Toto Wolff is hopeful the repercussions from the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will ensure a clean championship battle in the season finale between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi.
Hamilton’s victory and fastest lap ahead of Verstappen in second means the pair go to Abu Dhabi level on points for the final race of the season, with Verstappen ahead by virtue of having won more races this year. Verstappen received two penalties for incidents with Hamilton during the race: one for leaving the track and gaining an advantage and one for causing a collision. In turn, Wolff wants those decisions to help ensure a clean fight in the deciding round.
“What is my confidence? I can’t tell you as I hope the race has enough repercussions that everyone’s going to learn from it and adapt for the final race in Abu Dhabi,” Wolff said.
“I think that similar driving, if it were deemed by the stewards as over the line, would be penalized as well in Abu Dhabi and that could well end in a messy situation for everybody and I don’t think the championship has deserved a result which was influenced by a collision. So I very much in that case trust in the self-regulating system.”
But Wolff doesn’t want that to detract from the emotion of the situation, acknowledging how hard-fought the whole year has been to reach such a climax.
“I don’t think we need to keep a lid on it, the emotions are running very high, there is a lot of respect between the teams also for the achievements. That’s why as long as we have a clean race, fighting for a driver world championship in Abu Dhabi, it was a great season.
“I said (after) Brazil, we’re setting a precedent if it’s not being investigated that could end up really ugly for the championship and you’ve seen (in Saudi Arabia) they were pretty much Brazil at slower speeds. We don’t want to have that in Abu Dhabi. The quicker car with the quicker driver should win the championship and not by taking each other off.”
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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says F1 missed former race director Charlie Whiting’s presence in Jeddah, and Wolff agrees there were a number of unclear moments but says he has sympathy for the situation Michael Masi found himself in.
“I think we had confusion,” Wolff said. “I wished that the red flag wouldn’t have been taken at the beginning, I thought we had lost the race, and that clearly was also a judgment call when some of the advertising on a barrier is ripped off whether you stop the race but it is what it is.
“There was so much going on, so many things to judge and I wouldn’t want to be either in Michael’s seat nor the stewards’ seat. Because you are always looking stupid if you’re making mistakes and if there’s 100 decisions to take there are maybe some that are wrong or controversial, and we need to learn from that.”