Wolff reveals row with Ecclestone over social media

Bernie Ecclestone with Toto Wolff

Bernie Ecclestone with Toto Wolff

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has revealed that he had a long argument with Formula 1 Chief Executive Bernie Ecclestone over Formula 1’s conservative approach to new media.

Last month, Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo called for a meeting with the sport’s key stakeholders.

The common perception in the paddock is that Ecclestone, 83, is resisting the modern era of the internet, and so Montezemolo said the likes of Google and Apple should come along.

He also said representatives of “new media” and “social networks” could have some advice to give. Oddly in Formula 1, arch-rival Mercedes appears to entirely agree.

“I had quite a long row with Bernie in a meeting,” Wolff is quoted by the Guardian newspaper at Silverstone.

“We have lost 30 per cent of TV audience in Italy and we have lost some of the audience in Germany, although interestingly the UK is growing. Sure the (social media) model does not work yet as you cannot monetise it, but it is just a matter of time,” he predicted.

Mercedes’ championship leader Nico Rosberg also agrees, and told Speedweek at Silverstone, “We are here to entertain the people.”

“Social networks are a young, exciting and emerging media and an excellent platform to show the fans fresh perspectives of the sport. So we should take it seriously,” added Rosberg. (GMM)