Wolff puzzled by lack of TV time for Mercedes

© XPB 

Mercedes motorsport chief Toto Wolff has said he's puzzled by how little TV coverage either of the team's drivers received during the Japanese Grand Prix.

"I wasn’t sure during the race where we were, I needed to look on the timing screens because you couldn’t see [our] cars on track," he said.

"That is somehow just a strange way of directing a race.

The world feed television pictures are provided by Bernie Ecclestone's FOM company, and coverage of the team during a Grand Prix weekend is vital for the sponsors who contribute millions of dollars to Mercedes to have their brands seen on the car.

There have been suggestions that Formula One's commercial rights holder is unhappy with Mercedes for refusing to enter into an engine supply deal with Red Bull Racing and is punishing them by reducing their on-screen visibility, but Wolff was sceptical of this.

"Always very difficult to please Bernie all the time," shrugged Wolff. "I need to find out.

"I can’t imagine this is done with a strategy because it would be clearly misrepresenting what is happening on track.

"Spectacular TV pictures are important and some of the shots were spectacular - there was some good fighting midfield and that is what the camera was on."

Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda has already said that the company was never seriously approached for an engine deal by Red Bull.

"I spoke to Bernie about this engine deal and it was very clear that [Red Bull owner Dietrich] Mateschitz never really approached us for the reasons he never really liked Mercedes from the past," he said, adding: "Bernie is not upset with us about the engine."

However, Lauda shared Wolff's concern over the lack of TV coverage this weekend and said that he will speak to Ecclestone about it.

"I was watching TV all day long, and funny enough I saw Saubers and a lot of Honda cars, but I don't know why," Lauda commented.

"Even the pit stop of Lewis, the leader, you only saw him driving out. You didn't even see if he changed his wheels."

Chris Medland's Japanese Grand Prix review

Renault signs Lotus takeover letter

"I'm joking. You can laugh as well" - Rosberg and Vettel's awkward exchange

Click here for the F1 drivers' girlfriends gallery

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter