Toto Wolff explains outburst at journalist in Las Vegas press conference

Henry Valantine
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff.

Toto Wolff verbally hit out at a journalist in the pre-race press conference at Las Vegas.

Toto Wolff has said his rant at the pre-race press conference was down to “the usual suspects in Las Vegas who simply badmouth everything.”

The Mercedes team principal took exception to a line of questioning from a journalist in the room when asked if the situation surrounding a manhole cover being pulled up was a metaphorical “black eye” for the sport.

This saw Wolff spot the journalist and he launched into a speech about how he feels this is not the case.

What did Toto Wolff say in the pre-race press conference?

Addressing the manhole cover which first damaged Esteban Ocon’s Alpine before being fully dislodged and causing huge damage to Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari, Wolff believes it is a teething problem for the race in Las Vegas.

“That is not a black eye,” Wolff said. “This is nothing!

“We are Thursday night, we have a free practice session one that we’re not doing, they’re going to seal the drain covers, and nobody’s going to talk about that tomorrow morning anymore.

“It’s completely ridiculous! Completely ridiculous, FP1, how can you even dare try to talk bad about an event that sets the new standards to everything? And then you’re speaking about a f***ing drain cover that’s been undone. That has happened before! That’s nothing, it’s FP1!

“Give credit to the people that have set up this Grand Prix, that have made this sport much bigger than it ever was. Have you ever spoken good about someone and written a good word? You should about all these people that have been out here. Liberty has done an awesome job and just because in FP1 a drain cover has become undone, we shouldn’t be moaning.

“The car is broken, that’s really a shame. For Carlos, it could have been dangerous. So between the FIA and the track and everybody needs to analyse how we can make sure that this is not happening again. But talking here about the black eye for the sport on a Thursday evening, nobody watches that in European time anyway!” recommends

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Toto Wolff responds to Las Vegas outburst

Putting his response down to “the usual suspects in Las Vegas who simply badmouth everything”, Wolff doubled down on his belief that appreciation should be given to the race organisers for the achievement of putting a race on in such circumstances.

“When you look at this building, the effort that has been made here to build a racetrack in the middle of Las Vegas on the Strip in two years, and then you come up with little niggles like that, it’s just totally out of place,” he explained to Sky Deutschland, as quoted by Motorsport-Total.

“And for me, it was like a journalist bursting in, starting to shout that the track is the very last thing, and that is simply totally unjustified.

“[It’s] not fair to the performance that has been achieved here.”

Read next: F1 stops short of an apology after Las Vegas practice chaos