Wolff’s season hits snag at paddock gates

Mar.18 (GMM) The start of Toto Wolff’s 2016 campaign hit a roadblock even before he entered the paddock gates in Melbourne.

Germany’s Auto Bild noticed that the Austrian only gained entry in Albert Park with a race-by-race FOM pass — not the full-time credential befitting any other team boss.

The report said Wolff simply filed his application for the permanent pass too late, but a cynic might say it is Bernie Ecclestone’s revenge amid the latest political turmoil.

Wolff vetoed a supply of Mercedes engines for Red Bull, is standing against the most radical of rule changes for 2017, and according to the F1 supremo is wielding way too much power in F1 at present.

Ecclestone admitted to City A.M. and F1 business journalist Christian Sylt that a definite “problem is the control that Ferrari and Mercedes have”.

Indeed, many see 85-year-old Ecclestone’s entire reign as under threat, but former F1 team owner and paddock sage Eddie Jordan insisted: “No one should write Bernie off.

“He is an extremely clever guy who is up to every trick. But he was weakened by the Munich trial. And my impression is that he does not have the full backing of CVC.

“For me it was a shock that he did not manage to bring in the alternative engine, despite the initial support of the FIA.

“Mercedes and its political partners Ferrari were simply too powerful, and Bernie will fight with everything he has. Whether it will be enough is the most interesting question for me,” Jordan added.

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