Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff says Red Bull’s statements following Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton’s crash at the British Grand Prix were blows “below the belt”.
Red Bull was public in its criticism of Hamilton for his role in the crash after he won the race despite receiving a 10-second time penalty, while Verstappen was eliminated from the event in the incident.
The energy drink-backed team lodged a petition to appeal the penalty ahead of this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, however the proposal was rejected by the FIA.
Although Wolff denies that Red Bull must apologise to Mercedes for their statements, the Austrian expressed that they were unwarranted.
“I think everybody needs to decide if they want to apologise or not,” Wolff said.
“We felt that comments that were made during and after the race in written statements and in the meeting itself were below the belt.
“It’s not up to me, nor would Lewis want that, to demand any apologies.”
Following the announcement that the FIA would not review Hamilton’s penalty from Silverstone, Mercedes issued its own statement in which it condemned Red Bull for attempting to “tarnish the good name and sporting integrity of Lewis Hamilton”.
Explaining the reasoning behind the statement, Wolff said: “I think we wanted to bring a little bit of respect back to the discussion.
“We understand that emotions can run high, it’s always a matter of perspective and perception but we felt that that line was overstepped.”
Wolff added that the drama created by the rivalry between Mercedes and Red Bull is good for the sport, but maintains that respect should be upheld.
“I think Formula 1 needs content, and controversy, as long as it is around the sport, [it] can be quite entertaining,” he said.
“But there are certain boundaries we need to respect and the sport should unite and not create more polarisation.
“Especially in a sport that cannot be proud at that stage yet about its diversity and equality, and we just need to get the words right, and therefore let’s aim to de-escalate rather than to fuel.”