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F1 Russian GP: Mercedes could dominate under new regs, warns Wolff

Toto Wolff insists he doesn't want to retain the regulations to protect Mercedes' advantage, warns it could dominate more under the changes.
Toto Wolff insists his attempts to retain the current technical regulations is not rooted in a desire to protect Mercedes' current advantage, warning the manufacturer could end up even harder to beat if the proposals are passed.

Mercedes has dominated F1 since the current set of regulations were introduced in 2014, winning all but six of the last 41 races, in doing so occasionally exercising a mammoth margin over the chasing pack.

With F1 coming under fire for its perception for dull races, limited competition and cars that are not driven on the limit, teams are close to agreeing a revised set of regulations that will see faster, more aggressive machines in the hope it will improve the spectacle.

However, when Wolff suggested the competitiveness of the field will converge if the regulations remain as they are, he was criticised as attempting to ensure Mercedes sustains its advantage.

Wolff maintains this is on the contrary though, warning the strong set-up of the manufacturer means there is every good chance it could produce an even more dominant car as a result.

“My opinion was always that the longer you leave the rules alone, the field will come together and performance converges.

“It is clear other teams out there will be saying it is clear why Mercedes want to leave the rules as they are because we are doing well… it is actually the opposite. If we have a rule change, I think we have a good place with our structure that is roaring to do it again, so from that principle, we believe there is an inherent risk of the race being more boring.

Indeed, though Wolff says he can understand why certain teams want change to improve their fortunes, he agrees with several drivers' views that making the cars lap faster will not improve the racing.

“The car looks spectacular and wide – I can hide under the diffuser – and it is going to have much more downforce and go much quicker through the corners. Unfortunately it has an air wake behind the car that will make the problem bigger that we have this year.

“The moment you approach, you lose downforce, you start to slide the tyre, and it cooks the tyres and you can't overtake. Let's see what happens, I would prefer to stay where we are and I can understand some teams want to roll the dice. We have to take it as it is..”

by Ollie Barstow

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