Toto Wolff insists he is backing Stefano Domenicali

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has given his thoughts on a potential format change to F1's sprint weekends.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has insisted he is open to the idea of changes being made to Formula 1’s current sprint race weekend format, but has warned against a drastic overhaul and explained he would prefer a ‘conservative’ approach.

Discussions continue to take place over the schedule of F1’s sprint race weekend, with the first of the 2023 season set to take place in Baku at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

A new format has been proposed which would involve two separate qualifying sessions for the two races, resulting in less free practice time, but while most team principals have backed a change to the schedule, Wolff has admitted he is airing on the side of caution in order to protect the sport.

F1 heads to Azerbaijan at the end of April, and the Mercedes boss has spoken honestly on the proposed changes ahead of the weekend in Baku.

Want to work in Formula 1? Browse the latest F1 job vacancies

Speaking to reporters, quoted by, Wolff explained: “We all share the same objective: We want the sport to continue to develop well and grow its audiences. We just need to find a common denominator of what the best principle is.”

He added, admitting: “I’m more on the conservative side. I like qualifying, I like the grand prix, the great prize, but we have to also be open minded about where the sport is going to go and some of the sprint races have been fantastic.

“So whatever Stefano decides is good, I think he will have all the data on the table what is good for the audiences, what is good for the brand and then we just want to maybe try and tweak things without using a baseball bat, but with a Stanley knife.”

READ: ‘Rotten’: Ex-Ferrari boss slams Michael Masi for ‘robbing’ Lewis Hamilton in fresh rant

Article continues below

Discussing the effect the format changes could have on how the weekend might look, the Mercedes boss suggested ‘engine management’ and Pirelli’s current offering of tyres could prove problematic. He then insisted that it is ‘something that needs to be solved’.

Lewis Hamilton gave the Silver Arrows something to smile about at the end of a hectic race around Albert Park in Melbourne, punching in a second place finish behind only Max Verstappen, softening the disappointment of George Russell’s retirement after 18 laps.

Mercedes now sit ahead of Ferrari in the Constructor Standings heading into Baku, with their sights set on jumping Aston Martin in second place.