In Brief

‘Total nonsense’: Mercedes F1 chief Toto Wolff dismisses rumours of a fall out with Lewis Hamilton

Williams and Racing Point confirm driver pay cuts and staff furlough plans

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says rumours of a falling out with driver Lewis Hamilton are “total nonsense”. 

According to reports, six-time Formula 1 world champion Hamilton and Silver Arrows chief Wolff had clashed at the Australian Grand Prix over whether the season-opening race should have taken place amid the coronavirus crisis. 

On a dramatic day in Melbourne last month the cancellation of the Australian GP was only confirmed hours before the start of the first practice session. 

Planet F1 says rumours have surfaced claiming that Hamilton has fallen out with Wolff over his handling of the Australian GP. The website added: “The Brit didn’t want to race and is said to have been angry with the Mercedes motorsport boss for wanting to.”

However, in an interview with the Osterreich newspaper, Wolff dismissed the speculation. 

“Total nonsense!” he said. “Lewis and I were in conversation every second in Australia, also on that night in which the cancellation occurred. We also speak to each other every other day. Our relationship is closer than ever.”

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Drivers take pay cuts 

Williams Racing yesterday announced that some staff members have been placed on furlough while drivers George Russell and Nicholas Latifi have taken a 20% pay cut. 

A statement said: “Due to the ongoing situation involving Covid-19, ROKiT Williams Racing is temporarily furloughing a number of employees as part of a wider range of cost-cutting measures.

“The furlough period will last until the end of May whilst senior management, and our drivers, have taken a pay cut of 20% effective from 1 April. 

“These decisions have not been taken lightly, however our aim is to protect the jobs of our staff at Grove and ensuring they can return to full-time work when the situation allows.”

Meanwhile, Racing Point have confirmed similar measures with drivers Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll taking a pay cut.

A Racing Point spokesperson said: “Some staff have now been placed on temporary furlough. Our drivers will also take a voluntary pay cut.” 

‘Four teams could disappear’, warns McLaren CEO Brown

F1 place staff on furlough 

Sky Sports reports that Formula 1 has placed around half of its 500 staff members on furlough. 

Chief executive Chase Carey is to take a “significant but undisclosed pay cut”, while senior management and executives will take a 20% pay cut for two months.

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