Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monaco, 2018

F1 mustn’t over-react to dull races – Wolff

RaceFans Round-up

Posted on

| Written by

In the round-up: Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff has defended the Monaco Grand Prix following complaints about dull races at the circuit in recent years.

What they say

Wolff said F1 tends to over-react to the quality of races at the track:

Monaco in the past has provided spectacular racing simply because of how close you can race here and with the climate conditions changing, Safety Cars etc…

We mustn’t swing between depression and exuberance. This time it’s the depression again, next weekend we’ll have a good race and everybody [will be] falling into mania of how great the racing is. It’s just there are days like this.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Social media

Notable posts from Twitter, Instagram and more:

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Comment of the day

Daniel says Liberty Media need to take a lesson from American motorsport when it comes to running F1:

I think Liberty should take a look at what has happened to NASCAR over the past 10 years. Trying to reach new fans is a great idea but if you alienate your core fan base with gimmicks you’ll ultimately do more harm than good.

These changes fit that exact blueprint.

Fewer gimmicks, closer racing at reasonable prices for the casual fan and the viewership will increase and sponsors will flood back in.
Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Paradoxos, Jenny O’G and Saurabh!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is via the contact form or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

  • On this day in 1998 David Coulthard took pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

46 comments on “F1 mustn’t over-react to dull races – Wolff”

  1. Lorenzo to Repsol Honda and partnering Marquez!
    Would never have imagined that a couple of years back.

    I’m flipping a coin over attending the Berlin Formula E race or a European MotoGP next year, instead of another live F1 race.

    1. As someone who visits Spa (for various events) and Assen (MotoGP weekend) yearly, and has been to quite a few international racing events I can tell you that regards to experience if you like fast things moving on wheels on the racetrack the most fun events to go to are ranked as follows to me; If it wasn’t for the short duration I’d add WRX in there as well, and I’d rate it very close behind F1. If you go to a weekend where there is no GP3/F2, then F1 is behind WRX.

      WEC races > MotoGP races > Blancpain endurance events > Formula One events

      1. I hate to say it on a forum dedicated (formerly) to F1, but @flatsix has #nailedit on the order I would choose for the best in person experience for a weekend of racing.

        The WEC guys do SO much better at engaging and letting you enjoy yourself at the track compared to F1.

  2. F1 should be careful not pull a Kathleen Kennedy-Disney-Star Wars move.

    F1 should not alienate its core fan base, we are the ones that go out of our way and spend our cash to follow the sport in great detail. If F1 turns into a Snapchat Tweeting drifting doughnut competition, you can be assured that the hard core fans may turn off.

    MotoGP seems to be fine with regards to retaining and attracting fans. Since the start of this decade, I’ve spoken to more people who watch MotoGP casually compared to F1. A lot of people stopped watching F1 all together.

    Instead of looking for gimmicks, make the spectacle better, meaning make the racing closer and teams more competitive.

    1. Watch this:


      This echoes my comment:
      “what killed nascar? when they decided the hardcore fan was “disposable” and they wanted to shed their southern image and chase the “casual” fan in the major markets out west. and what a surprise they didn’t stay and the hardcore fans like i USE to be are long gone is the MAJOR reason. than you got the crappy single file racing with a car that is way to aero dependent. the non stop gimmicks. and the fact that no driver can have a personality and speak their mind. without nascar dropping the “actions detrimental to nascar” fine.”

      1. @jaymenon10
        This is definitely an insightful link, and it has taught me something useful: I never would’ve thought that ‘gauge’ is pronounced ‘gayge’ (and not ‘gawge’). I think I mightn’t have mispronounced it yet, so, thanks for sparing me future embarrassments!

      2. @jaymenon10, Good vid. confirms (if you analyse) my long-held view that the root of all evil is always the title-owners desire to take more and more of the revenue pie and in order to take more they try to reduce the teams cost to participate which invariably leads to standardisation under the guise of a cost cap. Imagine a future F1 when all the cars are Ferraris or Williams or whatever with only paint-jobs and names to differentiate them and no updates for 3-5 years till a new car is introduced to “excite” the fans, if there are any left.

        1. @hohum I mean we have Indycar and apart from living in UTC+7 I’ve got no complaints about it.

