Toto Wolff sees Formula 1 as more popular than ever and believes the title fight between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton certainly contributed to that. The Austrian believes that the new rules for 2022 will also ensure a more exciting competition picture within Formula 1.
“Over the past year, it has become clear that we are attracting a younger audience,” says Wolf in conversation with him. Cars, engines and sports. “I’ve become her fan base.” The 50-year-old Mercedes team boss says Netflix has played a huge role in the popularity of Formula 1. “The personalities that are involved in this sport are suddenly very exciting for people who have never followed the sport before. It has opened up a new target group for us.
Wolff: F1 has clearly benefited from this
It was previously announced that the weekend at the US Grand Prix was the best weekend ever. There were a total of 400,000 spectators spread over the entire weekend. This might have something to do with the Netflix series campaign to survive. Of course, the title fight that Verstappen and Hamilton fought is also the catalyst for the huge popularity that Formula 1 now knows. Wolf also sees traces of the title fight: “This duel has certainly aroused interest again. It is clear that Formula 1 has benefited from this.
Wolff is also already eyeing the future of Formula 1. He doesn’t think the popularity of Formula 1 will wane any time soon. “The sport is hip, the interest is huge and the reach is greater than ever. We have a second race in the US in 2022 and possibly another in 2023. All signs point to a positive future. The new rules should also ensure that tension in the sport increases again. For example, teams will have to work under the budget ceiling and cars will be more equal to each other due to the new regulations.
The balance between the teams will not be achieved until after a year
However, there is still the possibility that some teams will understand the regulations in the first year better than others. So Wolf is not surprised if there are differences between the two teams during the first year with the new rules. “The budget cap will equal many things. If someone finds a loophole, other teams will copy it. In the first year, there will still be differences, but then it will be balanced. No team will be one second faster than the others.”
At first, the big teams weren’t excited about the budget cap. They saw their interest disappear. “Of course the big teams weren’t happy with that,” says the Austrian. But Formula 1 has turned into an arms race between us, Ferrari and Red Bull Racing. Now everything will be more balanced. I think in the future there will be five or six teams that can win and that will be good for the sport as well.”
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