Toto Wolff says F1 is set for “the ultimate reality check” at the Australian Grand Prix.
The first grand prix of the season in Melbourne will mark the first time the new regulations are testing in a race situation. Mercedes has emerged as one of the favourites for victory, but Wolff admits the biggest unknown is not his own team's competitiveness but just how the racing will be.
“The new regulations have been a massive challenge for everybody involved, and the team has been pushing flat out to get the car to where it is now as we approach the first race in Melbourne,” Wolff said. “While it is true that the quickest car with the quickest drivers will win, reliability will be a key factor. We want to bring both cars to the flag in the best possible position. We now face the ultimate reality check in the first race of this new era for Formula One.
“The feeling within the team is not one of nerves, however. It is more a sense of relief to finally be unleashing our cars in race conditions. Everybody now just wants to get out there and see where we stand. Expectations are high, both internally and externally.”
While Wolff admits he is slightly wary of how prepared Mercedes and the sport as a whole is, he believes the new regulations are right for F1.
“Although we're not quite where we want to be right now in terms of a complete package, I'm optimistic in that we've done everything possible to prepare for the challenges ahead. I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised by the new cars: the noise, the speeds and ultimately the lap times. This is cutting-edge technology - and that's exactly what Formula One stands for.”