Toto Wolff warns against knee-jerk reaction to Red Bull’s dominance

Michelle Foster
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff on the pit wall. Bahrain February 2023.

Toto Wolff looks out into the pit lane from the Mercedes pit wall during testing. Bahrain February 2023.

As Red Bull bagged the double win in Baku, Toto Wolff says F1 must avoid a knee-jerk reaction of declaring that sprint weekends “need to change completely”.

Formula 1 introduced a standalone sprint day at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend, swapping out Saturday’s FP2 for a sprint shootout that set the grid for the sprint race.

But while Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc clinched pole position for that, the Monégasque driver had no answer for Sergio Perez’s pace in the sprint event with Red Bull taking their first win of the weekend.

Perez followed that up with a second on Sunday where, although Leclerc was yet again on pole position, the Red Bulls were in a league of their own in race trim.

Perez clinched the win with Max Verstappen second while Leclerc was over 20 seconds down on the race winner.

As for Mercedes, Lewis Hamilton wasn’t able to pass Carlos Sainz despite being within DRS range for several laps, while George Russell grabbed a consolation prize with a fastest lap point. They were sixth and eighth respectively. recommends

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Formula 1’s next sprint weekend is scheduled for Austria in June with Wolff urging the sport not to have a knee-jerk reaction to Red Bull’s runaway victories in Baku.

“I think after a race weekend like this, we mustn’t talk it down overall and say, ‘that is the wrong direction and we need to change completely’,” he said as as per

“It is more about understanding why it wasn’t entertaining and revisit it, and you have two cars that are sailing off into the sunset on merit, then there’s a 22-second gap.

“I wouldn’t know today between Aston Martin, Ferrari and us who is quicker, because you’re stuck where you’re stuck, and then that’s pretty much it.

“Between Leclerc, Alonso, the Aston Martins, the Ferraris, and the Mercedes, they were probably all the same in free air.

“It doesn’t change the overall thing, that there are the two Red Bulls, then it’s three teams, and then the rest follows.”

Asked whether the FIA had made it more difficult by shortening the DRS zones by 100m, the Mercedes motorsport boss replied: “I’m not sure that 100m more DRS would have made a difference.”