Mercedes F1's Wolff missing having to fight Ferrari this season

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff hopes Ferrari rediscovers its form, admitting he has missed battling on-track with its Formula 1 rival this season

Mercedes F1's Wolff missing having to fight Ferrari this season

After winning three grands prix in 2015, the expectation before the start of this campaign was that Ferrari would push Mercedes hard in the fight for both F1 titles.

But after failing to win any of the opening 12 grands prix, Ferrari heads into the summer break as the third-best team, overtaken by Red Bull, and seemingly struggling behind the scenes.

Ferrari never learns from its mistakes

Wolff concedes he would have relished more of a challenge from Ferrari as he said: "Formula 1 lives because of the great battles between drivers and teams.

"Ferrari is a great brand with capable people, and it would have been good fun to fight it out on track.

"For whatever reason, in the most recent races they haven't been able to perform to their levels - to the levels they expect to perform and we expect them to perform.

"For me the battle with Ferrari would be great for Formula 1, and even if this sounds a little absurd, I was very much looking forward to it.

"I hope they find their strengths again and we fight it out on track."

Wolff expects Ferrari to regroup, in particular as he believes the team is now fully focused on next year's new regulations.

"I don't think you can write Ferrari off," added Wolff.

"They have clearly had a tough time recently, and I think they switched off very early for 2017.

"Never underestimate a team with so much resources and so much passion. That would be my view."

RED BULL WILL BE "IN FULL FORM" IN 2017

For now, Wolff feels Red Bull is Mercedes' closest rival and he fully anticipates Christian Horner's team to not only continue to push after the summer break, but build on its 2016 steps next year.

"There's no fright [from Red Bull]," said Wolff.

"We were expecting Hungary to be a very difficult one, with Red Bull performing well, and it was the opposite. We were actually very strong, as well as at Silverstone.

"Hockenheim should've been an easier one for us, and it happened not to be. So I don't think it's clear cut.

"They will be coming back in full form next year, even for the second half of the season, I have no doubt.

"What I keep saying is it's a pretty unusual situation a team is winning almost every race, and we have done that now for two-and-a-half years, but that's not going to last forever."

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