Traditionally, the sporting director is the only audio contact between the pit wall and the race control when there is a need for communication during races.
This year, F1 and the FIA agreed to broadcast select talks between the teams and Michael Masi for the first time to give fans additional insight.
As the season has progressed, both Wolff and Red Bull team principal Christian Horner have occasionally taken over from their respective sporting directors Ron Meadows and Jonathan Wheatley and used the channel of communication in an effort to influence race control decisions, and both were active in the final stage of the Abu Dhabi GP.
Horner called for the lapped cars in between for Max Verstappen to be allowed to unfold, while Wolff made his feelings clear following the controversial move, having previously asked that there would be no safety car when Antonio Giovinazzi stopped on track.
After the race, F1 director Ross Brawn suggested that team bosses should no longer be allowed to use the race control channel.
“I agree with Ross,” said Wolff when asked by Motorsport.com if he shared the same view as Brawn. “But I also blame Ross and myself for being part of the decision-making process to broadcast more channels for transparency and entertainment for the fans.
“There’s so much going on on the intercom that it was well intended to give fans a little bit of an overview of all the little dramas that happen, like the car breaking down, whether we’re having some kind of strategy discussion. But I think we’ve gone too far.” shot.
“I have to kid myself, and Christian. We had the chance to speak directly to the race director, and because we are fighting so fiercely for the interests of our teams, we all went too far.
“It was certainly part of the failures this year that under pressure from the team leaders, the race director’s life certainly didn’t get any easier either.”
Michael Masi, Race Director, walks the track
Photo By: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images
Wolff suggested that not only should team leaders be banned from talking to the race director, but there should also be limits to what the sporting directors can do.
“We have to come back,” he said. “I think team leaders should not talk directly to the race director, but to the sports directors. I’ll go one step further and say that I don’t think sports directors should lobby for race directors or exert pressure.
“They should point out situations that the race director or his colleagues may not have noticed, but don’t lobby, don’t pressure.”