Toto Wolff has said a “miscommunication” within the Mercedes team led to a protest being lodged, then withdrawn, against Max Verstappen in Japan.
The FIA acknowledged a protest from Mercedes against Verstappen for his defensive move on Lewis Hamilton on the penultimate lap of the Japanese Grand Prix. However it was withdrawn by Mercedes after Hamilton stated on social media he did not approve of the protest.
Hamilton initially denied a protest had been lodged, adding “one idiot said we have but it’s not true”. He later said he told the team “it is not what we do”.
Wolff said the protest had arisen due to a “miscommunication”.
“When we left the circuit, I said that the Verstappen manoeuvre was a hard manoeuvre but probably what we want to see in Formula One. It is refreshing and I think the drivers need to sort that out among themselves on track.”
“We decided not to step in and then there was an unfortunate coincidence that we took off, we left and the team had a minute to decide whether to protest or not. And that is what they did.”
“And once we were able to communicate again, which was 30 minutes after take-off, we decided to withdraw the protest.”
2016 Japanese Grand Prix
- FIA bans the ‘Verstappen block’
- Wolff blames Verstappen protest on “miscommunication”
- 2016 Japanese Grand Prix team radio transcript
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- Themes of 2016 continue in average Suzuka race