Stop speaking negative about F1, warns Mercedes boss
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has reiterated that F1 insiders should not be talking the sport down – while admitting that domination by one team might not be healthy.
In Austria it was clear that race promoter Red Bull had an agenda, with boss Dietrich Mateschitz making negative comments and his Red Bulletin magazine also joining in.
“It is a good sales campaign!” said Wolff. “But then F1 is also about controversy, on track and off track. And if I take my Mercedes hat off, and I look at what the spectacle has to offer, I think it is a good spectacle. Is it good that one team wins pretty regularly, or predictably? Maybe not. But we have seen that in the past as well.
“I think we have a duty to F1 to not talk it down. We are, and all of you [the media] are, F1’s ambassadors, and by constantly picking the negatives we got ourselves into a spiral of negative controversy. And I don’t think this is what is good for F1.
“We should have the duty of talking it up, and not talking it down. I have read a couple of articles in the last couple of days, which are really rubbish, comparisons with Formula E and stuff. I don’t want to even go there. But I think we have a duty for F1. That’s just my personal opinion.”
Wolff countered suggestions that current cars are too slow.
“There is so much talking about lap times in general, so much talking about the cars are not quick enough. If you consider that those cars with the standard tires are at the beginning of their evolution – we are in year number two, so very early stages of these new regulations – and you compare them to the very end of the V10 and eight-cylinder engines, we are almost on the lap records of these old V10 and V8 era. We are sometimes a second off, sometimes five-tenths, sometimes two seconds. But all that, with a car which is 100 kilograms heavier and carrying 50 or 60 kilograms less fuel. So I think that’s pretty impressive.”
Wolff did not want to blame Pirelli: “It’s a standard tire, and Pirelli is given a task of making it between one and two pit stops, and they are doing a pretty solid job. I don’t know actually how much the tires changed from last year to this year. They have tweaked the compounds in various ways, and of course this is the most important factor between the car and the road, so why the lap times are not as expected, I don’t know.
“We had a wet session in the morning and a wet start to qualifying. I would have expected that we would have got to the one-minute six-seconds or one-minute seven-seconds lap time, which would have been two seconds better than last year. But then the track was green, and you can’t expect them to beat the record.”