Toto Wolff thinks warning flags will lead to more collisions

Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton at the Italian Grand Prix

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes the increased use of the black-and-white driving standards warning in Formula 1 will lead to more collisions.

Under instruction from Formula 1 Race Director Michael Masi, who replaced the late Charlie Whiting for 2019, the black-and-white flag has been used at the last two events.

In Italy it was shown to Charles Leclerc following his close-call with Lewis Hamilton as they battled for the lead into the second chicane on lap 23.

Masi referred to the use of the black-and-white flag as a “professional foul” and a “warning” to a driver, with a second infraction set to result in a time penalty.

But Wolff reckons the leeway now given to drivers will result in more clashes and doubts that the current stance will be maintained long-term.

“I think more cars will be touching and it will be more of a common practice,” he said.

“My opinion is that it will end up in a collision, then we will bail out of it or crawl back, this is the modus operandi. Until then we will let them race.

“I think that drivers will always have a sense of self-preservation and not try to throw away a race.

“We’ve seen that in the last years the young ones that come into Formula 1 they are a little bit more aggressive, these moves can end up in the wall if not one of them gives up.

“The drivers that are going for the Drivers’ world championship bail out of it so it saves Charles.

“In another instance, Lewis perfectly knew what he was doing he saved it and didn’t lose any bits or any parts in the incident but he could have equally decided I am not going to let this happen and put the two cars out.

“These things need to happen, it is a reoccurring thing, until it ends up in a situation that is dire for the one that is aggressive. We aren’t there yet. The interesting decision would have been if it ended up in Lewis losing a front wing or both cars being in the wall.”