Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021

F1 changed rules to stop Mercedes in 2021 but we won’t ‘cry foul’ now – Wolff

2023 Italian Grand Prix

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Mercedes will not “cry foul” over Red Bull’s domination of the 2023 season despite suffering due to past rules changes, says team principal Toto Wolff.

Red Bull has achieved an unprecedented level of success over the 2023 season so far. The team has won all 14 Grand Prix and is on a 15-race run of consecutive wins stretching back to last year. Max Verstappen set a new record with his 10th consecutive win last weekend.

Wolf believes some past regulation changes were introduced to break Mercedes’ domination of F1, such as in 2020 when his team swept both championships for the seventh year in a row.

“I think we probably lost the 2021 drivers’ championship for many reasons,” he said. “One was the final race.

“But we also lost it because those regulations were set in place in order to reduce the advantage that we had. 2020 was a super-dominant year for us. I think it was the best car we’ve ever had. It was the best car we’ve ever had. And then towards the end of the season they changed the regs by cutting the floor out.

“That was to stop us, and we could see the results in 2021, we were not as competitive as Red Bull was. But in Silverstone we unlocked more of the potential of the car and got ourselves back into the championship. But back in the day, these regs were clearly targeted to re-establish the pecking order.”

Formula 1’s owners Liberty Media aimed to create closer competition between teams with the budget cap it introduced in 2021 and revised technical regulations the following year. Wolff does not believe further changes should be hurried in to halt Red Bull, who have won all bar one of the 21 grands prix held in the last 12 months.

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“As a team principal, I don’t want to jump on the bandwagon that others have done in the past of saying we need to change the regulations because we can’t continue with the dominance of a team,” he said. “If a team dominates in the way Max has done with Red Bull, than fair dos.

“This is a meritocracy. As long as you comply to the regulations, technical, sporting and financial, we just need to say ‘well done’.

“It’s up to us to catch up. And if that takes a long time, then it takes a long time. I remember people crying foul when it was us. Entertainment follows sport, not the other way around. We can’t be WWE and just scripted content. We don’t want to be scripted content.”

Red Bull’s other rivals have also spoken out against introducing rules such as the Balance of Performance used in the World Endurance Championship to equalise the competitiveness of different car designs.

Frederic Vasseur, team principal of Ferrari which also competes in the WEC, said he’s “not a big fan of the balance of performance or any kind of artifice like this.

“It’s not the DNA at all of Formula 1. And on the top, we have already the wind tunnel allocation, with a kind of balance – not a balance of performance, but balance of allocation and it’s enough.”

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McLaren team principal Andrea Stella agreed they “don’t want to have any help” to get on terms with Red Bull. “We want to close the gap by our own means. We like this challenge and that’s what we want for the next couple of years.”

Red Bull expect their rivals will gain on them despite the absence of any significant rules changes before 2026.

“The regulations are pretty stable. We have three sets of regulations now: Technical, Sporting and Financial. The Technical and Sporting playing fields seem to be reasonably content. The Financial one, there seems to be a little bit of manoeuvring now and again on.

“But I think that regulations are stable for the next couple of years. And we fully expect our competitors – I mean, look at the jump that McLaren made recently. We fully expect there to be convergence, even this year, before we head into 2024.

“I’m not aware of any draconian, significant regulation changes in the pipeline. We have that already for 2026, which will be a complete reset. Despite the fact that we’ve done a lot of winning this year, a lot of the races, including the last race, [have been] pretty entertaining.”

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2023 Italian Grand Prix

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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...

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99 comments on “F1 changed rules to stop Mercedes in 2021 but we won’t ‘cry foul’ now – Wolff”

  1. The changes for 2021 were pretty minor in the grand scheme of things. When it was announced that the new aerodynamic regulations were being pushed back to 2022 as a consequence of Covid, the general expectation was that it was another “free” championship for Mercedes. It was actually quite a surprise that Red Bull closed the gap as much as they did.

    And, of course, despite everything, Mercedes did win the constructors’ championship in 2021. So if the changes were intended to “stop” Mercedes, they failed.

