Wolff: Rival team bosses say one thing to Liberty and another to the cameras

2020 70th Anniversary Grand Prix

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says some rival bosses criticise F1’s Concorde Agreement deal in private but are “up the arse of the commercial rights holder” when they speak on television.

Wolff also told rival teams to accept the FIA’s verdict on Racing Point and “get on with” trying to beat them on track.

Earlier today Wolff said he is not yet willing to sign up to the new commercial terms F1 is offering. However several of his rivals indicated they are prepared to commit to the sport beyond 2020.

Wolff said some of them are being duplicitous. “Most of the teams, if not 90%, are of the opinion that it needs cleaning up, that there are clauses that are critical that needs to be discussed around governance and certain commercial aspects but we are not really able to engage,” he told Sky.

“Some of these guys when they come on camera they are up the arse of the commercial rights holder. Then when we have them in the meeting they are revved up and they are the loudest.

“So I guess it’s about manning up and expressing your opinion. We love this sport. We have core objectives that we share with Liberty and with the FIA. We all want to stay in this for the best of the sport and it’s just about to discuss [it].”

This morning the FIA stewards upheld Renault’s protest against Racing Point. They ruled the team unlawfully copied the rear brake duct design Mercedes using in 2019, and handed them a point deduction and fine.

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Other teams have indicated they may protest the outcome seeking a stronger penalty. Wolff argued Racing Point did not break any written rule and told their rivals to accept the FIA’s decision.

Esteban Ocon, Renault, Silverstone, 2020
Analysis: How Renault’s Racing Point protest led the FIA to revise its rules on ‘clone cars’
“They didn’t breach any technical regulations, in my opinion. In 2019 those parts were non-listed and became listed in the following year.

“There was no concrete regulation or technical directive that said you aren’t allowed to use 2019 parts that you have gotten and then redesigned yourself, to whatever point, in 2020. It simply doesn’t say that. So this is exactly what Racing Point did.

“The interesting bit is all the other teams seem to think that they haven’t designed them themselves, which they did, there’s a thousand drawings around. They’ve re-engineered them. It comes to the point that it’s a reinterpretation of a regulation that doesn’t exit.

“We had a case in 2015 with Haas where Haas had the full car of Ferrari. There was not a single part that was designed from Haas, everything was done from Ferrari, and they used a loophole because they were not a competitor. And they put a car on track that was highly competitive because it was a Ferrari copy. So we have seen these loopholes.

“We took it on the chin back then. We wanted a clarification, fair enough, like Renault. But the clarification came, they weren’t a competitor because they haven’t entered, and that’s it, you have to get on and try to beat them. So get on with it.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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22 comments on “Wolff: Rival team bosses say one thing to Liberty and another to the cameras”

  1. I’m struggling to find the words to express how surprised I am to hear that F1 team bosses say one thing in private and something else to the cameras.

    Reminds me of the time someone told me that immersing myself in water will make me wet.

    1. Or that the most noisy of them all has a serious conflict of interest between his employer and a competitor where he’s a shareholder and arguably is transferring the former’s IP to the latter…just F1’s business as usual I guess… Funny that once in the not so distant past, being Merc’s TP and a Williams’ shareholder was not okay

  2. From what I understood, Williams, Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull all have said they are ready to sign. Mercedes have said they are not, and the FIA have said they will wait no longer. So if the other team bosses are indeed being ‘duplicitous’, to what end, are they bluffing about being ready? The FIA appears to be calling that bluff. I have no doubt Wolff is being as ‘duplicitous’ as he’s accusing the others of being, and everything he’s said here is an attempt to strengthen his position and weaken the FIA’s.

    As for his defence of Racing Point, well he would wouldn’t he? Again, the FIA don’t seem to agree with him.

    1. And if Mercedes doesn’t want to sign, then they can simply allow the other teams to share their CAD drawings with a few new entrants. RP showed how quickly they will be up to speed.

  3. Careful Toto.
    Calling out two faced bum kissers can get you stabbed in the back dude.

    1. Like he isn’t the biggest Machiavellian figure in the paddocks.

  4. Well we know that’s where Brown has his nose firmly embedded. Not sure of any others?

    1. Wolff seems legitimately nervous from what’s happening, good from other team bosses to give him a political punch or two. The same like he’s been doing for the past seven years without any repercussions.

      1. I suspect he’s had a call from one or two people on the Mercedes Benz board today and been asked to explain why Mercedes have been helping his billionaire friends new team cheat … and how exactly he got those Aston Martin shares.
        He looked very flustered, especially swearing on live TV.
        A man under big pressure.

        If this is appealed further by Renault, it could reveal some very uncomfortable facts.
        Don’t be surprised to see a Mercedes Benz internal investigation into Toto and the F1 team management’s part in this.

        1. You really think that Daimler didn’t know its f1 team was helping racing point? You do know that Mercedes are shareholders in aston martin? I’m sure they had no problem helping racing point.

    2. There is absolutely nothing good that would come out of it if these teams started being very vocal and critical publicly about the financial negotiations. These “brown nosing” teams are doing it right. Keep the discussion where it belongs. In the negotiation rooms. Instead of dragging it out in the public. The public, the internet and the newspapers and magazines are not the platform for this discussion and definitely not a good place for achieving a good outcome for the teams or for the sport.

      Labelling the actions of these teams as brown nosing is just poor sport from wolff. He is literally complaining that the other teams are too nice, honest and factual when they make public statements about the topic… Not airing dirty laundry and being respectable is hardly brown nosing. What would be is the exact opposite. Toto logic I’d guess..

  5. Toto suggesting that anyone else is two-faced is the absolute height of irony …

  6. Ohhh looks like they learning from the best, Toto! From you.

  7. I’m confused. Didn’t Haas gave their debut in 2016? Why is Wolff talking about a 2015 case? Or was it just a test situation he is referreing to?

    1. @handliver

      Didn’t Haas gave their debut in 2016? Why is Wolff talking about a 2015 case?

      Yes they did, but the case he is referring to was brought at the final race of 2015:

      https://www.racefans.net/2015/11/29/teams-cannot-share-aerodynamic-data-fia-rules/

  8. A man truly concerned with the best for F1.
    True signs of great concern, this man speaking in duplicity, a joke in bad taste. Great revelations are in the pipeline …. The siege is tightening and the man is beginning to give clear signs of this. We will see.

  9. So and it was necessary to wait until today, to know the FIA decision about the PR, to immediately jump to the televisions to highlight the subject. I wonder why? To divert attention?!?! There will certainly be something greater, which will be known in the near future. Relax, Toto, you’re very nervous.

  10. It seems when it comes to his involvement in the political side of the sport, Toto should take his advice to his own team about not believing in their own hype.

  11. Ironical that the man who cries Wolff alot is talking about others saying things to the camera
    I always knew you were a hypocrite but calling out others for doing what you do isn’t “manning up”
    You chose to play the political game, now that it’s not going your way you’re whining and crying that everyone else is happy except you

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