Toto Wolff Dismisses Widely-Speculated Andy Cowell Mercedes F1 Theory

Published 10/29/2021, 6:36 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Austrian Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Styria, Austria – July 4, 2021 McLaren team principal Toto Wolff before the race Pool via REUTERS/Christian Bruna

Since the Red Bull’s power unit supplier, Honda announced their departure from Formula 1, the Milton-Keynes-based team has decided to form their own engine division called, Red Bull Powertrains.


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Red Bull lured several engineers from other teams on the grid to work on their all-new engine department and most of which belong to their arch-rivals, Mercedes. The long list of Silver Arrows outgoing engineers also includes Andy Cowell, who left the Brackley-based team at the start of this year.

Cowell was the head of the Mercedes engine department and helped the German team to win consecutive seven constructors championships. And with his departure, Silver Arrows have struggled with their engine reliability issues this season.


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The Brackley-based team has taken engine-related penalties in each of the last race weekends. However, the Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff denied that the recent power unit reliability issues are the consequence of the departure of Andy Cowell.

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What did Toto Wolff say?

As quoted by Formula Passion, when asked if the recent and several replacements of internal combustion engines are the consequence of the departure Andy Cowell, Toto Wolff replied: “One of the strengths of this group is the professionalism of the staff.

Formula One F1 – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – September 24, 2021. Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff during the press conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS.

“Andy was certainly an extraordinary person who contributed a lot to our successes, but the same goes for his successor, Hywel Thomas. I have 100% confidence in our current structure, and I don’t think that the difficulties that have emerged are due to the mere fact that a person has left the company,” concluded Toto Wolff. (Quotes translated via Google)


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Anti-embarrassment regulation: Wolff

After dominating the pinnacle of motor racing since the introduction of the hybrid era, Mercedes are struggling this year more than ever with their power units. The reigning champion, Lewis Hamilton, is onto his fourth Internal Combustion system this year. Whereas, Valtteri Bottas has already opted for his sixth ICE.

Meanwhile, Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff, believes awarding a ten-place grid penalty for opting for the fourth internal combustion engine and then just a five-place grid penalty for the next ICE, is an “anti-embarrassment regulation”.


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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP, Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Mercedes GP and Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff talk on stage at the F1 Live event during previews ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

“I think that’s probably like old Honda where you are in a situation and it’s going terribly wrong and you need to change engine parts or complete power units then you shouldn’t be penalized every single race to go to the back of the grid or lose 10 places,” said Toto Wolff.

“So it’s almost an anti-embarrassment regulation and I think that’s okay,” added the Austrian.


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Can Mercedes end this season without taking any further engine penalties? What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Pingaksh Sharma

306 articles

Pingaksh Sharma is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been following this sport since India hosted the Grand Prix in 2012 and has been an ardent supporter of the eventual race winner, Sebastian Vettel. He is also a fan of Max Verstappen and Red Bull, and hopes the former breaks Lewis Hamilton's dominance.