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Wolff: Abu Dhabi gave FIA "confidence" to apply correct Safety Car rules

He was speaking after the Italian Grand Prix ended behind the Safety Car, months after Abu Dhabi 2021 did not.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix gave the FIA "confidence" to end the '22 Italian Grand Prix behind the Formula 1 Safety Car. The race at Monza was ended early as Daniel Ricciardo's McLaren broke down on Lap 48 of 53 - with marshals unable to clear it off track without the assistance of a crane. This necessitated the race ending behind the Safety Car - with the ending drawing parallels to what was expected to happen during the 2021 season-finale in Abu Dhabi after Nicholas Latifi's crash with five laps to go. On that day, some lapped cars were allowed to overtake, with the Safety Car brought in at the end of Lap 57, and not Lap 58 as the rulebook called for. It set up a final lap showdown for the title between Wolff's driver Lewis Hamilton on old Hard, and Max Verstappen on fresh Softs - the latter emerging victorious. Speaking after the race at Monza, which Verstappen won, Wolff believed the events of Abu Dhabi helped make the FIA's decision.

Abu Dhabi gave FIA "confidence"

Wolff was unequivocal in his belief that the Safety Car rules were "followed to the dot" at Monza, despite some drivers feeling it was ok to potentially have one final racing lap - as in Abu Dhabi. However, the rulebook does not allow that - as the Mercedes boss previously called for the rules to be changed if that was the wish of the teams. "I'm really satisfied to see that there isn't a race director and colleagues that apply the regulations against the pressure of the media, the e fans and everybody to just be in breach of the regulations," he explained to media including RacingNews365.com. "So at least Abu Dhabi, in that sense, gave the FIA more robust confidence to apply the [Safety Car] regulations." Wolff's counterparts at Red Bull and Ferrari - Christian Horner and Mattia Binotto both felt the race could have restarted - Horner believing it denied the fans "a grandstand" finish.

RESULTS 2024 F1 pre-season testing - Day 2