Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says his team has to rely on the integrity of Ferrari and simply find more performance in response to recent gains by its main title rival.
Ferrari’s battery technology was called into question earlier this season but the FIA was satisfied after monitoring the situation at the Monaco Grand Prix. Recent races have seen another major step forward in power unit performance from Ferrari, with Wolff estimating Mercedes was losing half a second on the straights during qualifying for the German Grand Prix — where Ferrari-powered cars all received a new MGU-K and Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen got a fresh energy store.
“I think it’s highly complex technology,” Wolff said when asked if he felt the Ferrari is legal during an AMG media event. “If someone — and I’m not saying somebody does, because the fact is I don’t know; we are not in anybody’s engine, we are not in anybody’s bodywork — were prepared to risk his reputation then there is very little possibility to police that.
“You need to rely on the integrity of people and organizations, and we do that. At the end of the day, with all the skepticism and paranoia that has always existed in Formula 1, we rely on the integrity of the FIA, we rely on the integrity of our competitors, because that’s the only way we can go racing on a Sunday.”
With Ferrari showing better performance than Mercedes in both qualifying and the race in Germany before the weather intervened — helping Lewis Hamilton lead home Valtteri Bottas for a one-two — Wolff says his response is to search for internal improvements.
“I think what we’ve seen is that on racetracks that should have suited us — Silverstone and Hockenheim — they had a car that was very good on the chassis side and a power unit that was the benchmark in the field.
“The only reaction we can have to that is not to say, ‘What are they doing?’ The reaction should be, ‘What can we do in order to accelerate our own development program?’ My mindset is really that everybody is respecting the integrity, because that is the only way we can go racing.
“If you doubt that, then the whole sport would have a problem, and I don’t.”