Wolff: Engine convergence would be the beginning of the end for F1

Toto Wolff

A mechanism to ensure F1 engine performance is equal across the different suppliers would be disastrous for the sport, says Mercedes boss Toto Wolff.

Part of Ferrari’s change in stance to support Red Bull’s request for a freeze on engine development from 2022 onwards, the Scuderia is asking that any engine supplier still struggling after that date would be allowed to catch-up.

However Wolff, whose Mercedes were initially the only team to side with Red Bull, says such an idea has no place in the sport.

“I think this would be the beginning of the end [for F1],” he told reporters after qualifying in Bahrain. “The power unit is not only measured by the sheer max power, but it is subject to drivability, to weight, to cooling, and introducing a simple formula that fits all isn’t possible.

“It’s not something that Mercedes would endorse.”

Recalling the much-maligned token-spending system for engine development from 2014-16, Wolff said it would only be ‘a humiliation’ for any team relying on a convergence system to catch-up.

“We had a token system in the past when the regulations came out, and because some of our colleagues wished the tokens to be removed in order to catch up, we agreed to a removal of the tokens [after 2016],” he explained.

“Now some of our colleagues come back with a system of convergence, which honestly said, it is bit of an insult.

“When you look at the last few years, and the development of performances in the engine, Ferrari was clearly the most powerful engine in 2018, and by far the best in 2019. And we developed our engine, we continued to push the boundaries, and we brought something to the track in 2020 that we were hoping would catch up.

“That’s why I cannot comprehend that any car manufacturer that trusts in its abilities to develop a power unit and a chassis would want some kind of mechanism that would balance the power units out.

“I don’t think anybody would accept such a humiliation in public.”

Additionally, Wolff warned that it would only detract from discussion of the sport, and lead suppliers to try and game the system.

“I’ve seen it in DTM where weights were introduced based on your performances, and the only thing we heard after qualifying was ‘well I would have qualified on pole if I wouldn’t have had 5kg in the car’,” Wolff said.

“That was the whole narrative of the DTM seasons.

“Formula 1 must stay very, very far away from that, or we end up [like] in GTs where you design power units for the sole topic of manipulating the system.”