until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Wolff: ‘Armageddon’ radio moans amusing but lack integrity

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
3 min read

Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff says the “Armageddon scenarios” being created in some radio complaints to the FIA are amusing but lack integrity, following Valtteri Bottas’s Styrian Grand Prix grid penalty.

Bottas was given a three-place grid penalty at the Red Bull Ring after he spun exiting his pitbox in Friday practice, and ended up facing the wrong way near the McLaren garage and pit crew.

Shortly after, F1 broadcast a message from McLaren’s team manager Paul James to FIA race director Michael Masi in which James said it was “absolutely ridiculous, he could have taken our guys out there and the pitwall” and Masi replied “agree”.

Bottas said after Styrian GP qualifying that he felt it was part of a culture where “everyone’s trying to screw you over” in F1.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Steiermark Grand Prix Qualifying Day Spielberg, Austria

“It’s highly entertaining how quickly some sporting directors jump on the channel to Masi, and come with Armageddon scenarios,” said Wolff.

“It’s good that these channels are opened up so we can all have a laugh.”

Teams and drivers are regularly heard complaining about one another over the radio, often to prompt race control to look at a potential incident that may otherwise not be investigated.

As the race director cannot monitor every moment of every driver’s session on-track, often things that are missed on the world feed go unreported but even incidents that are spotted get reacted to so the offence is noted as clearly as possible.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Steiermark Grand Prix Qualifying Day Spielberg, Austria

Bottas was involved in his own case of reporting another driver in qualifying when Yuki Tsunoda blocked him, and the AlphaTauri driver ended up being penalised.

The team/FIA channel is a new addition to F1’s world feed for this season and has added another dynamic to this.

Ironically the first use of it in a broadcast was a frustrated message from Wolff to Masi while Lewis Hamilton was attempting to get close enough to lap Nikita Mazepin’s Haas.

Masi, who was heard being told “blue flags” and “this guy makes us lose the position” by Wolff admitted afterwards he “very rarely” hears from Wolff over the radio.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Steiermark Grand Prix Qualifying Day Spielberg, Austria

F1 only broadcasts a tiny number of messages to race control. Other examples were complaints from Red Bull and Mercedes in France about the damage being done by the Turn 2 exit kerb, and McLaren’s frustration at Yuki Tsunoda failing to respect yellow flags in Azerbaijan.
Wolff said he understood why Bottas was penalised but agreed with his driver that it was harsh and suggested Bottas’s track record should have been taken into consideration.

He also said that Bottas’s personal conduct was at odds with behaviour elsewhere in the paddock.

“Valtteri spun in the pit lane and could have hurt somebody, and whether this is walking speed, like it happened yesterday it still can hurt somebody,” said Wolff.

“I understand the penalty. Do I find it harsh? I find it harsh, particularly against someone like Valtteri who is never putting a foot wrong.

“He was very honest and straightforward with his explanation. Any others would have come out and said ‘I don’t know what happened, the banner on the floor was slippery and you really need to change the way you paint because I had no idea what could happen’.

“He came out and said, ‘I tried to optimise my start and I lost it’.

“So, we should have a little bit more integrity like Valtteri has around the paddock including some of the ones that push the button very quickly and moan about everybody else and whinge.”

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • More Networks