Wolff’s radio complaint about Mazepin was a “very rare” occurrence – Masi

2021 Spanish Grand Prix

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Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff’s complaint to race control about Nikita Mazepin, which was broadcast during the Spanish Grand Prix, was not a typical comment for him to make, according to Formula 1 race director Michael Masi.

Formula 1 took the novel step of broadcasting a message involving the race director during today’s race. Wolff was heard complaining the Haas driver was holding up Lewis Hamilton.

“Michael, blue flags,” said Wolff in the message, which was heard on lap 26. “Michael this guy makes us lose the position.”

Although teams have the capability to contact race control, Masi said Wolff seldom uses it. “No, to be fair, I very rarely hear from Toto on the race control radio.”

Radio messages involving race control were played in the F1 broadcast for the first time this weekend. Masi said these are “one of the innovations that the FIA has worked together with F1.

“It actually came about through a discussion at the F1 Commission meeting last year, so [viewers] could hear a part of the broadcast the communications between the pit wall and the teams, which is the regular part of what we do operationally.”

The teams were told Formula 1 may broadcast their messages to race control, said Masi.

“The F1 Group through their broadcasts, has been doing some trials in the background of seeing what that looks like. And all the teams were advised and this weekend’s the first time it’s gone live to air.”

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2021 Spanish Grand Prix

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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36 comments on “Wolff’s radio complaint about Mazepin was a “very rare” occurrence – Masi”

  1. This is a very pleasant addition I have to say. More of this please.

    1. Mazepin has zero business on the F1 Grid

      Reply moderated
    2. @nmgn Was that radio broadcast a cry for help? Was someone at FOM trying to expose something? Why pick that radio call as your first broadcast? It sounded like an order and it was far too casual.
      Why would Masi promptly defend Wolff for that casual request on the radio?

      In my view broadcasting this radio call is detrimental to the image of the sport. On one hand we ought to know teams make a lot of requests to race direction on the other hand the first broadcasted radio call had to be a mercedes request to race direction. We have been questioning race direction for favouritism and lack of transparency. I don’t think the Toto call looked as innocent as it should. I reckon Masi must have thought the same, the call sounded bad live therefore he promptly defended Wolff. In the end it is this defending that makes this look bad in my view, it sounds like an assumption of guilt. Confirming the pressure teams put on f1.

      1. @peartree Was that radio broadcast a cry for help? Was someone at FOM trying to expose something? Why pick that radio call as your first broadcast?

        3 questions to answer, here goes:
        1. Not a cry for help, but Masi: …these are “one of the innovations that the FIA has worked together with F1.”
        2/3 Why Mercedes’ call was the first to air? Admittedly, Masi’s call to Steiner or Mazepin would’ve been more insightfull to us viewers. But I guess as a first trial run live to air, Mercedes’ teamradio is a good first pick.

      2. What request? That was just pure frustration. Wolff needs a vacation. :)

    3. ColdFly (@)
      10th May 2021, 8:52

      I Agree @nmgn,
      The broadcast team seems to be very smart in picking the most interesting messages.

    4. I was referring to more transparacy on the radio contact between Race control and teams. I think we all can agree on that there should be more of this, and also between Masi and drivers. So @F1 if you’re reading this by any chance, more of this please.

  2. The message was totally unexpected. Mazepin didn’t impede him anyway.

    1. My impression was the message was more about Wolff asking for blue flags to be shown more promptly then it was about complaining about Mazepin not getting out of the way fast enough once they were shown.

      Reply moderated
    2. @jerejj certainly not as much as Bottas

      1. Only one was a lap down though so you can’t compare the two.

    3. Looks like a bit of panic from Toto to me. Toto knows that having the fastest car is not per definition going to hand them the win anymore. The combi between a still lacking some speed RB and Max is becoming good enough to challenge them. He knows once RB get the car sorted out (which I think they are incapable of after seeing them struggle for 8 years, so he shouldnt be worried) the roles will be reversed.