          Though yeah I wouldn’t beexcited of a GP1 either since one might as well ask why have 2 pinnacles of spec single-seater racing

    2. @jaymenon10

      Haha! I was thinking the exact same thing about Disney & their BS regarding insults to old fans & only caring about new fans of the new “progressive” generation. I’m saying this as a 34 year old.

      1. GtisBetter (@)
        6th June 2018, 18:34

        I don’t get this star wars paranoia people have, they made 3 good films and a whole lot of crap. Why are people still fans?

        1. GtisBetter (@)
          6th June 2018, 18:36

          That should say hysteria…. people get really angry about star wars, more so then about Verstappen.

  3. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
    6th June 2018, 0:50

    Thanks for COTD

    1. Indeed @collettdumbletonhall, thanks for the CotD, well written :-)

      1. A very insightful and to the point comment. I agree with you.

  4. Good COTD, :-)

  5. COTD is exactly right.

    Really fearing for the sport I love at the moment.

  6. I agree with both Toto and the COTD.

  7. Confused about Toto’s comments, most of the complaints about the boring race were coming from the drivers… Is it better they just shut up and be PR monkeys living in denial about how bad the racing is? I know I’d rather them speak their mind…

    1. It’s become an annoying trend though as any race that isn’t Murray Walker “FANTASTIC! INCREDIBLE! GO! GO! GO!” everyone fans and drivers moan and complains like it’s the end of racing. I remember Bahrain 2010 the first racing with no refueling and it was a dull race and everyone was crying ‘bring back refueling, the world has ended without it, we need it back for the action’ but guess what? Relax! 2010 was brilliant and F1 is better off without refueling. Everything is such a knee jerk reaction these days, it’s either the ‘Best race ever!!’ or it’s ‘The race was boring so change everything now, RIGHT NOW!

      1. I don’t think I heard even one driver say change everything, let alone right now.

        If anything Liberty are the ones going overboard wanting to change everything at once. Race formats, car regulations – aero and engine, financial structures, tyres… All as soon as they can once Bernie’s contract ends. I don’t think there’s anything they want to keep the same which is the exact opposite they were saying when they came in – that they would keep the fundamentals the same.

        1. Did I quote a driver?? Do you know what exaggerating for effect is? But if you read many of the comment sections from fans about the Monaco GP it wasn’t far off “The worst race ever”. I actually thought the race was tightly poised, as Murray Walker use to always say ‘Anything can happen in F1…….” but unfortunately nothing did. The most boring Monaco GP ever? it was not. And what the drivers do say of course is hyped up 300% by the media to often try to make a story where there often isn’t one, and that’s what happened.

          1. And what the drivers do say of course is hyped up 300% by the media to often try to make a story where there often isn’t one, and that’s what happened

            Not really at all, the drivers were pretty clearly annoyed in the bullpen after the race at how boring and easy of a race it was, how they didn’t feel the need to defend or push and were just cruising around. It’s not as if the media were fishing for those quotes. I clearly remember on multiple occasions the media mentioning how difficult of a race it is around monaco and how the drivers infact corrected them by saying it was an easy race. The media weren’t fishing for those quotes at all.

            This is what we want to see from drivers, not PR robot machines…

          2. And really the media have let the story of how bad Monaco was die really quickly, because absolutely nobody involved in F1 wants the story to be how boring and easy it is… Despite this nobody is really asking for a kneejerk change, just changes to tyres to let them push harder really. Yet Liberty are the ones that are kneejerking with grand designs for everything to improve the spectacle…

        2. I for whatever reason cannot reply to your lower comments in regards to mine as there’s no reply button to you comments. IDK? Not sure if it’s a temporary glitch or what. But you seem to be missing the points I’m making entirely (not sure if trolling) so I’ll stop wasting my time, you said you were confused about Toto’s comments in your first post maybe you should unconfuse yourself as I understood him fine and that’s what my comments refer to. I wish you well.

          1. Well it still confuses me because the points in your reply didn’t really address what confused me at all. Just talked about people kneejerking, which I responded to…

            The ones who instigated the depression he speaks about are the drivers, I’m still confused about whether he wants the drivers to just shut up or what?

