MERCEDES boss Toto Wolff has backed the ban on race principals being able to talk to F1 race directors over the radio during races.
The Austrian’s comments come as he also admitted ‘overstepping the mark’ with his rant to Abu Dhabi director Micahel Masi during the dramatic final lap of last season’s championship.
Masi controversially allowed lapped cars to un-lap under the safety car heading into the final circuit and, in doing so, virtually handed the title to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
The Dutchman had fresh tires and flew past Mercedes’ British star Lewis Hamilton – who was leading – prompting a furious outburst from Wolff.
Fuming, the 48-year-old yelled down the publicly broadcast radio: “No, Michael, no, no, Michael, that was so not right.”
In order to let fans understand what is going on and to make races more transparent and entertaining, radio exchanges from the race control channel are broadcast on TV and radio.
But Wolff reckons it’s time for the principal-director line of communication to be axed – in line with a call from F1 managing director Ross Brawn.
Wolff told Motorsport.com: “I agree with Ross.
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“But I equally blame Ross and myself because we have been part of the decision making to broadcast more of the channels for the purpose of transparency and entertainment for the fans.
“There is so much going on on the intercom that giving fans a little bit of an overview of all the little dramas that happen, like is the car breaking down, are we having some kind of strategy discussions, was meant well.
“But I think we overshot.”
Wolff’s Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner could also be heard pressurising Masi to allow the cars to un-lap in the build up.
And Wolff added: “I need to take myself by the nose, and Christian.
“We were given the opportunity to talk to the race director directly, and because we fight so fiercely for the interests of our teams all of us, we overstepped.”
After the controversy surrounding the finale, Brawn revealed principals will no longer be able to speak to the race director during Grands Prix next year.
He explained: “We will stop this contact next year.
“It’s unacceptable that team bosses put Michael under such pressure during the race.
“It’s like the coaches negotiating with the referee in football.”
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