JUNE 21, 2015
Wolff admits Mercedes domination not good for F1
Toto Wolff has admitted Mercedes' continuing dominance of formula one is not good for "the show".
As the silver team cruised to yet another peerless victory in Austria, the ever-dwindling global audience suggested it had been yet another boring race.
Red Bull, struggling with Renault power, had mischievously predicted long before the chequered flag - on the race-day cover of its paddock magazine 'The Red Bulletin' - that Lewis Hamilton would win the 2015, '16, '17, '18 and '19 titles.
"World exclusive: The future of formula one," the magazine cheekily declared.
So frustrated is Red Bull with the situation and the rules that it is clearly in talks with Ferrari about becoming a mere engine 'customer' in the future.
"I think they will find their way again," Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne told reporters on Sunday, "and if we can help them get there, we'd be more than glad to do it."
But like Renault, also badly struggling with the new and controversial 'power unit' era is Honda.
Now approaching half-time in 2015, the works collaboration with McLaren is looking disastrous, raising questions about how committed the Japanese carmaker's brand new president Takahiro Hachigo might be to the long haul.
Hachigo was trackside on Sunday, but it was left to his F1 deputy Yasuhisa Arai to insist Honda is staying the course.
"They believe, the chief executive and the board members, they think we need time to win and it is a long-term vision," he told reporters in Austria.
As for the overal spectacle in formula one, however, currently it is only Mercedes and Ferrari with a grip on the rules, and the silver team still easily out in front.
The paddock is full of rumours about the need to change, for instance to at least throw away the 'token' system and give Renault and Honda a fighting chance.
And Wolff has now admitted that Mercedes constantly cruising to easy wins is not good for the show.
"In terms of the spectacle, a team winning over a long period is definitely detrimental," he told F1 business journalist Christian Sylt.
"We have seen that with the six years at Ferrari in the early 2000s," Wolff is quoted by City A.M. "We have seen that with Red Bull four years in a row. So it is the second year for us. It doesn't help the show, that's clear."
And at the same time, the Mercedes chief hinted F1 cannot simply ignore Red Bull mogul Dietrich Mateschitz's threat to pull his two teams out of the sport.
"You do have to see the bigger picture of formula one," said Wolff.
"We do not say 'We are winning and nothing else in our sport matters'. Is it good that one team wins regularly and slightly predictably? No, probably not.
"We all have to get together and decide how we want to improve the situation," he added.