F1 | US GP | Toto Wolff talks of FIA’s penalty system that forces the start from the back of the grid for an extra engine change: “It isn’t great but we haven’t got the solution.”
The Mercedes team principal talks about a problematic situation for Mercedes, which is facing an upcoming rival and some engines troubles but he keeps staying positive as everything can be solved.
Mercedes is not living its best moment in Austin. The German team had to change another engine on Valtteri Bottas’ car, causing him to be penalised and start once more from the back of the grid. Toto Wolff has to look for solutions, but he thinks that Bottas is not out of the game for now.
“Not yet, we lost performance on Friday to qualifying, - he explains to media present to the conference, including MotorLAT. - We don’t know yet where there is and we haven’t got the right explications yet, we haven’t even met our expectations ”
Actual regulations are clear: if you don’t make it to hold on for many races with the same engine, you have to start from the back of the grid. Such rules have to be looked up with a special regard, though, as no one wants to assist to a Formula 1 Championship to be decided by grid penalties and moreover, it is also a grey zone for some fans who could not understand it so quickly. Asked if he thinks that this regulation has to be changed and how, he says: - “I think that penalty system is challenging. Engine powers, to be regular, have to be built in a way that they performance only a few races, if you change the penalty system giving the penalty only to Constructors, it means that if you’re in a fight for drivers’ championship you could do it even if the engine is breaking up. I agree with fans, it’s confusing for the new ones especially. Engine penalty forces drivers to start from the back of the grid and it isn’t great but we haven’t got the solution.”
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It’s time to give a look at the future of the sport, as the end of the season is approaching quickly and the new regulations are coming. What are his views on the future now?
“Everybody is trying hard to pull the regulations together – the Austrian replies - We all agree in the sustainability project to move forward but what it needs to be defining it is an incumbency but the concept is that electricity is the future and we are moving forward with the discussion of the regulations but we’re not there yet.”
Austin is facing some big bumps on its asphalt and it is causing a large crack on some cars, especially on Verstappen’s and Perez’s.
“The car was bumping out, the bumps break the cars so we are working to avoid to break the car in order to survive the race, - he tells the media. - There is a compromise to make to be fast with the necessity to finish the race.”
Winning the race would be great for the battle in both Drivers and Constructors’ championship but if Hamilton doesn’t make it or lose the place to Perez, there would be another story.
“If you look at the full performance picture, Red Bull is stronger and on the paper they are ahead, with less DNFs but we have to decide tomorrow if we can’t fight with them. Thank God that’s not the case and there is ground, we still can deliver tomorrow.”