Mercedes dismiss negative impact of Red Bull dominance
By Ian Parkes
Thursday 23rd March, 2023 - 3:30am
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has dismissed concerns Red Bull’s current level of dominance in Formula 1 will have a negative impact on the sport.
Since the introduction of new aerodynamic regulations at the start of last season, Red Bull has won 19 of the 24 grands prix.
It is akin to the start of the turbo-hybrid power unit era when Mercedes crushed the opposition, winning 63 of 79 grands prix, in particular, across the first four seasons from 2014-2017.
Wolff is naturally fully aware of how Red Bull’s superiority looks at present, and of the potential repercussions on a sport that has enjoyed sustained growth and popularity over the past few years.
Giving credit where it is due to Red Bull, Wolff said: “We’ve had those years where we were strong but it’s a meritocracy.
“Even if it’s not great for the show that the same guys win all the time, it’s because they’ve done a good job and we haven’t.
“We all hope for good entertainment, and it’s our duty – with all we have – to catch up and fight these guys.”
Mercedes to find Red Bull weaknesses
Mercedes continued to win constructors’ and drivers’ titles beyond 2017, although other teams – and power unit manufacturers most notably – did make inroads.
Red Bull especially, in tandem with engine supplier Honda, finally put enough pressure on Mercedes to win the drivers’ title with Max Verstappen in 2021.
Fans, though, may start to switch off F1 again if Mercedes or Ferrari, and Aston Martin given its growth, do not rapidly make inroads into the significant advantage enjoyed by Red Bull at present.
“We shouldn’t down talk it because I remember hearing voices like that in 2014, ’15, ’16, ’17, ’18, ’19, ’20,” added Wolff.
“What makes the sport so special is that you need to work hard to win, and you deserve it.
“Of course, we will try to do everything in our power to fight back, and we will look at areas of weaknesses they may have.
“But entertainment follows sport, which is maybe not good from the commercial side, but it is what makes Formula 1 so special.”
Red Bull could rule for next few years under cost cap
Unfortunately, Wolff cannot rule out Red Bull continuing to dominate F1 through to the next major regulation change in 2026 when new power unit rules are introduced.
The added issue is that F1 is now locked into the budget cap, ensuring teams are no longer able to spend their way out of trouble.
“There is a risk that this is the case,” remarked Wolff.
“But this is a cost cap world championship, a technical world championship, a sporting world championship.
“We will look at all angles in order to optimise our relative performance to Red Bull in order to give them a good run for their money and to not lock this in for the next two or three years.”