Wolff Against Making Formula 1 Easier to Enter for New Teams


Toto Wolff and James Allison have a laugh at the launch of the new Mercedes car
Credit: Daimler AG

Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport boss Toto Wolff says he is against changing rules to make it easier for new teams to enter, and be immediately competitive in, Formula 1, saying it would be bad for the sport.

Mercedes have won both Drivers and Constructors World Championships for the last four consecutive years, comfortably securing titles before the final race of the season. During this time the sport has seen one new team – Haas F1 Team – join, whilst three teams – Manor Marussia F1 Team, Caterham F1 Team and Lotus F1 Team – have all left.

Whilst Formula 1 owners Liberty Media have brought in ex-McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh to try and introduce a budget cap and make it easier for new teams to enter, Wolff said in an interview with Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that he doesn’t feel that “artificially levelling” the teams is the right thing to do – claiming Mercedes paid its dues when it entered the sport, and other teams should do so too.

The entry level is high, as in any competition at a certain level. But no one should insist on being competitive from the outset by changing the rules.

We also had a difficult phase in 2010, 2011 and 2012, and we only managed one victory in this time.

What kind of service would that be to Formula 1 if you cut the rules in such a way that a beginner immediately climbs right up to the front? Good for them if it works like that.

But I can only warn against artificial levelling. After all, the competing teams have earned their place with hard work and high investments.

Though Wolff isn’t happy the idea of a budget cap, he’s not against the idea of using standardised parts to cut costs – even suggesting that Mercedes could supply these parts to other teams.

We think that certain components should be released for distribution and standardized.

In addition, the engine speed should be allowed to increase and the fuel flow should be increased.

Standard parts should be considered where a new entrant may not want to develop. We would make our technology available or standardise it.

With each Formula 1 season seeing a reduction in the number of overtakes, many are calling for drastic rule changes. This isn’t something Wolff agrees with, as the Austrian feels that rules should remain largely the same, and that other teams will catch up in a few years.

For us, a change in the engine regulations would even be desirable because we assume that our structure works at Mercedes.

To avoid a transformation of performance, we would like to start again from scratch. But that would be expensive. We therefore call for the rules to be more or less maintained.

In two years’ time there will be only marginal differences in performance between the now competing engine manufacturers. Renault will close up this season. And Honda took a big leap.