    1. They were minor… but they were well “directed” and aimed towards the target. Floor bodywork in front of rear tyres is small but have a big effect in aerodynamics (the change was imposed because of punctures in Silverstone 2020, and it worked well to prevent them to happen in 2021), and it was clear right from the beginning that it would affect more the low-rake cars. It wasn’t a coincidence.

      Mercedes did win the constructors’ championship in 2021. So if the changes were intended to “stop” Mercedes, they failed.

      Well, since Mercedes won by a landslide in 2020 (13 wins in first 15 races) and it was a coin flip in 2021, it’s obvious they didn’t fail at “braking” Mercedes, at least.

      1. And the funny part was the everyone thought the high rake teams would be effected more then the low rake cars.

        1. I don’t remember that… and I can’t see the logic of that. Once you think of it, it’s obvious a floor trim from some point backwards affects more those teams who have more floor bodywork surface behind that point, and Mercedes had the longer wheelbase because of his low-rake philosophy.

          1. the pundits indeed couldnt predict at the time who it would benefit.

          2. If you look back at all the reports before testing in 2021 and even after testing. People expected RB to fall further behind and/or struggle througout the season as the expectation was that they would have to change their whole car concept as the high-rake was not expected to work in 2021.

            In hindsight it might be easy to see why this was untrue but at the time nobody expected RB to have such a good car.

          3. I also remember it was a surprise by experts that the regulations ended up affecting merc more. There’s some article on here too.


            “But the initial effect, as the teams put these new spec floors in simulation, might be expected to have more impact upon the high-rake cars (such as the Red Bull and others) than those optimised around a low rake angle (such as the Mercedes and Racing Point).”

        2. No, I distinctly remember people such as Scarbs saying that the floor changes would harm the low-rake cars more than the high-rake, because the low-rakes depended on maintaining air pressure in that region– and cutting the floor open would be harder to deal with as a result.

    2. Formula 1 fan
      8th September 2023, 9:56

      What strikes me the most now is really that I am so disappointed with Mercedes as a team, Toto, Hamilton and tbh sometimes Russell as well. It is just showing how they are just not able to deal with this, it’s like a collective trauma.
      Yes the sport is benefitting from the rule changes and the budget caps, and one team combined with one driver has it right, Adrian Newey even said he has never seen a driver this much in sync with the car, same with Alonso who has said the same and in stead of applauding it and focusing on the fact that they have to do a better job it becomes a ‘whining’ fest at Mercedes.
      I like the responses of the likes of Fred Vasseur much better, a clear appreciation of what is being achieved as well as a look inwards to the team and acknowledge they have to do better.

    3. I think it’s very dubious that after 2021 Merc keeps saying that the rulechange for 2021 was aimed at slowing them down. At the start of 2021 season no other than Merc’s own technical director said it was impossible to decide which teams would be most hit by the rulechange.

      The funny thing is that for a long time I thought Wolff was one of the most level headed Teambosses in the paddock. Now that they stopped winning it is clear he is just as opportunistic as Horner and all the others.
      It is easy to be gracious when you’re winning.

      1. I never had a good opinion about wolff when he was winning, constantly talking down their dominance and lying, I always considered horner better, but in recent times I also noticed he hasn’t been honest with a few things, so I guess both are opportunistic.

    4. Well, you could say merc were so far a head in 2020 that bringing them down to earth, where they barely win a title and barely lose another made the regulations change successful.

    5. All I wish is tight competition.

      1. Coventry Climax
        8th September 2023, 15:05

        All I wish is non-manipulated racing. That is true competition, whether it’s tight or not is irrelevant.

    6. Or you could say that if the intention was to stop their dominance, then it was successful.

    7. Pretty minor for high rake cars– but catastrophic for the two cars that didn’t rely on a high rake setup.

      Further, as a result of those changes, Mercedes didn’t actually get to spend their tokens that they had already allocated to a different part of the car. So while other teams like Red Bull were able to focus on improving their aero, Mercedes had to spend most of their effort just regaining the downforce lost due to the floor changes.

