Toto Wolff feels the FIA should leave F1 regulations alone


Toto Wolff - FIA press conference - Spanish GP 2017. Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team Boss Toto Wolff believes keeping regulations stable instead of changing them every few years, would allow for closer competition between the teams, and bring them more on a par with one another.

Big changes were introduced for the 2017 season, primarily focusing on the aerodynamics of a car, turning attentions away from what had been an engine performance dominated era since the last enforced modifications in 2014, a period the Silver Arrows squad were able to take full advantage of.

This year cars have been re-designed to look more aggressive and allow faster lap times through increased levels of downforce, which also enables drivers to take most corners flat out this year.

No F1 team has ever retained the world championship title after going through regulation changes, but Mercedes are aiming to break that duck, despite receiving fierce competition from Scuderia Ferrari so far this season.

Wolff does not think the increased challenge from their rivals is down to a shake-up of the rules however, believing that the same scenario would have played out if things had remained as they were, as he explained this week.

“I think that if you keep the regulations stable, you will have more cars being competitive because the development curve by sheer nature flattens and it pushes the teams more together in terms of performance.

“Some of our competitors have campaigned for a complete shake-up, a massive complete shake-up of the regulations.”

Although the Italian squad are now very much in the mix with the current world champions, there is a more significant gap back to Red Bull Racing, and then a further jump to the rest of the field, which the Austrian feels will only close up if the rules are left alone, giving the other squads chance to catch up.

“What we have today is that it looks like two teams are far ahead of everybody else, although we do not feel satisfied with where we are. There is a huge gap, 1.6 or 1.7 seconds to Red Bull, and then another gap.

“I’m not such a fan of shaking up the regulations every two or three years just because someone wants to roll the dice, but it was a majority decision and once it was done, we’ve kind of switched into competition mode and tried to do the best of it.”