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Toto Wolff

Wolff: Mercedes' exclusion 'very harsh' after Red Bull's rear wing repairs

Toto Wolff has implied that Mercedes are being given unequal treatment by the stewards after Lewis Hamilton's exclusion from qualifying at the Brazilian GP.

Wolff Mexico 2021
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To news overview © Mercedes

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was left feeling angered by Lewis Hamilton's exclusion from qualifying in Brazil over a rear wing issue, pointing to recent car part changes that Red Bull have made under parc ferme conditions without penalty.

Having posted the fastest time, reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton was disqualified from the initial grid-deciding session at Interlagos after his Mercedes' DRS flap was found to open more than the permitted amount.

Wolff believes it is unfair that Mercedes were not given the opportunity to assess their rear wing after qualifying, and prior to the checks, highlighting that Red Bull have made rear wing repairs under parc ferme conditions at recent events.

Looking back on the Brazilian GP weekend when speaking to media, including RacingNews365.com, Wolff said: "I mean, the whole weekend went against us.

"We had a broken part on our rear wing, which we couldn't look at, couldn't analyse and failed the test, and after got disqualified, [which was] very harsh.

"Then you see on the Red Bull [there are] repairs three times in a row, whilst being in parc ferme, with no consequence."

"I need to clear it up with the FIA"

Wolff expanded on his frustration over Red Bull's rear wing changes, which were previously seen in the United States and Mexico, during an interview with Sky Sports.

He said: "We heard that [for] a third time in a row Red Bull was allowed to change parts on the rear wing under parc ferme. I need to clear that up with the FIA.

"Under parc ferme there is rules and if it becomes a routine, that you're changing the same part three times in a row, I think at a certain stage, if the other team is being disqualified by a change that was a reliability issue, the other one can change it.

"But I don't want to complain. It's the wrong place. Because the talking needs to be done on track anyway."

FIA deny any unequal treatment

However, FIA Race Director Michael Masi has moved to firmly deny talk of certain teams being favoured.

"All the reports that Jo [Bauer] sends out as our Technical Delegate prior to the race clearly explain either repairs or replacements that can happen under parc ferme conditions," said Masi.

"So from that perspective, yes, we have regular requests. At a Sprint Qualifying weekend, it's obviously even more, because of when parc ferme starts [on Friday after first practice]. We treat every single request equally, consistently and look at every single one.

"If we see that something is, let's call it systematic, with a team over a number of events, then we ask them to make permanent modifications to that part.

"There's a whole lot of things that go into it. I don't think there's any inconsistency at all."

Former F1 driver turned pundit Martin Brundle feels that Mercedes never had a valid argument for leniency from the stewards, despite claims from Wolff that Hamilton's rear wing issue negatively impacted performance.

Also interesting:

F1 Podcast: Could Mercedes' pace in Brazil spell the end for Red Bull?

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton was simply unstoppable in Brazil, forcing his way past Red Bull's Max Verstappen. Is momentum coming back towards Mercedes in the 2021 title fight?

F1 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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