Wolff predicts F1’s new owners will shake up the sport quickly

2017 F1 season

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Formula One’s new owners won’t hesitate to shake up the sport, Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff believes.

Speaking at the launch of the team’s new car today Wolff said he expects Liberty Media to make their presence felt in areas of the sport which are not restricted by existing deals.

Mercedes launch their new 2017 F1 car
“Of course you’re always limited by contracts and part of Formula One’s success was long-term contracts that give Formula One stability,” he said. “But that also means probably you might not be able to change everything at once.”

“But I think there might be quite some short-term changes, things that are possible to be implemented, at least from what we have heard in terms of enhancing the show on the track, giving access to the paddock, giving teams and the media more rights, and the drivers more rights. So I think there are some things that are going to happen really quickly.”

Mercedes has had discussions with Liberty representatives John Malone, Chase Carey and Ross Brawn about the sport’s future direction. Wolff said the meeting were “very proactive approach” but cautioned against a major overhaul of F1.

“Having spent some time now with the new owners of Formula One you realise that Formula One is probably the best-functioning global sport that exists,” he said.

“We tend to put the spotlight on the things that are not as good as they should be, we tend to criticise it a lot. And that is part of Formula One’s DNA. We’re not only talking about the track action, we are talking about the politics and the inefficiencies and the controversy. And that’s part of us.”

Analysis: How soon can Liberty start changing F1?
“So the sport is in good shape, there are things that are functioning really well and the audiences in the last couple of races when it came down to the wire were really good. And there is things we can improve.”

“But nothing is broken. Formula One needs evolution, not revolution and needs careful handling and understanding of what the DNA and [unique selling point] of Formula One is and then we need to move from there.”

“When you look at sports car racing, I am a fan of sports car racing and I love the technology of Le Mans. But it hasn’t got anywhere near the audience or the reach of Formula One, even one percent.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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7 comments on “Wolff predicts F1’s new owners will shake up the sport quickly”

  1. That picture of Lewis in the car looks exactly how I imagined these car would look on track. Magnificent and mean!

  2. I cannot wait for Melbourne. Since I tuned in in 2007 when this young black kid from the UK took the F1 world by storm I haven’t been excited like I was to see Lewis come along as I am today about where F1 is heading.

  3. If you painted Toto green – he’d give the incredible hulk a run for his money in that picture.

    1. Toto Ferrigno

    2. I’ve never seen a pic of Toto when it doesn’t look like he just got out of bed.

    3. I was thinking of a couple nubs on his neck and he’d be a ringer for Frankenstein!

  4. I hope he’s right. DRS zones are one such area that could use some immediate attention that should be within the purview of Liberty to push for. There’s no reason for any of them to provide easy passing and they’ve got years of data from which to make adjustments.

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