Italian GP qualifying "absurdity" unprecedented - Mercedes' Wolff

Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff believes "none of us have ever seen such an absurdity" as the farce that ruined the end of qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix

Italian GP qualifying "absurdity" unprecedented - Mercedes' Wolff

Eight of the nine drivers participating in the final segment of Monza qualifying failed to cross the line in time to start their last run as they slowed down too much in a desperate attempt to avoid missing out on a slipstream.

The final lap was placed under investigation by the FIA and this ran well into Saturday evening, leaving the outcome of qualifying - topped by Ferrari's Charles Leclerc - uncertain.

"For the fans that were present, we lost a climax, the last qualifying lap," said Wolff.

"But at the end of the day, none of us have ever seen such an absurdity."

Last week's qualifying session at the Belgian GP also featured heavy queuing, while Formula 3 qualifying at Monza on Friday was ended early for safety reasons amid farcical backing up that resulted in penalties for 17 of the 30 drivers.

Wolff said that Monza and Spa "are very specific with the tow, and motor racing has always been about tows", which is why it has been so problematic in the last week.

Though he acknowledged that the incident "certainly creates some topic for discussion", he admitted it was not a flattering sight for F1.

"These things can happen, in a way it is also a chess game on obtaining the best grid position," said Wolff.

"But at a certain stage it escalated, starting at Spa, and then we could see it in F3, those games cutting the chicane and reducing the speeds to minimum level.

"It became disproportionate.

"What we saw [at Monza] is the consequence of all cars missing the last lap.

"It's just a shame for Formula 1. It doesn't do any of the teams and the drivers any good."

The anti-climactic end and sight of every driver except Carlos Sainz Jr being greeted by the chequered flag before starting a final flier has been widely condemned by fans and onlookers.

Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer, whose driver Lance Stroll was part of the pack at fault, said: "In my 20 years, I've not seen anything like it. Before that, I don't know.

"I understand why it happened, no one wanted to give up an advantage and that to me is the epitome of F1. You push to the limit.

"We saw the time ticking by, we knew how far he was, [and were saying] 'you gotta go, you gotta go, you gotta go'.

"But you can't really push because people are in front of you."

shares
comments
Italian GP stewards urge FIA to find a rapid fix for F1 Q3 queues

Previous article

Italian GP stewards urge FIA to find a rapid fix for F1 Q3 queues

Next article

Huge Alex Peroni Monza F3 crash a lesson for F1, say drivers

Huge Alex Peroni Monza F3 crash a lesson for F1, say drivers
Load comments
The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest Plus

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest

Despite appearing to adjust to life as a Ferrari driver with relative ease, it was far from straightforward under the surface for Carlos Sainz Jr. But, having made breakthroughs in rather different routes at the Russian and Turkish races, he’s now targeting even greater feats for the rest of the Formula 1 season

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Plus

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Autosport's technical consultant

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Plus

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding 
into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? STUART CODLING talks to the man in charge

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Plus

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers Plus

Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory Plus

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021