Wolff: 2017 tech regs offer Mercedes’ F1 rivals ‘huge opportunities’

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Toto Wolff remains wary of the threat posed by Red Bull and Ferrari to Mercedes’ dominance in Formula 1, saying the change in technical regulations for next season offers them “huge opportunities”.

Mercedes has ruled over F1 since the last regulation change in 2014, winning all but seven grands prix raced with the V6 turbo hybrid power units.

Lewis Hamilton clinched the drivers’ championship in 2014 and 2015, with teammate Nico Rosberg finishing second both years, and they are once again embroiled in a two-way title fight this season.

Despite winning becoming almost second-nature to Mercedes in recent years, F1 boss Wolff still gets a thrill out of it.

“If you lose the emotion around winning, you also lose the passion for the sport,” Wolff told the official F1 website.

“We love motor racing because of the competition every single race weekend and we love to win.

“Of course, you could start a philosophical discussion: is the fear of losing bigger than the joy of winning? Or the pain of losing?

“Maybe for me personally, yes! But nevertheless, for three years I get good emotions around race weekends.”

Mercedes currently enjoys a 159-point lead at the top of the constructors’ championship over Red Bull, appearing to make a third straight title win a formality for the German marque.

However, Wolff is still concerned about the threat posed by Mercedes’ rivals – particularly in 2017.

“I am not aware that we have received the trophy for the constructors’ title yet,” Wolff said.

“We are sceptical people and believe that you haven’t won until it is mathematically over. Not one single day earlier.

“Looking at our competitors: the expectations for Ferrari are always very high, and living up to those expectations is a different matter. It needs time to develop, and many times it is not a steady upward trend but you also have setbacks.

“And probably after a strong 2015 season we see a setback for Ferrari this year. But I do believe that they are improving.

“And Red Bull clearly have a more competitive package as Renault has improved a lot, and next year the new regulations clearly give huge opportunities. So let’s see.”

SuperMotocross set to introduce Leader Lights beginning with the World Championship finals


In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.

Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.

Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.

The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.

“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”

Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.

SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.

When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.

SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.