Wolff agrees in principle with Marchionne's concerns

Toto Wolff (AUT), Mercedes F1 Team Business Executive Director

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is on the same page as Ferrari's Sergio Marchionne when it comes to voicing the manufacturer's concerns over the future of Formula 1.

As the sport undergoes a heavy transformation under the guidance of new owners Liberty Media and prepares for the introduction of a new regulation platform in 2021, F1's manufacturers cast a wary eye on the company's initial proposals.

Marchionne's worries have prompted the Ferrari boss to issue a quit threat, saying in no uncertain terms that he could pull the Italian manufacturer out of Grand Prix racing if the interests of the House of Maranello and F1 diverge.

While he offered a more measured response, Wolff understands his rival's stance and expressed a few worries of his own.

"Sergio is pretty outspoken and straight, and he comes to the point," Wolff said in an exclusive interview with ESPN.

"He says that he wouldn't accept certain things and it's his way of dealing with things - and in principle I share his opinion.

"I have said it in Abu Dhabi that we love Formula 1, we are in here to stay but it needs to have the right framework - governance framework, regulatory framework.

"It needs to be managed in the right way and we will voice our opinion if we think things are not going in the right direction."

Officially, Marchionne's main bone of contention is centered around F1 "dumbing down" its technology in the future through the use of less sophisticated engines which could incorporate standardised parts in a bid to reduce costs and attract independent engine manufacturers.

But Formula 1's plan to introduce a budget cap and substantially alter the distribution of prize money among the teams after 2021 has also perhaps struck the most sensitive chord among the front-running outfits.

"Well that's the elephant in the room," Wolff admitted.

"That's the most important topic after 2020. It is clear that we need to find a structure that works for everybody. Some of the smaller teams struggle on the income side.

"We are not against a cost cap as long as it can be policed in the right way and it has a sensible system [of introduction].

"We are not going to cut our workforce by 30 per cent from one year to another and we are not going to give up a performance advantage that we have lightly, so there needs to be something on the other side."

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

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