Surprising yes: Toto Wolff supports Red Bull’s engine demand

( – Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff surprisingly declared on the sidelines of the Grand Prix of Portugal (Formula 1 2020 live in the ticker!) That he would oppose the Red Bull demand, the further development of engines from 2022 would freeze completely, not crosswise.

Toto Wolff, Helmut Marko

Toto Wolff does not put any obstacles in the way of Red Bull when it comes to the engine issue



On Saturday the Austrian was asked whether he would be willing to agree to a so-called “engine freeze”, as Helmut Marko and Christian Horner recently called for. Surprising answer: “Yes.”

After the exit of Honda with only three engine manufacturers (Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault), Formula 1 is still “in good condition. But if we can keep four, […] then we should do everything we can to make it possible for Red Bull. “

The fact that Mercedes is so clearly willing to compromise on this issue without simultaneously making linked demands may seem surprising in view of the burdened history between Mercedes and Red Bull.

Wolff: “Understand where Red Bull comes from”

On the other hand, the Mercedes engine is currently the best power unit in the industry. Seen in this light, it is understandable that freezing at the stand at the end of 2021 would not bother Mercedes any more.

“I totally understand where Red Bull comes from. They no longer want customer status, they want to be a works team,” says Wolff. “And I understand that Red Bull does not want to get involved in an expensive arms race with the other manufacturers. It is a sensible suggestion that I support.”

Red Bull had previously allegedly threatened to withdraw the two teams from Formula 1 if engine development was not frozen by 2022. Because the “Plan A” of the energy drink manufacturer plans to buy the existing engine technology from Honda and then use the engines on their own as a Red Bull drive.

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But that only works if Red Bull can limit itself to producing and maintaining the engines. That could be done at the current Honda location in Milton Keynes with a manageable investment of funds. However, further technological development would mean a high use of resources. An effort that Red Bull cannot or would not afford.

“Red Bull is an extremely important brand for Formula 1,” emphasizes Wolff, “and we should do everything we can to keep the two teams in Formula 1 and to help them achieve factory status with both teams, so to speak. “

The topic will be discussed on the Monday after the race in Portimao at an engine summit for manufacturers with those responsible from the FIA, the world automobile association, and rights holder Liberty Media. Marko and Horner had preliminary exploratory talks with the other manufacturers at the Nürburgring.

Wolff is not afraid that Red Bull could drive Formula 1 ahead with the threat of leaving: “In Formula 1,” he puts into perspective, “everyone tries to negotiate the best deal for themselves. I can live with that. I don’t care whether to take a customer engine or continue the Honda program or do it myself. Any decision is okay with me. “

Why Mercedes does not supply engines

Only one thing he has already ruled out: Mercedes will not supply Red Bull with engines. Talks about it took place back in 2015, at the time between Niki Lauda and Dietrich Mateschitz, but they failed. The story about a handshake as a misunderstanding with consequences made headlines.

Photo gallery: Formula 1 technology: detailed photos at the Portugal Grand Prix 2020 in Portimao

At the beginning of 2016, Wolff then stated that he would not rule out supplying Red Bull with engines in the future: “Red Bull is a great brand, and from a marketing point of view there are points of contact between the two parent companies that could lead to good projects,” said he back then in an interview.

Wolff explains why this is no longer an issue: “At that time the idea was that Mercedes and Red Bull could work together in marketing. We were interested in the platform that Red Bull could have offered because it is a super cool brand and very innovative are in what they do. “

“I said to Christian at the time that we would at least consider working together if we managed to link the two brands and form an alliance. But that never came to a conclusion.” Especially since such a presumably would have impaled with the existing partnership between Mercedes and Monster Energy.

Today, according to Wolff, Mercedes’ rejection of Red Bull is simply because these power units are very complex. We are not in a position to expand at will. Therefore, at Daimler it is logistical and off From a cost perspective, it is not possible to supply Red Bull with a power unit. “

In addition, he explains, it is not attractive for a brand as a pure engine manufacturer from a marketing perspective to supply a team. “That is the reason why we bought a team. It is not a priority for us to deliver engines. We prefer to use them in our own cars and earn a little money with the classic customer teams,” says Wolff.

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