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Start Saudi Arabian GP
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Toto Wolff

Why Wolff believes Hamilton didn't deserve disqualification

Mercedes' Toto Wolff believes more common sense should have been used in the investigation against Lewis Hamilton's DRS infraction in Brazil.

Mercedes' boss Toto Wolff believes that the investigation into Lewis Hamilton's rear wing infraction should never have gone before the stewards, given that the infraction actually came about as a result of damage and resulted in a "performance deficit".

The stewards' verdict outlined the details of the rear wing infraction, which saw Hamilton's DRS flap open more than the permitted amount during Friday's qualifying session, but it was stressed that there hadn't been any evidence of intent on Mercedes' side to design or run the part outside of legal parameters.

With the stewards explaining that the part would have been allowed to be fixed had it been spotted during a session, and not during scrutineering, Wolff suggested that Mercedes will be out to pounce on any transgressions from any other teams for the remainder of the season.

"Something went against the modus operandi these last 24 hours, which was either under pressure from other stakeholders or just different, and if the modus operandi is different now you maybe need to look at others also with a more strict and severe eye," Wolff told media, including RacingNews365.com after Saturday's Sprint Qualifying race.

"I can tell you that, in the next few races, we're going to look at every single race tape that's going to fall off a car and ask questions.

"If such a thing as gentlemen's agreement exists in Formula 1, because there ain't no gentlemen, then now it doesn't anymore.

"You have no millimetre of leniency of fixing things on a car. If it's broken, it's broken, you can't touch it, and this is how it's going to go this year."

Mercedes didn't expect a penalty

Wolff explained that Mercedes didn't think they would be disqualified from qualifying following their meetings with the stewards, given there was acceptance that the breach of the Technical Regulations had come about as a result of damage.

"Until late this [Saturday] afternoon, we believed that it was OK, because the wing was damaged," he commented.

"One side was OK, the middle was OK, the right was not OK. That means we actually had a performance disadvantage.

"We thought that, in consideration of all these aspects, the FIA would say there was damage and therefore, we weren't in breach of the regulations. They also said there was nothing that happened with intent from our side.

"I thought that Ron Meadows [Mercedes' Sporting Director] was taking a joke when I saw the WhatsApp [confirming the disqualification]. So strange things happen, but you have to take it on the chin."

Wolff points to Red Bull in Mexico

Wolff pointed to the example of Red Bull in Mexico, where the team had spent time during third practice and qualifying making repairs to their rear wings after signs of weakness from hitting the kerbs.

With parc ferme conditions at that event in place from the start of qualifying, Wolff said he saw little difference in the circumstances.

"We had a parc ferme situation in Mexico where, during qualifying sessions, work on the rear wing was permitted. No difference in terms of parc ferme situation, I don't think, with stewards present," he added.

"This time it was judged, and this is in the declaration of the stewards, that if it would have happened during the session, we would have been allowed to fix it. But not at the end of the session, when both are parc ferme situations.

"So you can ask why during the session and not at the end of the session. But anyway, it is what it is and I think we can probably pick examples either way."

Asked about why, if the team felt they hadn't done much wrong, there weren't grounds for an appeal, as Mercedes confirmed they had no intention of doing so, Wolff said he believed the team wouldn't fare well.

"I think it is the argument of losing points tomorrow [Sunday], or potentially all points, is one consideration," Wolff said.

"But there is another consideration that, at the end of the day, there is a TD [Technical Directive] that describes the tests and, when you fail the tests, that's black and white. I think that the outcome wouldn't have been advantageous for us.

"I'm just saying that it shouldn't have even reached the stewards' room, if it was following the modus operandi of many, many years before, and that's why I don't believe we would have had particularly good cards for an appeal anyway."

Follow Rudy van Buren as he takes you on a flying lap around the Interlagos Circuit, home of the F1 Brazilian Grand Prix.

RN365 News dossier F1 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix

The latest news about the Sao Paulo Grand Prix straight from the Interlagos Circuit.

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