Toto Wolf has been interviewed over Zoom by Formula 1 last week where he gave his opinions on the "Reverse Grid" and the new sliding scale aerodynamics testing rules. Up until now we have heard from various people about what Toto had said to them in the vote to bring in the Reverse grid idea and why Mercedes were not in agreement. Now this interview that Formula 1 have released he has shared his views on this.
Toto Said “First of all, there seems to be a common pattern in Formula 1, digging out old ideas that had been analysed thoroughly and rejected and then somebody thinks it’s great and it’s back on the agenda. Then you need to look at the reasons why we were against it and there are three fundamental reasons.
“I believe Formula 1 is a meritocracy, the best man in the best machine wins; we don’t need a gimmick to turn the field around and create more exciting racing. Number two, I know it from touring car racing, that strategies become a very useful tool when one race result is basically making up the grid for the next one.
“Just imagine one of the drivers not running well on the Sunday race of the first Spielberg weekend so you decide to DNF the car and that becomes the car that starts on pole for the qualifying race on the second weekend.
“If that car starts on pole for the qualifying race, among midfielders, then he’ll certainly be on pole for Sunday and win the race. There will be cars in the middle that will defend and block as much as they can and, therefore, for the cars coming from behind, there will be more risk for a DNF and that could influence the championship.
“Then from a pure performance standpoint, whoever has the faster car, not necessarily us, will be penalised towards the second and third quickest teams, because they will simply start in front. And, as we know, the margins are not very large, so, therefore, it’s a bit of an opportunistic move to give some teams an advantage.
“So, yes, it was us; we said this is not the time to experiment with things that, interestingly, didn’t even have the support of the Formula 1 fans’ community, because in a survey only 15 per cent expressed an interest in reverse grids.”
As of next year, all the teams will have new guidlines to follow when it comes to how long they can spend on designing their cars using the Computer Aided Design systems, plus a restriction on how many Wind Tunnel Runs they are allowed to have. This has been decided to close up the gaps between the teams so we can get closer racing.
Toto explained that Mercedes are behind the new Aerodynamic rules for several reasons.
“What has been introduced with the new ATR is a possibility for the lower ranked teams to slowly creep back in terms of development scope to where the leading teams are. It’s tiny percentages each year, so it is not going to make a big difference from one year to the other, but it is going to balance the field out after a few years,” said Wolff.
“I believe that if you are not good enough to win anymore then you have equal opportunity if you are second or third and you have more scope again than the world champions. I think it was done as a fine adjustment, not with a baseball bat. Reverse grids would have been the baseball bat.”