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Wolff urges F1 to analyse reasons for 'boring' Azerbaijan GP

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says Formula 1 needs analyse why last weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix offered fans little in terms of action and entertainment.

Save for the opening laps of the race led by poleman Charles Leclerc, Baku was another Red Bull fest, with Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen running away from their rivals and concluding their afternoon over 20 seconds clear of Leclerc’s Ferrari.

But up and down the field, close fights and wheel-to-wheel action were few and far between, which has led Wolff to suggest that Formula 1’s new generation cars are no longer fulfilling the promise of what the racing should be.

The Austrian suggests F1 investigate which elements of the sport’s rules are weighing on the competition and on overtaking.

“Today wasn’t a thriller,” said Wolff after the Baku race. “Just no overtaking, even with a big pace difference. It made it not great entertainment.

“We have to analyse the weekend with the sprint format, where there are positives that we can take out, but in the end it all comes down to racing.

“It needs the tough battles, and I think the highlight yesterday [in the sprint] was George [Russell] and Max [Verstappen] being able to battle it out. There was none of that today.

“Even if you are within 0.2 of a second, it is very difficult to overtake, nearly impossible to overtake, unless the other driver makes a mistake.

“We need to really look at it and how we can avoid a boring race.”

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F1’s drivers are increasingly in agreement that compared to last year’s designs, the 2023 cars present a greater challenge when it comes to following each other closely.

Yet Wolff steers clear of suggesting another wave of wholesale changes to F1’s regulations.

“I think after a race weekend like this we must not talk it down overall, and say that is the wrong direction and we need to change completely,” he said.

“It is more about understanding why was it not so entertaining. We had two cars that are sailing into the sunset on merit and then there’s a 20-second gap, and I wouldn’t know today between Aston Martin, Ferrari and us who is quicker.

“You are stuck where you are stuck and that is pretty much it.

“For us, it is about finding more data sets in the next races, see how this is going to develop and then maybe we need to adjust.”

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