Mercedes calls in police to investigate anonymous 'sabotage' email

Mercedes calls in police to investigate anonymous 'sabotage' email

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BARCELONA, Spain — Mercedes has asked police to investigate the source of an anonymous email accusing the F1 team of deliberately damaging Lewis Hamilton's car.

The email was sent to the same list of F1 representatives who received leaked messages relating to the Christian Horner sexual misconduct investigation earlier this year. The email was sent last week.

The message claims to be from a current team member and accuses Mercedes of deliberately endangering Hamilton, who is due to join Ferrari next year, in recent weeks.

It alleges the team has gone down a “dangerous path” by “systematically damaging” Hamilton's car, strategy and mental health, which could be “life-threatening to Lewis”.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said the team was taking the message very seriously.

“This isn't from any member of the team; when we get emails like this, and we get a lot of them, it's upsetting, especially when someone is talking about death and all of that,” Wolfe said Friday.

“In this particular case, I have instructed the police to investigate with full force, check the IP address, check the phone number, because this kind of online abuse needs to be stopped. People cannot hide behind their phones or computers and abuse teams or drivers like this.

“I don't know what some conspiracy theorists, crazy people think. Lewis was part of the team for 12 years; we have a friendship, we trust each other, we want to win … and want to end it on a high and celebrate the relationship.”

“And if you don't believe all that, you can believe that we want to win the Constructors' World Championship, and that's only possible by making both cars win. For all these crazy people, [see] a shrink.”

When asked about it during a media briefing Thursday, Hamilton said he had not seen the email.

Asked about fans accusing the team of foul play on social media, he said: “They know that, if you look at the past years, we've always been a strong team, we've always worked hard together. I think it's easy to get emotional. I think we need support, not negativity.”

“Of course, there are always things that can be improved within the team, and that comes through dialogue and communication, and that's what we're constantly working on. But we're all in the same boat, we're all working hard together and we all want to finish on a high level. We've been able to do that because of our long-term relationship.”

Wolff said there is no resentment about Hamilton's upcoming move.

“It appears there is a lot of irrationality in this, because we want to succeed with the most iconic driver the sport has ever seen, we were fortunate to work with Lewis, an incredible driver, a great personality who goes through ups and downs like any other sportsman,” Wolff said.

“I completely respect his reason for going to Ferrari, there are no complaints, no bad feelings, the conversation in the team is positive, so every comment from outside on what is going on in the team is completely false.”

Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur, who helped lure Hamilton to the team the following year, said any suggestion that a team deliberately harmed a driver should be taken with disdain.

“How can you imagine a company with 1,500 people working night and day, trying really hard to bring in upgrades only to have one of our cars break down or one of our cars get damaged? That's completely irrational, and nobody in this sector can do that.”

“We are fighting for the championship; every weekend we are trying to score one point more than the other. How can you think that someone would say 'Well, Lewis, we don't want to score points with him anymore'? That is completely irrational to me and completely outside the scope of the people who are doing my business.”

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