Toto Wolff, Mercedes, Baku City Circuit, 2019

Wolff: Why 2021 F1 rules had to be delayed

2019 F1 Season

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Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff has said teams agreed to postpone 2021 regulations last week in order to strengthen the sport over the next 10 years, while Mercedes themselves remain unconfirmed in F1 beyond 2020.

All teams last week agreed to the delay, which pushes agreement on 2021 regulations beyond the normal deadline for presentation and approval by the World Motor Sport Council. Technical and sporting regulations are understood to be the sticking point, with further debate of the F1 budget cap removed from consideration before the next time the WMSC meets.

Toto Wolff has previously said he believes stable regulations will allow other teams to catch up to Mercedes and that radical changes to F1’s technical regulations would do nothing to equalise the sport.

Today, he has said the delay is motivated by trying to build a strong regulatory basis to keep Formula One as the pinnacle of motorsport – expanding and improving the show for fans, while driving genuine competition.

“Last week, the ten F1 teams met with the FIA and Formula 1. We agreed to postpone the presentation of the 2021 regulations until October, giving us all more time to work on them to achieve our shared goals.

“Formula One is the undisputed pinnacle of motorsports; every weekend, millions of fans around the globe share our excitement about racing. We want to use the unique opportunity of the 2021 regulations to make the series even more exciting for the fans, to make the racing more competitive and to grow the sport globally.”

He said that the aim with 2021 regulations is to build up the sport for the next decade, despite no new power unit manufacturers having committed to join F1 and Mercedes themselves remaining uncommitted beyond the end of the 2020 season. Indeed, Wolff’s own contract as team boss expires before then, placing him in-line for a role with Liberty.

“Finding the right compromise between the various stakeholders is not easy, but we’re united in our passion for racing and our will to define a set of rules that will see Formula One thrive in the next decade.”

The FIA International Sporting Code dictates the regulatory process, and specifies a timeframe of not less than 18 months before effective date for regulation changes that are ‘likely to have a substantial impact on the technical design of the automobile and/or the balance of performance between automobiles.’

The regulations were due to be presented to the FIA World Motorsport Council meeting on Friday for ratification – the last such opportunity before the cut-off – but the FIA requested a delay to finalise various aspects, in particular the post-2020 technical regulations.

The regulations are now due to be tabled at the next WMSC meeting, currently scheduled for 4 October.

Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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17 comments on “Wolff: Why 2021 F1 rules had to be delayed”

  1. “Formula One is the undisputed pinnacle of motorsports; every weekend, millions of fans around the globe share our excitement about racing.

    Then leave disappointed. Literally every race.
    Whilst more and more empty seats appear in grandstands (except Silverstone and Montreal)

    1. F1oSaurus (@)
      18th June 2019, 20:16

      @bigjoe That’s only the case for Vettel fans. How can F1 help that Vettel performs so poorly?

    2. Pineapple of motorsport.

    3. Oh, you registered. Great..
      Stop watching and commenting Joe, it’s becoming a health problem for you.

      1. As a Max fan I’m having a blast watching him even when he’s not winning races. He’s fantastic to watch. I’m going to really enjoy his career and I think he’ll be amazing when the cars are more in the drivers’ hands and able to race closely.

    4. If you think everyone leaves every race disappointed, I think you need to find a new sport (and I feel sorry for your wife/future wife). Not to say that things can’t and shouldn’t be improved of course.

    5. If you hate formula1 so much… go away. Please.

      Also stop trying to speak for millions, spewing your poopoo agenda.

  2. Great stuff. Everything TW is saying is consistent with everything Liberty and Brawn have been saying since they officially took over from BE. I’m stoked about F1 from 2021 onward. I think there is going to be much improvement in all aspects of the sport.

  3. Mercedes themselves remain unconfirmed in F1 beyond 2020.

    I always thought that Merc didn’t need to still be in F1 after they break all the records and should concentrate on the future, Formula E. But it looks like Toto had bigger impact on F1 future.

    Toto getting the top chair of Liberty must be the key of Merc decision to leave or stay in F1. Give Toto and Ferrari what they want and F1 might live another 4-5 years cycle.

  4. roberto giacometti
    19th June 2019, 6:44

    Formula 1 as a sport is BROKEN. Yes it may be good for marketing purposes , technological innovation blah blah blah.
    But as an entertaining, competitive , sporting spectacle, bzzzzzz – fail.
    Liberty needs to simply step in , take everything by the scruff of the neck – yes – dictator style – make a set of rules , and then those that wish to stay , race, those who wish to not , go away.
    Letting the inmates run the assylum, will never work. Too much democracy results in everything being compromised so that everyone’s patch is protected and it all goes back to square one.

    1. But as an entertaining, competitive , sporting spectacle, bzzzzzz – fail

      Personally, while I agree there are issues and many less exciting races, I still find it “an entertaining, competitive, sporting spectacle”.

      Let’s look at a few major sports for comparison.

      Cricket: This is wildly popular around large parts of the world. It seems to me it mainly involves a bunch of guys standing in a field watching one guy throw a ball and another hit it with a stick. Occasionally, there’s a massive roar from the crowd as either the guy with the stick misses the ball and walks dejectedly off the field or the guy with the stick hits the ball a long way and can run backwards and forwards a couple of times. In short, not much excitement occurs over several days, but fans still love it and enjoy the “entertaining, competitive, sporting spectacle”. (You may have noticed that I’m not a fan).

      Football (soccer): Again, incredibly popular in most parts of the world, most matches involve a few guys ricking a ball between each other. Every so often, the guys in the other shirt colour will run up and try to steal the ball, but normally the one with the ball will just kick it to one of his mates at this point and it was all for nothing. Occasionally, they will get close to the goal and kick the ball into the net. One of the most exciting parts of the sport are when one of the “men” (I use that term VERY loosely) playing suddenly decides to take on an actin career, rolling around clutching his face or ankle and pretending to be in serious pain. I believe this may be the main part of the sport, and it’s all an acting competition, but I’m not sure. Again, it’s not very exciting to watch for most games and most of each game, but the fans seem to really enjoy watching their “men” fall on the floor. The fans still love it and enjoy the “entertaining, competitive, sporting spectacle”. (You may have noticed that I’m not a fan of this either).

      Yes, F1 has it’s boring races. Yes, Mercedes dominance at the top is not ideal. However, it’s still exciting and fun to watch. There’s a lot of action at many races lower down the field. You can even watch drivers having tantrums after the race and swapping numbers around in front of cars!

      I love F1. I love the racing, the engineering competition, the glitz and glamour… All of it, in spite of it’s current issues.

  5. Misleading title. The actual rules have not been delayed (yet) only the finalisation date of them.

  6. Talks about convergence among teams, but isn’t this year the most dominant year for Mercedes?

    1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
      20th June 2019, 10:43

      Only because Ferrari & Red Bull got it wrong. But if you look at the midfield, it’s tighter than is has been since 2013.

  7. Toto is the very personification of a snake in the grass.
    Never before has anyone so two-faced been in a position to influence the sport in such a significant way … and I never thought I’d ever be able to say that after all those years of Bernie.

    Hopefully other team bosses and some at Liberty and FIA are able to see through his agendas … before it’s too late.

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