Toto Wolff says Mercedes will treat the second half of 2019 as a new season in order to avoid complacency despite leading both championships.
Lewis Hamilton has a comfortable advantage over team-mate Valtteri Bottas in the drivers’ championship, while Mercedes is 150 points clear of Ferrari in the constructors’ standings after 12 of the 21 rounds this year. However, team principal Wolff says his team will not ease up until both titles are mathematically confirmed, with the power unit department having been able to work flat-out during the mid-season break.
“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,” Wolff said. “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.
“We’re leading in both championships, but it doesn’t feel that way. 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 says it is an approach Mercedes needs to take in order to make sure it is not caught out by the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari, with Max Verstappen having won two of the last four races.
“It’s a trap in which you can fall if you start to either be complacent or feel the sense of entitlement to winning,” he said. “You need to stay humble. Yesterday’s race win doesn’t win you tomorrow’s competition. Somebody can develop a car in an intelligent way and you can do the opposite.
“Once you finish a race weekend, we analyze it on the Monday, we try to learn and close the chapter and we start with zero points going for the next race weekend. This has been our mindset in the last six or seven years.”