Mercedes head admits: Domination not good

Mercedes' supremacy has made the F1 title race too predictable, and drama occurs only in crashes such as the one between Alonso and Raikkonen at the Austrian GP.
Mercedes' supremacy has made the F1 title race too predictable, and drama occurs only in crashes such as the one between Alonso and Raikkonen at the Austrian GP.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

SPIELBERG (Austria) - Nico Rosberg had much to celebrate after beating Lewis Hamilton to win Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix, but his Mercedes 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 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.

"It doesn't help the show, that's clear."

Wolff spoke after seeing Rosberg claim the 11th win of his career to reduce Hamilton's overall lead to 10 points, and also after Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz had threatened last week to withdraw in frustration.

"You do have to see the bigger picture of F1," said Wolff. "We all have to get together and decide how we want to improve the situation."

Red Bull's disappointment lies not only in the quality and power of their engines supplied by Renault, but also with the state of F1, with its plethora of penalties and complex regulations.

Sunday's grid saw Daniel Ricciardo and his Red Bull team-mate Daniil Kvyat demoted to the back of the grid with a 10-place penalty for engine changes.

That left them ahead of only the McLaren-Hondas of Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso, both of whom appear to change their engines at every race.

On Sunday, Honda president Takahiro Hachigo was at the Red Bull Ring to see Alonso crash out in a collision with Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari on the opening lap and Button retire after eight laps.

He left it to his F1 deputy Yasuhisa Arai to insist Honda will not pull out, saying: "The chief executive and the board members believe that we need time to win and it is a long-term vision."

Red Bull clearly do not have that much patience. In response to their quit threats, Ferrari reminded them that they cannot win all the time and then offered them a supply of engines.

It is an offer that Red Bull team chief Christian Horner said could not be considered until issues with Renault are resolved. A revamped power unit is planned.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2015, with the headline 'Mercedes head admits: Domination not good'. Print Edition | Subscribe