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Wolff 'applauds' FIA for F1 swearing crackdown after official warning

Toto Wolff has ‘applauded’ the FIA for clamping down on swearing after his ‘first summons since 1984’.

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG

Photo by: James Sutton / Motorsport Images

The Mercedes team principal and his Ferrari opposite number, Fred Vasseur, were called to face the FIA stewards ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for incidents of swearing during an official press conference in Las Vegas.

The instances were in the same session, with Vasseur venting over the damage caused to Carlos Sainz’s car when a water valve cover came loose on the circuit, and Wolff defending the Las Vegas Grand Prix against claims that the Friday shambles was a “black eye” for the championship.

Asked by Sky Sports F1 about his trip to the stewards’ room and his subsequent warning, Wolff said: “That was great. The second time that I’ve been summoned somewhere. The last time was 1984, when I was 12 in school.

“I think, as a positive, we are role models, we are representing the sport and some of us are not native so the F-word slips out easier. And I don’t think that anybody who is a stakeholder, in the car or outside of the car, being looked at by young people on TV should use the language.”

It is not uncommon for drivers or certain team principals to be heard using profanities, with these bleeped out on the live broadcast but placed front and centre on Drive to Survive.

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG, in the team principals Press Conference

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG, in the team principals Press Conference

In its ruling against Wolff, the FIA accepted that “the use of the language concerned was in this case unusual and was provoked by an abrupt interjection during the press conference and therefore cannot be regarded as typical from this team principal”, with this viewed as suitable mitigation to issue only a warning.

As F1’s audience includes children, something highlighted by the third special F1 Kids broadcast of the season, Wolff added: “There is a much bigger picture. That is why I accept being called there because of the much bigger picture.

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“We all - whether it is drivers, team representatives, FIA officials – we need to adhere to the sporting code. We need to adhere to the Concorde governance agreement of how decisions are being made. We need to adhere to the FIA code of ethics, all of us.

“This episode on swearing, which I applaud that we are stopping that all of us together, there is a certain set of regulations and guidelines that we all need to adhere to in the best interests of the sport.”

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