Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff says the team are ready to “start from zero again” following their 2017 success, adding they won’t underestimate their competition next year.
The German manufacturer have dominated Formula 1 since the sport switched to V6 turbo engines at the start of 2014, winning the double in each of the last four seasons with Lewis Hamilton claiming three Drivers’ titles and Nico Rosberg one.
Merc will no doubt start the 2018 season as favourites again, but Wolff warns it is “important to stay humble” and “forget” about their recent success.
“I think we have a good organisation in place and somehow the wheel rolls now, but having said that you must never underestimate any of the competition,” he told ESPN.
“It can go super quick and suddenly you are on the back foot and the car is not as good as the others and we have seen that with Ferrari how quickly they can turn it around [the other way] from a so-so season to a world championship challenger in 2017.
“So I think it’s important to stay humble, forget about your own achievements – we are taking all the stickers off the doors here saying we have won the championship – because in 2018 it all starts from zero again.”
Merc had several new additions to their team at the start of the 2017 season with Valtteri Bottas replacing Rosberg, who retired, while former Ferrari technical director James Allison also joined.
Wolff feels everyone has come to the party to make 2017 another successful campaign.
“The team is strong I would say, at the moment. Valtteri has filled the slot quite will and thinking how the championship panned out, Valtteri and Lewis was probably the best combination we could have had,” Wolff said.
“In terms of the organisation, I’m extremely happy that all the relevant people have stayed in the team and continue to develop the organisation, we have young leaders coming up now and they will be shortly picking up the ball.
“And James is doing a tremendous job together with Aldo [Costa], Mark Elliott and Mark Ellis as well as many others to restructure the department regularly. A racing team in Formula One is not a static structure that you can freeze and say ‘this is functioning now and is winning races and championships, now let’s freeze it’. On the contrary, you need to adapt, it’s dynamic and in up until now it has worked out.”