Toto Wolff says he would rather see Sebastian Vettel “putting on a great show” for Formula 1 than being penalised for red flag discrepancies at the United States Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver, who is on the verge of being beaten to the 2018 drivers’ world championship by Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, has been slapped with a three-place grid drop for Sunday’s race in Austin after being found guilty of speeding under a red flag during FP1.

Mercedes team boss Wolff believes the penalty is detrimental for the show – given the current title fight situation – but reckons Force India driver Esteban Ocon’s penalty for a similar red flag infringement at the Japanese Grand Prix has now set a precedent in F1.

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“It’s difficult because there was a decision that I thought was a bit harsh against Esteban last weekend, and it sets a precedent,” Wolff told Sky Sports F1 prior to the stewards decision being made.

“For the championship, obviously it’s not good if Sebastian would get a penalty. We’d rather have him there and put on a great show.”

Fellow team boss Christian Horner slammed F1's rule-makers and described the red flag penalty rule as “rubbish”, while Vettel called on the FIA to start taking a “common sense” approach to each scenario.

When asked if he thinks F1 needs to change its red flag policy, Wolff replied: “I think we need to talk about it because safety of the marshals and the car that’s in the barrier is super important.

“But we need to look at the regulations. We want to get rid of the penalties, so merging the two is not a trivial thing.”

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