Wolff slams 'opportunism and manipulation' by F1 rivals during lockdown talks

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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has slammed rivals for "opportunism and manipulation" as Formula 1 tries to reshape its future post-coronavirus.

Over the past two months, team bosses, the FIA and Liberty Media have been locked in talks to come up with solutions to the financial crisis that is set to impact the sport.

Some of the measures agreed to include a one-year delay of new cars until 2022, a reduction of the new budget cap from $175m to $145m and a new sliding scale of permitted windtunnel time for aerodynamic development based on a team's championship success.

Teams like McLaren and Red Bull had been pushing more extreme ideas, however, such as a $100m budget cap or allowing customer cars.


And the Mercedes boss has accused some of trying to use the current willingness to consider changes for their own benefit.

"I've been in the sport since 2009 with Williams and I've never seen so much opportunism and manipulation," Wolff told ESPN.

"There are sides of the sport that I question and, at times, the sport itself became background music and not the main act anymore.

"I've learned a lot about various people and, as much as I know that this is a highly political environment and everybody tries to gain a benefit, I would say that these past six months were the most political times in Formula 1 that I have been part of."

The most notable spat to break out was between McLaren and Ferrari over the budget cap, with the latter staunchly opposed to the sharp cut that CEO Zak Brown was proposing.

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During this time, however, Mercedes has been largely silent and Wolff admits he can't wait for the racing to bring an end to the current arguments.

"First of all, in a sense, it [the lockdown] was good because I didn't need to interact with certain people," he said.

"On the other side, you could clearly see that there were people that felt the need to communicate over the media.

"But in the end, you know, all that is irrelevant. Why we love the sport is because it all comes down to performance.

"Once the flag drops, the bullshit stops. And the bullshit is going to stop soon and then all these interviews and all these opinions become irrelevant."