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Hamilton departure an “indictment” of F1, says Wolff

NEWS STORY
15/01/2022

Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff has warned that should Lewis Hamilton opt to walk away from F1 it would be an indictment of the sport.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of Abu Dhabi, the 'will he, won't he' saga surrounding Lewis Hamilton's future in the sport is fast becoming a little tedious.

The total radio silence from the Briton, almost since the moment he crossed the line at Yas Marina has allowed the media to run riot, with some of the recent headlines, particularly those in the British media that rarely even cover the sport, way beyond nonsensical and bordering on the insane.

With the investigation into the events of those final laps to be investigated, and the decision not due to be announced until the eve of the season opener in Bahrain, the speculation is likely to continue while at the same time growing ever more hysterical.

While it is great news for the likes of Liberty Media and Netflix, it is beginning to damage the sport.

Helping to stoke the fire is Mercedes boss, who issues soundbites to selected media, clearly with the intention of playing on the passion of fans and the fears of broadcasters and sponsors.

Though Liberty will be basking in the publicity the whole affair is generating, it will also be fearful that Hamilton might see his threat through and walk, a move which would very much rock the boat.

While the Briton wields the power to have Chase Carey's wife close down her Twitter account, an alleged bid for a slice of the F1 business didn't prove quite so successful.

However, Liberty is well aware that of the current grid, possibly in the entire history of the sport, Hamilton is the one driver recognised way beyond the race track, and though there are drivers with a far more outgoing personality, he is currently the sport's main draw.

At a time Liberty is understood to be seeking to sell the sport - an odd move considering all the talk of 'boom times' - it cannot afford to lose its star.

Talking to Austria's Krone, Wolff warns that should Hamilton walk away it would be an indictment of what the sport has become.

"I really hope we will see him again," says the Austrian, according to F1i.com. "He is the most important part of our sport. It would be an indictment for the whole of Formula 1 if the best driver decided to quit because of outrageous decisions.

"No matter what hurdle has been put in his way, he has known all his life that he has to speak on the track," he adds. "But it's incredibly difficult for him until he finds a way between being right and being wrong. It just takes time."

Asked when he is likely to sit down with the Briton, the Austrian replies: "In February at the latest, and certainly not to drink tequila, I had enough of that in Abu Dhabi."

Admitting that the events of Yas Marina will "never be forgotten", Wolff adds: "Because what happened to Lewis was simply wrong.

"On that day he was unbeatable, until the stewards blew a fuse and decided on three infringements of the rules.

"It's hard to understand," he continues. "It will always stick with us, even though Max Verstappen is a worthy world champion over the course of the season. But on that day, one was better than the other, and he didn't win."

For those purists already totally disillusioned by what the sport has become thanks to the likes of Netflix, spare a thought for fans of golf and tennis, for following the success of Drive to Survive, the streaming giant has agreed deals for similar shows with the ATP and WTA tours as well as all four Grand Slam tournaments, not to mention a deal with the PGA tour and golf's major championships to document the 2022 season.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Laz, 25/01/2022 8:44

"definitely not worthy of the title GOAT - more like entitled brat. !!!
F1 would be more interesting without him."

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2. Posted by Tardis40, 18/01/2022 19:31

"Hamilton is still pouting because he got beat."

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3. Posted by kenji, 18/01/2022 0:31

"@ Alvarezh3. Yes, I fully agree. Sometimes during the off season other topics get to grow legs!! Back to the imminent reveals...."

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4. Posted by alvarezh3, 17/01/2022 16:43

"@ Kenji:

Although our conversation may be bringing traffic, we are getting out of topic and @Editor may not be too keen with it, so this will be my last post on the topic:
The French government has issued a law where people will have to show proof of vaccination to be allowed in certain places. If the law does not change by May, the Sports Ministry declared today (Monday) that Djokovic could be banned from playing at Roland Garros."

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5. Posted by kenji, 17/01/2022 11:27

"@ alvarezh3...Yes you are quite correct. Interesting that this afternoon I watched as a rather extensive 'vox pop' was undertaken at random amongst 'open' fans across a wide universe. 95%+ of them agreed with the revocation of Novax's visa. It was a very popular decision and I also fully agree with what the Gov't did. It's all rather simple, he lied, he got caught. He and his team thought that they were bigger than the system. We even saw and heard media people [ leftist ] calling the incident out as 'racism'. I mean WTF. C'est la vie, I guess. "

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6. Posted by alvarezh3, 17/01/2022 1:49

"@kenji:

I followed the whole episode. I think Tsitsipas's declaration made the judges think very wisely on their verdict: “A very small group chose to follow their own way and it kind of makes the majority look like they’re all fools or something.”
Additionally, not very wise on Djokovic's part to think that Australian judges feed on baby bottles when he declared that it was a “administrative mistake” (and obviously, not an intentional lie) not declaring his previous travels as required by the rules to obtain the entry visa. It seems to me that the judges were probably not too amused by this declaration as it would be seen as if they were not too smart and that any excuse would satisfy the court for him to get a discharge. I have read more than one instances when judges have gotten pretty upset when barristers have presented stupid excuses to justify their client actions, for that is insulting the judge's intelligence.
Well, it's on to the tennis courts, until the Monte Carlo Rally next week end, and the Daytona 24 hours on the 29. ;-)
"

