Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff has called for greater regulation of cryptocurrencies, following the bankruptcy of team sponsor FTX.
The cryptocurrency exchange company had prominent branding on the Mercedes W13 and driver race suits, but the eight-time Constructors' Champions removed all FTX logos ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix after FTX filed for bankruptcy on 11 November.
Discussing the firm's collapse, Wolff expressed his disbelief and said the sector needed greater regulation to avoid such instances in future.
"It's difficult, because we all know that crypto has relevance," Wolff told media, including RacingNews365.com.
"I strongly believe in blockchain as a way of transactions in the future, but the situation is very unfortunate.
"We considered FTX because they were one of the most credible and solid, financially sound partners that were out there, and out of nowhere, you can see that a crypto company can basically be on its knees and gone [in] one week, and that shows how vulnerable the sector still is.
"It's unregulated, and I believe it needs to find its way into regulations, because there's so many customers, investors, partners like us that have been left in utter disbelief [as to] what has happened."
Viewed by others:
Several crypto sponsors in F1
Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto also waded into the debate, saying that F1 needed to tread carefully around cryptocurrencies.
"Certainly, it’s something which we need to take care and be careful [with]," Binotto said I response to a question from RacingNews365.com.
"Monitoring is the only thing we can do at the moment. It’s very difficult to know and to predict, so we are monitoring for what is related to our situation. But so far, everything is stable and not an issue," added the Italian, whose team counts blockchain network Velas among its premium partners.
Several other F1 teams also benefit from significant crypto-related sponsorship. Red Bull signed a record-breaking deal with Bybit ahead of the 2022 season, while Alpine are sponsored by crypto exchange firm Binance, and Aston Martin enjoy support from Crypto.com – an F1 corporate sponsor and naming rights holder to F1's Sprint races.
F1 Podcast: Is Binotto's position under threat?
RacingNews365.com F1 journalists Dieter Rencken and Michael Butterworth discuss the key issues from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, including whether Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto's position is at risk.