Toto Wolff, CEO and Team Principal of Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One team, has congratulated the Formula 1 community for their hard work over the past couple of months. The championship was able to squeeze in nine races in eleven weekend and Wolff has nothing but gratitude for those that made everything happen.
“After nine races in eleven weekends, and having reached half distance in the championship, Formula 1 had a well-deserved weekend off. F1, the FIA and the local promoters did an impressive job in setting up a calendar in these difficult circumstances and making sure our series could safely return to the race track,” said Wolff.
“However, the condensed schedule also meant a relentless three months for many people working in our sport. Those women and men – from all teams and in all kinds of positions – deserve our gratitude for making sure that we could do what we love most: go racing.”
The Russian Grand Prix is the first time this year a race will be on its own with no race either weekend aside of it. Mercedes has had all the success at Sochi Autodrom, winning every race there. However, Wolff believes that their recent strong qualifying pace could be a hindrance at this track.
“We’re now heading to Russia, the first stand-alone event of the season. Sochi has been a good circuit for us in the past and we hold a strong track record there.
“The Autodrom has a fairly unusual layout and it’s one feature in particular that makes it special: the long run from pole to the first braking zone. It means that the pole-sitter isn’t necessarily in the strongest position for the race start as the cars behind him benefit from the tow.
“You could see it last year when Vettel overtook Leclerc on the run down to Turn 2 and in 2017, when Valtteri beat pole-sitter Vettel from P3. Our qualifying pace has been really strong this year, but this strength could easily turn into a vulnerability on race day in Sochi.”
Netflix will be following Mercedes this weekend for the Formula 1 tv show, Drive to Survive, and Wolff hopes it’s a more successful race than the one they were at last year.
“The Russian Grand Prix will also be the race where Netflix will follow our team for the third season of Drive to Survive. Last year, they shadowed us at Hockenheim where we celebrated our home race and 125 years of motorsport – and had our worst race of the season.
“That made for a very entertaining Netflix episode, but we hope that this time we can have great content and a great race.”