Wolff calls for end to team bosses lobbying race director

Henry Valantine
Toto Wolff moves his hair from his face. Abu Dhabi December 2021.

Toto Wolff looks down and move his hair during the pre-race press conference. Abu Dhabi December 2021.

Toto Wolff has said “all of us overstepped” when it came to speaking to Michael Masi this season, and agrees these communications should be restricted.

Team radio messages to the FIA begun to be broadcast on the world feed on TV this season, giving fans and media an insight into how the teams communicate with race director Michael Masi during grand prix weekends.

These messages became heated in Abu Dhabi, though, with the World Championship at stake between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner questioned Masi about getting the race back underway for the final laps while under Safety Car conditions. And when he did so, Wolff was straight on to Masi himself and loudly disagreed with the decision, all while the drivers prepared to get back underway.

Ross Brawn has come out and said these messages will stop, calling it “unacceptable” that team principals are able to lobby Masi and pressurise him during races.

Wolff now agrees, and thinks other senior members of the team should take up the mantle instead, and use that role merely to point things out to the race director – ensuring no-one pressures him into making a decision.

“I think the team principals shouldn’t speak directly to the race director. It should be the sporting directors,” Wolff told reporters, quoted by Reuters.

“I would even go one step further. I don’t think the sporting directors should be lobbying the race director or exercising pressure.

“I think they should be pointing to situations that the race director and his colleagues might have not spotted, but not lobby or pressurise.”

Wolff added that the messages coming from both Mercedes and Red Bull were done in the best interests of the teams, and they used the chance they had to speak to Masi directly.

 

However, given the animosity involved in the heat of the moment, the team principal acknowledged that things were most likely taken too far while Masi was trying to officiate in Abu Dhabi.

“It was meant well but I think we overshot…we were given the opportunity to talk to the race director directly and because we fight so fiercely for the interest of our teams all of us overstepped.”

 

Should radio access to race directors be restricted?

Toto Wolff believes that radio access to race directors should be restricted.