Toto Wolff: “The sport is under scrutiny”

Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Toto Wolff believes Formula 1 is under intense scrutiny following the much-maligned elimination-style qualifying format that continues for at least this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

Wolff and the rest of the other team bosses were disappointed with how qualifying unfolded during the Australian Grand Prix two weeks ago, but no one could agree on what to do with qualifying in time for the second race of the season, meaning the format has a reprieve in Bahrain.

“This weekend we will see the new qualifying system continue after a less-than-impressive debut in Australia,” said Wolff. “The teams were unanimous in their opinion of it on Sunday in Melbourne and it wasn’t a positive opinion.

“We haven’t found the right format with this change and it’s hard to see how it might be more entertaining for the fans this weekend in Bahrain. The sport is under scrutiny on this matter, so careful thought is required in order to make coordinated, intelligent steps forward from the position we are in right now.

“The fans want close racing, in a format they can understand, between the best drivers and cars in the world – in that order. We should be capable of delivering that to the people in the grandstands and watching around the world.”