Ecclestone criticises Hamilton and Wolff over FIA championship awards absence

2021 F1 Season

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Former Formula 1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone criticised Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff for refusing to attend yesterday’s FIA prizegiving following the row over the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

After more than three days of deliberations, Mercedes chose not to appeal over the handling of the race, which saw Max Verstappen overtake Hamilton on the final lap to clinch the world championship following a disputed restart.

However Wolff made his anger over the outcome of the race clear yesterday and confirmed he and Hamilton would not attend the awards ceremony because of it. “Both of us won’t be there,” he said. “I won’t be there because of my loyalty to Lewis and because of my own personal integrity.”

Mercedes sent chief technical officer James Allison to accept their record-breaking eighth consecutive constructors championship trophy. Wolff said he collected their trophy “on behalf of all the people in Brackley and Brixworth who should celebrate our eighth consecutive world championship title, who deserve to be celebrated because it’s a fantastic achievement that we are very proud of.”

However Ecclestone was unimpressed by Mercedes’ unwillingness to participate fully in the ceremony. Hamilton was required to attend under the sporting regulations. Mercedes also did not supply their Formula 1 and Formula E championship-winning cars for a photoshoot on Tuesday.

“I was very, very, very, very surprised at the attitude of Mercedes because I haven’t seen them act in this way, ever,” said Ecclestone.

“After the race, obviously, people have seen the competition, if they lose, they are not so happy as the winners. But there’s a way to act and they didn’t act that way.

“Also, as far as not coming here, somebody’s bothered to put on the world championship, a lot of people work and a lot of people are given a lot of their time up and effort to do this.”

Hamilton, who received his knighthood earlier this week, “should have made the effort to come”, said Ecclestone. “It wouldn’t have hurt him to arrive. He’s come up with an excuse that he couldn’t be here, which I don’t think anybody believes, because he managed to come to 22 races.”

Allison gave credit to Mercedes’ rivals Red Bull as he accepted the team’s trophy yesterday.

“It’s a very, very difficult thing to do to win one championship. To do two, quite remarkable. Eight? Words fail me. It is a brilliant group of people who work tirelessly and I can’t stress enough what a massive pleasure it is to be able to pick up this trophy today after a championship of such quality.

“To have had the pleasure of fighting like cats and dogs all year with Red Bull, our brilliant opponents – we get on each other’s tits a bit but that’s how it should be. It was a fantastic fight so very grateful for that.”

Outgoing Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas, who finished third in the championship, also attended the ceremony. However he did not participate in the pre-event press conference after his flight from Switzerland arrived late.

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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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  • 99 comments on “Ecclestone criticises Hamilton and Wolff over FIA championship awards absence”

    1. Ecclestone has been spouting the most ignorant, biased nonsense for days now. Best to ignore entirely.

      1. Agreed. Although the personal integrity part of TW’s comment made me chuckle.

      2. The same Ecclestone who valued Redbull more than Mercedes and gave them a poor man’s plot when he started his reward scheme for team relevance to the business.
        I respect him for his achievements, but he did better for himself than those who entrusted their interests in him.

        1. Coventry Climax
          17th December 2021, 13:06

          “.., but he did better for himself than those who entrusted their interests in him.”
          Can’t say we have less controversy and can’t say it’s less about making money, since he’s gone.
          So, according to you, what exactly is better in the current situation then?

      3. Bernie who??? lol

        He’s past his sell by date and has no relevance to the sport anymore!

        1. Who? He is the husband of the new FIA VP representing South America.

          1. LOL there’s some real top tier comments on this article. Thanks for the laughs m8

      4. I actually expected Berny to be on the side of Mercedes, as a way to point a finger at F1 and Liberty!

      5. Days? He’s been spouting nonsense for years.

      6. @hahostolze at least read the article, you’re the one spouting nonsense.

    2. I watched a bit of it, i don’t blame them……

      1. It always seemed very strange to me that the image-conscious and media-savvy powers that be in F1 have always allowed the world championship trophy to be collected at a black-tie dinner after the end of the season, rather than having a proper ceremony at the race track in front of the cameras. The current arrangement is not really in keeping with Liberty’s vision of F1.

        1. to be fair the awards ceremony has nothing to do with Liberty

        2. (this is NOT sarcasm)
          They need at least 4 days to cover the period in which teams lodge appeals against stewards’ decisions.

    3. Strange season, unusual proceedings, odd outcome. Just fitting that the gala should reflect some 9f the season. There is always a first time for everything.

