Toto Wolff has compared Fernando Alonso’s Saudi Arabia penalty to Lewis Hamilton “stealing” the 2021 world title.
In both races, he said the FIA should “make the right decisions” and not rush things.
The story of Hamilton’s loss of the title in 2021 has been widely reported, with Mercedes and the Brit feeling to this day that he was “robbed” by then-FIA race director Michael Massey’s controversial decision to set up a final-lap shootout. “The eighth world title is between the defending world champion and Max Verstappen.
Australia’s decision was criticized by Mercedes, who said it was simply the wrong decision.
That eventually led to Massi’s departure and an overhaul of the FIA’s race control system last season with two race directors in charge. This year, Neils Wittich became the sole person in charge, but according to Wolff, mistakes kept popping up.
The latest occurred at last Sunday’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, when race stewards initially declared that Alonso’s penalty stop was fine.
The Spaniard was penalized 5 seconds early in the race for being five seconds wrong on the grid, and was penalized when he pitted in the evening.
But on the pit lane his rear jacks slid the jack under his car, touching it and the team paused for five seconds.
Stewards later reviewed the pit stop and imposed a 10-second time penalty on the Aston Martin driver, but this was overturned after Aston Martin appealed.
Wolff said that, like Abu Dhabi, he just wants the stewards to make the right decision.
“First of all,” he told Channel 4, “the penalty was very severe because Fernando and Aston Martin deserved to be on the podium in terms of pure driving performance.
“We’ll have to look at the rules and see if there’s anything we can adjust because it won’t affect his game.
“I’d rather have the FIA make the right decision than make an obviously wrong decision too quickly.
“In 2021 we have been victims of a situation where it all comes down to entertaining quick decisions that deprive the championship of the greatest driver.
“So in that regard, I guess I’d rather not go to the podium and then get the right result.”
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Alonso, who sprayed “champagne” on the podium but did not attend the post-race press conference, was also not impressed by the stewards.
“I think the FIA’s performance was poor,” he said before the penalty was overturned, “and not just our own disappointment. You can’t penalize 25 laps after a pit stop.
“They had enough time to actually inform the penalty because maybe I could have given the car 11 seconds behind me if I had known that.”
In explaining why they overturned the 10-second penalty, staff announced that there was no clear agreement on what would be considered “working on a car”.
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