Wolff expects F1 to avoid ‘artificial things’

Date published: October 3 2020

Toto Wolff

Toto Wolff believes Formula 1’s incoming CEO Stefano Domenicali will avoid bringing in “artificial” innovations to the sport because he is a “purist”.

Domenicali, who was Ferrari’s team principal from 2008-14, will take over from Chase Carey in January as both president and CEO of F1.

Mercedes boss Wolff is in favour of the appointment, stating that Domenicali’s knowledge of the sport will be a positive going forward.

And the Austrian expects the 55-year-old Italian to resist the temptation to implement any quirky methods of increasing competition, such as reverse-grid qualifying races.

Formula 1’s motorsport managing director Ross Brawn is in favour of trialling that concept, but Wolff has previously objected to it and does not anticipate Domenicali doing anything that will harm the spectacle.

Stefano Domenicali

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Regarding Domenicali’s appointment, Wolff said, quoted by Motorsport Week: “[It’s] a great move from Liberty [Media]. I think Stefano is, foremost, a man with a great personality, integrity and knowledge of the sport.

“He’s been a sporting director, a team principal, has gone through difficult and successful times, has been involved in the Audi Formula 1 project for a while and in the end was the guy that led Lamborghini to tremendous performances.

“I think because he knows the sport inside out, sport comes first. He will stay away from artificial things, in my opinion.

“He’s a purist, but equally understands that you need to keep the spectators and audiences interested. So I think that balance is really complicated to have right. I think he will get that right.”

Wolff also confirmed he had preliminary discussions about taking on the role himself but realised he was content with his hands-on role at Mercedes, adding that Ferrari would not have accepted his appointment.

“Everyone knows there were some initial discussions with Greg [Maffei, Liberty Media president], it never went anywhere,” said Wolff.

“We get on well, I respect Greg a lot for what he has achieved. [But] I found out I love the stopwatch so much, the competition and the racing, that where I am today, co-owner of the team with Mercedes, I have to pinch myself every single day.

“And in the end, it wouldn’t have gone anywhere anyway because Ferrari wouldn’t have accepted that.”

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