The gap between the front-running teams in F1 has closed up over the winter according to Mercedes’ head of motorsport Toto Wolff.
“What we’ve seen from Barcelona is that the margins at the front of the field have shrunk,” he said.
“We’ll see how that pans out in Melbourne, because we still don’t know about the fuel loads, weights or power settings of the other cars. As the old saying goes, it is when the flag drops that the bullshit really stops.”
Wolff added Mercedes is prepared to discover it may not be the quickest team at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix this weekend.
“We have done the best job we possibly could over the winter and, if we are not the fastest in Melbourne, then it’s about finding out why and what needs to be done to get us back to that top spot,” he said.
“It’s a challenge we will take on with great motivation and energy. Setbacks can provide a long-term opportunity because you constantly need to improve yourself.”
The Mercedes boss predicted the new generation of F1 cars will thrill fans when they see them for the first time.
“Having spoken to the drivers, these machines are violent – just like Formula One cars should be,” he said.
“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 a 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.”
2017 F1 season
- Stripping Verstappen of 2017 US podium was “one of the toughest decisions” – steward
- Sepang pays Haas compensation for Grosjean’s 2017 crash
- Williams revenues rose in 2017 after Bottas deal with Mercedes
- New kerbs at COTA in response to Verstappen’s corner-cutting
- Australian Grand Prix cost government £56 million last year