  2. And then towards the end of the season they changed the regs by cutting the floor out. That was to stop us, and we could see the results in 2021, we were not as competitive as Red Bull was

    Wasn’t the 2021 floor regs proposed by Pirelli, in order to for their tires to endure the higher downforce levels the 2021 cars would produce? And wasn’t it kinda of a mystery of how the teams would be affected? – we only found out that the pecking order had been reduced at the first race, some suspected that Mercedes would be even more dominant because of their long wheelbase. Because clearly I’d don’t remember any articles in 2020 (before the regs were applied) of Wolff saying that FIA is deliberately trying to stop Mercedes.
    Also they enjoyed the benefit of DAS in 2020 and it was planned to be banned in 2021 before they even introduced it, so kinda Mercedes’ problem again and not FIA’s.

    1. It was rather quite the opposite. The tire change (in season!) hugely benefitted Mercedes and basically without it 2021 would have been a lost year for them. Wolff has become a shadow of himself.

      1. Coventry Climax
        8th September 2023, 15:10

        Sorry Mayrton, but Wolff has not become a shadow of himself. He’s been like that from day one. From the moment he joined Williams right down to today. It’s just that only now people start to recognise him for what he is.

    2. @black Yes, Wolff is re-writing history here. Back when the reg changes were introduced, which was at the behest of Pirelli so that they didn’t have to introduce a new spec of tyre to withstand the ever-increasing downforce levels, there was no suggestion from any team that it would affect low rake cars more than high rake ones. If anyone did think that, then they kept extremely quiet about it. It was only after testing when we could see that teams like Mercedes and Aston were less competitive than expected that all the discourse started about ‘high rake’ vs ‘low rake’ cars. Before that, it was assumed that 2021 would be a lock for Mercedes because they were so dominant in 2020 and the teams were heavily restricted in how much development they could do.

      1. Wolff keeps talking about the past this year. Perhaps they need to be looking forward more…..

    3. Wasn’t the 2021 floor regs proposed by Pirelli, in order to for their tires to endure the higher downforce levels the 2021 cars would produce? And wasn’t it kinda of a mystery of how the teams would be affected?

      Unsure if it was proposed by Pirelli, but it was meant to cut downforce levels. Pirelli had said the load on the tyres were too high, and since they had planned to switch to the 18″ spec for 2021 (which was postponed to 2022) they were not going to make new 13″ tyres for 2021, so the best option was to reduce downforce on the cars.

      Wolff is even on record as stating they didn’t think the changes would be a big deal, and that they’d still have much of the advantage they had in 2020. Reframing the change as anti-Mercedes is, well, it’s just not true.

  3. No, the rule change was supposed to stop them in 2022.

    I’m disgusted Mercedes was given one extra year of dominance because of covid excuses and even happier Verstappen and RB still managed to defeat them at their peak. In an inferior car, despite constant questionable stewarding from the FIA and ceaseless hounding from the british media.
    Mercedes didn’t lose 2021 fair and square, they lost it from an immense advantage.


      ““I think on balance we’ve probably had the quicker car and that’s a tribute to everybody back in the factory really. I think obviously everybody’s. We’re all in the limelight here but what the guys have done back in the factory my colleague engineers the everybody everybody in the whole place the support we feel when we’re out here that they give us is amazing,” summed up Newey.”

      Neway thinks redbull did. who arewe to argue with the legend him self right?

      1. I mean, it’s good PR for newey that red bull was the best car, no? He designed it! As far as I saw merc was slightly better, don’t see how you can look at the last 4 races and not think the balance shifted in merc favour.

        1. Last races merc used the new engine at low amount of penalty card a lot. That definitely helped. Mercedes was probably way better in expertise to run the engine to the limit than Honda could or wanted to.

        2. Sikhumbuzo Khumalo
          8th September 2023, 15:28

          When it comes to specific views on the car. Adrian Newey’s view weight >1000% than yours. In fact yours are pretty insignificant as you dont work with the car and have no inner understanding of it.

  4. It’s been two years. We are not talking about 8. Seriously..

    1. Hebwill continuento say he will not mention it and then start a lot of crying over it for a long time i guess

      1. “You robbed me but I’m not going to make a song and dance about it. Aren’t I fab?”

