Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolf insists Ferrari can never be discounted as a rival despite its recent drop-off in form relative to Red Bull, saying a team with 'so much resource and passion' will always be a reckoned force.

Ferrari came into 2016 keen to build on a promising 2015 campaign, but is yet to secure a race win this year and has now slipped behind Red Bull in the fight for second in the constructors' standings.

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With Red Bull's upturn in form coming on the cusp of regulatory changes that are widely expected to play into the four-time title-winning team's strengths, Wolff nonetheless played down the notion that the British-based team will supersede Ferrari as Mercedes' biggest rivals going forward.

"I don't think you can write Ferrari off, they have clearly had a tough time most recently. I think they switched off very early for 2017. Never underestimate a team with so much resources and so much passion."

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Nevertheless, Wolff played down the suggestion that 'underperformance' is an element to Mercedes continued dominance in 2016, insisting the team has rallied once again this year.

"I think we have put a team together of great individuals with the right support at Mercedes," he continued. "The package functions and there are many elements of the package that we consider to be very functional in the team and there are some you can always optimise. I can't really judge for the others but I think as we score the result it is irrelevant."

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