Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff (pictured at left, above) says it is “disturbing” that the FIA named specific members of his team as being involved with an inquiry into the legality of the Ferrari ERS.
The FIA was monitoring the way Ferrari deploys energy from its unique battery layout, as it wanted the team to convince it that it does not exceed the 120kW limit that can be deployed by the MGU-K. The issue raised its head in Monaco, and when announcing that the FIA was satisfied there was no wrongdoing, FIA race director Charlie Whiting stated that the inquiry “came from a Ferrari engine man now at Mercedes” and was made by James Allison (pictured at right, above).
With the former Ferrari employee named as Lorenzo Sassi, when asked if he felt slightly thrown under the bus by the FIA in the sense the governing body named the individuals that went from Ferrari to Mercedes, Wolff replied: “Yes. One of my roles is to protect my people, and if certain individuals are named in the wrong context that is disturbing.”
However, with FIA president Jean Todt saying Mercedes should have made an official protest rather than allowing the topic to be picked up by the media, Wolff insists he is happy with the way the governing body handled the investigation itself.
“The FIA has made a public statement — Jean and Charlie — about the situation, and as they are the governing body they are perfectly entitled to do so. No judgment has been made on anything. No protest has been launched, no inquiry has been done. Just the press statement from the FIA and we trust them. If they have looked at things that’s perfectly fine.
“As to who has launched things, it’s a completely normal modus operandi that teams inquire with the FIA about certain legality topics that go in all directions – happens every weekend. Every single day, probably, teams will ask it, so I have no problems with the statement.
“[An official protest] is something that any team can do at any time. They didn’t say that a judgment has been made or a verdict has been taken. If somebody wants to protest they can protest.”