Mercedes has “maxed out” the performance available under the current regulations, according to executive director Toto Wolff.
The team which has won the constructors’ championship for the third year in a row has won 49 of the 57 races since the current regulations were introduced at the beginning of 2014.
Wolff says they are now only finding marginal returns from their developments.
“We’re maxed out on performance, as is normal at the end of a regulation cycle,” said Wolff, “and when that happens everything becomes more marginal.”
“This is where we find ourselves right now, so we must remain focused on every last detail.”
New regulations for 2017 will free up the aerodynamic regulations, introduce wider tyres and also lift the token-based restrictions on power unit development.
One of the Mercedes drivers will win the championship this year. Nico Rosberg will secure the title if he wins Sunday’s race in Brazil.
“For Nico, all this talk of just needing to finish second in order to make it to the end is over,” said Wolff. “He has it in his hands.”
Wolff says the opportunity reduces the pressure on Rosberg. “We’ve seen many races, particularly in the second half of this season, where he has coped well under pressure.”
“But, mentally, I think this new situation is actually a bit easier in terms of tackling the situation with a little less pressure, as he still has another chance in Abu Dhabi.”
“Equally, Lewis knows what he must do to keep his title hopes alive. He will never back down and that’s what makes him one of the great ones. He has three championships and 51 victories under his belt – and no matter the outcome this year, we all know there will be more to come.”
“It’s a really interesting dynamic and great for the fans. As a team, we will do all in our power to provide both with the opportunities they need.”