F1 teams warn of steward lobbying after British GP controversy

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One of the controversial aspects of last weekend’s British Grand Prix was how Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and Christian Horner lobbied stewards as they reviewed the crash involving Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

Wolff had gone there on the advice of F1 race director Michael Masi in an effort to ensure they were aware of the FIA ​​guidelines regarding who is allowed to take a turn during the fight for positions. .

Speaking this week about the visit, Wolff told TUSEN: “I think I was told after the crash that Christian in particular had a pretty erratic discussion with the clerk of the course.

“So I contacted the race director and he advised me to go see the marshals, or speak directly to the marshals, which I did.”

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Hearing over the team radio that Wolff was with the stewards, Horner also paraded there to make sure his team’s account of the crash was heard.

Afterward, Horner said he thought it was completely irrelevant that a team manager could talk to stewards in this way.

“I don’t think you should interfere with the flight attendants,” he said. “They have to be clear-headed to be able to make these decisions.

“I went to see the commissioners because I had heard that Toto was up there presenting a case. You want it to be fair and balanced, and I think no one should be allowed to see the commissioners.

Toto Wolff, Team Director and CEO, Mercedes AMG

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Photo By: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Initially, Masi said he didn’t see a problem with teams talking to stewards, and he said it was standard practice.

“If we have an incident after the race, we invite the teams and the drivers to come and present themselves to the stewards,” he said after the British GP.

“We had the case at Monza last year when Lewis went to speak to the stewards to understand what happened and to get an overview of the bigger picture. During the suspension, that ability exists, so he doesn’t ‘there’s no reason not to. “

However, Masi appears to have shifted his stance and has now warned teams that unannounced visits to stewards will not be tolerated.

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In a note sent to all competitors, Masi said that access to the Stewards for anyone other than the necessary FIA officials would only be allowed with “prior approval” or following a summons.

The teams were informed that if they were found to be in breach of these latter guidelines, they could face sanctions under article 12.2.1.i of the FIA ​​International Sporting Code.

The latter considers that an infringement will be considered as having taken place if a competitor does not: “follow the instructions of the competent officials for the safe and orderly conduct of the event”.

Penalties for such an offense can range from reprimand to disqualification.

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