Rivals cry foul at Mercedes romp

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, left, of Britain speaks with actor Arnold Schwarzenegger on the podium after winning the season-opening Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, left, of Britain speaks with actor Arnold Schwarzenegger on the podium after winning the season-opening Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
0
Have your say

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has urged Formula 1’s moaners to visit the Wailing Wall if they want their prayers answered on a change to the sport’s regulations.

Wolff was responding to the latest complaints from Red Bull team boss Christian Horner in the wake of Mercedes’ crushing start to the 2015 season as Lewis Hamilton spearheaded a one-two in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Horner was left to reflect on a frustrating day and the fear fans will turn off F1 after Mercedes’ domination of the race at Melbourne’s Albert Park.

After winning the constructors’ and drivers’ titles for four years from 2010-2013, with Sebastian Vettel at the helm, Mercedes have taken up the mantle of F1 powerhouse.

Having won 16 of 19 grands prix in 2014 to claim the constructors’ crown, and with Hamilton clinching his second championship, the start to the new year was a breeze for Mercedes.

Hamilton beat team-mate Nico Rosberg by 1.3secs, with Vettel third on his debut for Ferrari but 34.5secs off the pace.

Predicting “a two-horse race at every grand prix this year”, Horner has called on the FIA to act to prevent an F1 yawn, and he is fully aware of how his comments will be viewed given Red Bull’s success.

“When we were winning – and we were never winning to the advantage they have – I remember double diffusers were banned, exhausts were moved, flexible bodywork was prohibited, engine mapping mid-season was changed,” said Horner of the steps taken to negate his team’s performance.

“Anything was done and that wasn’t just unique to Red Bull, but Williams in previous years and McLaren, et cetera.

“Is it healthy to have this situation? The FIA, within the rules, have an equalisation mechanism and it is perhaps something we need to look at.

“Mercedes, take nothing away from them, have done a great job and have a good car, a fantastic engine, and two very good drivers.

“The problem is the gap is so big you end up with three-tier racing and that’s not healthy for Formula 1.

“The FIA have the facts and they could quite easily come up with some form of equalisation otherwise I fear the interest will wane.”

Referring to the fact Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger conducted the podium ceremony, Horner added: “The highlight for me was to see Arnie on the podium!”

Responding to the call for equalisation, Wolff said: “If you come into Formula 1, try to beat each other and perform at the highest level and then you need equalisation after the first race – you cry out after the first race – that’s not how we’ve done things in the past.

“Just get your head down, work hard and try to sort it out.”

Asked whether he feared another political season, Wolff replied: “It is always a political season. It was last year and it is this year. There is this wall in Jerusalem that you can stand in front of and complain. Maybe the guys should go there.”

Manor have avoided sanctions by the stewards after failing to take part in qualifying on Saturday. The South Yorkshire-based marque were asked for a written explanation for their non-participation as a potential breach of one of the FIA’s sporting regulations.

But having considered all the available material, the stewards have deemed Manor not to be in breach of the rules.