Croft: ‘Mercedes have lost faith in the sport’

Date published: December 17 2021 - Henry Valantine

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton leads Red Bull Max Verstappen. Abu Dhabi December 2021.

When asked if Mercedes have “lost faith” in Formula 1, David Croft agreed and added that the team were “bewildered” at the end of the Abu Dhabi weekend.

Sky Sports’ lead Formula 1 commentator said Mercedes’ statement released on Thursday is a reflection of how they and a section of their fans feel about the results at the weekend, with a passage reading: “Of course, it’s part of the game to lose a race, but it’s something different when you lose faith in racing.”

The team lodged two unsuccessful protests against the results of the race, in which Max Verstappen leapfrogged Lewis Hamilton on the final lap in controversial circumstances surrounding a restart behind the Safety Car.

They eventually decided against taking their case to the International Court of Appeal, but Mercedes’ statement made it clear they do not feel Sunday’s result was a fair one.

Croft was also quick to add that the FIA have not helped things by not being more vocal about the weekend, despite having released a statement of their own promising an investigation into what happened.

When asked by Sky Sports News about the team’s current feelings, Croft said: “They have lost faith in the sport. They’re bewildered by the decision making that went on at the end of that race.

“I’m not here to apportion blame to Michael Masi, the race director. As I said at the start of the week on Sky Sports News, I’ve known him a long time, he’s a fine man, he makes honest decisions as best he can in the heat of the moment.

“But there’s been an information vacuum, hasn’t there? In the proceeding time from Sunday through to where we are now.

“Yes, the FIA put out a statement, but they haven’t said enough. They’ve not given enough reasoning and explanation behind the decision-making process, so that we’re all still making up our minds, and opinions as well.

“Opinion is absolutely rife out there on social media, on various channels, everyone’s got an opinion and everyone feels very, very strongly about what happened.”

 

Toto Wolff hosted a press conference about the team’s decision on Thursday, and could not fully confirm whether or not Hamilton would continue into next season following the events of Abu Dhabi, and admitted the two of them were still “disillusioned” about how the finale unfolded.

Both refused to attend the FIA’s prize-giving ceremony in Paris on Thursday night, and Croft said “good on them” for doing so, given the emotions they will still be feeling at this time.

Chief technical officer James Allison instead up Mercedes’ eighth Constructors’ Championship trophy in a row.