Wolff expecting tougher competition

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has admitted that he is expecting a very competitive Formula 1 season in 2016.

The Austrian has presided over back-to-back seasons of total dominance, with Lewis Hamilton picking up two World titles and Mercedes securing successive Constructors’ Championships.

However, Ferrari are widely expected to pose a much greater challenge this year after a fine performance in testing, and they also boast two drivers who have both been World Champions in the last 10 years.

Wolff, though, believes that the increase in competition can only bring the best out of his team.

“We expect the competition to be tougher than ever this year,” he told reporters. “Expectations are high, both internally and externally.

“But Ferrari look confident and there will likely be other teams involved in the battle. Testing is about clocking mileage and understanding the car, so there is no clear order at this point.

“We are racers and we love a challenge. Having an enemy pumps you up for a battle – and having strong competitors motivates us to push even harder.”

The 2016 season is due to begin this Sunday in Australia, with grand prix in Bahrain and China set to follow before the end of April – and Wolff can’t wait for the testing to stop and the racing to start.

“It seems like we’ve never been away,” he added. “The work has been non-stop over the winter. I can’t wait for the flag to drop in Melbourne: let battle commence…”

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