Wolff: Just replacing Masi won't solve the problem


Toto Wolff says the FIA stewards' whole decision-making process regarding F1 must be improved, insisting that merely replacing race director Michael Masi won't solve the problem that emerged in Abu Dhabi.

The Mercedes boss is still reeling from the bitter blow dealt by the FIA's race director at the final round of F1's 2021 world championship at Yas Marina.

Masi's decision to restart the race with one lap to go, by circumventing the usual safety car process and allowing just those cars positioned between race leader Lewis Hamilton and second-placed driver Max Verstappen to unlap themselves, gifted the title on a silver plate to the Red Bull charger.

While Masi's decision was far-reaching, it was just another controversial call made by race control in a season littered with inconsistent decisions.

The FIA has initiated a full investigation into the events that unfolded in Abu Dhabu and is expected to issue a comprehensive report ahead of the start of the 2022 season.


But Wolff has warned that focusing only the ill-fated decisions by F1's race director would equate to not seeing the forest for the trees.

"It’s a bigger problem," Wolff said, quoted by the Spanish edition of Motorsport.com. "My values are simply not compatible with the decisions that were made.

"It is not just about replacing the race director. The whole decision-making system must be improved.

"It’s one thing to drive hard and have different points of view between drivers and teams, that’s normal. But inconsistent decisions [by the stewards] inevitably lead to controversy, much of it totally unnecessary."

Wolff underscored the fact that calls from the stewards' room were inconsistent all through 2021, even if they were at times favourable to Mercedes.

"But this last decision had the biggest impact," said the Austrian. "And from a sporting perspective, it was catastrophic because it decided the world championship.

"Sometimes it hurt us and sometimes we were luckier."

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W12 leads Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB16B on the final lap of the race. 12.12.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 22, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina

Wolff steered clear of accusing Masi of deliberately manufacturing a gripping finale for the sake of entertainment. But the Mercedes boss nevertheless made clear that sport must always come before the show.

"I would never say something like that, because in the end we provide entertainment, but that entertainment has to follow the sport and not the other way around," said Wolff.

"Stefano [Domenicali, F1 CEO] is a real racing man and would not be interested in intervening in the races for the entertainment factor.

"I can’t judge the pressure the race director is under at the time, but the rules are the rules.

"I am sure that all of us, the teams, the drivers, the FIA and F1 itself, can improve the way decisions are made so that the category becomes stronger," he added.

"While these situations are very painful, they are also opportunities to change and improve."

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