Wolff and Hamilton to miss FIA prize-giving


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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Published: 16/12/2021
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