JUNE 24, 2019
Circuit to blame for boring French GP
At the chequered flag at Paul Ricard, many in F1 observed that the extremely boring race was indicative of the sport's core problems.
But Toto Wolff, boss of the dominant Mercedes team, thinks the Paul Ricard circuit is also to blame.
Currently, the teams are debating with Liberty Media and the FIA about the direction for the 2021 rules.
"The teams have a big responsibility," Wolff agrees. "But at the same time, the entertainment level of the races largely depends on the features of a particular track.
"Everyone remembers a great race in Montreal. But here we are in a great place in the south of France, with a facility that has all the necessary components.
"Maybe it is worthwhile to remove the chicane in the middle of the straight? I think that would definitely help."
Wolff said it's "unfair" to blame either Mercedes or Lewis Hamilton for the situation.
"I take the understandable complaints of the fans seriously," he said. "But what else would anyone do in our position?"
Wolff rejects the notion that Mercedes should agree to changing the design of the problematic Pirelli tyres for the sake of the show.
"My approach as a sportsman is that Formula 1 should not change the rules just because some are doing better than others," he said.
Anyway, Wolff thinks Mercedes could be in for a tougher fight in Austria next weekend.
"Engine power and cooling is very important there, so I think it will be harder for us against Ferrari," he said.
However, although he was competitive in Canada before the time penalty controversy, Sebastian Vettel sounded despondent after a bad weekend in France.
"If our goal was to reduce the gap to Mercedes, then we missed that target. In that sense we have to be honest -- we have failed.
"I think Lewis had another easy race and unfortunately our car is not yet strong enough to compete with them."
Finally, Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto said he supports Vettel amid intensifying speculation about his future.
"Sebastian is a very experienced rider and knows that Ferrari supports him," he said.