  5. Wasn’t the extra 15mm floor height introduced this year to help Mercedes (and other porpoising cars) and bring down Red Bull?

    1. Yes but it hit Ferrari more then Red Bull..

      1. ILoveConspiracyTheories
        8th September 2023, 11:33

        Cross out Red Bull and replace it with Mercedes. That directive still has to hit Red Bull :-))

  6. 2021 has been living rent free in Toto’s head ever since, who is he trying to kid?

    1. You do realise how much of a bigger deal red bull and the fans would have made it had it happened to max instead? You can’t have your cake and eat it too

      1. And yours, apparently.

      2. Well, in the situation, with verstappen being more deserving overall that season, seems reasonable the outcry would’ve been more, all masi did was even the odds a bit, still not enough to compensate all points lost across the season.

        1. You just have to be kidding?

          Your take on what was certainly the most perverted and idiotic decision in the history of sport – “well, it makes up for points lost in the season?”

          Did you even watch the last four races?

          Hamilton drove out of his skin in equal cars – knowing a single issue and it was over – Max drove like an entitled idiot throwing his car all over the place whenever his competitor got near him desperately trying create such an issue – knowing the above…

          You do know that just for fun they were equal on points in the final race? – a race that no matter what you think of the season – max had absolutely no business winning. None. There were issues in the last four races that should have sorted the championship before they even got there. Not in maxes favour.

          And if the RB team had an ounce of honour – they would not have taken it.

          Even amateur racers know when they have an illegal gift – and would have followed the winner home under team orders – but, no, RB are this standup bunch with the acknowledgment of their chief designer that they had the best car, yet let that mess pretty much scar their chosen number one drivers entire career!

          He is too good to have his career totally ruined by such a crass and illegal decision- it will follow him forever – he can win championships without help…

          Lots of them. The fact his first and second…

          Shame the first two are sitting in the mire!

          1. Mercedes made enough stupid calls in the last race (to not pit 2 times) to be able to take the blame on themselves also.

            Apart from that both Hamilton and Merc were far from perfect that season.

            Just a few big ones:
            Remember Hungary where Hamilton started as the only on on the grid, the rest going to pit?

            Remember Baku? When Max had a blown tire. That last one alone could have swung the championship and it would have just been based on Max misfortune. But Hamilton binned it under zero pressure..

          2. Mercedes made enough stupid calls in the last race (to not pit 2 times)

            The first one, it was a risk either way. If he’d pitted, he’d have come out behind Max (as Max would most likely have done the opposite) and had to pass him on track. Given the way Max had been driving in the past few races, and that Max would win if both crashed out, it was probably seen as the safer option. In fact, it would have been the right call without the final safety car, as Hamilton was easily on track to win the race even on old tyres.

            If Hamilton stayed out, there were two likely possibilities:
            1) Race finishes behind SC, HAM WDC.
            2) Race resumes, VER WDC.

            If Hamilton had pitted, there were 4 likely scenarios:
            1) Race resumes, HAM overtakes VER without incident, HAM WDC.
            2) Race resumes, HAM unable to overtake VER, VER WDC.
            3) Race resumes, HAM and VER crash fighting for the lead, VER WDC.
            4) Race finishes behind SC, VER WDC (plus Mercedes look really stupid for throwing the title away)

            They’re not all of equal likelihood, but half of the scenarios where Hamilton stays out result in him being champion, whereas only a quarter of those where he pits do. Even taking into account that the RD was going to try not to let the race finish behind the SC, he still probably had a better chance of winning the championship by staying out.

            I haven’t included any options where both pit or neither do, as I don’t think they were on the table, and I didn’t include options where Hamilton stayed out and Verstappen was unable to overtake because, with that big a tyre delta, the chances were tiny.

            All of this even ignores that the choice Mercedes made was the right one until the Race Director acted against the rules…

          3. I totally disagree.

            Hamilton drove out of his skin in equal cars

            There was nothing equal of any kind. Mercedes took a laugh at the engine regulation and put in an engine (not hindered by any cost cap and with the deepest pockets on the grid) that would see Latifi win races.

