Toto Wolff believes F1’s power unit grid penalties have become “too complicated”, although he agrees there must be a deterrent to prevent an arms race.
The recent Italian Grand Prix brought the PU penalty system into the spotlight as nine drivers were punished for their teams’ failure to manage the prescribed limits.
The result was confusion among teams, drivers, fans and media over who was lining up in what position until the FIA finally released a provisional grid four hours after qualifying ended.
Asked about the necessity and complexity of the current system, Wolff said: “We have to remember why we have this.
“On the chassis side, we are capped. We weren’t capped before. On the engine side, we are not capped yet.
“If there were no grid penalties, we would have qualifying engines – not five but 20.
“Big teams would spend whatever they want to have an advantage and that’s why there has to be some factor that prevents that. That’s where it comes from.”
On whether the penalties had become too complicated, Wolff added: “Of course. We have to reconsider when the engine plug kicks in.”
“But still, we don’t want an arms race to be brought to the engines, because whatever freedom they give us, we will do it and we will do it even more strategically.
“If it’s only five or ten places, we’re going to blow an engine every race because it’s going to be three tenths [of a second] faster than the previous one.
“So there has to be some deterrence.”