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Formula 1 Spanish GP

Mercedes calls in police over anonymous Hamilton F1 sabotage email

Mercedes has called in the police over an anonymous email accusing the Formula 1 team of dangerous sabotage of Lewis Hamilton’s car

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team, in the garage with Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team and Peter Bonnington, Senior Race Engineer, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team, in the garage with Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team and Peter Bonnington, Senior Race Engineer, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has revealed that the police are involved in investigating the source of an anonymous email accusing the team of trying to deliberately sabotage Lewis Hamilton’s car.

An anonymous email, sent to the same list of F1 and media representatives who were forwarded alleged WhatsApp messages involving Christian Horner earlier this year, said Mercedes was playing a dangerous game.

The message claimed to be from a team member and accused Mercedes and especially Wolff of “systematic sabotaging” of Hamilton’s car, strategy and mental health.

It went on to claim that there were "underhand" actions taking place and feared that the squad was on a “dangerous path” that could “ultimately be life-threatening to Lewis.”

It is also understood that follow-up WhatsApp messages were sent from a mobile phone to selected individuals.

Mercedes has dismissed any suggestion that the email has any element of the truth and are clear that the communications have not come from an employee.

Speaking at the Spanish Grand Prix, a clearly agitated Wolff said that the police had been called in as he vowed to find the perpetrator.

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team

Photo by: Motorsport Images

“It's not from a member of the team,” said Wolff. “When we are getting these kinds of emails, and we're getting tons of them, it is upsetting, particularly when there is somebody talking about death and all these things.

“On this particular one, I have instructed to go on full force. We have the police inquiring [about] it. We're researching the IP address. We are researching the phone. All of that because online abuse in that way needs to stop. People can't hide behind their phones or their computers and abuse teams or drivers in a way like this.”

Wolff said it was inconceivable that Mercedes would deliberately derail its efforts in the constructors’ championship by holding back one of its drivers on purpose.

“I don't know what some of the conspiracy theorists and lunatics think out there,” he added.

“Lewis has been part of the team for 12 years. We have a friendship. We trust each other. We want to end this on a high. We want to celebrate the relationship.

“If you don't believe all of that, then you can believe that we want to win the constructors' world championship. And part of the constructors' world championship is making both cars win. So, to all of these mad people out there, take a shrink.”

Wolff went on to explain that he found it especially frustrating that people were hiding behind anonymous identities to criticise rather than being open about it.

“There will always be people that have the laptop on their chest in their bedroom and just typing away,” he said.

“If people feel like they want to abuse and hit out and hide behind a made-up Instagram account, or anything else that, for me is... come up, say who you are, and we'll take the criticism and discuss. But don't hide.”

He added: “If emails are being sent or telephone numbers are being used for these messages, then for me the joking stops, and we will pursue it, whether that is successful or not. But there are limits to certain things.”

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