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Toto Wolff Delivers Hard Hitting Statement About the FIA as Lewis Hamilton’s Controversial Abu Dhabi Defeat Grabs Limelight Yet Again

Published 06/08/2023, 8:50 AM EDT

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It has been almost 2 years since the controversial 2021 Abu Dhabi GP. But F1 fans are still not over the race that overshadowed an entire season of Lewis Hamilton’s brilliance. One problematic decision by the then-Race Director, Michael Masi, is all it took to trash Hamilton’s hopes for the 8th Drivers’ Champion title. And Mercedes and Toto Wolff have been on the receiving end of such inconsistent decisions. Even through this Toto Wolff seems to support FIA’s decisions.

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Hamilton and Max Verstappen started the Abu Dhabi GP with the same amount of points in the WDC. In the end, it all came down to the last few safety car-led laps of the race. 5 lapped cars between Hamilton and Verstappen, separated them. In a strange turn of events, Masi let those 5 cars unlap themselves. Because of that, the Dutchman, on fresher soft tires, easily overtook Hamilton on the last lap, and a new World Champion was crowned.

Despite 2021’s horrific WDC loss that Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes suffered, Toto Wolff came in the defense of the Race Direction. He said, as quoted by Formula Passion, “I never had doubts about the system, but about individuals.” 


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Adding further, he said, “I think as a steward and race director you have the main pressure to do the right things and probably every choice will have consensus and disagreement, someone who likes it and another who doesn’t. I think race direction is just trying to do its best and we have to support it. Just as we have to support the FIA where we can.”

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Toto Wolff’s comments on the FIA and the still-haunting 2021 Abu Dhabi come in response to Guenther Steiner’s criticism of the Race Direction at the Monaco GP.

Toto Wolff Comes After Guenther Steiner’s Sour Remarks

F1 has its set of rules and regulations but penalties given by the stewards seem to be inconsistent. F1 has used over 15 different stewards in 7 races so far this season. So inconsistencies in decision-making are unavoidable. And no team is immune to controversial decisions taken by the stewards.

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In the case of Haas at the Monaco GP, the stewards penalized Hulkenberg for causing a collision with Logan Sargeant. They then handed him a 10-second penalty for serving the 5-second penalty incorrectly. Haas Team Principal was disgruntled following such a decision. He made some harsh comments against the stewards post the race.


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He said, “We need a different system for stewards. Every professional sport has professional referees. F1 is one of the leading sports in the world and we still rely on people who are not experts. There are always discussions, because there is no consistency in decisions. This is ridiculous.”

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“Now it is time to resolve this issue, we have been talking about it for too many years. All other sports have professional referees. In American races, in NASCAR or IndyCar, how often do you feel about problems with the stewards? It happens very rarely.”


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Do you think it is time for the FIA to bring in a set panel of professional referees so that uniformity in decision-making increases?



Yash Kotak

421 articles

Yash is a F1 writer at EssentiallySports. With a strong passion for communicating through written word and a keen interest in the world of motorsports, he thoroughly enjoys being a fan of F1 and covering it for other fans. Ever since he watched the 'INSIDE TRACKS' episode covering the 2018 German Grand Prix, he has fallen in love with the intriguingly complex world of F1.

Edited By: Varunkumaar Chelladurai