Mercedes boss Toto Wolff on what could 'ruin this sport': “This is a meritocracy”

F1 Grand Prix of Monaco - Practice
Toto Wolff looks on in the Paddock during practice ahead of the 2023 Monaco GP. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff praised rivals Red Bull and believes there shouldn’t be regulations introduced to balance the performance of the field. The Austrian feels that the meritocracy of the sport lies in producing a good car and winning. He thinks any artificial tweaks to the regulations would ruin that.

Speaking to the on-site media in Monaco, the Mercedes boss said:

“If we start putting in a balance of performance, we will ruin this sport. This is a meritocracy, best driver in the best car, spending the same amount of money, win the championship and if you break the rules in either, you should be heavily penalised but only then, but not for doing a good job. When you win in Formula 1, it is a meritocracy and they have just done a good job. The car is fast in all conditions, the driver is at the top of his game, even today [in Monaco] going off at times but not DNF-ing [retiring] is a skill. You can see that he pushed, so all credit to them.”

He added:

“We just need to do a better job, we need to catch up, find intelligent solutions. Hope that our learning slope, development slope is steeper than theirs and eventually fight for this again. It's sport, whether it is good for the show or not? Obviously, a strong fight between 10 drivers or at least two is much better for all of us, but it is not happening. That is why you have to just accept that and work to get back there.”

Wolff praised Max Verstappen for losing grip and yet retaining car control during the Monaco GP to claim a win. The Mercedes boss is not a fan of tweaking the regulations further to level the playing field.

He feels it will ruin the meritocracy of the sport and a job well done needs to be praised. He hailed rivals Red Bull for producing a good car and package and felt the Dutchman was at the top of his game. Wolff also thinks that teams, including themselves, need to find more innovative solutions to take the fight to Red Bull.

Mercedes boss pleased with the ‘solid’ points result and upgrades in Monaco

Toto Wolff believes the fourth and fifth place finish for Lewis Hamilton and George Russell respectively was a solid result for the team. The Mercedes chief felt their strategy, drivers, and team collaboration worked seamlessly in the Monaco GP.

He believes their upgrades on the W14 have worked to a certain extent, despite Monaco not being the best track to evaluate them on.

Speaking in a press release after the race, the Mercedes chief said:

“This was a solid result and good points for the team after a race where it would have been easy to make mistakes or move backwards through the field. The strategists called it exactly right today in terms of switching to the intermediate tyres, and that's what jumped us ahead of Ferrari to get P4 and P5."

Wolff expressed his satisfaction with the overall performance of his team in Monaco. However, he feels the next race, in Spain, will give a better idea of how the team is doing:

"But this was an afternoon where the team worked well, and our drivers showed their quality, too, and that shows in the points scored. We brought a big package to this race, and it has performed well. We have seen some positives in Monaco, which we know is not a representative circuit, and it will be next week in Barcelona when we get a more precise idea of competitiveness. We don't want to get ahead [of] ourselves, and I think we're all looking forward to learning more about the car, and to seeing if we've made a step in performance against our immediate competitors.”

George Russell claimed that the team will be bringing more upgrades in Spain, whereas Lewis Hamilton was satisfied with the feeling of the car.

The field was fairly bunched up at the Monaco GP and Red Bull and Aston Martin were closer to each other than their competitors. However, the conventional characteristics of the Barcelona circuit will be a better indicator of the pecking order for the rest of the season.

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Edited by Akshay Saraswat
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