Toto Wolff says Mercedes has been focusing on retaining some of the aspects of last year’s “diva” when developing its 2018 car.
Under new aerodynamic regulations last year, Mercedes produced a quick but unstable car that was not easy to get performance out of on certain circuits. With Wolff having labeled last year’s W08 as a “diva”, the car still went on to deliver a fourth consecutive championship double and the Mercedes boss says trying to make too many changes for 2018 could have an impact on its stronger points.
“Some of the characters of the diva we like,” Wolff said. “The W08 was the fastest car in Formula 1. It scored the most pole positions and it won the most races. You need to be careful not to dumb the things that actually worked on the car, just to remedy the difficulties that the car showed. As a matter of fact, we analyzed it properly and when we go testing in a month’s time we will see if the car is a little bit more behaved or not.”
With Mercedes having successfully completed the fire-up of this year’s W09, Wolff says development has been progressing well ahead of the start of pre-season testing.
“It’s never going completely seamlessly or smoothly because as a matter of fact you’re trying to push the boundaries, make the car as light as possible, and eventually as quick as possible. So, we’ve had a good winter I would say. No real drama. But, there’s always stress within the organization at that time of the year.”
Asked if he lets himself think about the prospect of winning a fifth consecutive championship double – an achievement that would match Ferrari’s record from 2000-04 – Wolff replied: “No, because all points go back to zero.
“We are extremely happy and proud of the four double titles but it isn’t a guarantee of doing it for the fifth time. So far, the mindset within the organization is to stay humble about our own achievements, but motivated and energized in order to try and win races again and eventually hopefully being in the fight for the title.”