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Wolff: Mercedes’ dominance is bad for F1


Mercedes’ Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff will consider letting drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg run their own races in 2016 if the team’s dominance continues into the new season.

Following the introduction of the new V6 turbo power units at the beginning of the 2014 season, Mercedes has enjoyed one of the most dominant spells of form witnessed in the history of F1.

The German marque claimed back-to-back constructors’ championships with record scores in 2014 and 2015, while Hamilton won the drivers’ title in both years ahead of Rosberg.

As impressive as Mercedes’ dominance has been, many claim that it has caused fans to switch off due to the lack of competition and predictability at the front of the field.

Speaking to British newspaper the Daily Mail, Wolff acknowledged that Mercedes’ success in F1 had caused it to become less popular.

“Our dominance is bad for Formula 1,” Wolff conceded. “It is. It makes the racing boring. It becomes predictable how the result is going to be.

“The sport needs multiple winners. It needs the odd freak result. It needs the underdog to win. The moment you become a dominant force, you suffer and your brand suffers. You become the dark side of the force.

“Our dominance is bad for Formula 1 and it’s bad for us, but what can I do? The only thing you can do yourself is stay humble, keep both feet on the ground, acknowledge that these are special circumstances and it might be different in the future and try to enjoy the moment.”

Mercedes has traditionally enforced strategic parity between Hamilton and Rosberg to prevent either driver from gaining an unfair advantage, refusing requests for changes mid-race on a number of occasions in 2015.

However, Wolff said that he is considering allowing Hamilton and Rosberg to run their own races in a bid to aid the on-track spectacle, relying that it did not impact on Mercedes’ final results and cost the team points.

“We are living in a world where people don’t want anybody to do well,” Wolff said. “It seems that we are feeling happier with the misery of others.

“That’s wrong. If you are happy with the misery of others, it is going to make you miserable, too. That comes back like a boomerang.

“This is still a competitive environment but I’d rather be inspired by somebody who does well. I would rather look up to him than envy him. Even my biggest enemy has a best friend.

“So I want the dominance to continue but if it were to continue like this, I need to think what to do so we do not become the enemy and how we can help the show.

“Maybe it’s about unleashing the two of them completely. Make them have their own strategy cars. That would be a solution.”

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.