Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Wolff supports idea of “reset” to Formula 1 rules on team alliances

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says he supports the idea of a “reset” to Formula 1 rules regarding team alliances, in the wake of ongoing debate over the relationship between Red Bull and RB.

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

McLaren boss Zak Brown has been vocal in his desire to see F1 revise the rules surrounding customer car parts and team alliances from 2026, amid unease he has about the relationship between Red Bull and RB.

Brown believes F1’s current regulations are “not fit for purpose” as they offer too much of an advantage for teams that are able to work together, and he wants a complete overhaul of things from 2026.

Wolff, whose own Mercedes team supplies customer engines, gearboxes and suspension to Aston Martin and Williams, thinks that the time has come for a rethink about what is best for grand prix racing as a whole.

He believes what is critical is finding a path that suits the smaller teams that are in need of external help, as well as the full independents and the manufacturer squads.

“We need to have all of the 10 teams happy with the situation, so we are not excluding the small ones that need such cooperation,” said Wolff at the Bahrain GP.

“[Plus] the ones that by sheer shareholding are sister companies, and that's fine, and to the big ones that have no relationships, like McLaren, and us, which has a relationship with many. So just 2026 is the point where we can reset that.”

Wolff said that ending customer relationships between teams would be bad news financially to an outfit like his that sells components, but he reckoned that having more robust rules would be better overall than worrying about profits for Mercedes.

Daniel Ricciardo, RB F1 Team VCARB 01 and Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB20

Daniel Ricciardo, RB F1 Team VCARB 01 and Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB20

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images

“I'm talking about our own business here because we are earning good money in supplying parts,” he said. “We are selling suspensions to Aston Martin and to Williams, and gearboxes and aerodynamic services in terms of the wind tunnel to Aston Martin. And that is quite a profit contributor.

“But I'd rather not have any of that and have all of us being a constructor because then we can stop all of these discussions.”

Wolff also reckoned that stopping alliances, and especially common ownership in F1, would also get rid of scenarios where certain teams can form voting blocs to stop rule changes.

“Like Zak [has] brought up, if one guy takes all the decisions, or a small group of people for two teams, what does it mean for our good governance in the sport?” he said.

“You have two votes in a 10-group F1 commission. You already have 20% of the votes. And none of us has that.

“I know there's the argument always, ‘yeah, well, Williams is going to vote like you’. But look at the stats, that's not the case and certainly not the case for everything that's chassis-related.

“I haven't seen any different voting on chassis-related topics or any other voting between AlphaTauri and Red Bull. Because it's one person that probably decides what the vote is.”

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes-AMG

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Wolff acknowledges that Red Bull’s contribution to F1 should not be ignored, but equally, there was an importance in having a situation that all the current competitors were happy with.

“I think there is a legacy situation with Red Bull that the sport owes them a lot,” he said. “They have two teams, they finance them, they have a great junior program, a track and lots of brand value. They are not like any other smaller team.

"So I think on the shareholder level, it's quite a difficult discussion based on that contribution. But on the other side, we are a constructors’ sport and I believe same shareholding, same location, share of facilities, it's clear that some ambiguity is always going to be left with competitors.

"I think what we need to look at is the regulations. Are the regulations robust enough? Are they policed well enough for us to feel in a safe place? Are we seeing some potential loopholes? And what is it we need for 2026? And I think that is the main question."

He added: "Define regulations that leave everyone comfortable with the situation. From the small teams that use such collaboration, like Haas, because it's going to be very difficult for them to stand on their own feet, to the teams that have no relationships with any other, or no customer-client relationship, to the big teams all the way on the other end that have joint shareholding and same locations.

"I believe that is the thing we need to be tackling: that everybody is fine with the situation."

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Domenicali hints at European F1 race rotation from 2026
Next article Engine mode hid Red Bull's real pace in Bahrain F1 practice

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe