Hamilton and Bottas "in a great place" - Wolff

Published on 20 Mar 2017 18:04

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes that his team is ready to face the new F1 season and its regulation challenges, having worked hard throughout the entirety of the winter period.

Wolff has described 2017 as "the dawn of a new era" due to the new rules influencing car design and performance, and Mercedes is widely expected to make the best of them as the favourite for the title, but the Austrian is not willing to discount any of its rivals at this early stage - even though he remains positive.

"We have tackled with determination the challenge of the new regulations," he said. "We have been very successful over the last three years through stable rules - but no team has ever maintained its success over such a big regulation change before. In a way, it's just what the doctor ordered. To have such a challenge is good for the team."

Wolff has also stressed the importance of Mercedes managing its expectations very carefully this year, regardless of how high they may be: "There is an art to managing expectations. You must not set them too low - but you must also keep them under control.

"With new regulations, everyone starts with zero points. It provides opportunities as well as risks for every team on the grid. You only need to look back to 2009 to see how unpredictable Formula One can be, with Brawn winning the Championship after being on the brink of extinction."

The Silver Arrows have a new driver this year in Valtteri Bottas, and there has already been a great deal of discussion about how he will fare against his team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Wolff will not predict which of his drivers will come out on top, but he says that the team is happy with their relationship behind the scenes.

"Lewis and Valtteri are in a great place. They have a respectful and friendly relationship from what we've seen in our team briefings so far. It's an exciting time for them because these new cars are a real physical challenge. Both felt from testing that the G-forces are enormous and they are embracing the new challenge of F1 2017.

"Having spoken to the drivers, these machines are violent - just like Formula One cars should be. I have been out on track watching them and, next to the previous generation of cars, these are properly spectacular cars.

"From a fan perspective - and part of me will always be a fan - it really is something special. Any true motorsport lover simply has to see them in the flesh."


Mason Hawker

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