Toto Wolff: F1 can 'have an impact' on social issues of Middle East nations

F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi - Final Practice
Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff walks in the paddock prior to final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 19, 2022, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Toto Wolff claims F1 can have a positive social impact by racing in the Middle East. The Austrian exec believes traveling to Middle Eastern countries will put a public spotlight on the various issues that run amock in such countries.

The Austrian said in Abu Dhabi:

“I’m still of the belief that when you have such a big sporting event in a country, it puts the spotlight on that country. I think that can trigger change, because things can’t be hidden any more. And that’s the kind of positive that I think a sport can do. Things are being addressed. Is it like we want it to be? No. Is it the kind of cultural standards that we have in Europe? Maybe not. Where we go, and the people I speak to, I see process and I see change. That’s maybe because we are Formula 1, where we go may be different, but I see that we have an impact."

F1 has come under considerable scrutiny from groups around the world who believe that racing in the Middle East is like turning a blind eye to all of the issues that these countries tend to have. Countries like Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and UAE are notorious for their poor human rights records and treatment of the LGBTQ+ community. Qatar specifically is currently under fire from western media as it is the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff believes F1 could incite positive change in these countries by putting them in front of the public eye - effectively bringing their various issues to light.

Toto Wolff is certain Mercedes will make a comeback to their F1 title-winning ways in 2023

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff is certain his team will recover from their disappointing campaign in 2022. The Austrian exec is sure the Silver Arrows will not repeat the mistakes of the dominant teams before them.

Expressing confidence in his team bouncing back in 2023, Wolff revealed that Mercedes is spending a good amount of time understanding why dominant teams fall from the top steps of F1. He told the media:

"We are analysing the seasons in the past for why teams that dominated over an era suddenly lost performance. You can trace it back pretty well; a change in the regulation, people leaving, a tyre that fundamentally changed. For us, the regulation changed - we got it wrong. But all the other pillars are still in place. I'm 100% sure that this was a difficult year that was necessary for us to re-energise the organisation."

The team was unable to grasp the newly introduced aero regulations, leading to a severe fall from grace. Mercedes' 2022 challenger, the W13, was riddled with porpoising in the first half of the season. As a result, the team was unable to catch up to Red Bull and Ferrari, who dominated the rest of the field.

Only time will tell whether the most successful team of the turbo-hybrid era will be able to make it back to the top steps of F1 in 2023.

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Edited by Anurag C