DECEMBER 17, 2021

FIA to rise above calls for Hamilton snub penalty says Todt

Jean Todt rolled his eyes at those calling for Lewis Hamilton to be fined for snubbing Thursday's official FIA prize-giving gala event in Paris.

Lewis Hamilton, Qatar GP 2021
© Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Jean Todt rolled his eyes at those calling for Lewis Hamilton to be fined for snubbing Thursday's official FIA prize-giving gala event in Paris.

"I think we should celebrate rather than getting into any controversy," said the departing FIA president, who admitted he definitely will not miss episodes like the current one surrounding the end to the intense 2021 title battle.

Mercedes on Thursday finally dropped its intention to appeal the controversial championship outcome, but team boss Toto Wolff also boycotted attending in Paris - instead sending James Allison to collect the constructors' trophy.

"We left Abu Dhabi in disbelief of what we had just witnessed," a Mercedes statement on Thursday read.

"Of course, it's part of the game to lose a race, but it's something different when you lose faith in racing."

Wolff separately told reporters that he and Lewis Hamilton are "disillusioned" at what happened in Abu Dhabi - and may even be considering quitting Formula 1.

"I won't be there (in Paris) because of my loyalty to Lewis and because of my own personal integrity," Wolff said.

"I would very much hope that Lewis continues racing and I think as a racer his heart will say he needs to continue."

Wolff's wife Susie is also enraged, declaring that she hopes changes in F1's management over the winter enables her to "fall back in love" with the category.

As Max Verstappen collected his big trophy, however, he said hasn't given "too much" thought to Mercedes' post-season actions which Dr Helmut Marko at one point even called "disgusting".

"I'm fine," said the Dutch driver. "I feel like the world champion and it doesn't matter what they try to do."

However, Verstappen admitted that while Wolff did text him a congratulatory message, he is not quite ready to forgive the Austrian.

"I think I can be a forgiving person, but at the moment it's still all so new that it's better not to talk about it too much," he said.

As for Jean Todt, who is in his final days as FIA president, he also questioned the way Mercedes has handled the affair - including refusing to send the 2021 car to the official FIA photoshoot.

"In a way I'm sorry about that, because having eight constructors' titles is something unique. I'm sorry Lewis is not here.

"But this youngster (Verstappen) did an amazing job, and that's what we should be focusing on rather than 'Are we going to punish Hamilton for not coming?'

"It's human to focus on the last lap, and it's true that he (Verstappen) was very lucky, but was he lucky at Silverstone? In Azerbaijan? In Budapest?

"I think we should let it go. We have to rise above it," Todt insisted.

"Honestly, I'm glad I'm leaving because things like this are a reason not to stay. That's 70 percent of it, the other 30 percent is for the safety which is why drivers like Romain Grosjean are still alive today."