Toto Wolff: Nothing is won yet


Mercedes insists that rival Formula 1 teams are getting ahead of themselves in claiming that the Brackley-based outfit is in a league of its own based on its early testing form.

A number of drivers, including Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, have claimed over the last few days that early evidence from Barcelona suggests Mercedes may have a bigger advantage this year than recent campaigns.

But despite welcoming the praise from the opposition, Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff is still wary about his team’s chances because the true pace of other frontrunning contenders has not yet been seen.

When asked by for his reaction to comments that Mercedes is in a different league, Wolff said: “If drivers say that, it is flattering. But it doesn’t win us races. It is still early days and it is pre-season testing.

“But I don’t want to under-value what we did. If we compare 2016 to 2015, and 2015 to 2014, considering that the regulations are stable and we have optimised around the regulations and the cars are more reliable, everybody is doing more laps.

“I have the feeling that it was the best season start we had in the last couple of years. But again, we haven’t seen what the [other] front-running cars are capable of extracting performance wise.

“We haven’t seen the Ferrari. We haven’t seen the Williams. We haven’t seen the Red Bull. Let’s stay feet on the ground and see where we end up on Saturday afternoon in Melbourne. This will give us more indication.”

Good start

Although not wishing to make any firm predictions about Mercedes’ potential, Wolff is clear that the impressive reliability shown by his team does put the team in good stead for the campaign ahead.

“I’m definitely happy with the amount of laps that we did,” he explained. “It is an achievement of the team that we fulfilled these plans.

“When we discussed these plans a couple of weeks ago, the first time I was actually sceptical if that would be achievable. And we achieved it.

“Doing this amount of miles gives you a great opportunity to tests systems and various components, collect data, try set-ups and all that. So it is going to play a crucial part in the season.

“We have seen that the better you come out of the blocks, the more miles you collect at the beginning, and the more it helps you through the season.

“So I am carefully optimistic that it was a good start and shows that our preparation was right. But is it going to make us win races easy? No. That is a completely different topic.”


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