A recent Instagram post by Flavio Briatore featuring him, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, and F1 boss Stefano Domenicali having a good time has sparked some terse reactions from the sport's fans.
Everything appears to be wrong with that picture, according to fans. If the Mercedes team principal socializing with the F1 boss is wrong enough, adding Briatore to the equation makes it even worse. For the uninitiated, Briatore is infamous for his role in the 2008 F1 Crashgate Scandal, following which he was banned from the paddock.
With two of the strongest men in F1 today socializing with Briatore, fans did not like what they saw. Here are some of the reactions on Twitter from F1 fans:
"Imagine what Lewis fans would say about the fia being rigged if this was Horner not Wolff. Toto has had the fia in his back pocket for years."
"For reasons of expediency, Domenicali should have avoided the publication of the yacht photo showing him smiling with Toto Wolff. It is a question of a super partes role, if he had gone on holiday with Binotto the British would have said "Sunday ex Ferrari favors you"
"I admit that this cute photo of 3 Formula 1 legends made yesterday is very ... disturbing :) Flavio Briatore (formerly Renault boss), Stefano Domenicali (F1 boss, former Ferrari boss) and Toto Wolff (Mercedes boss)."
"Does anybody have holiday pictures of Wolff and Domenicali from before Stefano became @fia president?"
"What's funny about of all of this... is that this is game. This is the sport. It's been 'at it' for decades. This isn't a conspiracy or some 'deep state' pop at one driver. This is the game. The 'influence' is all. And sometimes that influence wanes.... and the game re-sets."
Mercedes is starting to make a comeback with 6 consecutive podium finishes
Speaking of Mercedes, the team is starting to make a comeback in the constructors' championship. The gap to the front has reduced and the team is finally able to unleash some performance. Mercedes achieved its 6th consecutive podium at Hungary.
Although Toto Wolff was ecstatic with the result, he cautioned against complacency and said:
"Lewis' fight today was unbelievable. Budapest continues to be a success story for him. He came out of nowhere and was quicker than everyone else. I think we lost the race with him yesterday with the DRS failing. Otherwise, we would have been able to fight at the front for the victory today. P2 and P3 twice in a row is great but we want to fight for the win. We have a result we can work with, given we had a really bad Friday."
The team is more or less out of the title bid this year but is building momentum for the 2023 F1 season.