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Toto Wolff tells Brawn to 'stop provoking' Ferrari

  • Published on 20 Dec 2017 11:15
  • comments 10
  • By: Rob Veenstra

Toto Wolff has warned Liberty Media to stop "provoking" Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne. In recent days, Marchionne doubled down on his threat to pull Ferrari out of the sport, accusing F1 sporting boss Ross Brawn of "behaving like Moses".

A major source of tension between Brawn and Marchionne is over the proposed 2021 engine rules, and Mercedes boss Wolff is siding with Ferrari. "We currently have a powertrain that is the most powerful and efficient racing engine ever," he told Welt am Sonntag newspaper. "With new engine regulations there are possibilities to optimise this. But to develop a new engine that does not meet the high tech aspects of electrification, efficiency and power - that is, some archaic engine - is not what we want."

So asked if Marchionne's quit threat makes him "afraid", Wolff answered: "I'm not afraid, but Marchionne is to be taken seriously. I'm relaxed, because Ferrari is formula one, and formula one is Ferrari," he added. "But if I were Liberty Media's new formula one promoter, I would not continue provoking Marchionne with unacceptable suggestions or demands or nonsensical changes."

Asked what he means, Wolff explained: "Bringing rules or show elements into the game and turning F1 into a cheap shopping channel. Formula one must remain in its basic structures what it was and what it is. We have to improve them and face the new media environment. But we need evolution, not naive revolution," he insisted.

Wolff said F1 is currently missing the guiding hand of its former supremo Bernie Ecclestone. "I wish that, three or four years ago, he would have known better and taken another role without losing it altogether," said the Mercedes team boss. "A role that helps to build a new era in formula one. That he did not do that - with his experience and his enthusiasm and as a racer and a businessman - is the only criticism I have of him." (GMM)

Replies (10)

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  • The problem here is that although the impressive engineering that Merc have done to get a 50% efficient engine is not going to make it to road cars in the next 10 years and so using F1 as a springboard for future technologies, whilst as an engineer is a great idea, as an F1 fan and car using commuter it is very hard to see the benefit. This is Brawns point; a simplified, cheaper, easier to be competitive, easier to buy and integrate engine will, to the public, be better not worse......

    I'd love to see a 50% efficient engine in a road car, but I'd love to see more than 3 laps of a GP where cars are racing each other too.

    Keep prodding him Brawn, you've got the support of the fans.

    • + 1
    • Dec 20 2017 - 14:06
    • 2GRX7

      Posts: 98

      ^^THIS^^! The lack of understanding of the economics of this sport truly amazes me! Manufacturers can sustain this type of growth because they can invest (Capital expenditures) in its growth and realize revenue gains- on the backs of the smaller teams!

      Let's look at the upcoming budget cap that the big 4 are, understandably, loathing. Ferrari had a thinly veiled quit threat with that change! This "M" guy is a pain in the @ss! Yes, there are employment laws in the EU that may hinder this from happening, but the positive of this cap allows for introduction of other teams to come in to the series, ultimately absorbing laid-off talent. PERFECT!

      I'd love to see one of those marketing research surveys, where they'd ask if Ferrari would be missed/I would not watch/doesn't matter - type of questions and see where the fans fall. Personally, could not care any less if they left!

      • + 0
      • Dec 20 2017 - 15:21
    • There needs to be something for manufacturers to be in F1. Take that away, its just another NASCAR, which is probably what Liberty aiming at.

      • + 0
      • Dec 20 2017 - 17:24
    • f1ski

      Posts: 621

      There is a lot of incentive for manufacturers in NASCAR hence its popularity and large sponsorship pool. Wolff wants to keep MB power unit advantage. If they want to keep the hybrid lets have everyone start with the MB power unit from 2017 and receive all the dyno
      and developmental data. Then allow teams do what ever from there

      • + 0
      • Dec 21 2017 - 12:37
  • Barron

    Posts: 625

    Ok why do there need to be “manufacturers”? I guess Ford were the first to see a marketing advantage by being associated with F1 which is why they gave Cosworth £40k to put their name on the cam covers of almost every DFV engine for over 2 decades. No company will ever see such a rich return in F1 ever again. As I see it, the “Manufacturers” are holding F1 to ransom. Nothing they propose is acceptable to the actual fans, so, I propose that the 2 main protagonists (the ones causing the rift you know who I mean) take a long hike from a short pier.. Don’t leave angry, just leave.

    • + 0
    • Dec 20 2017 - 18:33
    • Its like Gamestop and the game industry. Two entitys that are constantly trying to kill one another, yet they are dependant on the other to stay alive.

      • + 0
      • Dec 20 2017 - 20:54
  • I sorta dont like it when people talk for "the fans" as if they talk for everyone, but I will speak my own mind on this. Marchionne is a crybaby and should just clamp his gob. Especially on weaponizing media. But he does have a point: we dont want a standardized F1. We want engines that are efficient yet lasting, and it seems like simplifying them will help that. Its easy for Wolff to talk about this, since he is the principal of the team behind a monster of an engine. And yes, some of that tech Can and probably has been translated to road cars, its not that new tech really, KERS and MGU-H has been around for some time now, and Im sure many road Mercs' have oil burning implemented! My thoughts? Meet each other halfway. Somehow. Its clear that it'll take a long long time for the other suppliers to nail the MGU-H, maybe they'll never, so either scrap them or give Merc's system to the rest.
    As of the other stuff: this is a new era. Keep that nasty little skeleton warrior Äckelstone FAR away from it! I think Liberty has the potential to be good for F1, and Im sure we'll see if thats true or not soon enough.

    • + 0
    • Dec 20 2017 - 20:52
  • f1ski

    Posts: 621

    when ever the teams come up with a new idea that leads to performance dominance the rules change . Why can't the others copy and develop without tokens to delay the process.F1 has allowed a few top teams looked out for by rules to ensure dominance. I want great racing first. I want f1 to have the best technology . They need to allow teams to have an over power production period thru the race to make passing easier . either that or all teams will run a merc engine.

    • + 0
    • Dec 21 2017 - 03:02
  • Barron

    Posts: 625

    So why does Mercedes and Ferrari disagree with Liberty’s vision for a simplified PU? That’s fairly obvious! A ‘simplified’ PU without MG-U and perhaps twin turbo will ramp up performance, noise and spectacle and attract at least a couple more PU suppliers, perhaps Coswirth, Ilmor or AER. It will probably cost more to implement initially but not down the road. I would go one step further and do away with the rule dictating form factor. Just give them a fuel target. The engineers will likely all come up with similar solutions anyway. F1 must NOT under any circumstances ‘dumb down’ like Haas is trying to do. It is as much about engineering genius as it is about driving Gods.

    • + 0
    • Dec 21 2017 - 17:38
    • Barron

      Posts: 625

      Sorry that’s MGU-H... The ‘heat’ bit got left out out. It was the fault of my Microsoft Keyboard of course.

      • + 0
      • Dec 21 2017 - 17:43

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