Mercedes pit wall radio, 2016

Mercedes strongly opposes plan to ban ‘mission control’

2021 F1 season

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Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff has described Liberty Media’s plan to scrap team’s ‘mission control’ virtual garages in 2021 as a “very bad idea”.

RaceFans revealed last week the sport’s commercial rights holders wants to stop teams using remote operations centres during race weekends to support their staff at the track.

Asked by RaceFans about the plan, Wolff said “I think it’s a very bad idea because we’ve invested in the virtual garages.

“It’s a great selling proposition for partners and sponsors. There’s not only engineers in our virtual garage back at Brackley. We have sponsors there, we’re trying to have co-operations with high-tech companies and this is the part they are most interested in.

“As far as I know many teams have managed to commercialise the race support structures back in the factories and of course it gives you an advantage if you’ve got more brains working on solutions and problems. For us it has become a point of sale.”

Liberty Media believes banning the virtual garages will prevent teams getting around restrictions on staff numbers at race weekends, reduce costs and place greater emphasis on drivers instead of engineers.

Doubts have also been raised about the practicalities of banning teams from using virtual garages, which by their nature do not need to be housed at their factories.

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Author information

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...
Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...

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  • 14 comments on “Mercedes strongly opposes plan to ban ‘mission control’”

    1. The new owners will destroy f1

      1. Why, because they don’t think it is essential for the teams to employ 1,500 people to get 2 F1 cars onto a grid?

    2. Not surprised, Mercedes seem to be the ones most heavily invested in data-driven decision making, sometimes to their detriment.

      1. As we discussed earlier this week @phylyp, Toto confirms that exactly this real time data work is something that gets their sponsors and partners really interested – and I am sure not just from being able to bring a bus of their customers to see the F1 action – it’s pretty much unique data analyses.

        1. Yep, @bascb agreed. They also expose a little of this information via the Pure pitwall Twitter feed.

    3. Mercedes seems really afraid of a possible DATA-blackout…

    4. It’s a great selling proposition for partners and sponsors.

      Uncharacteristically simple & honest answer from Toto.

    5. Well, they would oppose it, wouldn’t they? Should the fact that Merc has invested a lot in this mission control operation be a good reason not to ban it? No. That’s the same answer they give to any talk of change, but everyone knows they have the most money and spend it very freely to gain any advantage they can. Sounds like a good cost-cutting and field-leveling move to me. The other objection I hear to change is that it will put people out of work at Ferrari and Mercedes, and to me that is very much a secondary consideration for the people responsible for managing F1.

    6. petebaldwin (@)
      28th April 2018, 21:06

      Perhaps it wasn’t a great idea to invest heavily in a loophole to the rules…

    7. Well, Mercedes may have commercialised this area and builded partnerships with eager high-tech companies who want a showcase of their technical capabilities. But I would not suppose that Force India or Sauber can the same capabilities unless they invest great amounts of their own money.

    8. well if it became a point of sale and it helped wrap up the last 8 titles avaiable, i’ll reckon the investment already payed off.

    9. It’s ironic considering how slow Mercedes are to react during races. They win by having the fastest car, I can’t remember the last time they pulled off a cunning tactical maneuver.

      1. @george how about trying to remember the last race, or the race before that. they undercut vettel with bottas in china while leaving ferrari confused and were on course to win before the SC. In bahrain they tricked ferrari into pitting earlier than needed and only a miracle from vettel plus a lackustre charge from bottas denied them the win. mercedes didnt win either race but their tactical maneuvering was very good. active, instead of passive, taking charge.

        1. @andrewf1
          I wouldn’t call pitting first a tactical masterstroke. Bahrain wasn’t a bad move but Ferrari were at a disadvantage anyway after Raikkonen’s issue.

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