      1. Sore Lew at least could have bragged about his entitlement.

    4. Bernie is a senile old man whos opinions’ve been utter trash long before he was gotten rid of. Im surprised that racefans still give him enough relevance to put him in a headline. And yet again he only talks about Lewis losing to Max, not about F1 losing integrity, which is what this is all about. Losing faith in racing does not mean “cant take it when im 2nd” it means “even if you are the fastest guy/team in the race, you wont win” And this time it was for the sake of a show.
      #F1PinnacleOfMotorShows

    5. “Also, as far as not coming here, somebody’s bothered to put on the world championship, a lot of people work and a lot of people are given a lot of their time up and effort to do this.”

      Yes, Bernie, A lot of people also expect the governance of the sport to be fair and equitably applied and they gave a lot of their time and effort in participating in a championship on that basis.

      1. Yeah. Everyone knows enough wrongs make a right!

    6. Its become obvious that Dieter’s articles are all anti-LH and anti-Merc. You (Dieter), along with Bernie, can sit this one out!

    7. Constantijn Blondel
      17th December 2021, 12:24

      Kudos to Valtteri for being a cool dude, no matter what happens, and for his get-over-and-move-on attitude to life.

      By making this all about Lewis’ poor little snowflake soul and about Toto’s tiny [redacted] they are doing Valtteri a massive disservice.

    8. Like Lewis always says… there are no good losers.

      But in winning WCC and not accepting award, they are bad winners.

      1. They accepted the award.

        1. Only because they had the good fortune of an employee without integrity to represent them. ;)

          1. Not hard to find in that team.

    9. This poisonous schemer has not relevance any more.

    10. Does anyone remember when they added the obligation to attend the gala to the sporting regulations?

      If I remember correctly, Kimi said in 2012 that he didn’t care about the gala and wouldn’t attend, but Lotus quickly corrected him and said he would be there. Did they change the sporting regulations after that?

    11. Was he there when Rosaberg beat him?

      1. He has been there on every other occasion it was required of him…can’t think why this ones different….

        1. Has he? thought he has missed at least one, possibly two. I know he loathes them and rarely turns up for these sort of events, be they BBC, Autosport, etc.
          I remember one award show (no idea which one) where Brundle criticised him on twitter. Turns out he had a long standing engagement at the Kennedy Centre followed by reception at the White House. Seems Obama didn’t check with Brundle first.

        2. You act so sure, he has previously not attended .

    12. Any former or current official — if they openly mentioned that they wanted Michael Schumacher’s legacy of 7 WDC to stay — has opened themselves up for being part of this controversy in Abu Dhabi. And these folks have no grounds on which they can “demand” anything from Mercedes and LH, when they cannot deliver what the fans demand — a fair application of rules of the sport.

      1. exactly, so is mick schumacher now the only one that can compete for 8 and get it since no other driver is allowed.

      2. you know that the protest was denied by the stewards, so technicly the rules were followed

        by not apealling Mercedes is agreeing with that

        all the rest is just politics and conspiracy theorism

        1. So by that reckoning, if I decided not to press charges against someone who had vandalised my house or assaulted me because I didn’t want to get drawn into a legal fight, I would be agreeing that the perpetrator did nothing wrong?

          1. This new breed of “fans” attracted by Max are not the type to do a bit of research before yelling their claims.

      3. Broadsword to Danny Boy
        17th December 2021, 17:02

        I find some of the comments about Schumacher’s ‘legacy’ utterly bizarre. Bernie at one point a while back was saying that Hamilton should retire to protect Michael’s legacy (You know, like Schumi did to protect Fangio’s….)
        ““No, not at all. In fact, I am surprised that [Lewis] hasn’t said at the beginning of this year, “I am going to stand down, I don’t want to win more races than Michael, or more championships than Michael. I rather Michael keep that honor than me.”

        What kind of ‘sport’ do they think this is. If Verstappen marches on and wins another six championships will they still be saying the same? If Bernie was still in charge would he be setting a new rule that you can’t compete anymore if you’ve won 6 championships? The whole point of elite sport is that competitors push themselves to do better, why should they accept some sort of limit on their achievements if they are good enough to go all the way. Regardless of how you rate Schumacher I doubt that is what he would have wanted. And if you aren’t a fan of Schumacher you may very well wonder what is so sacred about him that warrants this special protection of his record!

        It seems less likely to me that Ham will get an eighth title now due to all the changes in formula and budgets, so maybe it’s not a problem Bernie will have to fret about for another 6 years, by which time I expect his days of fretting about anything will be long past.

        1. Because he mostly drove for ferrari and bernie as only ever bothered about ferrari

    13. I’m not a Hamilton fan at all but I do believe in the honour of sportsmanship and F1 has now ceased to be a sport and is now resigned to the same fantasy world as WWE. This was a manipulated result probably in some part driven by Netflix and the person I feel so sorry for is Verstappen. Its a tainted title and no brivado can hide that.

