Wolff: F1 must fix supermarket parking lot tracks

CIRCUIT PAUL RICARD

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says Formula 1 should learn from its recent experiences on classic European tracks to improve some of the less-exciting circuits on the calendar.

Unable to travel to several locations due to the COVID-19 pandemic this season, F1 has had to turn to tracks in Imola, Portimao, Mugello and the Nurburgring that, while popular with fans, have long been kept off the schedule due to the greater fees paid by race promoters elsewhere.

With the return of the less-popular circuits likely for next season, Wolff argues F1 should consider borrowing characteristics from the classic tracks to make them more exciting.

“I’ve always been very vocal about that I disagree with the direction we have taken on racing on oversized supermarket parking lots because it takes the factor of the driver, his skill, away,” he said. “Therefore I really like racing in Imola, I like racing in Mugello and the tracks where you really analyse [matters] if you make a mistake.

“I think we need to bring gravel back to make sure that when you’re flying off that you can’t rejoin without any damage to your car.

“I think you probably can adapt most of the circuits to that kind of standard but these classic and historic race tracks will always have soul and now you can say that from the modern circuits – Bahrain has a soul also because we’ve been in Bahrain a long time and these guys have been partners to F1 for a long time – but maybe we need to adapt the circuits in exactly the way I’ve described.

“Again, I am not a circuit designer, I am just giving you my feedback from an ex-racing driver and based on the TV pictures that I’ve seen from Mugello, Portimao and Imola.”

While some noise has been made about at least some of the 2020 “one-off” tracks returning in the future, the rumoured provisional schedule for 2021 already has a full 23-race calendar, with a street race in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia the only new addition.