Toto Wolff says despite the W08 car proving to be the fastest on the Formula 1 grid in 2017 through its “diva” traits, he’s urging his Mercedes technical department to lose those characteristics for next season with the looming threat from its rivals.

The Mercedes team continually referred to the W08’s unpredictable set-up nature from circuit to circuit as a “diva” but were able to get on top of the problem as the campaign progressed. After sharing the opening six race wins evenly with Ferrari at three apiece, Mercedes gradually ironed out its issues with tyres and aerodynamic configuration to eventually romp to the 2017 F1 world titles – albeit aided by Ferrari’s collapse during the Asian flyaway races.

Due to the renewed pressure and competitiveness from Ferrari throughout the year plus the surge of Red Bull towards the end of the season, Wolff is eager for his team to avoid a repeat situation in 2018. The Mercedes team principal is wary of the threat from Ferrari and Red Bull only increasing next season thanks to the stable technical regulations.

“You have to be careful in interpreting the pace,” Wolff said referring to the Mercedes speed in Abu Dhabi. “This has been the start of the 2018 season, I’m not sure we’ve seen everything on the cars that will be on the cars next year.

“So far, I just don’t feel like we should be patting ourselves on the shoulder on how great we were in the last race. I’d rather stay sceptical, leaving no stone unturned and optimising the deficits of the car.

“But at the end of the day it was the quickest car, it was a diva. We’d like to keep the diva but get rid of her vicious character.”

Mercedes has continued to dominate the V6 hybrid engine era with four consecutive F1 drivers’ and constructors’ world championships and will aim to surpass Red Bull’s recent record of the same feat in 2018. Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel took a clean sweep of all titles between 2010 to 2013.