Toto Wolff says the current Formula 1 grid penalty system looks ‘ridiculous’ and wants rule changes but isn’t hopeful of seeing any changes in the immediate future.

The Mercedes team principal saw his own driver Valtteri Bottas pick up a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change but vented his frustration at the engine penalties which he believes must inspire a rule change to stop F1 becoming a joke.

Fernando Alonso has been given a 35-place grid drop for the Japanese Grand Prix for using over the exceeded number of engine parts, the Spanish driver has notched up 140 grid place penalties for McLaren-Honda in 2017 so far, while Carlos Sainz and Jolyon Palmer are also starting from the back having been handed 20-place grid penalties respectively.

“I am not a fan of driver penalties, they look ridiculous,” Wolff said. “Here a McLaren going back 35 places feels odd.

“We have to think if we can come up with a system that penalises the driver less but still keeps an emphasis on not making the cost escalate – we don’t want to bring a new power unit to every race just because the penalty is not a sporting penalty.”

Despite Wolff’s calls for change, which is supported by many F1 team bosses and drivers, he isn’t optimistic for change having seen the issue stick around for a number of years.

“I’ve been here since 2009 and we’ve been talking about the same things all the time.”

 

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