Toto Wolff: “I can’t wait for the flag to drop in Melbourne”

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes Benz Motorsport, expects the competition to be tougher than ever for his Mercedes AMG PETRONAS team during the 2016 Formula 1 season.

The Austrian believes Scuderia Ferrari look confident ahead of the season-opener in Australia this weekend, with other teams likely to be involved in the battle for the championship. Having a strong competitor motivates Mercedes and their drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg to push even harder.

“It seems like we’ve never been away,” said Wolff. “Although the season starts later than usual, the work has been non-stop over the winter. Under stable regulations you are not looking to re-invent the wheel and you cannot expect huge development jumps.

“We expect the competition to be tougher than ever this year. Expectations are high, both internally and externally. But Ferrari look confident and there will likely be other teams involved in the battle. Testing is about clocking mileage and understanding the car, so there is no clear order at this point. We are racers and we love a challenge. Having an enemy pumps you up for a battle – and having strong competitors motivates us to push even harder.

“Formula One is a sport – but it is also entertainment. Controversy, both on and off track, makes headlines. That’s not a bad thing – it’s part of the world we live in. But we can think about that later. For now, I can’t wait for the flag to drop in Melbourne: let battle commence…”