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DTM: Mercedes boss Toto Wolff unhappy with stewards' decision

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has hit out at DTM stewards’ decision to penalise Canadian Robert Wickens in last Sunday’s race at Spielberg, Austria.

Pole position holder and a potential race winner, Wickens was penalised by a controversial drive-through penalty for unsafe release.

According to Autosport magazine, it seems the officials confused the Canadian's car with the similar-looking Mercedes of Pascal Wehrlein, who made contact with race winner Marco Wittmann's BMW during the stops.

Wolff wrote a letter to DTM officials, claiming that Wickens release was not unsafe, and that the interest of the sport and the race should be taken into account by stewards when making decisions on penalties.

Wolff wrote: "We remain convinced that the decision was wrong in principle, particularly on close reading of the precise definition of what constitutes an 'unsafe release’.

"Having completed his pitstop on lap 22, Robert Wickens was 'released' from his box.

"There is clear video and photo evidence that the driver behind him was not even in the outside lane at this point in time. Wickens's exit from his box may not have been optimum, but there is no way that the pit crew could have foreseen this, and they cannot therefore be held liable for an 'unsafe release'.

"We regard the case of Pascal Wehrlein as a more clear-cut example of 'unsafe release'.

"The initial decision was to take no further action, but he was then penalised after the race. Not only was the consistency of the decision making questionable but also the severity of the punishment.

"Quite apart from the case under discussion, we believe that there is a need in the DTM for a more consistent and accountable procedure for potential offences and the penalties they incur.

"When in doubt, decisions must be made in the spirit of the sport and in the interests of exciting racing."