            Glad it took you a paragraph to say you’ll stop talking though, top job 👍

        3. And you just made 3 points and said nothing, even better.

          Well done Champion :)

          1. Here, have some troll food.

        4. I wounder if this comment goes through? :) Mods don’t like me it seems.

          I was only trying to do you a solid bro and you turned it sour, It was a simple quote strange that you had trouble with it.

        5. The drivers haven’t said that but Liberty has, hence Toto’s response…

    2. Well yeah, I too prefer if they speak their mind, bit then they actually do, and I sit here thinking “well you should have kept your mouth shut”

  8. After being incommunicado for a few days while traveling, I come back to the rather unsettling news that Liberty seems to want to change pretty much everything.

    To me, there seems to be a perceived need to get rid of anything in sport that requires concentration, strategy and time and replace it with a quick thrill that I call cheap and nasty.

    F1 is rapidly becoming like Test Cricket which has been effectively killed off by the 20/20 abomination that was driven by media giants wanting to squeeze more “entertainment” rather than skill in.

    F1 used to be a gladiatorial test of driver and engineering skill, but with the driver aids, the sanitised tracks, and the restrictions on engineering. It is no longer and I suspect F1 2021 will be a bit like 20/20 cricket compared to Test cricket.

    By then I’ll probably be too old to really care and I doubt Liberty will care about any of us other than the ADHD millennials that can’t bear to watch anything that requires focus for more than 5 minutes.

    1. @dbradock – like you, I’ve used the 20-20 cricket comparison with respect to F1 (particularly talk of shorter races), and have always felt 20-20 was nothing but cricket p*rn. Although, at least in cricket we still have tours that allow for the longer format of the game!

      I recall seeing a Formula E race a few weeks ago, and while there were definitely interesting aspects to it, one thing that felt odd was just how quickly it was over. I didn’t have the feeling of a race unfolding as the laps went on, which is something I do like massively in F1. I’d go so far as to say many F1 races are almost like the three-act structure used in media – with the race start establishing the race and key players, the middle serving as the rising tension, and the end the resolution.

      1. Wait wait wait, you lost me, I thought p*rn was good??

      2. 20-20 is pretty popular in Aus. They have fireworks/pyro around the stadium going off when someone scores a 6, cheerleaders dancing for the bogans into that kind of stuff. Fan interaction by getting them to dance in the seats to music during breaks and showing them on the big screen, getting mexican waves going, stuff like that. The popular matches sell out which with 80k capacity at the bigger stadiums says a fair bit.

        I’ve met quite a few people that don’t like cricket that much but will go to a 20-20 match for the “spectacle” of it all. Not saying it’s right, but it’s worked for getting people in seats… I think that’s all that matters at the end of the day. They don’t have to get everyone being interested in following the sport and everything that happens. But they still need to get enough casual viewers watching those ads and showing up to the race to keep the whole machine running.

        1. @skipgamer – Indian here, so yeah, I can also attest to the popularity of 20-20 getting rears into seats, what with the fireworks and dancing girls adding to the ‘masala’, as we put it.

          I think we should also call out a few distinctions between 20-20 and F1’s potential new direction. 20-20 has massively superseded one-day matches, because it cuts down a match duration from an entire day to about 2 hours. OTOH, F1 is already hovering around the 2-3 hour mark (depending on whether one includes or excludes qualifying). The timing of 20-20 matches also makes a difference – by moving it to evenings, it means people can actually complete a day’s work and watch a match, which is not a concern given F1 falls on Sundays. And finally, ticket prices are still a big differentiator, both in terms of base price, as well as associated costs like travel/accommodation, considering stadia are in cities, while circuits often aren’t.

          It’s interesting to note that Liberty are talking about different formats, while not really raising the point of ticket prices, since that in turn ties in to hosting fees. If Liberty wants to attract casual fans, they need to make prices more accessible for their casual fan to decide “oh, well, maybe this Sunday I’ll take the family to see F1”.