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7. Posted by kenji, 16/01/2022 23:29

"@ Alvarezh3....Yes, you are quite right. The simple fact is that he lied on his application and vested interests turned a blind eye. There is one clear and distinct rule that applies to vaccination and that was broken. Activist judiciary intervened and forced the Minister's hand. The Australian Open will happen and there will be a worthy winner. The same parallel can be made in principle with F1. No one, regardless of who they, and their fans, think they are can allowed to dictate the system under which they compete. "

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8. Posted by alvarezh3, 16/01/2022 18:49

"Somewhat related:
Well done by the Australians for showing a so called "celebrity" sportsman who thinks he's -indispensable-, that he's not welcomed in their country unless is under their terms.
Will the tv ratings and in court seating occupation drop, probably (the Serbs won't watch or attend), enough to cause a loss, highly doubtful.
I don't see why a final between two of the top 6 male players would not be a winner, specially after the final between two, out of top 10 ranked, young female players were a sensation in N.Y. last year."

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9. Posted by kenji, 16/01/2022 10:37

"At least Martin Brundle has called Wolff out for lying!!! Well done Martin. Some Sky backbone for a welcome change."

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10. Posted by Stitch431, 15/01/2022 21:53

"Who needs Netflix. This is theatre pure. Howling (no, sorry ...) whining wolves and drama queens. That is how they behave. Real champions, show greatness in how to cope with their loss. "

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11. Posted by jrbbacct50, 15/01/2022 21:04

"Tedious yes however I would not put it at Lewis's feet. The season is over, I don't begrudge him the opportunity to completely unplug, check out and be back or not next season. It's only tedious because people keep writing about it, that's where the blame for tediousness lies.

If he comes back, great we get to see him race again. If not, so be it, I get it and, there are other drivers to watch and someone else will drive the second Merc."

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12. Posted by alvarezh3, 15/01/2022 19:48

"Just a few hours ago, in regard to Djokovic issue in Australia, Rafael Nadal declared the following:

"No player is grater than the sport."

In F1 I would add -no team- is greater than the sport. I was never in favor of giving Ferrari an extra 100 million dollars by Ecclestone when they threatened to leave.

Michael Schumacher was a sensation, he left and very little changed. If Lewis or anyone leaves their respective sport they would be missed for a period, but it wont be long before they are forgotten, and not even needed in order for the sport to prosper.

Valentino Rossi has just retired with more championships (nine) than anyone else in any type of motor racing. Additionally, he was very well lauded by his fans (He even had his own Rossi fan stand in Italy) Do you think Moto GP is going to sink?

If Hamilton, Verstappen or any other driver wants to leave F1....... just go! There is Russell, Ocon, Norris, Leclerc, Sainz, Ricciardo, just to name a few, waiting on the wing to take their place.

Why so much feet kissing with these so called and -press manufactured- actors and sport "celebrities" super humans?

Enough!"

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13. Posted by Defiant, 15/01/2022 19:46

"I think the start of this article has it right.. TEDIOUS..

I'd like to see him stay but as other commenters have written, keeping this up is just making me feel more and more like waving him byyyyyeeeee. I do realise that sir SJW hasn't said all this, its the PR machine and Toto that is hyping it all up, so I guess my ire is more aimed at them. "I'm going home and taking my ball" is just not what you'd expect from a WDC and I hope it's not starting there.

I also agree with Rock Doc, he isn't and will never be the most important thing in F1.
Pavlo, you also hit the nail on the head, the FiA need to set the rules and if any of the teams pull the we're going to walk bit, let them go, I'll be pleased to see the back of them. That includes RB who do this frequently and most definitely Ferrari, who have pulled that so many times I cant even remember.
"

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14. Posted by Pavlo, 15/01/2022 18:20

"What a soap opera…
Lewis is 37 years old, he could have retired last year and he will retire in the next couple of years anyway. Same as Kimi, Seb and Michael - the sport doesn’t and shouldn’t depend on one champion.
The core of the problem is that FIA and race director paid too much attention to the opinions of the teams and drivers, ending with conflicting promises. They should just make THEIR rules and whoever wants will race. If Mercedes or Ferrari doesn’t want - let them go. In the end healthy competitive sport will attract big players easier than a farce that tries to please them."

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15. Posted by Rock Doc, 15/01/2022 17:58

"Yes the sport has been brought into question but no one person should be able to hold the sport to ransom.

Toto's comment I found to be wrong and disturbing ""... says the Austrian, according to F1i.com. "He is the most important part of our sport. ..."

The sport should be the most important part. I feel for Hamilton and I understand how he feels he may have been robbed. But he is not the most important part. There are so many talented drivers in the field that will rise to the top.

Once the season starts and we have a few races completed, if Hamilton is not there then we wont be talking about it anymore. The Sport will continue. I actually think that Hamilton moving on might actually be better for the sport. He's had an amazing run and shown some amazing drives. But being at the front has over shadowed other drivers. "

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