Wolff: Mercedes and other F1 teams simply need “to do a better job” to catch Red Bull Racing

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Within the ever-changing world of Formula One, the 2023 season will always be remembered as a year of continuous triumphs for three-time world champion Max Verstappen and his team, Red Bull Racing.

Securing an impressive 19 wins out of 22 races, the driver literally left his competitors far behind him. However, this dominance is leading many to question if the existence of a continuous and predictable winner will impact the overall appeal of the sport following massive growth in the last few years.

Photo Credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team

Speaking after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff shared his insights on whether Verstappen’s driving masterclass had taken a toll on Formula One’s fanbase.

Acknowledging the elephant in the pit lane, Verstappen’s record-breaking success, Wolff claimed that despite this dominance, the sport is growing more and more.

“The numbers that we are seeing, they are strong. We are growing on socials. We see races that are packed and sold out.”

Emphasising the interconnection between spectacle and sport in F1, Wolff claimed that “it is all around the spectacle. If the spectacle is not good, our fans are going to follow us less.

“The spectacle follows the sport.

“This is a meritocracy. Whoever is doing the best job wins. And if somebody is doing a much better job than everybody else, then they are winning 19 races. And you can’t stop that, as a matter of fact.”

The stats speak volumes. The RB19 left rivals like Mercedes and Ferrari scrambling to catch up. They must simply aim to “do a better job in order to compete with Red Bull Racing.”

The question remains: Is this a warning for the sport’s future?

With the season in the rear-view mirror, Wolff nodded to concerns about the risk of predictability within the sport but brushed aside the idea of waiting for a change. Instead, he noted that his own driver, Lewis Hamilton, had experienced a period of dominance within the sport.

“Of course, there is the risk that, you know, with a certain leg, people are gonna say, well, I know the result anyway, like it happened to us with Lewis, (for) many years. But you just got to do a better job. And I don’t want to wait until 2026.”

Of course, Wolff expressed his wish for a more competitive edge for the Mercedes team in 2024. Hamilton’s season had big ups and downs in qualifying, whilst George Russell struggled to find consistency in the car and made some costly mistakes in races.

The W15 needs to be more consistent in terms of balance and performance for the drivers.