Wolff: F1 cannot ‘freestyle’ format changes with ‘confused’ ideas

Toto Wolff believes Formula 1 has too much responsibility to “freestyle” changes to the regulations amid continued discussions about sprint races and the format of grand prix weekends.

Wolff: F1 cannot ‘freestyle’ format changes with ‘confused’ ideas

F1 staged its second sprint race last Saturday at Monza, with the 100km event to set the grid for Sunday’s grand prix offering little on-track action or overtaking.

It came after F1 managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn revealed consideration was being given to changing the sprint race format for next season, while Ferrari expressed its support for a possible introduction of reversed grid events. 

Mercedes F1 boss Wolff made clear the team was unmoved in its opposition to reverse grids, and remained lukewarm about the success of sprint races, saying the current format “doesn't give a lot of benefit” to teams. 

Brazil looks set to host the third and final F1 sprint event of the 2021 season in November ahead of a possible expansion to more events next year.

Wolff said that F1 had to remember the responsibility it has to fans to remain a meritocracy, and warned against making dramatic changes to the regulations just to spice up the on-track spectacle.

“We've resisted experiments in the past because they were too controversial and mainly also against what the sport stands for, and that's real racing,” Wolff said.

“We’ve got great personalities now, it's broadcast in the right way, and people know that it's a meritocracy: the best man and best machine wins. You can see, this year, there's just more cars that are really competitive and a really good fight at the top.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, and Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, and Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL35M

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

“So, whatever conclusion we take, altogether, the teams, the FIA, FOM and the F1 Commission, whether we discontinue or continue, we need to do it with a fine tooth comb.

PLUS: How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

“I don't think this is the regulations we should try [to hit] with a baseball bat. We have too much responsibility for our sport to just freestyle with the regulatory changes.

“If Brazil proves to be an exciting race, then maybe there will be appetite to continue.

“But some of the suggestions that have come up are just confused.”

Asked what F1 should do if sprint races were to be scrapped and any reverse grid format was ruled against, Wolff suggested running a traditional weekend format with one fewer practice session than usual.

“Start Friday afternoon with FP1, do a Saturday morning FP2, do a conventional qualifying like we do, and a fantastic grand prix on Sunday,” Wolff said.

“Maybe you want to do some warm-up Sunday morning, to add a little bit more spectacle for the people.

“In any case, I would just shorten the free practice sessions so there's more variability in the results, but keep the rest like it is.”

shares
comments

Related video

Williams race pace biggest confirmation of F1 progress, says Capito
Previous article

Williams race pace biggest confirmation of F1 progress, says Capito

Next article

Sainz "happy" for McLaren's Monza F1 win despite points blow

Sainz "happy" for McLaren's Monza F1 win despite points blow
Load comments
How Ferrari gained a new edge over McLaren in the best-of-the-rest F1 2021 battle Plus

How Ferrari gained a new edge over McLaren in the best-of-the-rest F1 2021 battle

Supremacy in the McLaren vs Ferrari fight over third place in the constructors’ championship has ebbed and flowed between the two teams so far in the 2021 Formula 1 season. But for several key reasons, right now it seems the advantage has swung decisively back to the Scuderia and McLaren knows it.

The 70s US superteam that tried and failed to crack F1 Plus

The 70s US superteam that tried and failed to crack F1

Vel’s Parnelli Jones Racing was briefly one of the biggest names on the US motorsports scene, but its ambition outstripped its resources. STUART CODLING relates the story of a Formula 1 campaign cut off in its prime

Formula 1
Oct 26, 2021
The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory Plus

The key details that boosted Red Bull and held back Hamilton in Verstappen’s USA victory

As the 2021 Formula 1 title battle winds towards its climax, the United States GP added another thrilling act in the Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen battle. Although Hamilton aced the start, Verstappen and Red Bull took the initiative with strategy and were richly rewarded, despite Mercedes' best efforts as the race went down to the wire

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
US Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

US Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a baking hot afternoon at the returning Circuit of the Americas, Formula 1 drivers were tested to their limits. As the pressure on the title contending squads reaches an ever-greater level of intensity, the foremost challengers again showed their class, but were outshone by a standout drive from the upper midfield

Formula 1
Oct 25, 2021
Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement Plus

Why F1's misunderstood party animal will thrive in retirement

Three years on from Kimi Raikkonen's last Grand Prix victory at Austin, he is now six races away from ending the longest Formula 1 career in history. His friend and former Ice1 Racing rally team PR man ANTHONY PEACOCK explains why there’s nobody quite like the 2007 world champion and why F1 will miss him (but he won’t miss it)

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Plus

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material Plus

Verstappen exclusive: How Red Bull’s ace has become F1 champion material

As Red Bull and Honda go all-out for victory in the Japanese engine manufacturer’s last season of its latest Formula 1 dalliance, Max Verstappen finds himself thrust into a compelling title fight with Lewis Hamilton. He told OLEG KARPOV about his evolution into a world championship contender and why Red Bull's no compromise ethos suits him down to the ground

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021
How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull Plus

How Mercedes went from Austin practice domination to "very tight at the front" with Red Bull

Mercedes has been on a roll of late in the ultra-tight fight to win the 2021 Formula 1 world championship. It started off well in practice at Austin for this weekend’s US Grand Prix, but Red Bull got closer as Friday unfolded and even seemed to find an edge in one critical area of what seems set to be another close contest

Formula 1
Oct 23, 2021