            Max drove like an entitled idiot

            ; there was clearly some frustration in Max’ driving which isn’t good in itself but is very understandable given what I just said on the engine and knowing that earlier in the season they were clipped by off & on track antics of Mercedes in the area of tires (unparalleled in season change which made the Mercs suddenly competitive – without it the season would have been wrapped up for RB way before the final race), wing gate, pit stop restrictions, severe slander campaign from Mercedes towards Max (with British press loving to parrot and chipping in as well), Silverstone, Hungary. To me one of the most rigged seasons (in favour of Mercedes and particularly Hamilton) which I have ever seen in this sport. An utter, utter disgrace blatantly obvious favouring the home town British hero Lewis who had to defeat Schumachers record at any cost. The last race? yes, also a disgrace. But a season is a season and not just the last race, no matter how you put it. It was a miracle that despite all rigging, RB still prevailed. Hamilton was gifted so much during the season, he had absolutely zero business whatsoever to be on equal points going into that last race. I hope we never repeat a season like 2021. It will forever be a stain on the sport and it deprived a great talent to properly celebrate his breakthrough. Appalling disgrace from everyone involved.

        2. all masi did was even the odds a bit

          @esploratore1 all he did was rob the world of an epic battle to the final corner of the final lap. Regardless of who you cheer for, Masi’s decision was just wrong.

  7. The Toto interview/statements were widely reported in other media almost a week ago.
    It seems Racefans is drip feeding single statements and articles just to get the click and comment count up.

    A lot of repetition of views here.

    1. I’m fine with that. I want there to be new (to me at least) articles to read each day.

      There isn’t always something massively interesting to report on and in my opinion something like this is easily recent enough.

  8. Toto Wolff has become a bitter man.
    Has to stop playing the victim.
    Wish Niki was still among us, he would prevent Toto from hurting te team, the sport and others with his toxic comments.

    1. Wish Niki was still among us, he would prevent Toto from hurting te team

      On the other hand, seeing what he would have had to say about both 2021’s final result and Red Bull & Honda’s engine skullduggery to get a performance development freeze would have been fairly nuclear – the man didn’t suffer fools and if he felt he or his team were being unfairly targeted, his response would likely have made Lewis & Toto’s snark look like childs play.

      1. Would’ve been interesting to hear for sure.

    2. Yes, Niki Lauda is hugely missed. A very special man.

  9. Funny how history changes this quickly. I also remember the front wing rules being changed for 2019 which curtailed Red Bull. Or how the 2021 rules were expecting to hit the high rake Red Bull and benefit the Mercedes.

    Funny how he also forgets how in 2021 about half the grid had to strengthen their rear wings while Mercedes front wing could flex around like a rubber band. Also, Mercedes lobbied succesfully against RB lightning fast pitstops. Without it, Monza would never have happened and AD21 was never to be.

    1. Exactly, this is a very good point! A lot of people complained about verstappen hitting hamilton at monza, but he was “miles” ahead, it’s only because of a terrible pit stop following that directive that they were even next to each other. And like you said abu dhabi wouldn’t have gone like that if verstappen gained points at monza, as he should have.

      1. Ok

        Forget the above reply

        You are clearly in some nut anti HAMILTON corner… you have never come out of it in all honesty.

        Seems to be a ten year history of it so no point in even engaging anymore

        MV dumped his car on 44 in Monsa – in spite and he has numerous moves reflecting such on a number of competitors. No one can make that move honest and track worthy.

        This site has become ridiculous- and I pay to be here

        I thought the partisan bases would have calmed but no – still revising history

        1. I thought the partisan bases would have calmed but no – still revising history

          Toto is still revising history indeed.

        2. In all fairness the Monza incident was on a lot on Lewis. Surely Max made a late move but Lewis clearly was overly optimistic in the right hander, leaving the door open for a car to be next to him. He could have ended it all there if he just ran a bit wider. If you chose not to, you can’t then subsequently close the door in the left hander like no-one is there. If he would have wanted, he could have left enough space for them both to get through the left hander and he would be in a better position grip wise to accelerate better out of that corner anyway. Totally unnecessary action driven by fear. Lewis just isn’t a good wheel to wheel racer. He never has been and tends to get red mist when Max is around him. That is no biggy but let’s not distort things to cover this up.

