The world’s first official Formula 1 exhibition recently opened in Madrid, Spain. One of the ‘highlights’ of the exhibition includes the remains of Roman Grosjean’s car from his 2020 ‘Fireball’ crash at the Bahrain Grand Prix. There’s also a Ferrari power unit (from 2021) present, which marks the first public display of a PU from the Italian giants. And the exhibition has already attracted outrage, for a cup relating to a particular radio message from Toto Wolff.
The radio message in question came at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in the midst of the safety car controversy. At the end of the affair, Max Verstappen overtook Lewis Hamilton on the last lap to win his first championship. Race Director Michael Masi’s actions on that day, including not having all lapped cars unlap before the restart, were later deemed “human error”. But the result stood. Some fans aren’t pleased with this cup, which may be interpreted as rubbing salt in their wounds.
When the safety car was about to come in, the Mercedes team principal had said over the radio to Masi: “Michael, this isn’t right.” After the safety car restart, he exclaimed to Masi: “No, Michael, no, no, Michael, that was so not right!” When the seven-time world champion could not get past his rival, Wolff had said: “Michael, what was that?” And after it was all done, with Verstappen crossing the line as champion, Wolff had said: “You need to reinstate the lap before, that’s not right.”
To this, the Australian replied somewhat nonchalantly: “Toto, it’s called a motor race, okay? We went car racing.” One could say that Wolff had the last laugh, as Masi lost his job following an FIA analysis. But that wouldn’t be enough to make up for it – they wanted the championship given to Hamilton, but the results of the day stood. Clearly, even now, it hurts. So to put a cup like this at an official F1 exhibition was no less than criminal in many fans’ eyes.
Fans aren’t happy about the cup with Toto Wolff’s radio message
Some are certainly enjoying the internet meltdown over this merchandise cup about Toto Wolff’s radio message. But most fans don’t seem to be pleased about it, particularly so because it’s at an actual, official, F1 exhibition. Formula 1 (and the FIA), and the exhibition is receiving a ton of flak regarding it. The 2021 Abu Dhabi GP remains controversial to this day, and some fans have even deemed the particular safety car saga to be one of the most ‘corrupt’ moments in all of sport.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was almost 17 months ago, but the events of that continue to be hotly argued. Basically, every time you go on Twitter, you can find one or the other F1 fan arguing about it. It looks unlikely to be forgotten – some wounds never heal.
Aniket is a Journalism student, and a Ferrari (and Fernando Alonso) fan with much love for Bayern Munich, cinema, music, and literature - and really, all art.
Aniket's first exposure to the world of Formula 1 was through social media, though there was not immediate attraction. But after seeing 'Rush' (2013) there was no going back. Apart from F1, he is also an avid watcher of football - the 2014 World Cup had made him fall in love with Thomas Müller and the German national team, which later led him to Bayern Munich.
Aniket has been working for FirstSportz for more than 7 months, and has written over 800 articles for the organization. He currently serves as 'Content Head' for the Formula 1 team.
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