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“MotoGP shows how not to do it” - Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff skewers Sprint, can't work Google

Gold & Goose
Brad Binder, KTM Factory Racing, KTM RC16, Toto Wolff, Mercedes, F1 [credit - Gold & Goose]

Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 boss Toto Wolff has taken aim at MotoGP for the manner in which it has introduced its new Sprint Race format for the 2023 MotoGP season and tweaked the weekend format.

Introduced this year in an effort to turn around a decline in spectator numbers and TV audiences, MotoGP drew inspiration from both F1 and the WorldSBK Championship by adding a second, shorter race to the schedule this season, taking place on a Saturday.

Indeed, while many have accused commercial rights holders Dorna for too readily mimicking its four-wheel equivalent series, unlike F1, the revised format applies to all 20 rounds on the calendar. By contrast, F1 holds just six Sprint Races in 2023 and come with their own shorter qualifying session that applies to this race only.


Feedback from MotoGP riders has been mixed, with many enjoying having more opportunities to race and score points, while airing grievances about the increased physical impact and the importance now shown to the Q2-deciding Friday Practice sessions.

From the outside, however, the fast, often frenetic action has had a positive effect on spectator numbers with Dorna reporting a sizeable growth in Saturday attendance especially.

However, the format doesn’t have a fan in Wolff, who was asked for his opinion by Austrian publication Tiroler Tageszeitung during the recent Austrian Grand Prix weekend.

In response Wolff was honestly damning of the MotoGP Sprint Race in comparison to F1’s application, saying he finds it hard to understand… though it appears mostly because he can’t be arsed to use Google to check what time the races start.

“I can only speak for myself, but I strongly believe in traditions, therefore always knowing that the start of the race with on Sunday at 3pm.

“if the Grand Prix takes place in Asia, you have to get up early, if it takes place in the USA, you have to get up later…” opined Wolff, seemingly forgetting not everyone lives in Europe and he runs a team in a championship that this week literally announced two grands prix will be held on a Saturday in 2024.

“I follow MotoGP, I like it a lot (Ed: not convinced…) but there are so many things that I can’t understand,” he continued in defence of a sport that introduced the very clever, but mind-meltingly complicated and sensory apathetic V6 Hybrid powertrain.

Despite spending the last decade in the company of Lewis Hamilton most weekends, he continued: “On Saturday the rider complains, but on Sunday he is happy again. He can’t keep up anymore. 

“I really do not like it. MotoGP is showing how not to do it,” he concludes without there merest hint of irony, having forgotten it took nearly ten years for F1 to agree on adding a Sprint Race, only to then cripple the spectacle by making it a part-time occurrence that barely has any relevance on the championship.

So, MotoGP is showing how not to do it… it’s an opinion we’d level at F1 but we actually no idea what they’re doing from one round to the next, so it’s impossible to tell if they’re doing it right or wrong.

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