Wolff blames Verstappen protest on “miscommunication”

2016 Japanese Grand Prix

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Toto Wolff has said a “miscommunication” within the Mercedes team led to a protest being lodged, then withdrawn, against Max Verstappen in Japan.

The FIA acknowledged a protest from Mercedes against Verstappen for his defensive move on Lewis Hamilton on the penultimate lap of the Japanese Grand Prix. However it was withdrawn by Mercedes after Hamilton stated on social media he did not approve of the protest.

Hamilton initially denied a protest had been lodged, adding “one idiot said we have but it’s not true”. He later said he told the team “it is not what we do”.

Wolff said the protest had arisen due to a “miscommunication”.

“When we left the circuit, I said that the Verstappen manoeuvre was a hard manoeuvre but probably what we want to see in Formula One. It is refreshing and I think the drivers need to sort that out among themselves on track.”

“We decided not to step in and then there was an unfortunate coincidence that we took off, we left and the team had a minute to decide whether to protest or not. And that is what they did.”

“And once we were able to communicate again, which was 30 minutes after take-off, we decided to withdraw the protest.”

2016 Japanese Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
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    9 comments on “Wolff blames Verstappen protest on “miscommunication””

    1. So, that leaves everybody opposing Max actions talking BS.

      1. Miss Construed
        22nd October 2016, 0:15

        For Suzuka.

      2. Yup. Them and all the “he doesn’t defend, he blocks”, ignoring the fact that blocking is a way of defending and the term is used quite often by everyone and thank god the rules don’t forbid it yet because the biggest reason indiecar is a joke is you can’t defend against an overtake at all.

        1. It’s not about “blocking”, it’s about moving under braking.

          According to http://www.auto-motor-und-sport.de/formel-1/verstappen-keine-spurwechsel-mehr-auf-der-bremse-11576626.html there was a very big drivers briefing about it with most of the big names speaking up against it.

          1. My favourite part (loosely translated from a reddit thread)

            Marko: Let them learn to break, if Max can do it they can do it.
            Hulkenberg: Maybe in a Red Bull, with its high down force. Look at how late Ricciardo breaked during overtaking. If I do that in my car will land on the moon (crash).

          2. Maybe it would have been better the protest was not withdrawn. In that case we would have had a final decision on the manoeuvre by the stewards. I don’t understand that the drivers (also Hamilton) complain about it during the briefing but the formal protest is withdrawn, this is a not fair to Max Verstappen.

    2. First Brawn’s comments, now this. Miscommunication seems to be one of Mercedes specialties.

      I don’t really get the story by the way, “the team had a minute to decide whether to protest or not” What is this in reference too? Is there a specific window after a race in which a protest must be lodged? Kind of sounds like a fluff excuse.

      1. There is indeed a window of time between the provisional race result, and when it becomes the official result Tristan; in that time, protests can be lodged to the Stewards of the race.

        1. Ah good to know, that does add up then cheers.

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