Toto Wolff declares: F1 drivers no longer have a code of ethics

Michelle Foster
Toto Wolff at his desk in the Mercedes garage. Britain July 2023

Motorsport boss Toto Wolff at his desk in the Mercedes garage.

Banging the desk as George Russell was eliminated in Q1 in Hungary, Toto Wolff has hit out at rival drivers saying they “no longer have a code of ethics”.

Putting in the laps on the hard tyres during a qualifying experiment in which Formula 1 trailed a tweaked format, Russell was the big shock of Q1 as he failed to progress having set only the 17th fastest time.

The Briton, on pole at last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix, blamed traffic as drivers overtook one another in order to cross the line in time to put in a final flying lap.

Toto Wolff: The drivers no longer have a code of ethics

“I was trying to respect the gentleman’s agreement and got overtaken by a couple of cars, most notably Pierre, who overtook me at the final corner,” rued the Mercedes driver.

Asked if he felt his rivals no longer care about the so-called gentlemen’s agreement not to pass and potentially wreck each other’s qualifying, he replied: “I don’t think it was ever really there to be honest.

“In all honesty, I would have probably done the same if I was in their shoes. You’ve got to fight for yourself. But the track is big enough, it’s 4.5km long and we were in a space of 1km with 10 cars.

“So we just need to look in the mirror and recognise that we made a big cock-up.”

Wolff agrees Mercedes shoulder part of the blame as they should’ve sent the driver out a bit earlier to get track space.

“We screwed up,” he told Sky Deutschland. “”Of course, everything is bad for him at the moment.

“It wasn’t his fault, we really messed it up for him.”

The Mercedes motorsport boss, though, believes the likes of Pierre Gasly and others who overtook at the very end of qualifying were also in the wrong.

“The drivers no longer have a code of ethics,” he said. recommends

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But while Wolff wasn’t impressed, Lewis Hamilton, who went on to take pole position by 0.003s ahead of Max Verstappen, says is it every driver for himself.

“There’s never been a gentleman’s agreement, really,” said the seven-time World Champion.

“We try to be respectful always, but I think in that moment everyone’s panicking trying to get their laps [in].”

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