FORMULA 1 MOTORSPORT NEWS

Wolff hits back at Mercedes’ critics


Toto Wolff has hit back at suggestions Mercedes’ dominance is hurting Formula 1, claiming people should stop “romanticising the past”. Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have won 32 out of 38 races since new technical regulations were introduced for 2014, with the Briton winning back-to-back world titles.

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Wolff accepted that Mercedes’ dominance could be hurting F1, but he said it is wrong to blame the German manufacturer, and he believes it has proved it is not just looking out for its own interests.

“Is it good for Formula 1 one team is dominant and that it’s pretty predictable, like it has been in ’14 and ’15?” Wolff told Autosport.

“It’s not good, but if you look at it historically it has always been like this, so the question is: what can I do?

How does Mercedes’ dominance compare to past eras?

“We expect the competition to grow stronger eventually, and we should stop romanticising the past, how great it was.

“I tend to see many of the historic stakeholders have forgotten we have moved on, that the product needs development.

“We haven’t blocked things like opening up the scope for the development of engines, for example, for next year.

“If we’d been pure opportunistic hardliners we would have stopped that, but we didn’t do that.”

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone went on the offensive last week, telling the BBC he felt too much power is being wielded by Ferrari, and Mercedes in particular, after plans for an independent engine were recently blocked.

But Wolff said Mercedes’ longevity in F1, with its current stint dating back to the start of its engine supply deal with McLaren in 1995, proves its commitment.

“We have been a loyal partner to Formula 1,” Wolff said.

“We’ve been in the sport for 23 continuous seasons, and we’re one of the brands that gives Formula 1 credibility as well.

“We’re on for change and for any discussion that is a sensible discussion about where Formula 1 should go.

“We’ve made our point that we didn’t believe an independent balance of performance engine was the direction in which Formula 1 should be heading.

“Whether that annoyed Bernie or not, I don’t know, but something’s annoyed him.

“But Bernie loves to be controversial. Sometimes stitching us up in the media is what he does, and I accept it.”