Wolff criticizes ‘regrettable’ rivals as FIA intervention issue mounts


Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff has accused “regrettable” rivals of being “phony” and playing “political games” as the FIA ​​tries to help tackle the worst traits of the 2022 cars.

The new ground effect cars run low and stiff and have suffered from a mixture of porpoise and poor ride quality in general.

Now that a number of drivers from different teams have complained of back pain and raised concerns about the potential long-term consequences of driving these cars, the FIA ​​has stepped in on safety grounds.


It will force teams to modify their settings if they are found to be in breach of a yet-to-be-defined limit for the vertical oscillations drivers can be subjected to, and is exploring possible changes to technical regulations for the future.

Some teams, including Mercedes’ arch-rival Red Bull, have criticized the prospect of a mid-season rule change, expressed disappointment at the timing of the FIA ​​technical directive on the eve of the Canadian GP weekend or they accused Mercedes of using the problem to try to get a rule change to help the performance deficit it currently suffers from.

The situation appears to have reached boiling point in Montreal, where Wolff is said to have made his discontent abundantly clear at a meeting of F1 team bosses.

He said after qualifying in Canada: “This is a sport where you try to maintain or win a competitive advantage, but this situation has clearly gone too far.

“All the drivers, at least one in each team, have said that they were in pain after Baku, that they had difficulty keeping the car on the track or blurred vision.

“And team principals trying to manipulate what is said to maintain competitive advantage, and trying to play political games when the FIA ​​is trying to find a quick fix to at least put the cars in a better position, is false.

“That’s what I said.

“I don’t mean just the Mercedes, all cars suffered in one way or another in Baku and still do here.

“The cars are too stiff, or the cars are bouncy, whatever you want to call it, because in fact this is a joint problem that we have in Formula 1.

“It is a fundamental design problem that needs to be solved. We have long-term effects that we can’t even judge.

“At any time this is a security risk, and then doing little manipulations in the background or Chinese whispering or informing the driver is just unfortunate.”

Red Bull and Ferrari are battling for the championship in Mercedes’ absence and any change around the rebounding issue has the potential to affect the dynamics of their battle.

After the previous race in Azerbaijan, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said it would be a mistake for the FIA ​​to change the rules midway through the season.

Whether it’s a mechanical or aerodynamic-related issue, teams with severe bounce could be forced to compromise performance by raising ride height.

There was immediate speculation that Ferrari could suffer as it has been one of the hardest hit by the porpoise, with driver Charles Leclerc saying this week in Canada that he did not agree with the FIA’s intervention.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Qualifying Day for the Canadian Grand Prix Montreal Canada

However, Wolff and Mercedes have had a hard time convincing critics that their own motives are altruistic and not in their competitive interests.

“Of course people will question whether my position is sincere or not,” Wolff admitted.

“That’s why I say it’s not just our problem.”

He quoted Red Bull driver Sergio Perez as saying “you can even lose your vision under braking” and referred to comments made by Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren), Esteban Ocon (Alpine) and Kevin Magnussen ( Haas).

“This is not a team problem,” Wolff said.

“This is a ground effect car design issue that needs to be addressed before we have a situation, whatever it is.

“And it’s not just putting the cars [in terms of ride height]because putting the cars up high doesn’t solve the stiffness of the inherent aerodynamic characteristics.”