Wolff: Critics should tone it down after Austria

Jamie Woodhouse
Toto Wolff believes critics of Formula 1 should remember Austria before complaining again.

Toto Wolff believes critics of Formula 1 should remember Austria before complaining again.

Mercedes principal Toto Wolff hopes the Austrian Grand Prix will make critics think twice before calling Formula 1 boring in the future.

A drab race the week prior in France had caused widespread criticism of Formula 1 and its lack of entertainment value, but the Austrian GP made up for it and then some with thrilling racing action and surprise winner in Max Verstappen.

Wolff believed people were “doing a Ratner” over the uninspiring races, referencing British businessman Gerald Ratner who criticised his own jewellery products in a speech in 1991, causing serious damage to the company’s reputation.

“I think all the ones that used the polemic and the hardest words in their rhetoric should remember [this race] the next time they start to complain,” Wolff told Motorsport.com.

“We shouldn’t be doing a Ratner and talking our sport down when we have a next race where the sport is more than alive, but is spectacular, with a full crowd, with controversy on track, and some fantastic racing.”

For Mercedes it wasn’t a good weekend as their run of wins in 2019 came to an end, but Wolff insisted it was a positive one for Formula 1 and praised Pirelli for not giving in to pressure from the likes of Ferrari and Red Bull to reintroduce the 2018 tyre compounds.

“I feel it’s a very good day for F1. Some fantastic racing, and I want to really say bravo to Pirelli, that have stood strong to the opinion that withstands manipulation and delivered us a product that we were able to push until the very end,” he explained.

“Last year we had some blistering issues, this year the tyre was great, and it is a little bit humorous that the ones that complained the most are the ones that pushed the tyre all the way to the end.”

Wolff expects the upcoming British GP at Silverstone to play to Mercedes’ strengths more so than Austria, but he doesn’t believe they will enjoy the advantage over the field that they did at Paul Ricard.

“I really much enjoyed the hard racing and I think people have criticised that there’s not enough hard racing, and that Mercedes were too far ahead.

“I think [in Austria] we’ve seen a different scenario, and whether they’ve closed the gap, let’s look at the next three races, totally different circuit layouts, totally different weather, and I hope we can come back to our strengths.

“I think that the power deployment isn’t as much of a differentiator through the fast corners. So I think Silverstone should be much more to our liking, maybe not as good as Paul Ricard, but much better than Austria.”

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