"F1 cannot be scripted," warns Wolff


Toto Wolff has warned that the sport must not follow a script, that it cannot become WWE to suit the powers that be.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of Abu Dhabi 2021 - and make no mistake, the repercussions of that night are still being felt - Pitpass has always been of the opinion that the fateful decisions made by Michael Masi were the result of a 'script' that had been handed to him by those higher up the food chain.

Since the day it acquired the keys to the sport Liberty has made no secret of its desire to turn F1 into entertainment, thereby boosting its following not only in terms of numbers but demographics.

The pandemic and Drive to Survive went a long way to helping the American media giant achieve that aim.

Since then numerous changes have been made in order to 'spice up' the show, and while, for the most part, they have helped to attract new fans, long-time followers of F1 have become somewhat disillusioned.

Of course, one of the biggest threats to F1, as with any sport, is when the result is known in advance, usually because one particular competitor or team is dominating.

Abu Dhabi went a long way to breaking Mercedes domination, in many ways having broken the spirit of the German team, and certainly its fans, but now Red Bull rules the roost and Liberty won't be happy.

Though there is the occasional mention of 'meritocracy', there are fears that Liberty, via the FIA, will at some point seek to handicap the Austrian team, most likely by means of a rule change, thereby ending its domination and thereby (groan) levelling the playing field.

Despite rivals' praise of Red Bull, there is no disguising the true feelings of some within the sport, especially when team bosses suggest that the championship would be more exciting (and equal) without Max Verstappen - a comment that we at Pitpass found particularly distasteful given how the 1970 world championship concluded... and at Monza.

For as long as anyone can remember, Mercedes, courtesy of its team boss and drivers, has warned of the impact Red Bull's advantage might have on the sport and fan-base, but now Toto Wolff is warning against the powers that be stepping in and seeking to handicap the Austrian team.

"As a team principal, I don't want to jump on a bandwagon that others have done in the past of saying we need to change the regulations because we can't continue with the dominance of a team'," the Austrian told reporters at Monza.

"If a team dominates in the way Max has done with Red Bull, then fair do's," he added. "This is a meritocracy.

"As long as you comply to the regulations, technical, sporting and financial, you just need to say 'well done'. It is up to us to catch up, and if that takes a long time, then it takes a long time.

"I remember people crying foul when it was us. Entertainment follows sport and not the other way around. We cannot be WWE, scripted content. We don't want to be scripted content."

Of course, Abu Dhabi aside, for 2021 the powers that be changed the rules relating to the cars' floors, a move which aided Red Bull whilst compromising Mercedes.

"We probably lost the 2021 drivers' championships for many reasons," said Wolff. "One was the final race. We also lost it because those regulations were set in place in order to reduce the advantage that we had.

"2020 was a super dominant year for us, I think it was the best car we ever had. Towards the end of the season, they changed the regulations by cutting the floor out, and that was to stop us. You could see the results in 2021; we were not as competitive as Red Bull was, but in Silverstone we unlocked more potential of the car and got us back in the championship.

"Back in the day, these regs were clearly targeted to re-establish the pecking order."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Monza here.

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Published: 03/09/2023
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