      I attended my first GP in 1979 and have always loved the sport. I do not love it anymore and will no longer follow it or Netflix for that matter. Hamilton should have 8 drivers championships now, even though I’m sure most wanted to see some change. Engineering results just makes a mockery of s sport which has been in decline for decades. Enough is enough. Bernie for one, should hang his head in shame. He was part of the problem.

      1. Yes, indeed. It is a tainted title.
        I wouldn’t wish to win anything in life like that. For a classy person, it can leave a sour taste in the mouth.
        But what not many speak about is that many of M. Schumacher’s title were also tainted by purposeful crashes. He was disqualified for the whole season for a very good reason. In that sense, he didn’t deserve to win some of his titles. And Lewis deserved his 8th based on Abu Dhabi’s race & should the racing rules been correctly applied. You can’t force anyone to gain class. But those who have it within them recognise that Lewis got plenty & then some.

        1. There’s only 1994 as far as I see, and even then it shouldn’t have gone to the final race, if not for some questionable (excessive) penalties.

    14. James Allison was brilliant last night. It’s impossible not to love that man. Always enjoyed his appearances on Mercedes’ weekend debriefs and elsewhere.

      1. I like to watch him and his curry collega very much but I try to ignore Bernie as much possible to bad there is no ignore Bernie on this website.

    15. I’m sure Ecclestone knows where to place his opinion.

      1. Into the microphone of every journo who continues to ask for it?
        I can’t imagine Bernie is putting all his opinions on his twitter account for the media to pick up.
        Meanwhile, everyone here keeps pushing their opinions without even being asked….

        For every comment I read that asserts that Bernie’s (or anyone else’s) opinion is invalid, unwanted or worthless, I can’t help but think the same thing about what I just read.

    16. The FIA and their cronies are closing ranks, threatening anyone who speaks against them and denying any fault whatsoever. This does not bode well for any “review” or “investigation”. All of this is just strengthening my opinion that the whole thing will be whitewashed and no meaningful changes will take place in this “sport”…

      1. I hope so. And quickly.
        Then this whole matter can die the death it deserves and we can all move on.

        1. A typical response from someone who knows there’s been a massive injustice and wants it to disappear.

        2. The hope is though that if one driver happens to have one a dozen GPs in a row that someone somewhere believes a different driver should win the next and contrive to make it happen.

          1. …happens to have won a dozen GPs in a row…

            not one but won

        3. If there are to be no meaningful changes and they are sticking with their “the race director doesn’t have to follow the rules” line, then I hope so too because it will make my decision over what to do next very easy. Heartbreaking, as a fan of 30 years and someone who has enjoyed being obsessed with every minor detail, but easy.

        4. Who’s stopping you from moving on?

    17. Bernie’s views for a long time now are similar to the ones from people in psychiatric hospital.

    18. Keep crying Crymiltoners… HAHAHAHAHAHA. Mr. Ecclestone just saying what everyone except the ones brainwsahed by Toto and Sky dictatorship thinks. Keep crying, keep crying!!!!!

      1. Given that I have heard several Max fans, and even more neutrals, saying that it’s clear the rules were not followed correctly, I find your comment inaccurate as well as pathetic.

    19. When will this guy just go?

      1. If death didn’t stop him, nothing will.

    20. It’s simple. Formula 1 should ban Wolf and Hamilton for the next season. That will establish respect for the rules decisions as decreed by Masi and crew.

      1. That will establish respect for the rules decisions as decreed by Masi and crew.

        Yep, and also confirm that F1 is no longer a sport, because the race director can ignore any rules he choses.

        Part of me hopes they do something like this, coz it will make my decision a lot easier.

        1. Do you think F1 beats or loses to TopGear in viewership now they are in the same category?

          1. I don’t know. I haven’t watched more than a couple of episodes of Top Gear since Clarkson et al left, and found those to be dire, so I haven’t really looked at or heard anything about their current viewing figures. I suspect there would still be enough people who are willing to watch a scripted motor racing gameshow though, looking at WWE audience figures.

            The only thing I know for certain is that I want be watching if this is confirmed. F1 has always been a bit dodgy, but AFAIK there has never been a situation where a race director completely and wilfully ignored a rule, made something up, and decided a race result (let alone a title). That’s maybe only one step further than what they’ve done before, but it crosses a line I am not prepared to put up with (and I say that as a fan of 30 years, 75% of my life, who obsessed over every technical detail and devoted massive amounts of time to following it).

      2. If Mercedes with George happen to win 2022 double will you be happy that it wasn’t with Toto in charge?

      3. @jimfromus Apparently you know all about simple.

      4. I really think you have serious doubts Max can pull even second good season with Lewis there lol. It’s sad. It just shows everything we need to know. How insecure Max’s fans really are. Like Max said, every other win would be a bonus. Coz frankly he could never achieve what Lewis did since 2007 & with the level of consistency to win it or stay atop every single season. Poor Max’s fans. They need Lewis out so their guy could maybe win again.

    21. They would have behaved differently if they had lost fair and square. They lost because of the incompetence of FIA and I do not see why they would follow the so called rules when the governing body itself is not following them.
      Perhaps it looks like a Slap in the Face for FIA.

    22. This is the same Bernie Ecclestone who proposed “medals system” instead of points and idea to liven up F1 races by making tracks artificially wet (sprinkler system). And these are just a few of his brilliant ideas. :)))

      1. P.s. Oh, I forgot the main thing (as Mr.Bean said in his Christamas episode):
        Bernie’s will to include F1 in Olympics… That’s when I knew Bernie was done. :)))

        1. I always wondered about tennis but then they added golf!.

      2. @bulgarian

        To be fair to him, he just proposed it and did not insist when he saw that everyone was against it.
        He did not impose it as Liberty Media have done with Sprint Qualifying for example.

        1. Plus the medal system would’ve potentially been fairer for this season.

    23. Tbh Toto and Hamilton brings the sport into disrespect for not even the first time. We all knew how big of a sore loser can be princess hamilton, but there should be a line to draw, as it looks like his childish behaviour is spreading. Funny that he is the one who always pushes that one should show good example to the next generations

      1. I agree he should have been there @leventebandi, but his conduct could have been much worse at Abu Dhabi and throughout the season. Another driver was criticising stewards every race without retribution, and that apparently was fine. Only when Horner went for his rogue marshal comment did something happen. He’s probably fed up with it.

      2. F1 cannot be put into disrespect anymore, because it is already a pinnacle of disrespect.

        1. I’ve never seen a tantrum go on for so long…

      3. Nothing screams childish as much as calling a man “princess”. Nothing you say means much after that.

    24. Too many ‘very’s Bernie.

    25. Strange article. I don’t really care what Bernie has to say anymore. I’m sure he played by the book all his career though with a sense of fairness throughout.

      1. Why wouldn’t they post it though? There’s an article about Todt saying goodbye, there’s news of his replacement being elected and there’s a news round-up article but this one has more interactions than the rest combined. If you’ve got a large part of your community desperate to type emotional comments about how it’s all so unfair, give them a little poke and you’ve got another 100-post comments section and all the lovely ad money that brings in. It’s basic business….

      2. LOL i almost spit out my drink. thx for the laughs m8

    26. They are still for 2016
      Motor conspiracy

      1. One doesn’t need to be a hamilton fan to know he deserves 2016 more than rosberg.

    27. Bernie hasn’t tripped down a flight of stairs yet?

    28. Also, as far as not coming here, somebody’s bothered to put on the world championship, a lot of people work and a lot of people are given a lot of their time up and effort to do this

      Bernie never once cared about the people or the work they have done. Now he is suddenly clutching at his pearls over the work that went into the Prize Giving ceremony?! Give me a break. Bernie has only ever cared about two things: Bernie and lining Bernie’s pockets with money. The current situation clearly devalues Liberty Media stock values (Liberty Media value dropped on Monday by several points), which I am sure Bernie has quite a number of after his buy out. So he needs this situation to be over so he can take another dive in his money vault like Scrooge McDuck. I really wish outlets would stop giving this antiquated relic space to spout his BS.

    29. After reading most of these comments I now know why F1 has turned into a joke, not by the poor handling of the races, but by the people who think Lewis and Mercedes have a right to be such really really really bad losers!!

      1. I think “losers” is not the right word hence why it’s entirely in their right not to show up. So what you wanted was Mercedes to drop the protest and also pretend to be happy about having a championship taken from them by an guy, an organization and a business that wanted a show instead of following their own rule book.

        Enjoy the forever asterisk in the 2021 championship.

        :)

      2. Really really really?

        1. Peter Mcpherson
          17th December 2021, 19:09

          I see they are thinking about punishihing lewis for not attending quoting rules are rules

      3. “losing” means the supposed “winners” followed the rules.
        This had not happened. #farce #fraud #robbed

    30. Just saw him posting an afternoon tea with Horner in Instagram. Lovely chaps

    31. Oh no, old Scrotum Face is back.

      1. I still remember his face photos on the web when he was beaten and robbed (his watch was stolen).

    32. Apparently, Ecclestone’s wife is the VP for South American races in the new Suleman’s FIA presidency. So, Bernie still has control over the FIA. In a recent comment, he feels HAM doesn’t deserve the knighthood. Moreover, he was surprised that Hamilton didn’t retire ahead of this season out of respect for Schumacher.

      With such folks still around, I don’t know to what extent they would go to protect Michael’s 7-WDC record.

    33. Oh well, the old nazi talking BS about a colored driver.
      And then having dinner with Horner.
      What a surprise.

    34. I found it rather delightful not to have Toto and Lewis there. We already had a full season of toxicity.

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