Toto Wolff has revealed that both he and Lewis Hamilton are ‘disillusioned’ following the outcome of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but he hopes the seven-time World Champion will return to racing in Formula 1 in 2022.
Hamilton missed out on a record breaking eighth title at the Yas Marina Circuit after circumstances appeared to conspire against both him and the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team in the final handful of laps.
A late safety car in Abu Dhabi for Nicholas Latifi’s crash was called upon, and the FIA and race director Michael Masi opted to allow the five lapped runners in between Hamilton and Max Verstappen to pass the then race leader, despite earlier notifications that they would not be allowed to do so.
This gave Verstappen the edge on the final lap restart after he had pitted for fresh soft tyres, meaning he was able to pass Hamilton into turn five to take over the lead and secure the victory and his maiden Drivers’ Championship.
Wolff says the disillusionment has not come from falling out of love of Formula 1, as both he and Hamilton ‘love’ the sport, but more to do with the ‘random decision making’ that seemed to take place in Abu Dhabi. And Mercedes will be looking to discuss this with the FIA and their new commission to improve what happens in race direction in the future.
“Lewis and I are disillusioned at the moment,” Wolff is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. “We are not disillusioned with the sport, we love the sport with every bone in our body and we love it because the stopwatch never lies.
“But if we break that fundamental principal of sporting fairness and authenticity of the sport, then suddenly the stopwatch doesn’t become relevant anymore because we are exposed to random decision making. That is clear that you may fall out of love.
“And you start to question if all the work you have been putting in, the sweat, tears, and blood can actually be demonstrated in bringing the best performances on track, because it can be taken away randomly.
“We will never overcome the pain and the distress that was caused on Sunday.”
Hamilton does have a contract for 2022 and beyond with Mercedes, and Wolff says he hopes the British racer will come back next year and go for his eighth title once more.
“I would very much hope that Lewis continues racing, because he’s the greatest driver of all times,” said Wolff. “He, when you look at it from the point of view of the last four races, he dominated them on Sunday, there wasn’t even a doubt who won the race. And that was worthy of winning the world championship.
“So we will be working through the events over the next weeks and months. And I think as a racer, his heart will say I need to continue because he’s at the peak of his game.
“But we have to overcome the pain that was caused upon him on Sunday, also, because he is a man with clear values. And difficult to understand that it happened.”