In the aftermath of the Saudi Arabia controversy, Toto Wolff has fired back at fans complaining over the locations of F1 events.
The organisation continues its pursuit of developing the sport across the globe by expanding its US offerings. In 2023, F1 will start bringing their iconic Grand Prixs to Las Vegas, Nevada. But as alluring as racing in the world’s entertainment capital is, the announcement has received backlash from the fans.
Racing enthusiasts have complained that this will mark the third American event in the calendar year. Due to the progressive expansion of the calendar by solvent partners, fans fear that F1 will abandon Europe’s classic race tracks.
Las Vegas would undoubtedly provide a spectacular setting, but enthusiasts don’t believe it’s worth the sport coming away from its routes.
What does Toto Wolff say about the new F1 calendar?
The Mercedes team manager has ultimately dismissed this looming issue.
As per Motorsport Total, he said: “I think Stefano (Domenicali, Formula 1 CEO) is doing an excellent job of striking a balance between new, interesting venues that are not only attractive from a financial point of view but also serve to attract new audiences to develop.
“It is fantastic that, in addition to Austin, two more venues in the USA have now been won. Especially in Miami and Las Vegas – it doesn’t get any better.
“I think most of the fans who follow Formula 1 on TV or social media really don’t care where we race. That’s my opinion.”
Wolff continued: “Baku isn’t a traditional race, but it’s a fantastic place. So it’s important for the fans, for the local fans, to race at these iconic locations. And you can see that here (in Melbourne): there’s great attendance.”
For a sport to grow, it is of paramount importance that they conquer as many different markets as possible. However, one of F1’s recent choices in location hasn’t gained them any positive publicity.
The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix received massive backlash
The 2022 season opened up in Saudi Arabia this year, and it hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Before the event, the safety of the drivers was brought into question after a serious incident.
Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for attacking an oil facility less than 10 miles from the Jeddah race track.
Their actions left the depot alight with clouds of dark smoke descending into the sky. But despite drivers voicing their concerns, the race went ahead regardless.
The Middle Eastern country has developed a poor reputation for its human rights record. According to The Express, the Saudi State executed 97 people in the two weeks leading up to the Grand Prix.
Featured Image Credit: Getty