Cape Town – Aside from it meaning Lewis Hamilton is one point and not four behind Sebastian Vettel, Toto Wolff has applauded Ferrari’s decision not to implement team orders in Austria.
Racing 2-3 behind Max Verstappen in the closing laps at the Red Bull Ring, there were some suggestions from commentators that Ferrari may use team orders to swap their drivers’ positions.
That would have put Vettel up to second and dropped Kimi Raikkonen to third thus handing the German three additional points in the championship race at a grand prix in which Hamilton retired.
Ferrari refrained and the duo raced to the flag with the Finn ahead.
“We wouldn’t have and I’m not surprised that they didn’t,” Wolff told Autosport.
“I think for the sake of the sport and the fans and the drivers, at that stage in the season, the beginning of July, switching drivers is quite a brutal call.”
Asked if he was ‘relieved’ that Ferrari hadn’t used team orders, the Mercedes motorsport boss replied: “There is not much to be relieved about from this race. It’s been painful overall.”
Wolff had stated prior to the Austrian Grand Prix that Mercedes would not use team orders yet, but conceded it could happen down the line.
“We are at race nine, there’s a long way to go and I think we owe it to the fans – and it’s also the racing mind-set that we have – that we won’t be playing for a drivers’ championship in June or July,” he said.
“Obviously towards the end of the season, if you go into the last third of the championship and you see there is a solid advantage for one of the drivers, this is the unfortunate situation within any racing team that you need to look at the situation.
“But not now.”