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Toto Wolff

Brundle criticises Wolff for 'completely unacceptable' actions

Former F1 driver turned pundit Martin Brundle has called for an end to team radio lobbying after the issue came to the fore during a contentious 2021 season finale in Abu Dhabi.

Wolff
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To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

Martin Brundle has described lobbying from Team Principals during the 2021 season as "uncomfortable" to watch, singling out Mercedes boss Toto Wolff for what he feels were "completely unacceptable" actions at the Abu Dhabi finale.

Wolff expressed his anger at Race Director Michael Masi in the closing stages of the Yas Marina race, after a Safety Car period, and contentious restart, opened the door for Max Verstappen to pass Lewis Hamilton and win the world title.

Earlier in the race, Wolff was heard asking Masi not to deploy the Safety Car when Antonio Giovinazzi pulled off the track and brought out the yellow flags, with Hamilton enjoying a comfortable lead over Verstappen at that point.

Brundle wants radio lobbying to stop

Wolff himself has admitted that he and Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner "overstepped" the mark at times in 2021, and Brundle wants team-to-FIA communications to be looked at ahead of the 2022 season.

"A hundred per cent," said Brundle during a special episode of The F1 Show on Sky Sports F1, when asked about the lobbying from team chiefs over the radio and whether this needs to stop going forward.

"In the first Safety Car incident when Giovinazzi's Alfa Romeo broke down some way from a service road, we had Toto on the radio to Masi saying, 'Hey Michael, no Safety Car!', trying to influence a safety decision.

"[It's] completely unacceptable and Toto knows that. We can't have that.

"What used to happen in the Herbie [Blash] and Charlie [Whiting] days is they'd get on the radio to Charlie [and] Herbie would go, 'He's busy at the moment, he'll get back to you'.

"Of course, he didn't, because Charlie was busy sorting out the mess that was on track and working to understand when the race could be restarted."

An "uncomfortable" situation throughout 2021

Brundle pointed to races earlier in the season, such as Jeddah and Silverstone, where Verstappen and Hamilton clashed, which also prompted a string of messages to Masi from both the Red Bull and Mercedes camps.

"For me, that was one of the most uncomfortable aspects of the season," continued Brundle.

"We saw it in Saudi Arabia, Silverstone, Team Principals up in the stewards' office, trying to remonstrate with them mid-race – that's got to stop.

"Can you imagine a manager [in another sport] running on the pitch, remonstrating and telling a referee the decisions he's gonna be making next? No, you can't have that."

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