F1 News

Wolff critical of FIA: 'This is not how we should position F1'

Wolff critical of FIA: 'This is not how we should position F1'

24-10-2023 12:00 Last update: 12:27

The weekend in the United States ended as it began: with excitement. On Sunday night, it was Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc who were disqualified because of an illegal floor. Last Thursday, there was a fuss about the FIA's new penalty system: a Formula 1 driver could soon be fined as much as €1 million. The drivers themselves are not happy about it, and their bosses also do not understand much about these increased fines.

Toto Wolff, Mercedes' team boss, finds it difficult to explain to the outside world that drivers are apparently so rich that they can just tick off a one-million-euro fine. "I think that there needs to be some deterrent for grave infringements of the regulations," said the Austrian. "It wasn’t on anyone’s radar that it would be coming, A million, we need to do a reality check with real life, whether that is an adequate fine or not."

Wolff wonders aloud whether a €250,000 fine has ever been imposed on a driver. That was the maximum penalty. "So raising the ceiling is something that one needs to understand where it comes from. I don't think we want to portray Formula One out there in a world where it's tough enough to give drivers fines of a million. I think half of the grid wouldn't be able to pay them. I don't think it's adequate considering. I don't think we should be playing around with those numbers that seem very surreal to people who are watching us."

Krack wants the FIA back to reality

Mike Krack is happy to echo Wolff's words. The Aston Martin team boss believes that, above all, the FIA should not go too crazy. "Let's keep our feet on the ground when throwing around such numbers," the Luxembourger believes. "We have spectators here who are buying tickets already for quite high prices. And by throwing numbers around like we do currently, I think we need to come back a little bit more to reality. There are not a lot of drivers who don't even make anything in these areas. So I don't know where it came from. I was caught out as well when I read it."

Zak Brown, the CEO of McLaren is one of the few who is not really concerned about the sky-high fines. "I don't intend to get a fine, so I'm not going to worry about it too much," laughs the American. "Knock on wood, I'll probably get one now. It's not really been explained, at least to the team bosses, I would imagine to get a fine of that size, you're going to have to do something pretty grave. So I would hope that no one on the grid will ever see anything near that level. So hopefully, all will just be business as usual."

Steiner wants co-decision on destination money

At a team like Haas, money is certainly not overflowing. So team boss Guenther Steiner is watching what he says on the subject, he says with a wink. "I'm worried. I don't want to be the first one to get into that area, so I need to be careful what I say now," the Italian believes. "It needs to be realistic. I think a few drivers brought it up, where is the money going? In a lot of sports, it goes to charities, which if I would have a say in it, a vote in it, that's what I would say, if somebody has to pay these high fines, at least he should be involved in saying where it is going."