Wolff open to letting rivals ‘catch up’

Toto Wolff

(GMM) Even dominant Mercedes might be willing to facilitate change amid F1's so-called 'crisis'.

Many believe the biggest problem is that while the German marque has utterly mastered the new 'power unit' era, the cost-limiting development 'freeze' will prevent struggling Renault and Honda from ever catching up.

Bernie Ecclestone has reportedly proposed that, to fix the problem, an upper 'horse power cap' could now be set.

And Mercedes – although with the most to lose – may be willing to play along.

"Normally, the goal is to drive your competition into the ground," boss Toto Wolff is quoted by Speed Week.

"That's what we are paid for. It is part of the DNA of sport, and to my knowledge it is never happened before that the best in the field is asked to stop developing so that the others can catch up.

"But you cannot just ignore problems," Wolff added, "so we need to find ways to help them catch up but without interfering with this DNA of sport.

"At the last meeting we said that if Honda and Renault need help, then we need to talk about it. Maybe we need to change the development system of 'tokens'. Maybe we need to make some 'black boxes' back to 'white boxes' and allow development there.

"In our view this is not really desirable," Wolff added, "but we understand that if this is important for the sport, then we are ready to talk about it."

Interestingly, Wolff also sounds open-minded on the issue of a budget cap, along the lines of the proposals made by the increasingly high-profile Max Mosley.

"I think Max's idea is interesting," he admitted to F1 business journalists Christian Sylt and Katy Fairman.

"If you want to follow budget caps and (if) you are prepared to follow a budget cap you could have a bit more freedom in the development. It is an interesting idea," Wolff is quoted by Forbes.

What the Austrian is less keen on, however, is the idea of spicing up formula one by adding another race to the weekend program, perhaps contested by junior drivers at the wheel of third cars on a Saturday.

And his comments follow feedback in the global fan surveys, which indicated that 'gimmicks' should be avoided.

"You do not make the goals bigger in football after a goal-less draw," Wolff is quoted by Speed Week.

"What you do need is to have an open mind about how to improve, but my personal opinion is that the grand prix must remain the highlight."

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