The trials for Mercedes-Benz Motorsport keep on mounting up, especially with what transpired this afternoon, as race leader Robert Wickens was seething after being given the black flag on lap 33 this afternoon. This was in light of the Canadian being unsafely released into the path of BMW’s Timo Glock during the mandatory pitstop.
The Canadian, who currently has 25 points to his name so far this year, felt that “the penalty ruined my race and cost me a potential win.”
“After taking pole position on Saturday, I thought I was in with a good chance for Sunday’s race,” explained Wickens, who felt that the car was performing well on the prime tyres after having pitted. “As the rules stand and in my own personal view, it was clearly not an unsafe release. The penalty ruined my race and cost me a potential win.”
Head of Motorsport Marketing & Communications, Wolfgang Schattling, said that the decision made by the race stewards was “surprising and incomprehensible,” but had said that the damage had already been done, even though the action was top class.
“Robert secured a fantastic pole position on Saturday and was leading the race. His tussle with Augusto Farfus was world class,” said Schattling, who felt that an error had clearly been made at the time. “In our view, there was no unsafe release after Robert’s pit stop. We tried to speak to the stewards during the race, because we thought that they had possibly mixed up the incident of Pascal Wehrlein leaving the pit lane with that of Wickens.”
In some respects, it was understandable that when Das Erste was questioning him at the time that he made no comment, as the incident involving Pascal Wehrlein was not initially investigated. However, since video footage has come to light, the 20-year-old will now receive a three-place grid penalty for the next race at the Nurbürgring, as reported by Motorsport-Total.com this afternoon.
Head of Motorsport, Toto Wolff, who is still recovering from his injuries following a recent cycling accident, agreed that the decision was “not consistent with other decisions that were made.”
The former racer thanked both Robert and the team for what was a great performance until the black flag incident, but made a point of relevance of what should be done in future: “I think that in cases of doubt we should act in the best interests of racing. We owe that to all the fans of the DTM, of BMW, Audi and Mercedes.”