    4. @jerejj The very fact that Mazepin is on the track means he’s impeding other drivers. ;-)

  3. Anyone remember the live interview radios back in 2016?

    1. @iluvsoundtracks Yes, Rosberg in Japan post-QLF parc ferme and Gutierrez on Mexico formation lap.

      1. What was that? Don’t seem to recollect! Any video available?

  4. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    9th May 2021, 21:49

    Not a fan of Nikita at all but Kieth along with the grid whine every weekend about him.

    1. Yes, and it is quite tiresome, even if I am no fan of Mazepin either.

      1. I agree. Its the text book example of prejudice

    2. @canadianjosh

      Maybe it’s because Nikita gives the grid and journalists new material every session of every race.

    3. @canadianjosh the point is, those complaints keep coming because Mazepin kept getting in the way of other drivers, and indeed made it clear that he doesn’t care that he was getting in the way.

      It’s not just that he was causing problems, but rather that he does not care about trying to improve because the team are too afraid of losing his money to risk taking any disciplinary action.

    4. ColdFly (@)
      10th May 2021, 8:56

      Only this article is not about Mazepin, @canadianjosh.

  5. Get rid of the blue flags

    1. Absolutely agree.
      And do away with the manufacturer ties / multiple team ownership at the same time – as they are intrinsically linked.

    2. I am not sure that would be a good idea. I understand what you mean, ie making the driver race for every overtake. But it could lead to some very unsavoury tactics. For instance near the end of the season a team could make one of their drivers consistently lap very slowly so that they get in the way of the rival. They could do so lap after lap and effectively block the road so that their other driver wind a championship. Currently to do such a thing would mean racing ahead of the other driver and purposefully blocking (which is pretty difficult to do) or they can get in the way a little bit as a lapped driver. Removing the blue flags would open it up to huge abuse.

  6. It was an interesting thing to see indeed, unexpected and I think he made hamilton lose some time actually.

    1. @esploratore Didn’t seem the case. He gave plenty of room for passing.

  7. isthatglock21
    10th May 2021, 4:20

    Once I realised the big boss & Ineos owner Jim Ratcliffe was there I kinda viewed the whole weekend in a certain way. It was the kind of week Toto probably wanted to ensure the ship was run tight, hence Lewis giving Bottas the tow at the start instead of blocking Max right away & he didn’t really question much over the radio either. The value is probably to show how good the wider team is like strategy & also Toto to flex his muscles & show his importance/influence. I don’t doubt that Ron Meadows would usually make this call to the FIA, Toto only did it as the bloke he will sell the remainder of the team to was there. Either way it doesn’t matter much, But I believe Massi’s ‘this is rare’ comments. Always good to see who is in the garage on a weekend, People always act different.

    1. ColdFly (@)
      10th May 2021, 9:05

      You might be right @isthatglock21, especially as I still expect that INEOS could be assessing buying the rest of the ownership from Mercedes/Wolff.

  8. Is Mazepin basically an outcast at this point? Seems like he has screwed up every reasonably fast drivers day at one point or another.

  9. Though Mazepin has been a pain in the @$$ so far to most teams and drivers, I think every single transgression of his is being milked by the media and FIA more than he deserves to the point it’s becoming stale. Give the guy a break if he can’t help it!!

    1. @lems isn’t the whole point of blocking others on track meant to be that it usually is something that can be avoided?

  10. I liked this, even if it didn’t line up with what the director was showing on track but Masi needs to talk less. Every week he talks either complete waffle to get out of a tricky spot that he’s created himself or randomly inserts himself into the aftershow. He needs to understand he’s not part of the show imo.

  11. What a freak show. Being rookie driving around P20 is not a lot of fun, being P20 while daddy has to pay for everything is even less fun.

    Then the ride host waves blue flags and tells you to move out of the way.

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