Toto Wolff Blames Himself & F1 Media for Overblowing Valtteri Bottas Criticism

Published 06/08/2021, 9:37 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit – Portimao, Portugal – April 30, 2021 Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff talks in the Team Principals Press Conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS


Mercedes are going through one of the worst periods in their dominant F1 history. While they’ve been second best to Red Bull on track so far, Team Principal Toto Wolff is in the eye of the storm that’s brewing off the track.

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Along with a verbal battle with Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner, the Austrian needs to douse fires within his team. After a disastrous Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Wolff clarified comments he’d made on Valtteri Bottas’ pit stop in Monaco, while pointing out the media’s role in the issue.

Toto Wolff clarifies his earlier stance on Valtteri Bottas’ pit stop in Monaco

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If Mercedes are enduring a tough time, Valtteri Bottas is going through a crisis at the moment. After notching up a DNF in the Monaco Grand Prix, the Finn finished P12 in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. He currently sits in 6th place in the driver’s championship. With just 47 points from the first six races, this is his worst start to an F1 season in his career.

Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit – Portimao, Portugal – May 2, 2021, Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas before the race Pool via REUTERS/Gabriel Bouys

Tensions between Wolff and Bottas increased after the Austrian partly blamed the Finn for the pit stop blunder in Monaco. Although the Finn let the comments go by admitting he was surprised, questions still remained on Wolff’s criticism of Bottas.

The Austrian took back his words by admitting he was at fault for not choosing his words correctly. He said“It was probably my mistake. When I analyzed the stop, I said that it drove a few centimeters too little without understanding that as blame.

“He was actually very precise during the stop. He didn’t make a mistake in the whole story, it was our problem.” (Quotes translated from German by Google)

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Wolff: People want to tell a story

Wolff believes the media are always on the lookout for words like the ones he used to make headlines. “That just means people want to tell a story,” said the 49-year old.

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The Mercedes CEO barely shies away from speaking publicly. Over the weekend, the Austrian traded verbal barbs with Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner, with the flexi wing debate raging. Although their verbal battle intensified, Horner admitted Wolff’s tendency to criticize his team in public doesn’t hold well with him.

The Briton said“He never hesitates to criticize his team in front of everyone, and I disagree with that.” (Quotes translated by Google)

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While Mercedes look to get back to winning ways in the French Grand Prix, Wolff has a huge challenge on his hands. Can a win in Le Castellet help him rally the team for this season?

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Sanket Nair

617 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management student, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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