Wolff Explains Extreme Measure to Prevent Red Bull Copying Mercedes’ Engine IP With Albon F1 Move

Published 09/16/2021, 8:17 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


Alex Albon will return to Formula One after missing out on a seat in the 2020 season. He will race for the Williams in 2021 to replace the Mercedes-bound George Russell. There was a bit of cloud if Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff would block the Thai driver’s return, but Williams decided on him, anyway.

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Williams is a team that uses Mercedes engines, and Albon is a Red Bull driver. Mercedes and Red Bull are currently battling for the constructors’ championship. Wolff mentioned he is happy that Albon will race for Williams despite the Red Bull connection.

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There are very strict and clear IP confidentiality clauses: Toto Wolff

As reported by Motorsport.com, Wolff mentioned that there are some clauses in Albon’s contract regarding the engine. He stated that he never interfered in Williams’s decision to choose their driver.

“We always respected the authority of choosing its drivers for a team. I was at Williams, and I would have wanted nobody to interfere in our driver’s decision,” Wolff said.

Formula One F1 – Dutch Grand Prix – Circuit Zandvoort, Zandvoort, Netherlands – September 5, 2021, Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff arrives at the circuit REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

“And in the same way, we have no contractual rights that we could have or would have used because I don’t think it’s right to meddle with the team’s decision on drivers.

What was important for us is if a driver from another power unit manufacturer joins the team, then there are very strict and clear IP confidentiality clauses. That was always in great harmony with Williams.

They know exactly where we are coming from and what is important to protect. He is basically a Williams driver for the next 12 months. He has no links to Red Bull during that time.” said Wolff.

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The Mercedes team boss welcomes Albon back to F1

Toto Wolff mentioned he is happy that Alex Albon will be back in the sport after a year’s hiatus. He also took a slight dig at Red Bull as he stated Albon went to Williams as he could get a seat in Red Bull-backed teams.

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“To be honest, I absolutely am supportive, even though it’s none of my business, of Alex Albon,” Wolff said.

Thai driver Alex Albon celebrated the first DTM win of his career in Sunday’s race eight at the iconic Nürburgring circuit to move up to fourth overall in the title race. // DTM at Nuerburgring, Germany on August 22, 2021 // Julian Kroehl / Red Bull Content Pool

“He deserves to be in F1, he’s a great guy, and I’m happy for him he’s in the car. He’s there as he didn’t get a place in AlphaTauri or in Red Bull, but he’s at Williams now and hopefully stays there for a long time,” concluded Wolff.

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Albon will partner Nicholas Latifi next season and will hope to help Williams in its quest to get back on top in F1 again.

Can Albon start strongly at Williams? Let us know.

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Devang Chauhan

457 articles

Devang Chauhan is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having completed his graduation in Journalism and Mass Communication, he has a keen eye for writing engaging and detailed articles on F1. Previously a writer for Sports Social's 'Chase Your Sport' Magazine, Devang has been an ardent follower of the sport for over a decade and has attended two editions of the Indian Grand Prix.

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