  10. Does he really still think the 2021 tweaks were done with such motives when they truly & solely were for Pirelli to ease their situation.

    1. It’s indeed incredible. If it hadn’t been for Pirelli (in season change) they wouldn’t have competed in 2021 at all and wouldn’t have achieved the 8th WCC. Not that it mattered much since Toto failed to capitalise on this major achievement anyway. Who cares about the Mercedes brand? He certainly doesn’t.

  11. No FIA, no, no, FIA that was not so right!

  12. Toto, you won 8 titles in a row. You were eventually going to get it wrong, and unfortunately for you, you got it wrong the year you wanted “revenge”. Have some grace, and focus on improving your team. The more you dwell on the what could have been, the more you lose on what there can be.

    And the 2021 rule changes were because Pirellis were weak and couldn’t handle the increasing loads. In fact the Pirelli tire construction change in 2021 arguably helped you significantly from Silverstone.

    And you were always competitive in 2021. At Bahrain you had very close race pace, albeit a bit behind RB, at Spain, Portugal and Imola, you had the quicker car in the race. You were only not quick enough around Baku (even then only a couple of tenths), and two Austrian GPs. You lost France on strategy and driver error in the end (the error was going off the track towards the end of the race by car 44, allowing car 33 to gain multiple seconds and overtake), and at Monaco the potential of the car will remain an unknown as car 77 got P3? while car 44 was languishing in midfield. From the British GP onwards, your team had the clear edge, and let us not even get into the discussion regarding the last 4 races where you had a significant pace advantage in race trim.

    Even after all this, you need to spin a falsified narrative regarding how the rules hurt you.

    You were not maximising your points every weekend, either due to strategy or team operations or driver error, or your driver simply having off weekends.

    Fix the car first, then fix your strategy next and try to create an environment where driver errors and off weekends are minimised instead of spinning false narratives.

    If Horner was a whiny TP, Toto is even worse. At least Horner’s team could win multiple races every year except 2015 during their slump, and even that can be argued to be because of Renault more than RB for most of the period.

    1. Ohh, you made me remember monaco, where hamilton was indeed off the pace, forgot this in my list of points thrown away by hamilton that year.

      1. I believe Hamilton did not maximise his points of his own doing or his team’s in the full race at Imola, Baku, one of the Austrian Rounds, France, Monaco, Hungary, Spa, Monza, Turkey, and arguably USA. And for Verstappen, I would say Bahrain, and Monza. The other races where he dropped points were Silverstone, Hungary, and Baku.

        Yeah Merc+Number 44 basically had half a season’s worth of dropping points, compared to RB+Number 33 who dropped points in only two races, got wiped in two and had a tire failure in one.

  13. Join the club Toto, I’m still sore about the rule changes for 1994 that were designed to stop Williams dominance…

    1. Just don’t mention mass dampers.

      1. Or banned tyre changes…

  14. Can’t be easy going from being the winning team to being the whining team. But seriously both Toto and his drivers are so sour and focused on others that I wonder how the team spirit at Mercedes is. Working in a negative environment won’t inspire people to put in the extra work required to have a chance at beating Red Bull anytime soon.

    1. ILoveConspiracyTheories
      8th September 2023, 11:37

      “Can’t be easy going from being the winning team to being the whining team.”

      If you are dyslectic then it is quite easy ;-)

    2. Can’t be easy going from being the winning team to being the whining team.

      Red Bull called, they want their management team circa 2014 back!

    3. Ahah, that’s a fun generalisation, as in you’re either a winning team or you spend the time complaining about not winning!

  15. It’s two seasons of Red Bull dominance, not 7 or 8. True some changes did seem intended to curb Mercedes, though others – and the secretive Ferrari/FIA deal over fuel sensors and the flexiwing stuff for Red Bull – also curbed other teams.
    What’s different is that after 8 or 9 races this season, people simply stopped talking about any driver champiosnhip battle.
    We’ve still a lot of GPs to go and Verstappen is assumed to have won already. By everyone. That’s just bizarre. And down to Perez offering no, zero, challenge. And Red Bull couldn’t care less. For that alone, I’d be more than happy for FIA to really scupper Red Bull with new regulations. Red Bull have won the WCC, no complaints. But there’s a WDC and it’s simply a non-event. Sure 2-20 are up for grabs but realistically Formula 1 has always been about the driver championship as a competition. And there simply isn’t one.