  9. Hi,

    I think we should distinguish two things regarding the last F1 race. First, it is expected — and not a problem in my opinion — that there would not be lots of passes at Monaco and we end up seeing a long procession. Second — and this is a big problem to me — it is not normal to spend the race seeing pilots not piloting but merely driving at a comfortable pace.
    I never minded seeing two drivers staying close to each other for 30 laps with no passing at all, if they are at the limit: each lap is then a show. This is where the big thing lies according to me: whatever the pace (within reasonable limits),
    if we watch these top pilots racing at the limit for 60 laps then it’ll make our day. But watching them getting bored at a comfortable pace, this is dull.
    I think this is what SCH and ALO referred in the past, for instance when the former said: is a soccer game dull whenever there’s no goal? Is a soccer game great whenever the score is 8-3?

    1. referred *to* in the past

    2. @js, spot-on, big wings and crap tyres are the main culprits.

  10. Well if mister Wolff didn’t put one particular order we could’ve seen at least one real overtake.

  11. Does anyone know more about this new track development in Rio? Is it something local people might be looking forward to? Is it a real initiative or just pie in the sky?

    The layout itself doesn’t seem great for something like F1, but I guess Rio could certainly do with a track for at least local competition!

    1. @bascb from the link the project was submitted to the local government for approval, the funds are 100% private (this is important to mention considering the country is Brazil, a lot of controversy has sparkled there due to private/public institutions, if there is someone from Brazil, I’m sure they can shed some light into that, I know Petrobras was making the news because of it, they sponsor McLaren btw) the proposal was presented by a group of companies, Crown Consulting, CSM, B+ABR Backheuser e Riera and the infamous Tilke Engineers & Architect.

      It is schedule to start construction in 2019 (more precisely, they say they could start in 2019). Currently Rio doesn’t have a circuit, the Autodromo Nelson Piquet was deactivated for the Olympics, you can see in one of the pictures the circuit being mutilated for the construction of a stadium. Motorsport in Rio de Janeiro has been struggling for quite a long time now, with kart facilities vanishing and circuits being dismantled (the Fittipaldi oval was destroyed to make place for an aqua park)

      They say they want the track to be FIA level 1 to stage both F1 and MotoGP. Important also to know that Interlagos faces serious problems currently, there is no funds to run properly the circuit and they might lose their place in the calendar, meetings are being held in order to solve Interlagos circuit’s issues (side note, Barrichellos is involved with this). The involvement of Herman Tilk has been taken as a special boost for the project, as it gives credibility to it.

      All this is from the link, the Interlagos info is also mentioned in another article of the same website

  12. Liberty seems to be suffering from a very current syndrome: first, set some magical target of profitability and then, second, tailor whatever it is you’re selling to make it a little bit of everything for everyone, rather than concentrating on genuine quality. F1 is still a sport: make the sporting side of it healthy and the rest will follow. in DRS we already have an example of how a patch to cover up a fundamental flaw becomes seemingly indispensable. Most of what we’ve heard from Brawn has been relatively sensible, but the changes floated by Nielsen are just marketing smokescreens to cover up basic problems.

  13. Easy for Toto to say that. He’s a dull person already.

  14. Just as in life in general people in F1 can sometimes have short memories and over react, the growth of the internet and of social media seems to have made this worse, if someone has a couple of good races they are a future world champion, if they have a couple of bad races they should be sacked, just look at the reaction to Verstappen’s form this season in comparison to his performances from the last few years.

    There will always be good and bad races in F1, it is inevitable, just like not every football match is a thriller.

    I personally believe that any circuit is capable of delivering a good or bad race given the right circumstances and conditions on the day, even Monaco has produced entertaining races in recent years however it is one of those circuits where it is more likely than not to be a dull grand prix.

    Unless the main factor you cared about was who won the race, the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix was a boring race, but it should not have been a surprise to anybody, it would be like going to watch a football team with a reputation for negative and defensive football and then acting surprised that they did not play open and attacking football.

    The only thing which seemed different this year was that the drivers were driving a few seconds off the pace to preserve their tyres, so even some of the drivers were not excited by the challenge of driving Monaco flat out.

  15. The majority of sports events are not thrillers! Most of sports events/races are ordinary, with very little drama. They should be appreciated for the displays of skill, strategy, etc, even if there is little drama. Yet, there seems to be an escalating disease of immaturity in recent times where everyone expects every event to be historic. If the game disappoints, they’ll hype it to the skies to make themselves feel important: “ZOMG best game/race EVER!”; “He won by 4 secs – my mind melted!”. Groan.

Comments are closed.