FIA Director Dismisses Toto Wolff’s Claim About “Anti Embarrassment” Engine Penalty

As Valtteri Bottas took his sixth ICE change of the year, FIA director Michael Masi dismissed Toto Wolff's claim about penalties being an "anti embarrassment" policy.

Toto Wolff
Mercedes Team Boss - Toto Wolff

Valtteri Bottas took his sixth ICE of the season at the United States Grand Prix, even though the cap for the year is limited to 3 changes. Had Bottas taken a fourth component as a stand alone instead of his complete PU change at Monza, he would not have started at the back of the grid.

Even though there was transgression in Russia, Bottas only faced a 5 place grid penalty at the American Grand Prix, forcing people to question whether the penalty scheme was distributed correctly in order to discourage teams from using extra component parts.

Mercedes team principle Toto Wolff suggested that these penalties were in place as an “anti embarrassment regulation”, sending a dig to the frequent penalties given to Honda when they joined the sport with McLaren.

FIA Director Michael Masi dismisses Toto Wolff’s Claim. “It is collectively developed and agreed upon before it is implemented.”

Michael Masi on Toto Wolff claims
Michael Masi on Toto Wolff claims

Replying to Toto Wolff, FIA Race Director Michael Masi said to gpfans, “Obviously, I wasn’t around in the role when that was there. But I do remember the old power unit penalty system where, if I recall correctly watching on television, it was something like 60-place grid penalties and all of the rest of it. So that was all tidied up accordingly for that basis.”

He further added that these engine penalties have been present for several years, and all the teams are aware about it. These penalties have been consistently developed with the Teams, Formula 1 and the FIA. Masi emphasised that these were collectively developed and implemented very seriously.

The fact that the title race could come down to engine change penalties, Masi said, especially concerning the lack of reliability of Mercedes engines, “They all know how many power units, how many gearboxes, how many various elements, exhausts etcetera, they are going to have so everyone is on the same level of understanding of what they need to do.”

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