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Wolff: No “arm twisting” to convince drivers to race in Jeddah

Wolff: No arm twisting to convince drivers to race in Jeddah
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff insisted there was no “arm twisting” involved to prevent Formula 1 drivers from sitting out the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Friday night of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend was a long one, as the debate was in high gear whether the sport’s weekend should go on as normal in Jeddah in the aftermath of the missile attack on an Aramco facility close to the F1 track, with drivers expressing serious concerns of safety and pushing towards race cancellation.

The race went on, with the F1 Drivers’ body – GPDA – issuing a statement on the matter, but was there any “Arm Twisting” behind the drivers’ decision?

Not according to Toto Wolff, who denied the matter to the media after the race on Sunday: “There wasn’t any arm twisting from our side, there were good discussions.

“When the team principals talked to the drivers, I think what we talked was sense and not at all [with] any pressure, but maybe that was perceived in a different way.

Sports should continue to put on amazing spectacles

“In the end, the show and the spectacle was amazing and what we delivered as a sport was great,” Wolff added, insisting: “I think this is what sports should do.

“To be honest, I’ve been here [and in] five years, I’ve seen change,” he went on. “And I repeat what I said before: this is where we are, but there’s just so much more to do. A lot.”

The Austrian, on Saturday in Jeddah, defended the decision to race there adamant it was necessary “to give people the chance to better themselves”, adding: “Does Saudi Arabia and some of the other Middle Eastern countries share the same values the same culture as we do in in Europe? They don’t.

“Are they where we want them to be? No. Can we, by coming here, put the spotlight onto this place, by racing here in Formula 1, by making those themes visible and therefore making it a better place? I still think so,” Wolff reflected.

“I’d rather come here and make the spotlight shine on the region so it needs to be in a better place rather than say: ‘I’m not going there, I don’t want to hear anything of it.’,” the Mercedes boss maintained.