LET'S DO IT AGAIN: Mercedes is determined to defend its 2014 title and dominance for the 2015 F1 season. Image: AP / Jon Super
KITSBUHEL, Austria - Mercedes is on course to launch its title-defending cars on the eve of the first northern-winter test, Formula 1 team boss Toto Wolff has revealed.
Wolff, interviewed while on holiday in this upmarket resort, told Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport: "We are on schedule and have a clear idea of where we are in terms of chassis and engine.”
UK-based Mercedes utterly dominated the 2014 season and Wolff “doesn’t mind at all" that 2014 F1 champion Lewis Hamilton has elected to keep his personal number 44 Rather than carry the usual No.1 on his car.
MERC ON TOP
Instead, Wolff's is focused on making sure Mercedes stays No.1 in F1.
"The first goal is to assemble the car in time for mid-January when we plan to test at Silverstone but only at Jerez will we have a picture of the balance of power with the opposition."
Asked if he knew when the cars would be launched, Wolff answered: "No - but I do not exclude that it will happen right before the first test in Spain."
He said there was no chance that Mercedes would enter the season more relaxed, given the team's dominance in 2014. "When you begin to relax, you begin to lose," Wolff said.
"Compared to 2014, when the new formula came in, margins for improvement are smaller and our opponents know our strengths, what they need to focus on to beat us?"
WEARY OF VETTEL?
Wolff saw Williams as the most dangerous opponent for title defenders Mercedes in 2015 even though Red Bull was runner-up in the 2014 championship.
"I would put Williams at the top of the list but I also fear Red Bull which won four titles in a row and will put every resource into again fighting for the championship."
Next best in 2014 was beleaguered F1 giant Ferrari but Wolff refused to write-off the team despite its current slump and turmoil.
Wolff also said Sebastian Vettel's move to Ferrari must be taken seriously. "Sebastian brings four F1 titles, enthusiasm and experience," he said. "It will be an incentive for the people of the incredible Ferrari.
"Never write them off."