‘We must stay humble’ says Wolff after ‘best first day’

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Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff has warned his team must not become arrogant after the reigning champions enjoyed a productive first day’s testing in Jerez yesterday.

Nico Rosberg covered almost 700 kilometres in the W06 – far more than any other car achieved on the day. But despite such a positive start, Wolff says the team cannot afford to become over-confident.

“We need to stay humble,” says Wolff. “It was a really good first day. For me, it was the best first day in terms of mileage and reliability.

“Of course, we didn’t push the limits in terms of the car and its systems, but if you speak to Nico, he will tell you that it was one of the best first days he’s had. Does it mean a lot? No. But it’s better to have a good first day than a bad one.”

After a record-breaking year in 2014 in which Mercedes set a new record for most wins in a season, Wolff says the team are not expecting to enjoy such a level of success this season.

“That record of 15 wins for McLaren wasn’t beaten for many years, so it means there was something exceptional and you cannot and shouldn’t expect it to happen again,” Wolff explains.

“If you set your benchmark so high, you will eventually fail and it will demotivate you. So our aim is to have a very competitive car, perform well and do the best we can. Our target is to be the front-running team able to win races regularly. That’s what we expect from ourselves.”

After Lewis Hamilton’s decision to sign with Mercedes in 2012 culminated in the British driver securing his second world championship last season, Wolff says the team have no doubts that the reigning champion will re-sign with the team for next season.

“Contract negotiations need to be done properly,” says Wolff. “The relationship we have is very solid and it is based on trust and transparency and that is how we are handling those discussions.

“In terms of the brand, the ‘Lewis Hamilton‘ brand is extremely valuable to us. He’s a real superstar. He’s a celebrity. He adds a lot to Formula 1 and I think we need these kind of personalities in the sport. There is no immediate pressure for it to happen right now or tomorrow, but our wish is to make it happen sooner rather than later.”

Hamilton taking the championship last year meant his team mate Rosberg missed out on the title. But Wolff does not believe the disappointment of losing out last year will play on Rosberg’s mind heading into the new season.

“When you look at Nico and what happened at the end of the season and how it happened, the speed of his mental recovery was pretty amazing. He was over it just days after he lost the championship and I think that mental strength is something that you need in order to perform.

“In rallying, Sebastian Loeb always had the capacity to forget a mistake. The ones who try to compensate for mistakes by pushing more are the ones who fail. If you have the ability to stay calm and continue to analyse where you need to improve, that’s eventually going to help you be successful. I see Nico as doing exactly that.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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6 comments on “‘We must stay humble’ says Wolff after ‘best first day’”

  1. Toto looks bad ass.

  2. I wouldn’t compare the 9-time world champion Loeb and Nico.

  3. petebaldwin (@)
    2nd February 2015, 11:56

    Well as I write this, Mercedes have already done 30 more laps than anyone else on day 2 so they’ve got something good going!

    Already done 73 laps compares to 31 for Ferrari, 24 for Williams, 5 for McLaren and 7 for Red Bull….

  4. Toto has go a week now without falling off anything. He kept the last mishap very quiet.

  5. It’s funny how they always say that Rosberg copes so well with losing. It always makes me think of this quote:

    Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser

    It can’t be a coincidence that drivers like Alonso, Hamilton and Senna can’t/couldn’t cope with losing at all. People make fun of them for being gutted and “immature” after defeat, but it’s exactly that “flaw” which seems to spur them on.

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