In 2021, Mercedes controversially lost the Drivers’ Championship for the first time in eight years; Max Verstappen went head-to-head with Lewis Hamilton in one of the most dramatic seasons in Formula One history; Watch the Singapore Grand Prix live on Sky Sports F1 from Friday
By Nigel Chiu
Last updated: 9/12/23 at 2:04 PM
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff wonders whether Max Verstappen will matter in setting a new record of ten consecutive Grand Prix victories.
Toto Wolff has suggested that Formula 1’s 2021 regulations were designed to hurt Mercedes, which was one of the reasons they lost the drivers’ championship.
Mercedes entered 2021 on the back of Lewis Hamilton winning a record-equalling seventh world title, but quickly realized it would face a big battle with Red Bull and Max Verstappen.
In mid-2020, changes to the floor regulations were announced for the 2021 season which saw floor limits in an attempt to slow the cars and reduce downforce.
These changes appear to have hurt lower-wheel drive cars more, including Mercedes and Aston Martin. Hamilton controversially lost the drivers’ title on the final lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to Verstappen after a late-race safety car.
“We lost the 2021 Drivers’ Championship for many reasons. One of them was the final race. But we also lost it because those regulations were put in place in order to reduce the advantage we had,” Wolff explained.
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“2020 was a very dominant year for us. I think it was the best car we’ve ever had. Then, at the end of the season, they changed the regulations by cutting the floor and that was to stop us.
“We saw the results in 2021, we were not as competitive as Red Bull but at Silverstone we unleashed more of the car’s potential and put ourselves back in the championship. These regulations were aimed at resetting the hierarchy.”
Wolff: Formula 1 can’t be WWE
Take a look at some of the most dramatic moments that happened at the Singapore Grand Prix
Mercedes was the last team to beat Red Bull – at last year’s Sao Paulo Grand Prix – and since then, the Milton Keynes-based team has won 15 races in a row, an unprecedented number.
Verstappen is setting new records himself and is on his way to setting new standards for the most wins and podiums in a single season. He has already made history with the most consecutive wins by a driver and is looking to add to his 10 consecutive victories this weekend at the Singapore Grand Prix – Live Sky Sports F1.
Mercedes had its dominant seasons between 2014 and 2016, as well as 2020, when it was clearly in a league of its own.
Wolff says it is up to Mercedes to catch up, rather than change the rules to slow down the dominant team.
Speaking on the Sky Sports F1 Podcast, Nico Rosberg reveals the intense physical challenge the drivers face over the weekend in Singapore
“As a team manager, I don’t want to jump on the bandwagon that others have done in the past by saying: ‘We need to change the regulations because we can’t continue to have a dominant team,'” he said.
“If a team dominates the way Max did with Red Bull, that’s fair merit. That’s merit. As long as you stick to the regulations, the technical, the sporting and the financial, you just need to say ‘well done’. It’s over.” For us to catch up, and if it takes a long time, it will take a long time.
“I remember people complaining when it was us. Entertainment follows sports and not the other way around. We can’t be WWE, with scripted content. We don’t want to be scripted content.”
Max Verstappen had a weekend to remember last year in Singapore after a fuel-poor blunder in qualifying and an error-filled race that saw him finish seventh.
Live Singapore Grand Prix schedule on Sky Sports F1
Friday 15 September
10am: Singapore GP Practice One (session starts at 10:30pm)
1.45pm: Singapore General Training 2 (session starts at 2pm)
3.30pm: Formula 1 show
Saturday 16 September
10.15am: Singapore General Training 3 (session starts at 10.30am)
1:00 p.m.: Singapore Grand Prix qualifying preparations
2 p.m.: Singapore Grand Prix qualifying
3.45pm: Ted’s qualifying notebook
Sunday 17 September
11.30pm: Sunday Grand Prix: Preparations for the Singapore Grand Prix
1:00 p.m.: Singapore Grand Prix
3pm: The checkered flag: Singapore Grand Prix reaction
4pm: Ted’s notebook
Next up in the Formula 1 circus is the stunning streets of Singapore under the lights. All sessions from the Singapore Grand Prix will be broadcast live on Sky Sports F1 from September 15-17. Stream F1 on Sky Sports with NOW. Cancel at any time