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Italian Grand Prix 2022

Safety Car rules"followed to dot" at Monza - Wolff

The Mercedes boss agreed with the decision to end the Italian Grand Prix behind the Safety Car.

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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says Formula 1's Safety Car rules were followed "to the dot" in the controversial ending of the Italian Grand Prix.

With five laps remaining at Monza, the Safety Car was deployed for Daniel Ricciardo's stricken McLaren at the Lesmo corners.

However, the marshals were unable to get the car out of gear, meaning a crane was needed on-track to move it.

The delay meant that the race ended behind the Safety Car, with Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto and Red Bull's Christian Horner critical of the decision to not allow the race to go green again.

For their part, the FIA said that "The timing of the safety car period within a race has no bearing" on safety - hence the decision to end the race under yellow.

However, Wolff was opposed to Horner and Binotto's thinking, saying it was right that the race finished how it did - with Max Verstappen taking the win.

Safety Car rules followed to "dot"

The ending at Monza was similar to the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - where the Safety Car was deployed with five laps to go following Nicholas Latifi's crash.

That day, the restart procedure was bungled with it setting up Verstappen to pass a defenceless Lewis Hamilton with the FIA later admitting "human error" in race control was a factor behind the decision.

Speaking to media including RacingNews365.com, Wolff was adamant that the rules were correctly followed in Italy.

"Those rules are very clear, and they're written down," he explained.

"From my perspective, whether I'm Abu Dhabi traumatized or not, these rules have been followed to the dot today.

"There was a car on track, there were marshals and a crane - that's why they didn't let anybody overtake.

"And then there was not enough time to restart the race.

"If one is not happy with the regulations, and you want to have a big bang show one to two laps of racing - that I am absolutely up for - then we need to change the regulations.

"I don't think we should complain about everything that's happened, because these are the rules."

Wolff rubbishes red flag claims

After a late Safety Car in the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, that race was red flagged and set up for a two-lap shootout, with some suggesting this is what then-race director Michael Masi should have done in Abu Dhabi.

It was even proposed as a solution to the ending at Monza, but Wolff rubbished those suggestions.

"You red flag a race because you can't pass anymore or something has happened," he said.

"Why do you red flag race just because you want to have a show? I think [we should] change the regulations.

"Then we have to discuss with the FIA this change in the regulations - that we want to have some really top last lap racing.

"I'm lifting my head for that, but it's not what is in the regulations today."

Wolff's two drivers Hamilton and George Russell finished fifth and third, respectively at Monza as the team look to hunt down Ferrari for second place in the Constructors' Championship.

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