Cape Town - Pre-season testing may have gone in Mercedes' favour but
Toto Wolff concedes racing is very different and his team will have to climb
"Mount Everest" to hold off Ferrari and Red Bull.
This season the Mercedes motorsport boss believes Mercedes
will be part of a three-team battle for the championships with Red Bull
expected to enter the fray.
But while it was Ferrari who topped the timesheets in
pre-season testing, it is Mercedes and Red Bull who showed better long-run
Wolff said: "We’re excited to go racing again.
"Everything we’ve done over the past months were just
the first steps on the road to start our 2018 campaign – from the first build
of the car to the first fire-up, from the launch in Silverstone to testing in
"Now, it’s time to find out what we’ve got: like the
old saying goes, when the flag drops, the bullsh*t stops.
"Last year, the competition was very close and there
was no moment where we could afford to relax. Ferrari put up a very tough fight
and we had a proper battle between silver and red.
"This year promises to bring an exciting three-way
fight between us, Ferrari and Red Bull. Everyone in Brackley and Brixworth has
worked extremely hard over the past months to make sure we enter that fight
with the best machine possible."
But while the Austrian acknowledges that Mercedes had a very
good pre-season, covering the most laps of all the teams, he concedes that
racing is a different beast to testing.
"Both our drivers seem reasonably happy with our new
car, but it remains yet to be seen how well it performs when driven in
anger," he added. "The reduction in the number of power unit
components means that reliability will again play an important role in 2018.
"Our reliability in testing looked good but we need to
be careful to draw any conclusions from that - despite getting some good
mileage with the new car in Barcelona, many of its components have not even
come close to the life they need to complete during the season."
This season Mercedes are chasing their fifth successive
championship double having won the title three years with Hamilton and one with
"We will tackle this new season with the same
dedication, team spirit and energy that has made us strong in the past. Each of
us has the mind-set that last year's Championships belong in the past;
yesterday's trophies don't win today's games.
"A new season feels like climbing Mount Everest - we've
done it successfully in the past, but we're only in the base camp at the
moment. It will be a tough journey, with the same target, but different
challenges to master along the way. Right now, we start this long season on
zero points like every one of our rivals. And we have to give it everything to
be successful again this year."