‘F****** drain cover’ – Fans accuse Toto Wolff of hypocrisy as Mercedes chief rips reporters and passionately defends Las Vegas Grand Prix
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‘F****** drain cover’ – Fans accuse Toto Wolff of hypocrisy as Mercedes chief rips reporters and passionately defends Las Vegas Grand Prix

Nov 17, 2023

Toto Wolff went on the offensive Friday, ripping reporters and going out of his way to defend Formula 1’s hotly debated Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Asked about a ‘black eye’ for the sport after a dislodged drain hole cover led to the abrupt cancellation of a free practice session, Wolff became furious on stage and gave an extended answer that featured an expletive.

Toto Wolff is standing up for Formula One under the glare of the Las Vegas lights

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Toto Wolff is standing up for Formula One under the glare of the Las Vegas lightsCredit: Getty

“It’s completely ridiculous, completely ridiculous,” said Wolff, who is the Team Principal & CEO for Mercedes‘ F1 team. “FP1 how can you even dare trying to talk bad about an event that sets the new standards, new standards to everything?

“You’re speaking about a f****** drain cover that’s been undone, that has happened before, that’s nothing, it’s FP1. Give credit to the people who have set up this grand prix, that have made this sport much bigger than it ever was.”

While Wolff was correct to point out that it was just practice and the much-hyped race was still a few days away, F1 fans quickly pointed out the hypocrisy in Wolff’s words and tone.

Formula 1 supporters travelled from all over the world to take in the flashy event, which has been constantly promoted by F1 for more than a year and touted as a game-changer for the sport.

“I’m sure fans who paid thousands to be told to leave before fp2 will love these words,” a fan tweeted.

“Makes sense now why so many Merc top brass is leaving,” a second fan said.

“Love Toto but don’t agree with him here. Is he a shareholder in Liberty!” a third fan posted.

“Wish he kept the same energy from last year about the porpoising,” another fan wrote.

Then there’s the fact that the Mercedes leader has regularly criticized other teams and the sport itself, and often goes out of his way to battle Red Bull through the media.

Yet with Max Verstappen already calling the Vegas GP a clown show and F1 fans seeing obvious holes in the super expensive Sin City event, Wolff sounded like a Formula 1 spokesman as he defended the race, the sport and a dislodged drain cover.

“That is not a black eye,” Wolff said. “This is nothing.”

When another reporter followed up, the Mercedes chief attacked even harder and created more media controversy.

“Have you ever spoken good about someone and written a good word?” Wolff said. “You should about all these people out here Liberty has done an awesome job, and just because in FP1 a drain cover has become undone we shouldn’t be moaning.

“The car is broken, that’s really a shame, for Carlos it could have been dangerous, between the FIA and track everyone needs to analyse how we can make sure that this is not happening again, but talking here about a black eye for the sport on a Thursday evening, nobody watches that in European time anyway.”

Wolff went on the offensive after F1 received too much criticism before race day

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Wolff went on the offensive after F1 received too much criticism before race dayCredit: Getty

Finally done with his answer, Wolff scrunched up his face in a dismissive gesture.

“Come on,” he said, finishing his lengthy statement.

Mercedes enters the Vegas Grand Prix in second place in the Constructor standings, 20 points ahead of No. 3 Ferrari.

Red Bull has dominated in 2023, owning the Constructor competition by 400 points, while Verstappen has already been crowned the drivers’ champion.


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