Wolff on accusations that his former advisor leaked FIA info to Mercedes

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Toto Wolff reveals what caused his angry outburst at Christian Horner and Mattia Binotto, at the meeting between the team principals, the FIA and Liberty Media.

Earlier this month it was announced that Toto Wolff’s former advisor Shaila-Ann Rao would be replacing Peter Bayer at the FIA on an interim basis.

After the FIA announced its ‘anti-porpoising’ directive on Thurdsday, on Friday Mercedes was the only team that had a second floor stay ready to put on their cars, which was allowed by the directive as a short-term measure to prevent bouncing.

This led to accusations that Mercedes must have had inside information on the FIA’s directive, before it was publicly announced.

The accusations were allegedly made at an explosive meeting between team principals, F1 officials and the FIA, while former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone openly came out and named Rao as a possible source of the alleged leak.

“It’s bloody dangerous,” said Ecclestone about the appointment of Rao.

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“Toto started all this nonsense about the cars needing to change. She told them about the new directive, obviously.

“She worked with Toto for two or three years,” the Briton concluded.

In an interview with Osterreich newspaper, Wolff talked about the explosive meeting and said he was not surprised at the attacks that were coming his way.

“I’m right in my comfort zone,” the Austrian said.

“Everyone has been against me my whole life, but that’s where I function best. And if everyone is against me, that means I must have hit on something.”

Wolff then explained that one of the things that caused his reported angry outburst at the meeting, was the accusation that Rao was leaking information to Mercedes.

“Firstly, we were accused of tampering with the FIA ​​because my lawyer is now their Secretary General for Motor Sport. She is a lawyer with total integrity.

“Secondly, the team bosses influence their drivers so that they don’t have to admit in public that bouncing is a health problem.

“I spoke to each individual and said: ‘At least one driver in all of your teams has said publicly that he either has pain or a headache or that he has poor vision and is impaired when driving. And you all act like it’s nothing’. This is irresponsible.”

Asked if he thought it was “irresponsible” because of a safety issue, Wolff responded:

“And about the driver. You cannot try to influence a Formula 1 driver not to say anything publicly when there is a health risk.

“The only ones who don’t say anything about it are Leclerc and Verstappen, but they say it behind closed doors,” the Austrian concluded.

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