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Toto Wolff

Wolff urges 'harsh' FIA stance over driver penalties

The Mercedes team boss believes more action needs to be taken by the stewards against drivers who impede timed laps.

Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff has called on the FIA to deliver harsher penalties for drivers who impede during qualifying laps, after numerous infractions during the Dutch Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton was blocked by Yuki Tsunoda during the wet qualifying session and the Japanese driver was subsequently given a three-place grid penalty after the Mercedes driver failed to make it past Q2.

Lance Stroll was let off for a similar incident, while teammate Fernando Alonso also escaped an investigation from the stewards despite also being summoned for allegedly holding up Hamilton on a timed attempt.

Asked what could be done to prevent such issues, Wolff told media including RacingNews365.com: "I think the answer is penalise, penalise, penalise.

"If you know you don't go to prison when you cheat the tax, you cheat the tax."

We need to be harsh

The wet qualifying session meant drivers had to stick to one line throughout their lap on the drying track, as the rest of the track was too wet to drive on slick tyres.

This made conditions tricky and cost drivers a lot of time if they went wide as the result of another car, which Wolff believes contributed to Hamilton's lower grid position.

"I don't understand why these things are not penalised," said Wolff.

"This was a clear impeding with some drivers in Q1. Tsunoda, he's a nice guy, but he impeded Lewis on his quick lap and didn't move from the dry line.

"You can say 'yeah, he dived into on the inside and it didn't look like it's cost much' but going from a dry line into a wet line, back into a dry line cost [him], I think a tenth which would have put him into Q3.

"We need to be harsh with penalties and then people will again look in the mirrors."

F1 2023 Dutch Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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