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Toto Wolff: Mercedes boss says Abu Dhabi gave the FIA confidence to avoid Italian GP 'big bang show'

"From my perspective, whether I'm Abu Dhabi traumatised or not, these rules have been followed to the dot," says Toto Wolff, whose comments are in contrast to his Red Bull and Ferrari counterparts after the Italian GP Safety Car finish

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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says his drivers' third and fifth-place finishes were the best they could have hoped for at the Italian Grand Prix

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has hinted at being "Abu Dhabi traumatised" but says he is happy that last year's controversial F1 title decider at least gave the FIA confidence to make the right decisions at the Italian GP.

Sunday's race at Monza saw a Safety Car called late on but, unlike the Abu Dhabi GP last year when Max Verstappen overtook Lewis Hamilton on the final lap, the action did not restart and finished under those conditions.

There were boos from the grandstands and criticism from many - including the Red Bull and Ferrari bosses - but Wolff praised the handling of the closing stages, and aimed a not-so-sly dig at ex-race director Michael Masi.

"I'm really satisfied to see that there is a race director and colleagues that apply the regulations against the pressure of the media and the fans to just be in breach of the regulations," said the Mercedes team principal.

"So at least Abu Dhabi in that sense gave the FIA more robust confidence to apply the regulations."

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Lewis Hamilton says the ending to the Italian GP brought back memories of his title decider with Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi in 2021

Wolff's comments followed Hamilton, the wronged party last year in Abu Dhabi, saying the Monza finale brought "memories back" and that there is "only one time in the history of the sport where they haven't done the rules like that today and that's the one where it changed the result".

Wolff, like his star driver, was adamant everything had been done by the book on Sunday, as cars were not back in position quickly enough for a green light after a delay in Daniel Ricciardo's McLaren being recovered.

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"There's rules and they're written down," stated Wolff. "From my perspective, whether I'm Abu Dhabi traumatised or not, these rules have been followed to the dot.

"There was a car on track, there were marshals, a crane out there, that's why they didn't let anybody overtake and then there wasn't enough time to restart the race once all cars caught up.

"If one is not happy with the regulations and you want to have a big bang show and two laps of racing and mayhem, I'm absolutely up for it. But then we need to change the regulations.

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Sky F1's Karun Chandhok explains why the Italian Grand Prix ended behind the Safety Car and the options available to the FIA in situations like these

"So I don't think we need to complain about anything that happened because this is the rules."

Wolff continued: "I don't want to create a headline saying, 'Toto wants to change the regulations because the racing is ****'.

"I think we should all sit down and say 'is there something we do better?', but what happened is in the regulations book and that's why it was applied."

There have been suggestions that F1 should change its rules on Safety Car finishes, with Sunday the 13th time in the sport's history that a winner has crossed the chequered flag in those conditions.

Wolff has offered his alternatives

"We should think, do we want to have a race finish under green, and then reverse engineer it from there.

"So you can say five or 10 laps from the end we have a Safety Car, let's red flag it - and make sure we are racing at the end.

"If that's in the regulations, then good."

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Christian Horner admits they would have preferred Verstappen to win the race under normal racing regulations, rather than behind the Safety Car

Red Bull and Ferrari's differing views on Safety Car finish

Christian Horner, Red Bull boss: "We don't want to win a race under a Safety Car. It's something we've talked about for many, many years, that they should finish racing.

"There was enough time to get that race going. I think they picked up the wrong cars, picked up (George) Russell.

"We had the faster car and we would have liked to win the race on the track, not behind the Safety Car. We share the disappointment of all the fans, because it took away a grandstand finish.

"It goes against the principles of what we've discussed previously. The biggest losers were the fans."

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Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto was unhappy with the FIA's implementation of the Safety Car regulations in the final stages of the race

Mattia Binotto, Ferrari boss: "Finishing behind a Safety Car is never great, not for us, but F1 and the show. I think there was time for the FIA to act differently today.

"The Safety Car came in front of George but even so, I think there was no reason not to release the cars between the Safety Car and the leader. If we are simply waiting for safety, we know that now there's a minimum lap time, so it's fully safe to run.

"To wait so much, it's simply wrong and not great for the sport. After Abu Dhabi last year, we had long discussions with the sport because the final objective is to try and restart the race in a safe manner, and I think today we could have.

"The FIA changed a lot in that area, but still I think they need more experience and they need to do a better job, because F1 deserves it."

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