Site logo

Wolff believes Mercedes could have won appeal

NEWS STORY
17/12/2021

Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff believes that his team could have won its appeal had the hearing taken place in a conventional court as opposed to the FIA's International Court of Appeal and the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

On Thursday, hours before the prize-giving gala, which, along with Lewis Hamilton, Wolff opted not to attend, F1 breathed a sigh of relief when Mercedes announced that it would not be appealing the Abu Dhabi stewards decision.

However, subsequently speaking to members of the media, the Austrian said that had the appeal been heard in a conventional court he is convinced his team would have won.

"We believe we had a very strong case if you look at it from the legal side," he said. "If it would have been judged in a regular court, it is almost guaranteed that we would have won.

"But the problem with the ICA is the way it's structured," he continued. "The FIA can't really mark their own homework," and there's a difference between being right and obtaining justice.

"I don't think that at the moment we are set up, in terms of our governance, to end up in a situation that would have given us a remedy that would have reinstalled the result that was taken away from Lewis before the last lap of the race," he claimed. "That's why, heavy-hearted, we decided not to appeal because we wouldn't have gotten the result back."

Wolff was keen to make clear that throughout, Hamilton was involved in the team's decisions and was fully supporting.

"Every step of the way it was joint decisions," said Wolff. "We decided together with Lewis to protest, to launch the appeal and to withdraw the appeal.

As you can imagine, not only for him but also for us as a team, it was terrible to be confronted with a decision that decided the outcome of the world championship. Nobody of us, neither him nor us, want to win a world championship in the courtroom. But it was tremendously hard for him and for us as a team to withdraw the appeal, because we were deeply wronged.

"It wasn't just a case of a bad call," he insisted, "it was freestyle reading of the rules and it left Lewis like a sitting duck. There is a lesson to be learned in how can we make sure that going forward, in situations like that, that the right decisions are being taken.

"The verdict from the stewards in response for regulations and judgment in the courts, whether it is the ICA or the CAS, which is not currently part of the legislations, can be judged in a way that is fair and neutral to every participant."

Other than Hamilton, Wolff says that throughout the process he had the full support of the team's partner and sponsors.

"They've been with us all the way along," he said. "The message that I have received personally from sponsors, from fans, from very credible people made me very happy. The sponsors have trusted us to come up with a decision in relation to the appeal and would have gone with us all the way."

Responding to the news that the FIA is setting up a commission to investigate the events of that evening, Wolff said, is anger slowly rising: "The decisions that have been taken in the last four minutes of this race have robbed Lewis Hamilton of a deserved world championship. Robbing him in the last lap of the race is unacceptable.

"We expect the commission to not only come up with words but with actions, and we will hold them accountable for the actions.

"We cannot continue in a sport that is meant to be sport followed by entertainment, and not the other way around, that we are held ransom by ad hoc decisions. There needs to be clear measures in place before the start of next season so that every driver, every team and the fans understand what's on and what is not on."

In terms of the man at the centre of the storm, race director, Michael Masi, Wolff said: "I am not interested in having a conversation with Michael Masi. Robbing Lewis in the last lap of the race is unacceptable.

"That's why from a personal standpoint, from a professional standpoint I cannot," he continued "My values and my sense of integrity just isn't compatible with the decisions that have been made on Sunday, so it is up to the FIA to decide going forward how these decisions, how these situations can be avoided."

LATEST NEWS

more news >

RELATED ARTICLES

LATEST IMAGES

galleries >

  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images

POST A COMMENT

or Register for a Pitpass ID to have your say

Please note that all posts are reactively moderated and must adhere to the site's posting rules and etiquette.

Post your comment

READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Spindoctor, 21/12/2021 10:40

"Much as I sympathise with Mercedes' situation - like many others I was stunned by the way Verstappen was gifted the race - it's time to move on.

Thinking of 2022, driver-wise I think Mercedes (on paper at least) has a better line-up, but they'll need the tools to do the job.
Mercedes has a huge hill to climb with next year's car. RBR appears to have a better hand: with the best designer\aerodynamicist of the modern era and with the "RBR" (Honda) PU. I understand Honda will still be providing "support" so as with this year, expect at least as much power as Mercedes.

In terms that even Liberty might understand: Bring it on!"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by elsiebc, 20/12/2021 16:53

"From the article I just read before this one: Todt believes the FIA has been too lenient in allowing drivers and team bosses to continually criticise its officials and their decisions publicly.

"I was reading today in the French sport magazine, L'Equipe, the president of the Lyon Football Club, which is one of the most important teams," said the Frenchman. He has been forbidden (banned) for ten games, because he spoke badly about the referee...

"So maybe we have been too permissive," he added.

Hmmm......"

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

3. Posted by Chester, 20/12/2021 13:26

"It would have been a Pyrrhic victory, Herr Wolff. Public adoration is no longer with Mercedes. I still recall being stunned at how loud the cheer was in Austin, Texas when Verstappen emerged from the pits in the lead.
Those fans used to cheer Hamilton and Mercedes. North America and the USA in particular have been strong Hamilton supporters.
The tide has changed.
"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

4. Posted by kenji, 20/12/2021 7:54

"If Wolff is so severely conflicted/affected by the mere presence of the FIA and it's operatives then maybe he should consider 'snatching his rent' and leaving us all in peace to get on with enjoying our much loved F1. He's had ample time to digest what occurred and his tedious attempt to cover up the team's strategic error in not pitting Hamilton has now worn very very thin. Memo to Toto...stop beating this up and just fade away. The F1 juggernaut will roll on without you...surprise surprise. Memo to Masi...study the defamation laws seriously. There may be some gold in the fine print. Merry Xmas to almost all hahaha
"

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

Share this page

X

Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2022. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  privacy & security  |  rss  |  terms