January 20, 2021

Mercedes boss Wolff hits out at rival teams

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Wolff on the offensive on day of high off-track drama at Silverstone

By James Galloway

Last Updated: 07/08/20 7:35pm

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Toto Wolff had some strong comments for some of Mercedes’ rivals amid a day of high off-track political drama at Silverstone.

Toto Wolff had some strong comments for some of Mercedes’ rivals amid a day of high off-track political drama at Silverstone.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has criticised what he has claimed is a “little revolution” of teams against Racing Point, while he has also accused some rivals of adopting different public and private positions on the state of Concorde Agreement discussions.

Friday proved to be a day of high political drama off the track at Silverstone, which started when Racing Point were found to have contravened sporting regulations over the design process of their rear brake ducts and docked 15 points in the Constructors’ Championship.

In the team principals press conference, the topic of discussion turned to an even longer-running off-track topic – the new Concorde Agreement outlining F1’s new commerical terms from 2021.

And Wolff revealed that Mercedes “don’t feel ready” to sign the new agreement yet and that “we weren’t treated in the way we should have been” during discussions.

“We are happy with a more equitable split of the prize fund, the way success is rewarded and possible for everybody, we agreed to,” said Wolff. “We are I would say the biggest victim in terms of prize fund loss in all of that. Ferrari has maintained an advantageous position. For Red Bull it balances out with Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri). So it’s us that are hurt the most.”

Asked about his comments in a later interview with Sky Sports F1, Wolff said: “Most of the teams, if not 90 per cent, are of the opinion that it needs cleaning up.

“That there are clauses that are critical that need to be discussed around governance and certain commercial aspects. But we are not really able to engage.

“Some of these guys when they come on camera they are up the a*** of the commercial rights holder and then when we have them in the meeting they are revved up and they are the loudest.”

Wolff added: “We love this sport. We have core objectives that we share with Liberty and the FIA. We all want to stay in this for the best of the sport and it’s just about [having] to discuss.”

F1 has set a deadline of August 12 for Concorde discussions and said in a statement: “Formula 1 has engaged with all teams in a collaborative and constructive way and listened to all their views. This agreement is important for the future of the sport and all our fans. We are moving forward with this and will not be delayed any longer.”

Wolff: Racing Point rivals forming ‘little revolution’

Meanwhile, Wolff also had his say on the ongoing fallout from the Racing Point controversy after Renault’s protests against their car were upheld.

The complex case, which centres on the change in status of brake ducts from being ‘non-listed’ to ‘listed’ parts that teams must have designed themselves for 2020, dominated discussion in the paddock and Friday’s stewards’ ruling appears unlikely to end the matter.

“Obviously I know the case inside out,” said the Mercedes team principal. “We were surprised in a way because there is a strong belief from everybody who is involved, all the lawyers that were part of this, that everything was perfectly within the regulations.

“The tricky bit is that in 2019 those parts were non-listed parts and they became listed parts. The non-listed parts were supplied in 2019. Full stop, that is what the regulation says.

“I think the FIA wanted to come up with a solution that kind of lets everybody live. Now Racing Point is pretty upset, they believe they have a strong case and they have lawyers ready to go and appeal.

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F1’s Team Principals – including Toto Wolff, Cyril Abiteboul and Claire Williams – react to the news Racing Point have been docked 15 points during the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.

F1’s Team Principals – including Toto Wolff, Cyril Abiteboul and Claire Williams – react to the news Racing Point have been docked 15 points during the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.

“And, on the other side, I see there is a group forming, a little revolution in every sense, and they are trying to go after Racing Point because I guess they are upset they haven’t got the performance of Racing Point.”

Wolff reiterated that Mercedes had not broken any regulations.

“What benefit should Mercedes have by stepping even one inch over the line and suppling them any parts that are listed? We wouldn’t do that,” he said.

“It’s some things that people make up in their minds because they are supposedly angry with themselves.”

Racing Point’s sanction has left a number of teams unhappy – including Renault, who have said they will consider they will appeal the penalty.

Red Bull’s Christian Horner, meanwhile, said further clarity was needed on the wider matter of teams copying rival cars.

“We need to analyse the implications because it’s a much bigger picture than just a brake duct,” the team principal stated to Sky F1. “It’s about can you copy and recreate a car? And of course, if you can, then that opens up the path. Why wouldn’t we do that with AlphaTauri going into next year?

“So it’s a much bigger question and we need to understand very clearly whether it’s allowed or not allowed.

“We have got the ruling now, it needs several lawyers to understand it, and I’ll get that summary. We are obviously following it with a lot of interest. It’s a fundamental question for Formula 1 – which way do we want to go?”