Toto Wolff on why a ‘Stanley knife’ not ‘baseball bat’ is needed for F1 format

Sam Cooper
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Yas Marina, November 2022.

Mercedes' Toto Wolff at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Yas Marina, November 2022.

Toto Wolff has provided his thoughts on how Formula 1 should evolve following recent talks of weekend structure changes.

Ahead of the next race in Baku, plans are being drawn up for a revised schedule which would see two rounds of qualifying to determine the grid for the sprint race as well as Sunday’s grand prix.

Although teams have agreed to the change and all that is left is official ratification of the schedule, the news did not receive universal support with figures such as Max Verstappen and Christian Horner voicing their displeasure, although the latter’s grievance was more at a tight street circuit such as Baku hosting a sprint race.

Verstappen though has often been the most vocal when it comes to criticism against any changes, going as far as to suggest he may leave the sport if his workload keeps being added to.

Wolff though is more open to change and while he prefers the traditional grand prix weekend format, he did say the sport needs to adapt.

The Mercedes CEO and team principal said the sport’s bosses should look at changes with a Stanley knife not a baseball bat.

“We just need to find a common denominator [of] what the best principle is,” Wolff said, as per

“I’m more on the conservative side, I like qualifying, I like the grand prix, the great prize.

“But we have to also be open minded about where the sport is going to go and some of the sprint races have been fantastic. recommends

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“So whatever Stefano decides is good, I think he will have all the data on the table what is good for the audiences, what is good for the brand and then we just want to maybe try and tweak things without using a baseball bat, but a Stanley knife… a more precise way to cut it.”

One other aspect Wolff said needed consideration was a change to the tyre and engine allocation if two qualifying sessions are introduced.

“I think two qualifying sessions per se is not something that’s bad,” the 51-year-old said.

“If we stick with the current format, I think we wouldn’t be able to do this with the engine mileage and I think Pirelli hasn’t got enough tyres. That’s something that needs to be solved.

“In qualifying, you have less opportunity to put the car in the wall. But with two races, which we always knew, there’s more at risk and you’re back-to-back with [the next race in] Miami so that can be a problem [with replacing damaged parts].”