Wolff fears F1 has opened door for "dirtier driving" over Verstappen call

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes Formula 1 has opened the door for "dirtier driving" in the future, in the wake of the FIA's decision over Max Verstappen's behaviour at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Wolff fears F1 has opened door for "dirtier driving" over Verstappen call

Verstappen's defensive tactics at Interlagos last weekend, when he crowded title rival Lewis Hamilton off track as they battled for the lead, has been the subject of intense debate over recent days.

At the time, F1 race director Michael Masi and the FIA stewards decided not to investigate Verstappen's actions, and an attempt by Mercedes to seek right of review on that call was rejected in Qatar.

F1 drivers themselves have been left slightly confused about what the racing rules are going forward, with there appearing to be little clarification from the FIA in Friday night's drivers' briefing about a consistent set of guidelines regarding leaving racing room for other cars.

Matters were also not helped by it being suggested that, depending on the stewards involved, drivers could be punished for an incident that was identical to the Verstappen/Hamilton one.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images

Amid concerns that Verstappen's actions have effectively given the green light to drivers pushing rivals wide if they try to go around the outside, Wolff says he fears it has set a bad precedent for the future.

"I think it's a very surprising outcome, because irrelevant of how Brazil has been judged, I think that is water under the bridge," Wolff told Sky.

"In my opinion, what it says is you can just launch yourself into a corner and drag the other car out of line. And that obviously can lead to quite some dirtier driving going forward.

"We don't want to have a messy situation tomorrow, in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, because that would be really bad."

Read Also:

Wolff reckons that drivers are as surprised as observers about the situation, and the lack of clarity from the FIA about how matters are dealt with.

"I think all the drivers that spoke up said that it was a decision that was also surprising to them," he said.

"Obviously you need to adapt your driving style to the new situation, but it's still surprising for everybody that's in the car and for us too."

shares
comments

Related video

Loose screws triggered Hamilton’s Brazil F1 DRS exclusion
Previous article

Loose screws triggered Hamilton’s Brazil F1 DRS exclusion

Next article

Ferrari changes Leclerc's F1 chassis after discovering crack

Ferrari changes Leclerc's F1 chassis after discovering crack
Load comments
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021