SPIELBERG, Austria: Nico Ros¬berg had much to celebrate after beating Lewis Hamilton to win Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix, but his Mer¬cedes team boss Toto Wolff admitted afterwards that his team’s domination was not good for the sport.
After a weekend of mounting speculation about Formula One’s problems, Wolff conceded that Mercedes’ comfortable supremacy at the front of the pack was not good for business.
“In terms of the spectacle, a team winning over a long period is definitely detrimental,” he said. “We have seen that with the six years at Ferrari in the early 2000s.
“We have seen that with Red Bull four years in a row. So it is the second year for us. It doesn’t help the show, that’s clear.”
Wolff spoke after seeing Rosberg deliver a flawless drive to claim the 11th win of his career and reduce defending two-time champion Hamilton’s lead in this year’s title race to 10 points – and after Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz threatened to withdraw in frustration.
“You do have to see the bigger picture of Formula One,” said Wolff. “We do not say ‘We are winning and nothing else in our sport matters.’ Is it good that one team wins regularly and slightly predictably? No, probably not.
“We all have to get together and decide how we want to improve the situation.”
Red Bull’s disappointment in not only the quality and power of their engines supplied from Renault, but the current state of F1 with its plethora of penalties and complex regulations was clear throughout the Austrian weekend.
On Sunday, the Japanese carmaker’s president Taka¬hiro Hachigo was at the Red Bull Ring to see Fernando Alonso crash out in a collision with Finn Kimi Raikko¬nen of Ferrari on the opening lap and Jenson Button, who was handed a 25-place grid penalty, retire after eight laps.
Hachigo left it to his F1 deputy Yasuhisa Arai to insist Honda will not pull out. “They believe, the chief executive and the board members, that we need time to win and it is a long-term vision,” he told reporters.
Red Bull clearly do not have that much patience.
In response to their quit threats, Ferrari reminded them that you cannot win all the time and then offered them a supply of engines – an offer that Red Bull team chief Christian Hor¬ner said could not be considered until issues with Renault are resolved. A revamped power unit is planned.