Vettel penalty correct; the rules are not – Wolff

Image by Dunbar/LAT

Vettel penalty correct; the rules are not – Wolff

Formula 1

Vettel penalty correct; the rules are not – Wolff


Toto Wolff believes Sebastian Vettel’s penalty in the Canadian Grand Prix was correct by the letter of the law, but that the rules could be changed to allow drivers to race harder.

Vettel’s five-second time penalty for the way he rejoined the track in front of Lewis Hamilton became the focal point of Sunday’s race, with the German losing out on victory despite taking the checkered flag first. Wolff says the decision was a tight one for the stewards to make, and suggests the bigger problem is the current regulations.

“I think it’s clear that you want to win on the track in a clean fashion because incidents like this create a lot of controversy,” Wolff said. “My view on the incident is that… it’s very difficult for stewards to interpret regulations so that everybody is satisfied.

“I think on that particular incident, you can judge 60-40 either side. But what we must not do is put the stewards under pressure in a way that they will struggle more in the future to come up with decisions.

“We need consistent decision-making from the stewards, and we need to support the stewards in their objective to reach that. Sometimes it goes for you, sometimes it goes against you. It went against us in the past.

“I think the penalty was what the rule says. It was according to the rules, and the stewards are thinking according to the rules. If we’re not happy with the rules because we like harder racing, count me in. Then the stewards will take another decision because the rule will be a different one.

“So let’s look at the rules and see how we can get it right so we encourage hard racing, and then the verdict will be a different one.”

Despite his comments, Wolff said he has no sympathy for Vettel, and that Ferrari would gladly have accepted the penalty in the reverse scenario.

“I don’t feel sorry,” he said. “This is a no-prisoners sport. It can be the other way around, too. But I can understand their frustration when the result goes against him.”