Toto Wolff doesn’t want Monaco investigated, ‘enough PR crisis around the team’

Michelle Foster
Toto Wolff with a jersey around his shoulders and a smile. Mexico October 2022

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff with a jersey around his shoulders and a smile. Mexico October 2022

Toto Wolff doesn’t want the FIA to investigate Sergio Perez’s Monaco qualifying crash, saying there have been “enough PR crisis” around Red Bull of late.

Red Bull has been the team making headlines in Formula 1 recently but not always for the right reasons.

While the team wrapped up the Drivers’ title in Japan and the Constructors’ in Austin, reports of a budget cap breach gained momentum before being confirmed by the FIA.

One week after Austin, motorsport’s governing body announced Red Bull’s punishment for their overspend, fining the team $2.2m while also deducting 10 per cent of their 2023 wind tunnel time.

But as that died down the team again found itself on the front pages as Max Verstappen refused to yield sixth place to Sergio Perez at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, the Dutchman saying “yes” his reasoning had something to do with the past.

That, it was alleged, related to Monaco where Perez crashed and prevented Verstappen from improving on his P4 spot on the grid. Dutch media suggested it was an intentional crash, one that irked the reigning World Champion.

But with Monaco having taken place months ago, the FIA says they’ll only investigate if rival teams complain.

They have no intention of doing that says Wolff.

“We’ve had enough PR crisis in the last couple of weeks around the team and we don’t need another one,” the Mercedes motorsport boss told the media including PlanetF1.

McLaren team boss Zak Brown also doesn’t see a reason to dredge up old races.

“I think Monaco was a long time ago and suddenly talking about Monaco, I think that trains left the station.”

Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto agrees the sport needs to “move forward” and rather “discuss what we should do in that type of situations because I don’t think there is a clear answer right now.”

Deletion of lap time for drivers causing red or yellow flags

Earlier this week Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz says drivers deliberately causing crashes in qualifying was more prevalent then perhaps expected.

He called for “some kind of a rule” where a driver “should get a penalty” for causing a yellow or red flag as they “compromised the other nine” drivers on the track.

Brown supports this idea, saying any driver that anyone who causes a flag should have their fastest lap time deleted.

“I think it should be red flags or yellow flags so effectively impeding a driver from completing that lap,” he said. “They do that in other forms of motorsports where the penalties, you just lose your your fastest lap from that session.

“All the drivers tend to do one lap runs so that would penalise the driver if it was intentional or unintentional because you’ve messed up someone else’s lap.

“I think that’s an easy solution that can be implemented right away. Cause the driver to have to back out, you lose your lap, you got to go again. And maybe you won’t have a chance, maybe you will have to use another set of tyres.

“I think that’s the easiest way to solve it.”

Wolff agrees.

“This is a good idea, it exists in Formula E if I’m not mistaken where your quickest lap is deleted. So that’s something that we can implement.”

The Austrian, though, highly doubts the Perez situation was deliberate.

“I know Sergio for a long time,” he said, “would a driver really put his car in the wall and risk his gearbox because he could be going all the way to the back of the grid.

“So if you want to park your car you do it in a different way.”

Read more: Christian Horner side steps questions about Sergio Perez’s Monaco crash