Gearing up for the Austrian Grand Prix is like “getting a fish out of the water” says Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff.
More than three months after the 2020 season was put on hold, the Formula 1 engines will be fired up this Friday for the start of the Austrian Grand Prix weekend.
The race marks the start of an eight-race European leg with the rest of the calendar still to be confirmed.
Wolff cannot wait.
“No tension, just anticipation,” he told Kronen Zeitung, “maybe as if you were getting a fish out of the water.”
Although Formula 1 has been on an extended break and the factories were shut down for over two months, work resumed in June.
Wolff confirmed that the Brackley squad has been working on updates for the W11 which Mercedes will trial in Austria.
“Of course we will put some updates on it, take a step forward,” he said.
“The drivers will have to learn to understand the car again.
“A situation that is really good for me personally because after this long, and-daily-greetings-the-marmot-break, things are getting going.”
The Austrian is expecting a tough fight with Red Bull with Max Verstappen having won the last two editions of the Austrian GP.
Last season the Dutchman beat Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to the chequered flag while Valtteri Bottas was third and Lewis Hamilton fifth.
With the race taking place in the midst of a heatwave, Mercedes struggled with the temperatures.
“Red Bull with Max Verstappen is quite an announcement for Spielberg,” said Wolff. “In addition, I expect a very tight fight between Red Bull and us.
“Please no 35 degrees. The heat and the relative altitude in Spielberg were not necessarily the strength of our engine.
“But I hope that we learned a lot from it and that we have a better grip on this problem.”
Good news for Wolff is Sunday’s high is only 26’C.