Toto Wolff has commented on the “absurd” cost of grassroots racing, demanding it becomes more affordable for those from less privileged upbringings, however admits he sympathises with those from wealthy backgrounds.
It comes in the wake of Lewis Hamilton’s comments that called Formula One a “billionaire boys’ club”.
“For me personally, we live in a time when this has become a billionaire boys’ club. If I had to start over from a working-class family, it would be impossible for me to be here today. Because the other kids would have a hell of a lot more money,” he told AS.
“We have to work to change that and make this an accessible sport, for the rich and for people with a more humble background.”
And Wolff was inclined to agree with his driver, as the Mercedes team principal and co-owner slammed the budgets that junior racers now need to compete at the lower levels.
However, Wolff said he did sympathise with the likes of Lance Stroll and Nikita Mazepin, who have lived in the shadows of their family’s money, and will be “fighting their own demons” due to the negativity.
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“What makes the sport so attractive is that it provides a narrative for good soap [opera] outside of the racing too,” said Wolff, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“Drivers have always come from different backgrounds, and I think there is not always … everyone has his story, and things to cope [with].
“I doubt that kids from a more privileged background have it easy all the time. They are fighting their own demons.
“What I think we can do is make sure that grassroots racing becomes more affordable, so kids that haven’t got any financial background can actually be successful in the junior formulas.
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“All the big Formula 1 teams [need to be] able to identify those kids, rather than making it so expensive that a good go-karting season costs 250,000, an F4 season 500,000, and an F3 season 1 million.
“That is totally absurd, [and] needs to stop, because we want to have access. I think we need to give access to kids that are interested in go-karting, the opportunity to race for much more affordable budgets.”