Mercedes admits pressure to deliver an F1 championship assault

Mercedes is under pressure to deliver a full-on championship assault this season after doing so well in 2013, reckons its motorsport boss Toto Wolff

Mercedes admits pressure to deliver an F1 championship assault

The German car manufacturer won three races last year as Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg helped guide it to second place in the constructors' championship.

And it is that level of progress - ahead of a major rules overhaul that is set to favour the works teams - that has left its bosses expecting even more in 2014.

Wolff, who is now running the team with Paddy Lowe following Ross Brawn's decision to step down, concedes that the Brackley-based squad must not do worse than it did last year.

"No, we cannot afford that," said Wolff in an exclusive interview with AUTOSPORT.

"If we had finished fourth or third, people could say there will be an evolution before being world champion.

"But now the expectations are very high, and we have to manage those expectations because winning a world championship is not an easy task. It is very difficult.

"It is different to winning races because you have to put everything together. But can we honestly say that we are a contender for the world championship? No."

Wolff thinks it vital that Mercedes must not let itself get either too bullish or too downbeat about its prospects, as both approaches could hurt it.

"Optimism is always dangerous," he said. "You have to be a pessimistic optimist.

"The general tendency has to be pessimistic. You have to not take it for granted that it is going to happen. But also you must not make your life bad by being too pessimistic.

"What I can see is the effort, intelligence and resource being put into the engine development and powertrain development - and I believe that the right things are being done.

"Now do I know what Ferrari and Renault are doing? No. I am sure they have intelligent people and they are doing good work there as well. It is all crystal-ball reading."

Although paddock speculation has pointed to Mercedes starting the season with the best engine, Wolff is not so convinced that matters will be so clear cut.

"We don't know. It is all based on rumours and gossip, and can you fundamentally rely and make an opinion on what A has said to B, when probably both of them have no clue!

"I remember from Viry, and from I have seen at Maranello, that these guys are no fools. They are very intelligent people working very hard and I doubt one engine manufacturer is going to have a massive advantage."

shares
comments
2013 F1 crown was 'never on' for Mercedes - team boss Toto Wolff
Previous article

2013 F1 crown was 'never on' for Mercedes - team boss Toto Wolff

Next article

Ferrari chief di Montezemolo doubts cost cap can work in Formula 1

Ferrari chief di Montezemolo doubts cost cap can work in Formula 1
The pioneering pair who brought a new glory era to an F1 heavyweight  Plus

The pioneering pair who brought a new glory era to an F1 heavyweight 

With the team’s founder now retired and a new boss at the helm, change was coming to Brabham – change that would shape the future of Formula 1. In the third part of our four-part history of Brabham, DAMIEN SMITH examines the effect Bernie Ecclestone had on the team

The combination behind the Silverstone racing battles Hamilton called "F1 at its best" Plus

The combination behind the Silverstone racing battles Hamilton called "F1 at its best"

OPINION: The late battling in the British Grand Prix wowed Formula 1 fans and surely represents the best racing action of the season so far. And there was a cocktail of factors that created the action, from which Carlos Sainz emerged as a popular new winner

How Ferrari’s Monaco headache became its Silverstone migraine Plus

How Ferrari’s Monaco headache became its Silverstone migraine

OPINION: Ferrari won the British Grand Prix with Carlos Sainz, but it ultimately cost Charles Leclerc a chance to make a bigger dent in Max Verstappen's title lead by leaving the Monegasque out on old tyres towards the end. Like Monaco, indecision over strategy proved to be the Scuderia's biggest issue - and if the team doesn't reflect, the headache can only intensify

Formula 1
Jul 5, 2022
The five factors behind Sainz winning a British GP he’d twice lost Plus

The five factors behind Sainz winning a British GP he’d twice lost

Formula 1 has a newest race winner, in a grand prix the victor appeared to have lost twice, only to charge back to headline a sensational and dramatic British Grand Prix. From a massive start crash to a late sprint finish, here’s how five factors saw Carlos Sainz take his maiden grand prix win

Formula 1
Jul 4, 2022
Why there was no case to answer in Aston’s latest F1 copycat saga Plus

Why there was no case to answer in Aston’s latest F1 copycat saga

The appearance of a revised Aston Martin in Spain caused controversy but PAT SYMONDS explains why the FIA investigation found the Silverstone team had no case to answer

Formula 1
Jul 3, 2022
Why it's Red Bull that really leads a three-way fight so far at Silverstone Plus

Why it's Red Bull that really leads a three-way fight so far at Silverstone

After a slow start to Friday at Silverstone, all the Formula 1 teams had to effectively cram in a day’s worth of practice into one hour. But there was still plenty to learn and while Ferrari topped the times, a three-way battle is brewing ahead of the British Grand Prix

Formula 1
Jul 2, 2022
Why the future is bright for the British GP Plus

Why the future is bright for the British GP

It wasn’t so long ago the situation looked bleak at Silverstone with the future of the British Grand Prix under threat. But a transformation has seen it restored to one of the most important races on the Formula 1 calendar, with bigger and better to come

Formula 1
Jul 1, 2022
Could mixed fortunes for F1's leading Brits turn around at Silverstone? Plus

Could mixed fortunes for F1's leading Brits turn around at Silverstone?

For the first time in many years, none of the local racers starts among the favourites for the British Grand Prix. But George Russell, Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris could have reasons for optimism

Formula 1
Jun 30, 2022