Mercedes AMG Motorsport team principal Toto Wolff has said the Brackley-based squad are looking forward to the fight this weekend as Formula 1 returns from the summer break with the Belgian Grand Prix.
The team are top of the table in both Championships, with Brit Lewis Hamilton ahead of his Finnish team-mate Valtteri Bottas by sixty-two points in the Drivers’ table, and the team as a whole one hundred and fifty points ahead of Scuderia Ferrari in the Constructors’ standings.
Wolff praised those members of the team at the factory who were still working while the majority of the trackside team were in recess, with work being done on the power unit side of the car and on their factory building itself.
“Summer shutdown was a welcome break after some very busy weeks in July and early August, but now we’re excited to go racing again,” said Wolff.
“While the majority of our colleagues in Brackley had the chance to recharge their batteries for the second half of the season, other team members were carrying the baton over the past weeks.
“Our team members in Brixworth worked straight through the F1 summer break to improve the performance and reliability of our Power Unit; in Brackley, we used the relatively quiet days to do some work on our factory.
“It’s great to come back from the summer break knowing that part of the team was still pushing flat out and we are grateful to our colleagues who kept the ball rolling while we were out of office.”
Wolff added although they are leading both Championships, to Mercedes it does not feel like that, and as such they are treating this weekend’s race at Spa-Francorchamps as the first race of a new season.
“We’re leading in both championships, but it doesn’t feel that way,” he admitted. “In the last few years, we saw teams perform very strongly after summer shutdown, so we now we need to keep pushing.
“In that respect, we’re approaching the start to the second half of 2019 more like the start to a completely new season – once again we need to make sure that we leave no room for error and keep raising the bar.”
Wolff is excited by the prospect of racing at some exciting and historic venues in the coming weeks, with Spa-Francorchamps being quickly followed by a visit to the Autodromo Nazionale Monza in Italy. These come just before the night race around the Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore.
The Team Principal insists Mercedes are ready for the fight with the aim to add to their tally of race wins in 2019, with Hamilton having taken eight and Bottas two in the first twelve Grand Prix.
“We’re very excited for the upcoming months with historic races like Belgium and Italy followed by the Singapore night race and many other fantastic events,” said Wolff. “The next stop takes us to Spa, one of the most iconic circuits on the calendar.
“Finding the right set-up is tricky because the track has a challenging mix of long straights, a wide range of corner speeds and also considerable elevation changes. The weather can also be somewhat unpredictable in the Ardennes which can make the sessions very interesting.
“We’re looking forward to the fight.”