After the FIA dismissed Red Bull’s request for review of Lewis Hamilton’s British Grand Prix penalty, they came out with a statement that alluded to “certain allegations” that the Austrian team made in their letter to the stewards.
“The Stewards note, with some concern, certain allegations [which have not been made public] made in the Competitor’s above letter,” the statement read.
“Such allegations may or may not have been relevant to the Stewards if the Petition for Review had been granted.
“The Stewards may have addressed these allegations directly in any decision that would have followed.
“The Petition having been dismissed, the Stewards make no comments on those allegations.”
During Friday’s Hungarian Grand Prix press conference Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was asked if he can specify what those allegations were.
“I can’t, because I don’t want to ignite even more the fire, and the controversy,” the Austrian said.
“I think what we need to do as a sports team is to de-escalate and not create more polarisation on social media.”
After the FIA made their decision to dismiss Red Bull’s request public, Mercedes came out with a strongly worded statement of their own, in which they accused Red Bull’s senior management of trying to “tarnish the good name and sporting integrity of Lewis Hamilton”.
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Wolff was asked why Mercedes decided to release the statement.
“I think we wanted to bring a little bit of respect back to the discussion, we understand that emotions can run high, and it is always matter of perspective and perception but we felt that that line was overstepped.
“I think the remarks that were made during and after the Silverstone Grand Prix were just elaborated further in the document and not always looking at the incident only, but giving it a wider taste and that was, beyond other things, just a step too far.”
Later in an interview with Sky Sports F1 Wolff further elaborated Mercedes’ thinking.
“Words like ‘amateurish’ should have no place, and what it triggered was an avalanche of comments in social media, a lot of controversy and added to further polarisation and I think we as a sport, we should do the contrary. We should de-escalate…”
Asked whether he believes the teams should apologize to each other for the statements made in the last two weeks, Wolff said:
“I think everybody needs to decide whether they want to apologise or not. We felt that comments that were made during and after race and in written statements and in the meeting itself were below the belt.
“But it’s not up to me, nor would Lewis want to demand any apologies,” concluded Mercedes’ team boss.
Red Bull’s boss Christian Horner gave his reaction to Mercedes’ statement and the allegations that his team was trying to “tarnish” Hamilton.
“It is absolutely not a personal attack on Lewis Hamilton,” the Briton said.
“Lewis Hamilton is a seven-time world champion and everything he has achieved stands for itself. If it was any other competitor on the grid, we would have taken the same issue in the manner that we did.
“I think I am entitled to an opinion on that incident, as is everybody else and I think that at the time, emotions were running high.
“We had a driver that was needed to be taken to hospital for precautionary checks after an accident which would have definitely knocked out your average human being.
“We have lost a car under its entirety under a budget cap environment for something the stewards didn’t deem to be Max’s fault.
“There is nothing personal about it but even a seven-time world champion can sometimes make mistakes or misjudgements, that is just a fact in life.
“At no point has this been personal about Lewis and it would have been identical with any other driver and any other team on the grid,” concluded Horner.