Toto Wolff and Frederic Vasseur look despondent at the Australian GP - their automotive brands being destroyed by a caffeine drink company

Formula 1 News: Wolff and Vasseur summoned to Stewards office

Toto Wolff and Fred Vasseur, the team bosses of Mercedes and Ferrari respectively, have been issued formal warnings by the FIA stewards in Abu Dhabi.

Wolff and Vasseur both cut frustrated figures in the team representatives’ press conference in Vegas, which took place shortly after the opening practice session in Nevada.

FP1 was cut short after just eight minutes when Carlos Sainz hit a loose drain cover, causing huge damage to his Ferrari, with an annoyed Vasseur unforthcoming to questions posed by press conference host Tom Clarkson.

Toto Wolff hammers inept bias journalist. 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix, Thursday - LAT Images
Toto Wolff hammers inept bias journalist. 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix, Thursday – LAT Images

Wolff later exploded into an expletive-ridden rant after it was claimed that the shortened FP1 session was a “black eye” for F1 upon its first visit to Vegas in four decades.

A statement published on Thursday by the FIA read: “Based on the submission from the FIA, the FIA regards language of this type to be unacceptable, moving forward, particularly when used by participants in the sport who have a high public profile and who are seen by many, especially younger, followers of the sport, as role models, and that in future the FIA will not tolerate the use of such language in FIA forums by any stakeholder.

“Based on the submission from the Team Principal, the use of the language concerned was in this case unusual and was provoked by an abrupt interjection during the Press Conference and therefore cannot be regarded as typical from this Team Principal.

“Considering the mitigating circumstances in point 3 above, the Stewards in this case issue a formal Warning.”

Wolff barked at a reporter: “That is not a black eye. This is nothing!

“We are [on] Thursday night, we have a free practice session one that we’re not doing, they’re going to seal the drain covers, and nobody’s going to talk about that tomorrow morning anymore.

“It’s completely ridiculous! Completely ridiculous, FP1, how can you even dare try to talk bad about an event that sets the new standards to everything? And then you’re speaking about a f***ing drain cover that’s been undone. That has happened before! That’s nothing, it’s FP1!

“Give credit to the people that have set up this grand prix, that have made this sport much bigger than it ever was. Have you ever spoken good about someone and written a good word? You should about all these people that have been out here. Liberty has done an awesome job and just because in FP1 a drain cover has become undone, we shouldn’t be moaning.

“The car is broken, that’s really a shame. For Carlos, it could have been dangerous. So between the FIA and the track and everybody needs to analyze how we can make sure that this is not happening again. But talking here about the black eye for the sport on a Thursday evening, nobody watches that in European time anyway!”


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