    1. @david-br To be fair to Mercedes, Bernie was already trying to undo the engine regs from the 3rd race of the 2014 season because there was no competition from Ferrari or Red Bull due to their engine failings…

      I wonder, has anyone thought to ask him what he thinks about the way RBR are monstering these regulations? I mean, we already pretty much know how he feels about any team running Lewis, but I can’t imagine he’d be cheerleading the current situation given the fall off in viewers and interest.

      1. @optimaximal I’ve wondered the same thing. Though he’s probably laughing giving the problem is now Liberty’s.

    2. Nah, it’s one year. Last season they were fighting with Ferrari, and losing it at the beginning. Only in the second half of the season Ferrari fell apart.

      1. Let’s call it one and a half. Ferrari were already facing problems in the first half of the season (some driver induced) but the collapse was total after midpoint.

    3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      8th September 2023, 13:00

      @david-br I agree – Red Bull needs to put on offer the 2nd seat to any driver willing to take it. I think Norris, Alonso, and Hulkenberg would be the top candidates.

      We know Red Bull will do this for 10 years given a chance – they don’t care one bit about the sport or competition. It’s all up to F1 to stop them. As Toto said, Mercedes is not allowed to complain because of their own success in the past so it’s up to everyone else in the paddock to ask for changes but Vasseur is running around praising Verstappen which is nice but it’s not his job as the principal at Ferrari. His job is to be on the phone with Domenicali and Brawn
      screaming “see, La Scuderia lost at Monza despite having pole and they won their 10th victory while managing the car. They will win every race and slow down after the 2nd turn. The sport needs changes pronto – grazie mille”.

      1. Hulkenberg challenging verstappen? I have serious doubts!

      2. Hulkenberg…how many podiums does he have to date?

      3. @freelittlebirds Verstappen would probably win against anyone right now, Leclerc, Norris, Russell, Piastri, Alonso (easier I think), even Hamilton would fall short over a season I’m sure, especially given Verstappen’s familiarity with the car and team. But at least it wouldn’t be guaranteed; the other driver would be winning some races at least, pushing Max, and regularly finishing 2nd, meaning that there wouldn’t be a huge points gap. Sure it would be even worse Red Bull domination. I’m not sure if that would reduce or increase the pressure for the team to be curbed.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          8th September 2023, 19:06

          @david-br I agree with you

          @esploratore1 I dunno – he can be very quick. Alonso rates him highly.

          @maxv yeah, the podium thing took so long that it became an issue in the end.

  16. Join the queue Toto. Same happened to end Ferrari domination (2000 – 2004), and Red Bulls before yourself taking the mantle.

  17. Even if so, Mercedes was “stopped” after how many years of utter dominance? For RB, this is the first year. :D How much would you be whining after five or six years?

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      8th September 2023, 13:16

      Mercedes had one of the best intra-team rivalries of all time from 2014 to 2016 so those 3 years while they dominated, it was a “golden era” for the sport like the Prost and Senna.

      Following that came the Vettel-Hamilton battle that unfortunately ended when Leclerc joined Ferrari for whatever reason. Bottas proved more of a challenge especially in qualifying with 20 poles in 5 seasons compared to Checo’s 3 so far and he was breathing down Lewis’ neck in qualifying.

      Finally we have 2021 which ended up being the most controversial season of all time with Max getting away with murder on track (even at Silverstone although it was his car that took the brunt deservedly so given the multitude of errors in that corner) and the season ended with the refs screaming victory for Max on the last lap explaining racing to Toto over the radio. F1 exiled the ref in shame but, of course, did not restore the result or apologize to the victims which cost them the most deserved WDC of all time.

      So Mercedes’ dominance will probably be viewed as the golden era of F1 with Lewis as the protagonist battling with Rosberg, Vettel, and finally Verstappen, and F1 on the last lap and coming on top in all of those but not as easily as folks would think.

