Mar.3 (GMM) F1 as a ruthless ‘shark tank’ is alive and well, according to Toto Wolff.
The Mercedes chief, however, undoubtedly plays the role of one of the sharks, particularly when it comes to the FIA’s recent McKinsey report that showed costs for the struggling smallest teams could be effectively halved.
Wolff told Germany’s Sky that F1 must remain at the very highest level.
“Formula one is not only for the fastest drivers, but also the best engineers,” he said. “You are entitled to seek the highest possible technical advantage.”
Indeed, since the turbo V6 era dawned last year, the German marque has utterly dominated in that sphere.
So it is no surprise that Mercedes is a strong proponent of the status quo, while other major teams are arguing equally strongly for radical change.
“It’s always like that,” Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg told Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“If you’re ahead, your rivals try to slow you down. It happened when Red Bull dominated; when Ferrari dominated. There are these struggles even at the political level,” he admitted.
Wolff, however, insists Mercedes is not just arguing for the status quo – also when it comes to the issue of cost-cutting – for purely selfish reasons.
“The cars are a lot more efficient than two years ago,” he marvelled, “but almost as fast.
“It’s all about innovation, technological revolution and the transfer to road cars, and for that you need a (high) budget,” said Wolff.
But he insisted there are limits to his appetite as a F1 ‘shark’, for instance when some teams appeared quite happy to see Marussia’s bid to return as Manor this year fail.
“We are in favour of Marussia staying,” said Wolff. “But F1 is a shark tank even in the fight against the small teams. If one disappears, more is left for the others.
“This is unpleasant,” he admitted. “We are talking about a team of real people feeding their families with their income. We need secure jobs, and everything else is secondary.”