Mercedes Formula 1 team boss Toto Wolff says changes made to the race director role in the wake of Michael Masi sacking are “encouraging”.
- Toto Wolff says he is happy with the changes made to the race director role
- Mercedes unveiled its new car, the W13, at Silverstone on Friday
- Lewis Hamilton will joined by George Russell in the team’s driver line-up
Mercedes unveiled its 2022 car less than 24 hours after Masi was sacked over his decisions in the final race last season — decisions which led to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen winning the drivers’ championship.
Wolff and Mercedes were critical of the Australian’s calls in the closing laps of December’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Masi made a controversial decision to allow only the lapped cars between Hamilton, who was leading the race and about to win the championship, and title rival Verstappen who was second, to pass so one final lap could be raced.
The decision went against usual safety car procedures and allowed Verstappen, on fresher tyres, to pass Hamilton to win the grand prix and his first drivers’ championship.
Masi was removed as F1 race director on Thursday, with the role being split between Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas.
Wolff said at the launch of the new car he was happy with the changes made by the sport’s governing body, the FIA, include the race director role being split, and new technology helping decision-making.
“It is encouraging to see that action has been taken,” he said.
“There is a much more robust structure now and support structure for the racing director.”
Mercedes will field an all-British driver line-up, with Hamilton being joined by former Williams driver George Russell.
The 24-year-old has been part of the Mercedes program for many years, starting as a junior driver.
He said the transition into the team had been smooth which was important in a year that had many regulation changes.
“I think it is going to be a really exciting season for all of us,” he said at the car launch.
“There’s so much change, there’s so much to learn, there’s going to be so much development over the course of this season.
“I think from the first race to the last race of the season, there will probably be some drastic changes we see on the cars.”
The first race of the 2022 season will be in Bahrain on March 20.