Mercedes’ group principal, Toto Wolff, says he can provide “no assurances” that Lewis Hamilton will proceed in system one after Sunday’s controversial season finale, saying the British driver continues to be in “pain” and “will never get over” what occurred.
Speaking after Mercedes introduced that they had determined not to attraction the results of the Abu Dhabi race, Wolff doubled down on his criticism of race officers, describing Hamilton as a “sitting duck” who was “robbed of his crown” by race director Michael Masi’s choice to arrange a last-lap shootout between the pair.
It led to Max Verstappen, who was on recent tyres, having the ability to overtake Hamilton to declare the race win and world title – a lot to Mercedes’ ongoing frustration.
“It is going to take a long time to digest what has happened on Sunday,” admitted Wolff. “I don’t think we will ever get over it, that’s not possible.
“Lewis and I are disillusioned at the moment. We’re not disillusioned with the sport. We love the sport with every bone in our body. And we love it because the stopwatch never lies. But if we break that fundamental principle of spotting fairness and authenticity of the sport, then suddenly the stopwatch doesn’t become relevant anymore. Because we are exposed to random decision-making. And it is clear that you may fall out of love with a sport if you start to question, with all the work you have been doing, all the sweat and tears and blood.”
Wolff additionally repeatedly failed to give reassurances that Hamilton, who just lately signed a brand new two-year contract with Mercedes, could be again to try a file eighth world title.
“I would very much hope that Lewis continues racing because he’s the greatest driver of all times,” mentioned Wolff. “We will be working through the events over the next weeks and months and I think that as a racer, his heart will say ‘I need to continue’, because he is at the peak of his game.
“But we have to overcome the pain that was caused upon him on Sunday, also because he is a man with clear values and it is difficult for him to understand how that happened,” he added. “I just have to do the utmost that I can to help him overcome this, in order for him to return strong and with a love of the sport and trust in the decision-making of the sport next year, and I wish very much that will be the case.”
Confusion reigned on Sunday as race director Michael Masi modified his thoughts to permit lapped vehicles to cross the security automobile simply earlier than the final lap – giving Versrstappen a transparent run at long-time race chief Hamilton within the closing lap.
Mercedes withdrew from any additional motion after the FIA introduced on Wednesday that it will examine the method and decision-making across the finish of the race, however Wolff stepped up his criticism on Thursday, insisting: “It wasn’t just a bad call, it was a freestyle reading of the rules and it left Lewis like a sitting duck.
“The decisions that have been taken in the last four minutes of this race have robbed Lewis Hamilton of a deserved world championship. His driving in the last four races was faultless. He had a commanding lead on Sunday in Abu Dhabi from the get-go. He won the start and never gave the lead away again, and robbing him in the last lap of the race is unacceptable.”
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But regardless of having what they consider to be a really robust authorized foundation, Mercedes in the end determined not to go forward as a result of they felt the FIA’s International Court of Appeal would again their very own race director.
“It you look at the legal side, how it would have been judged in a regular court it is almost guaranteed that we would have won,” mentioned Wolff. “But the problem with the FIA is the way it’s structured. The FIA can’t really mark their own homework, and there is a difference between being right and obtaining justice.”
Wolff additionally mentioned he had little interest in speaking to Masi, including: “It is not only [about] a decision to change the race director. The whole system of decision-making needs to be improved.
“I would have wished for more consistent decision-making throughout the year, but the last one was the decision that had the biggest impact – from a sporting perspective it was a catastrophic impact because it decided the world championship.
As a protest neither Wolff nor Hamilton will attend the FIA prize giving ceremony in Paris on Thursday night, despite the top three drivers in the world championship standings effectively being required to attend.
A statement from Mercedes added: “We left Abu Dhabi in disbelief of what we had just witnessed. Of course, it’s part of the game to lose a race, but it’s something different when you lose faith in racing.”
“We appealed in the interest of sporting fairness, and we have since been in a constructive dialogue with the FIA and formula one to create clarity for the future, so that all competitors know the rules under which they are racing, and how they will be enforced.
“Thus, we welcome the decision by the FIA to install a commission to thoroughly analyse what happened in Abu Dhabi and to improve the robustness of rules, governance and decision making in formula one. We also welcome that they have invited the teams and drivers to take part.”