Mercedes is looking at the final two races of this season as the start of the fight for success in 2018, according to Toto Wolff.
Lewis Hamilton’s ninth place in Mexico was enough to secure a fourth drivers’ championship, while Mercedes had wrapped up the constructors’ title a week earlier in the United States. With both championships now settled, Wolff says attention turns to retaining those crowns amid increasing competition from Red Bull and Ferrari.
“It might be tempting to think that, with both championships now secure, the pressure is off for the two remaining races of 2017,” Wolff said. “But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“Inside the team, we are looking at the next two race weekends as the first two grands prix of 2018. We have two races that we are determined to win in order to take that positive momentum into the winter. There will be no backing off just because the championship business is now done.
“In fact, these next two races speak to every principle that makes us what we are. We aspire to excellence in everything we do, from the first lap of the winter shakedown in Silverstone to the final lap of the post-season test in Abu Dhabi. And every time we race, we race to win. That is the mindset we take to Sao Paulo.
“Lewis is operating at the peak of his powers right now, and will be determined to add another victory to last year’s success; Valtteri [Bottas] made a promising step forward in Mexico and will aim to build from this at Interlagos.
“As recent rounds have shown, winning grands prix is never easy. Red Bull have taken two victories in the past four races and, although we have claimed the other two, Ferrari remain formidable opponents. With the championship now settled, the battle for 2018 has already begun.”
Mercedes says it will now carry out “a series of experiments” during Friday practice in both Brazil and Abu Dhabi, including the use of aero rakes as part of what it calls “an intense program” of preparations for next season.