont think so !!!
One of the most amusing incidents this year, Was in Saudi when Sir Hammi crashed Vals tv interview,
Declaring him to being the best team mate ever !!!
Now Youre sacked !!! get out !!!
Pure hypocrisy.
"

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Pavlo, 17/12/2021 11:32

"In fact Bottas did attend. He is not "Mercedes family" anymore... or was he?"

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3. Posted by kenji, 17/12/2021 11:29

"Once again Mercedes are getting favours from the FIA ! The rules state that the driver who came second must be in attendance art the prize giving [ 6.6 ] as reported in the body of the post. If Mercedes had any principles as 'observing the written rules ' the they should've ensured that Hamilton attended. You can't have it both ways...or can you?







] they would've ensured that Hamilton attended"

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4. Posted by jcr, 17/12/2021 11:09

"@2GWS. While you stand by your principles, which should be admired,
to a lot of people it still looks like bad sportsmanship, To support one persons ego,
Reminiscent of the Pram & Toys story !!!
Merc Barrister said committed to Sponsors ??
Curious to see if De Vries attended the prize ceremony."

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5. Posted by kenji, 17/12/2021 4:42

"@ GWS...noted from your post that you are an employee of Mercedes AMG race team otherwise you could not give a 100% unqualified guarantee. Very interesting indeed. That would support your outlook on all matters F1 from a team perspective. You might care to inform us of what you actually do within the team...."

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6. Posted by Pavlo, 16/12/2021 21:42

"@RP: the decision and reverse decision were made after Mercedes lost the chance to pit so didn’t really change anything.
This was not really the director’s decision, he just executed the promise he gave to the teams before. Yes, the crash 6 laps till the end opens a lottery, but it’s part of the game. Mercedes themselves lost the title when they (a) didn’t have the wingman in place to have any strategic option, (b) copied RB first stop letting RB to dictate the strategy and (c) wrongly estimated time required to clear that Williams.
They focus on that moment but trying to hide that with their strategy any SC was disastrous, starting from Giovinazzi, when they failed to make a decision and compensated it with trying to dictate director what to do."

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7. Posted by Great_white_shark, 16/12/2021 21:37

"@JCR just for the record: I can tell you for a fact everyone at Mercedes is 100% behind Toto and Lewis. We all feel the same anger as they are and we couldn't care less about our cars being there or not. Makes no difference to us. "

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8. Posted by Pavlo, 16/12/2021 21:28

"This is quite a bad precedent. Calling someone else’s title “random” raises questions about their previous and any next titles.
Moreover this is exactly the poisonous behaviour that led to this situation. If FIA now involves Mercedes into discussion about “better judging”, with their mindset that “all the season was ok and just the director stole the victory on the last minute” can’t possibly lead to any good decision. But if FIA doesn’t involve the team winning last 8 constructors it’s even worse.
This is practically the same problem Masi had - any his decision would be heavily criticised, and he selected just the least bad."

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9. Posted by RP, 16/12/2021 19:22

"I think Susie Wolf's statement is well said. Throughout any season there have been odd or erroneous decisions. The rotating stewards process has resulted in inconsistent enforcement throughout and fans have called for consistency. This last one, however, was particularly egregious as, anyone who follows F1 knows, it handed the race to Max. This decision was made by the race director and his response after the uproar was "it's car racing" is pitiful. Car racing it is and it should not be impacted by issuing a decision and shortly thereafter reversing it.
When Hamilton was passing lapped cars, even with the blue flag and good adherence by the other drivers, he still lost time. The Red Bull was given a pass which benefited them. But, there were other racing cars that would have benefited with lapped cars passing the safety car but that same opportunity was denied only to benefit Red Bull. Pretty sorry.
"

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10. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 16/12/2021 18:22

"In public Mercedes have handled this as well as they could and have been very restrained.

No doubt, they have decided to not look like "sore losers".

However, behind closed doors I expect much is going on like a duck on the surface of a pond appearing calm but legs going flat out.

Hopefully something positive will come out of this where the application of the rules are applied consistently for future seasons.

Liberty need to be aware that there are many hard core and new fans of F1 that are far from happy with the way the season ended."

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11. Posted by Defiant, 16/12/2021 17:00

"@Batman, I agree, the animosity has virtually nothing to do with Max winning, it's most certainly to do with the way it was won. That is no slight to Max, it's directed at the FIA without doubt.
Max deserved a title because of his relentless pursuit this year got him into a position where it was possible (along with a few dodgy decisions by the FIA) but bad luck also cast a shadow over his year so he earned it, but so did Sir virtue signal.
The way the year ended is a travesty, much the same as 1994."

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12. Posted by jcr, 16/12/2021 16:16

"Toto and SIR Lewis not attending is a Human reaction which I can nearly accept,
But not sending the 2 winning cars, F1 & Fe, can only be described as childish.
The 2 cars are not Totos Personal property !!
They are the labour of love, blood sweat and tears of thousands of staff at both factories,
But Mr Wolff has decided his toys will not be part of the celebration.
CHILDISH !!"

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13. Posted by Batman, 16/12/2021 15:23

"There are still comments here that consider that an error is no longer serious if it is to compensate for another error. I can't see the point in feeling compensated by an (supposedly) error that directly affects others. This matter does not have anything to do with Max or Lewis. It has to do with rules and the way they were applied may have broken the rules it self. So thinks Mercedes, fans and many drivers. And yes, there was an human error that changed the sporting context, at that moment."

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14. Posted by Roli, 16/12/2021 14:39

"@lapps the foul committed was that Max forced the issue, it didnt go his way"

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15. Posted by Lapps, 16/12/2021 13:36

"Toto, while you are brooding on, what might have been, don’t forget to include the impact of the stunning ‘professional foul’ carried out at Silverstone this year. Remember the impact was so severe that Max’s right rear wheel was detached before his accident. "

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