“It is a Meritocracy” – Mercedes Boss Toto Wolff Has a Sharp Warning for F1

Published 09/20/2021, 5:55 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Monaco Grand Prix – Circuit de Monaco, Monte Carlo, Monaco – Mercedes Executive Director Toto Wolff in the FIA Press Conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS


Toto Wolff feels that F1 is “freestyling” with the rules to attract new viewers and garner more media attention. In this dangerous sport, the rules of procedure should be very rigid as driver safety is of utmost importance. But, recently, the FIA has tried to tweak a few things to get a more nerve-racking session at every Grand Prix.

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The introduction of the sprint weekend format by the FIA has ruffled some feathers among the F1 personnel. The sprint format has one headlining event for both days of the weekend and removes one of the free practice sessions. There are 3 practice sessions on a regular weekend.

During the Monza race in Italy, the race director Ross Brawn came up with the idea of reverse grids. These have happened before as well. Toto Wolff was strongly against this idea, and he has voiced his opinion to the press.

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Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 11, 2021 McLaren’s Lando Norris and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during the sprint qualifying REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini

Toto Wolff questions the merit of these rule changes

The Mercedes boss said the FIA is trying to tackle a non-existent problem. He thinks they are introducing a slew of unnecessary changes. He claimed the experiments are “just too controversial, against what the sport stands for.”

While mentioning the previous changes that FIA has tried bringing to F1, Wolff said they were met with resistance too. Ever since the early 2000s, FIA has tried out some formats like elimination qualifying, etc.

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Wolff said, “That is real racing with great personalities now and it is broadcasted in the right way and people know it is a meritocracy where the best man and best machine wins. You can see this year there is more cars that are really competitive and a really good fight at the top.”

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 15: Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff looks on in the Team Principals Press Conference during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Urging F1 to be careful about the regulatory changes, he explained that these rules are there for a reason. If any changes happen, advice from FIA, FOM, F1 commission, as well as all the team members must be taken. The Merc boss also said, “whether we discontinue or we continue, I think we do it with a fine-tooth comb.”

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The final sprint trial will be in Brazil

Last month, Stefano Domenicali, the F1 CEO, announced that the Sao Paolo GP in Brazil will see the final sprint trial of the 2021 season. With regard to that, Wolff mentioned that even if the Sprint Races successfully collect a large viewership, that should not cause FIA to overlook the “confused” suggestions that they are hoping to incorporate into the sport.

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Riddhi Mondal

84 articles

Riddhi Mondal is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. Having previously worked as a student reporter at The Statesman, she is an ardent follower of all things F1. A nerd through and through, the complicated physics that goes into the cars is what drew Riddhi to the sport.

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