“Bahrain Has a Soul” – Toto Wolff Annoyed With the “Direction” Taken By F1

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Owing to the coronavirus pandemic, F1 included some old-school tracks in its 2020 roster. It proved to be refreshing for everyone involved in racing, which included Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff.

Formula 1 are yet to release a provisional calendar citing the races and its corresponding days. Many have called on to include tracks such as Mugello and Imola, in the 23-races campaign.

Not just because it is aesthetically appealing in nature, but, also because enforcing track limits with grass and gravel traps ensures that drivers need to be capable of executing delicate moves.

Mercedes boss Wolff likes technical tracks such as Imola and Mugello

Mercedes boss Wolff concurs and stated, “I’ve always been very vocal about that I disagree with the direction we have taken on racing on oversized supermarket parking lots because it takes the factor of the driver, his skill, away.”

“Therefore I really like racing in Imola, I like racing in Mugello and the tracks where you really analyse [matters] if you make a mistake.”

Red Bull's Max Verstappen walks past the car of Honda-powered AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly after crashing out of the race
Formula One F1 – Tuscan Grand Prix – Mugello, Scarperia e San Piero, Italy – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen walks past the car of AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly after crashing out of the race Pool via REUTERS/Luca Bruno

Race tracks such as Nurburgring and Portimao also entered the frame in 2020. Quite a few drivers got their lap times deleted, and the in-depth analysis meant the room for error was quite less.

“I think we need to bring gravel back to make sure [when] you [are] flying off that you can’t rejoin without any damage to your car.” added Wolff.

Toto Wolff feels that F1 needs to adapt changes in track characteristics

A consideration for gravel traps should happen, because of the amount of run-off area available to the drivers. During the Russian GP, the asphalt runoff areas made it possible for drivers to rejoin the track.

Toto Wolff also feels that tracks like Bahrain have a ‘soul’ which adds a level of intrigue to racing. He also said that adaptation to old-school circuits like these might serve F1 in the best of interests.

Carlos Sainz and Lance Stroll During The Russian GP
Formula One F1 – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr. and Racing Point’s Lance Stroll in action during the race. Pool via REUTERS/Yuri Kochetkov

“Bahrain has a soul also because we’ve been in Bahrain a long time and these guys have been partners to F1 for a long time. But maybe we need to adapt the circuits in exactly the way I’ve described.” concluded Wolff.

Not to mention that standard painted tracks will make racing redundant to an extent. Therefore, it is only wise for F1 to consider mixing it up. And having a variety of circuits will only add an element of good racing.

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