Wolff: Mercedes made wrong call with Abu Dhabi GP team orders

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has admitted that his team was wrong to have tried to impose team orders on Lewis Hamilton at the Formula 1 season finale in Abu Dhabi.

Wolff: Mercedes made wrong call with Abu Dhabi GP team orders
Race winner Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid crosses the finish line at the end of the race with second place World Champion Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
Toto Wolff, Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
World Champion Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 shakes hands with team mate and race winner Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid

As Hamilton aimed to back up teammate Nico Rosberg into the chasing pack in a bid to boost his hopes of winning the title, Mercedes chiefs came on the radio to urge him to speed up.

With Mercedes clearly worried that Sebastian Vettel, on fresher tyres, would come through for the win, executive director Paddy Lowe even got involved to instruct Hamilton to pick up his pace.

In the end, Hamilton ignored the requests – claiming he had the race under control – and there were suggestions afterwards that Mercedes may have to rethink its approach to its racing protocol because of what happened.

Having had time to reflect on the situation, though, Wolff has now conceded that the pitwall should not have got involved at all, but says it did so out of genuine concern it was going to lose the grand prix.

"In the heat of the moment, sometimes when you make decisions you get them wrong," Wolff told Sky Sports F1.

"In our mind, the way we think, this race was giving us the same number of points as other races and we try to win that one - not considering that there was much more at stake for the drivers.

"How the race panned out, we should have communicated differently and in hindsight let them race in the way they deemed to be appropriate."

At the Autosport Awards last weekend, Lowe said he had come to realise that what happened in Abu Dhabi was okay for him.

"I think it was a great race result, a great ending not only for the team but for the sport as a whole – that will have really brought new fans to the sport," he said. "So it was a fantastic result even though I told Lewis to speed up.

"I think it was fine what happened. It is worth remembering in Monaco that we told Nico to let Lewis past and that was my other team instruction of the year, and he did that within one corner. So that is just for a bit of balance that is worth thinking about it."

shares
comments
Williams accepts Stroll will "make mistakes"

Previous article

Williams accepts Stroll will "make mistakes"

Next article

Briatore rules out Mercedes switch for Alonso

Briatore rules out Mercedes switch for Alonso
Load comments
French Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

French Grand Prix driver ratings

The French GP was a weekend decided by tiny margins both at the front of the field, as Red Bull inflicted a comeback defeat on Mercedes, and in the battle for the minor points places. That's reflected in our driver ratings, where several drivers came close to a maximum score

How Red Bull took French GP "payback" on a day of Mercedes mistakes Prime

How Red Bull took French GP "payback" on a day of Mercedes mistakes

The French GP has been a stronghold for Mercedes since Paul Ricard's return to the calendar in 2018. But that all changed on Sunday, as a clever two-stop strategy guided Red Bull's Max Verstappen to make a race-winning pass on the penultimate lap - for once leaving Mercedes to experience the pain of late defeat it has so often inflicted on Red Bull

The Mercedes lap that puts F1 victory fight back on a knife-edge Prime

The Mercedes lap that puts F1 victory fight back on a knife-edge

Red Bull led the way after the first two practice sessions for the 2021 French Grand Prix, but only just ahead of Mercedes. There was all the usual practice skulduggery complicating the performance picture, but one aspect seen at the world champion squad gave it a ‘surprise’ lift, as it looks to leave its street-circuit struggles firmly in the past.

Formula 1
Jun 19, 2021
How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working Prime

How Ferrari got its F1 recovery plan working

After its worst campaign in 40 years, the famous Italian team had to bounce back in 2021 – and it appears to be delivering. Although it concedes the pole positions in Monaco and Baku paint a somewhat misleading picture of its competitiveness, the team is heading into the 2022 rules revamp on much stronger footing to go for wins again

Formula 1
Jun 18, 2021
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Prime

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

Formula 1
Jun 17, 2021
The F1 figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again Prime

The F1 figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again

OPINION: An interloper squad got amongst the title contenders during Formula 1’s street-circuit mini-break, where Red Bull left with the points lead in both championships. But, as the campaign heads back to purpose-built venues once again, how the drivers of the two top teams compare in one crucial area will be a major factor in deciding which squad stays in or retakes the top spot

Formula 1
Jun 16, 2021
Why Alfa's boss is up to the task of securing a stronger F1 future Prime

Why Alfa's boss is up to the task of securing a stronger F1 future

Two tenth places in recent races have lifted Alfa Romeo to the head of Formula 1's 'Class C' battle in 2021, but longer-term the Swiss-based squad has far loftier ambitions. With the new 2022 rules set to level out the playing field, team boss Frederic Vasseur has good reason to be optimistic, as he explained to Motorsport.com in an exclusive interview

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
How Barnard's revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction Prime

How Barnard's revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction

The MP4/1 was pioneering by choice, but a McLaren by chance. STUART CODLING relates the tangled (carbon fibre) weaves which led to the creation of one of motor racing’s defining cars

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021