Although the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team currently lead the constructors standings by a fairly comfortable sixty-two points, having enjoyed victories at the last two rounds of the season, Team Principal Toto Wolff is wary that the Singapore Grand Prix has never really been a strong venue for the German squad.
“This is a circuit we have found difficult to master with its combination of short, sharp corners, relatively short straights and bumpy surface.
“We head to Asia this time round with the expectation that we have a big challenge ahead of us.”
Although the Austrian is expecting a tough weekend, at a track that should play to the strengths of the Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Ferrari machines over those of Mercedes, he takes great solace in the fact that his team managed to win here last year.
Wolff believes they have moved on from their troubles in Monaco, the closest layout to the Marina Bay Street Circuit, and have since improved their knowledge about what they must do to perform well at similar tracks, which they showed in Hungary.
“So far this year, we have seen the pendulum swing according to circuit type.
“On the surface, Singapore is the kind of circuit that should favour both Ferrari and Red Bull. Both have shown strong performance on low-speed circuits demanding maximum downforce, and we have found life more difficult at those places in 2017.
“Sometimes, characteristics like this are simply in the DNA of a car.
“Nevertheless we learned a lot from our struggles in Monaco, raised our level of performance significantly in Hungary and we have made good progress in understanding what we need to do in order to get the most from the chassis.”
According to Wolff, the Singapore Grand Prix is tough on the whole team, whether that be handling the heat, the strategy calls, or the physical and mental demands of driving the car, everyone has to be on song, for the weekend to be a success.
The Austrian will accept nothing less than 100%, as Mercedes look to master the Marina Bay track as they did in 2016, and take a crucial victory at a venue that highly favours their rivals.
“It’s a demanding weekend for the teams: the ambient conditions make life in the garage tough, it’s physically demanding for the drivers and challenging for the cars in terms of managing brake and tyre temperatures.
“Safety Car periods are almost guaranteed, so there are lots of variables to consider on strategy.
“It’s a weekend when every part of the team needs to be at its best if you wish to score a strong finish. We will aim to put all the pieces of the puzzle together and finish strongly.”