The fall out from Toto Wolff and Lewis Hamilton’s reaction to losing the 2021 F1 driver’s title has been of jaw dropping proportions. Having refused to give interviews for days after the final race in Abu Dhabi, finally Wolff gave a petulant and stubborn interview to the BBC.
The strident Austrian team leader of the German Formula 1 brand revealed, what in fact was by then common knowledge, that Mercedes AMG F1 would not be taking the FIA to court over race decisions made by their director Michael Masi.
Given the FIA are the regulator of the global sport that is F1 and it is the FIA who decide which team’s are allowed entry into the competition, then surely dragging them through the courts with legal action over a sporting judgement call really isn’t the smartest decision even a half wit would make?
Clearly, outside the cauldron of the emotion that is Toto and Lewis Hamilton’s world, the big bosses in Stuttgart realised that Toto’s threat to sue the FIA in support of ‘his guy’ would make them a laughing stock and damage the brand they have spent billions to develop in F1.
Hence Toto’s threatened legal action never saw quill take to parchment and Toto’s mate – the silk who stormed the stewards office in Abu Dhabi – was summarily dismissed.
Maybe it was in response to having the legal Persian rug pulled from beneath his feet by Stuttgart that Toto declared he and Sir Loo would not be attending the FIA end os season gala. This is not merely an F1 occasion, but for FIA global motorsport, where F1 is just part of the celebration of the year’s huge variety of events.
Besides appearing childish, this attitude of petty defiance from the Austrian F1 boss completely undermined the post race attitude many noted of Hamilton, which was gracious in defeat.
Further, Wolff threatened the FIA that Mercedes – and by implication the Daimler Benz automotive company – would quit F1 unless certain demands were met. Further Toto hinted that in addition, Hamilton may retire from the sport.
The great and good of motor sport were at the gala last evening, James Allison collected the constructor’s trophy and the award for the driver coming second was omitted, as though Hamilton never existed.
The reality of is despite the absence of Toto and Lewis, the world continued to turn.
Ironically, it is compulsory for the drivers finishing P1-3 in the seasons final tally of points attends the gala. So clearly, Hamilton’s answer to the apparent breach of the FIA’s own sporting rules by their Race Director, is to justify this with a different breach of the FIA’s regulations.
Two wrongs must make it all right.
Hamilton faces sanction for his non-appearance. Further outgoing FIA president Jean Todd noted of Wolff’s absence, the Mercedes F1 figure head, that in a sense, that Mercedes [Daimler Benz] deserved “much more reward” and recognition for their team’s historic 8th consecutive F1 constructor’s title.
Bernie Ecclestone, the creator of modern day F1, was shocked by the absence of Toto and Lewis. “I been very surprised by their attitude. Obviously people who lose in competition can’t be as happy as the winners. But there is always a [proper] way to react.”
Bernie added he thought that the parent company of MercedesAMGF1 need to clarify their position. “I think maybe Mercedes…. Daimler, should make their position clear”, one way or another. Even if Stuttgart supports the questionable behaviour of their brand representatives Toto and Lewis.
Ecclestone suggested a sop from the German automotive bosses such as, “Terribly sorry, we obviously still support the Formula 1 team”. Bernie dismissively added, “But in the end, Daimler… they really…. Are no more than a big sponsor”.
Daimler and those in high office in Stuttgart are not inexperienced when facing criticism and controversy; and they will respond. Whether they publicly support or condemn the behaviour of their representatives in F1 is questionable. However, there will be action and in time their feelings will be evidently crystal clear one way or another.