Toto Wolff, executive director of Mercedes Formula One (F1) team is still undecided on Lewis Hamilton’s “backing up’ tactics in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Englishman chose to ignore direct orders to speed up from team boss Paddy Lowe.
Wolff also stressed on the fact that Mercedes only interfered in their drivers’ battle for the championship in fear of losing the race. A late charging Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari forced the team to issue instructions to Hamilton to speed up, as reported by Sky Sports.
“As it was a highly probable scenario [Hamilton’s tactics], there was lots of discussion around it [ahead of the race]. Not only this morning, but it was clear that it was one of the possible ways for Lewis to win the championship,” Wolff said, as reported by ESPN.
Hamilton, in a last attempt to force the F1 world championship 2016 back in his favor backed Nico Rosberg in the chasing pack. If the German dropped out of the top three places, Hamilton would have won his fourth world title. However, this was not to be and Rosberg finish second to clinch the title.
The 31-year-old man from Stevenage, England chose to ignore several team radio messages to speed up. This also includes the final one made by Lowe, team’s technical chief, which Wolff revealed represents the highest level of pit wall escalation.
However, instead of debunking the three-time F1 world champion, Wolff has assured of seeing both sides of the argument. He has also vowed to keep the decision he takes internal.
“I’m in two minds at that stage. The guy who is responsible for that company and the structure we have put in place. The other side, me the racer, says maybe I would have done the same.” Wolff added.
Video courtesy: YouTube.com/FORMULA 1
Will Lewis Hamilton be penalized financially for his actions?
Mercedes F1 has a “rules of engagement” to cover sensitive scenarios such as the one in Sunday’s race. It includes the order of command from the pit wall.
Mostly, it is the driver’s race engineer who communicates over the pit-to-car radio. However, Lowe is brought in when there is a message of the highest order to deliver.
There are talks suggesting a financial penalty for Hamilton. The Briton could also receive a race suspension for breaching the “rules of engagement”.
“I think we need to look at the overall situation and say what does it mean? This is 180 degrees and I’m not sure yet where the needle is going to go” Wolff mentioned.
Photo courtesy: AngMoKio/Wikimedia