      I suppose the fact that F1 was the only one able to stop Lewis and Mercedes on merit was probably a fitting to the era.

      [God, I can write and speak the truth at the same time. Thank you for that gift!]

      1. Umm, don’t get too carried away……..

      2. Following that came the Vettel-Hamilton battle that unfortunately ended when Leclerc joined Ferrari for whatever reason.

        Sergio Marchionne passed away in 2018, and subsequent changes at the corporate level set the stage for the Binotto coup in the F1 team. That, in turn, led to one of the least competitive periods in Ferrari history.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          8th September 2023, 15:48

          @MichaelN Yeah, you’re probably right – Vettel was so out of it in his last season with Ferrari. Something must have happened that affected him.

          1. @freelittlebirds Wasn’t rear downforce an issue? Vettel started spinning a lot. And his driving style has always been based around good rear stability. There’s no doubt Ferrari signing Leclerc more or less explicitly as Vettel’s replacement didn’t help either.

          2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            8th September 2023, 19:07

            @david-br yeah, he did spin a lot as you said but I always assumed Ferrari would have modified the car to suit him better.

      3. Most deserved WDC of all time if hamilton had won 2021? That’s as deserved as rosberg’s 2016, as in very little, fully reliant on luck.

        Golden era the mercedes dominant years, I wouldn’t say at all, unless you were a mercedes fan, I’ve never been so bored in f1.

      4. Fun Fact; kind of a coincidence Lewis never won another GP since Massi left F1, isn’t it?
        Could it be that he was finally so fed up with Mercedes manipulating F1 he choose to level the playing field by using an uncommon, but not illegal, rule for unlapping cars af SC? Just wondering.

        1. ‘Massi’ as a Masi+Massa mashup? Sounds like Lewis’s arch nemesis.

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            8th September 2023, 19:08

            @david-br that’s funny – I didn’t even notice it ;-)

        2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          8th September 2023, 19:17

          by using an uncommon, but not illegal, rule for unlapping cars af SC? Just wondering.

          How was it not illegal? It provided a clear advantage to just 1 driver on track courtesy of the Race Director that gifted the win and WDC to that driver.

          Not to mention that there was no investigation to see if Verstappen had moved ahead of Lewis at the restart instead of staying behind him. That was the strangest restart of all time… Go watch it again – it’s absurd that Max was allowed to drive side-by-side on the restart.

          1. It was legal to take the restart like this back then. It was disallowed from season 2022 and onwards.

  18. I think it was the best car we’ve ever had. It was the best car we’ve ever had. And then towards the end of the season they changed the regs by cutting the floor out.

    W10 was way better in race trim than W11. Funny that it held the lap record of the previous Barcelona layout.

    1. The car improves year by year. But W05 was the most dominant by far, the one that stood so high above the competition they had to be sandbagging all the time to avoid lapping the whole field twice. After 2014 the competition closed the gap a little bit each year.

  19. I strongly believe the current engine freeze has contributed single constructor winning races thus far this season, without any competition challenging the front leader. Yes, kudos to Max and Red Bull, but we all knew that the traditional power houses – Ferrari and Mercedes, often rely on mid season engine upgrades, to boost their chances of winning. They aren’t strong on aerodynamic or chassis on relative, so that’s halting their chances of challenging…

  20. Ahhhh the great illegal red bull car….cheat prosper.
    Shame Mclarean, Ferrari, Merc did not have such talented accountants on their team – invaluable….”catering” lol

    1. They can hire those accountants, if failing to comply to the rules is what makes you desirable on the job market. Somehow I don’t see how that would help them build a better car though, since their upgrades fail one after another. Even Wolff wouldn’t make the comment you just made… And he is a comedian sometimes, not unlike Horner. They both need lessons in class and humility. I used to have respect for them both, but God, did they prove me wrong in the last few years… And they are the ones responsible for creating fans who think the way you do, for toxic atmosphere that still affects many (mostly in UK and The Netherlands though).

  21. Toto is the sulkiest whiniest individual in F1 … closely followed by LewSir.

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