Susie Wolff, the wife of Mercedes F1 boss Toto, has taken to Twitter to deliver a strong message to Formula 1 following the controversial season finale in Abu Dhabi that saw Max Verstappen beat Sir Lewis Hamilton to the 2021 championship.
She suggested that race director Michael Masi made up the regulations at the end of the grand prix, and said that regardless of a desire for last-gasp drama, “rules are rules”.
With Hamilton leading the way in Abu Dhabi by over 14 seconds from Verstappen, Masi was forced to deploy the Safety Car following a crash for Williams driver Nicholas Latifi, and chaos reigned thereafter.
Mercedes opted not to pit Hamilton – believing that there would be insufficient time to restart the race – and wanted to keep track position over Verstappen.
The Dutchman, meanwhile, pitted for fresh tyres, and Masi ruled there was no chance of allowing lapped cars through in order to get racing again.
However, Masi surprised everyone when he allowed the five cars between Hamilton and Verstappen to un-lap themselves, while keeping everybody else in position. This seemed to contravene F1’s regulations.
Verstappen then had a clear path to pass Hamilton on the final lap, taking his first world title as a result.
Susie Wolff was quick to congratulate Verstappen and Red Bull for their success, but did not hold back when criticising the manner in which Hamilton lost out on his eighth F1 title.
“Going into this final race weekend, I believed both teams and both drivers deserved to win,” Wolff said in a tweet.
“It was going to be a spectacle, an historic race that we all hoped would end without controversy. That wasn’t to be.
“What happened is still hard to comprehend and still leaves me with a sick feeling. Not the losing – and not Max or Red Bull – they are deserving winners and we always knew it was a strong possibility we may not win – but the way in which Lewis was robbed has left me in utter disbelief.”
Wolff then suggested that Masi decided the championship all on his own, and is disappointed that it did not happen entirely on the racetrack.
“The decision of one person within the governing body who applied a rule in a way which has never been done before in F1 single-handedly decided the F1 Driver World Championship,” she wrote.
The former Williams test and reserve driver then affirmed that the rules of the sport must be adhered to, regardless of the affect this has on the spectacle.
“Rules are rules, they can’t be changed on a whim by one individual at the end of a race.”
She went on to praise Hamilton both for his performance in 2021 and his exemplary behaviour at the end of the race.
“Lewis Hamilton, you have shown incredible integrity and dignity in the face of injustice. You are the greatest there has ever been.
“The outcome of the last laps on Sunday? Those who know, they know, even those who can’t quite bring themselves to admit it.
“Congratulations Max and congratulations to each and every member of Mercedes-AMG F1 on your record breaking eighth constructors title.”
Concluding, she called for significant changes within the FIA ahead of the 2022 season.
“I hope my March of next year there is a governing body with sporting integrity and fairness at its core so I can fall back in love with F1.”
Mercedes protested the race result with the stewards, and lodged an intention to appeal upon seeing their protest rejected.
However, they withdrew their appeal on the morning of the FIA Prize-Giving Gala.
The FIA, for their part, have launched an investigation into the events of the title-decider, and Mercedes said in a statement: “We will hold the FIA accountable for this process and we hereby withdraw our appeal.”